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Conversations with Sundie and Brad Ruppert

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sundie and Brad Ruppert. They share their story with us below:

Brad and Sundie Ruppert have a fascination with texture and the need to innovate by creating unique mixed media sculptures. Their most recent body of work gives new life to perhaps the oldest textile used today, fur felt, the remnants trimmed from the brims of felt hats. They have developed a process of cutting, bending, and layering the intricate felt pieces over carved wood, creating incredible likenesses of their natural subject matter as well as contemporary abstract pieces. 

These two Iowa-born artists reference multiple photographic images to realistically interpret the color, movement and emotion of their nature-inspired subjects. Sundie explains, “We try to capture the soul that shines through bright eyes, soft fur, and sleek feathers.” Brad adds, “Viewers are drawn in by a type of optical illusion. The soulful eyes grab them first. Next, the brain tries to comprehend if they are viewing a painting or a sculpture and then finally, they reach out and touch the soft felt to fully indulge in the experience.” 

The Rupperts’ appreciation of nature developed over a decade as Art and Creative Directors specializing in gardening for Meredith Corporation’s Better Homes and Gardens and Home Garden magazines. Then, as pioneers in the early days of e-commerce they spearheaded the creative look and feel of gardendotcom and companion printed magalog, Garden Escape. In 2000, they left corporate America to become full-time artists. 

Their newest interest is focusing on using their highly sustainable felt creations as a beautiful way to dampen sound in homes and public spaces. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
SMOOTH??? I doubt any artist’s road is smooth. It is a career that is not for the faint of heart or the thin of skin. When your passion is to innovate something that no one else is doing, there is a small market for people who appreciate something “different”. Most people want something that their friends already have. It is very hard to struggle listening to how much people love your work but not buy it. 

Here at the Scottsdale Celebration of Fine Art, following in her father’s footsteps, Susan has curated a group of art-loving collectors that are specifically looking for something unusual. A piece of art that starts a conversation. Amongst the 100 artist’s studios, you can find something new or more traditional. There is something for everyone here, in all price points. 

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
We have been “Found-Object Sculptors” for 22 years. Our previous body of work was very whimsical and inspirational made of vintage treasures. We also do hand-carved custom signage and while installing a sign for Trent Johnson, CVO, Creative Vision Officer of Greeley Hat Works in Colorado we discovered the remnants that they trim off of the brim in the process of making felt hats. It is nothing more than the outline of a circle and they went in the landfill for nearly 100 years but now we have made them virtually a zero-waste company. 

We are innovating highly sustainable artwork from rescued hatmakers’ felt remnants. They are irresistibly tactile and interactive while being a beautiful way to dampen sound in homes and public spaces. 

If we knew you growing up, how would we have described you?
We have both always been very creative. I always wanted to be a signpainter. Brad wanted to be an American Indian. In a way, we have both been able to live out part of our dreams by blazing our own path and always following our arrow. 

Pricing:

  • our prices are calculated by the square inch
  • our “HeartFelt” hearts start at $350
  • and our abstracts and animal portraits range from $750-$10k+

Contact Info:

  • Email: sculpturalfelt@gmail.com
  • Website: www.sculpturalfelt.com
  • Instagram: @sculpturalfelt
  • Facebook: Sculptural Felt & Custom Signage by Brad & Sundie Ruppert


Image Credits
Sundie Ruppert
Ken Carlson
Greg Scheidemann

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