Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Profile of a Mad Scientist: Cretur Fetur

The Mad Scientists of Etsy are launching a new feature today: the Mad Scientist Profile. Who are these people who both love science and love to create? What does science mean to them? How do they make the things they do? Well, we're going to tell you!

Today, etsy seller Ulixis interviews Cretur Fetur.

Ulixis: What's your science field of choice? Why?

Cretur Fetur: In a very general sense, zoology. Being a little more specific, I'd go for mammalogy and ethology. All my life I've been absolutely fascinated by animals, especially animal behavior. When I was very little, I decided I would be a veterinarian, but quickly backpedaled when I was informed I would have to do a lot of dissection for that. I've always been squeamish when it comes to that sort of thing. Later I heard about ethology, and I pursued that for a while, reading books by Konrad Lorenz and Jane Goodall and stuff on the internet (ah, the young days of the internet), but I abandoned it midway through high school to pursue art instead. I think part of my reasoning for it may have been that I thought art would pay better. HAH!

Ulixis: What was the last thing you learned that you thought was particularly interesting?

Cretur Fetur: There's this jellyfish, Turritopsis dohrnii, that can reset its cells to a younger state. If it's in danger of starvation, or damaged, or feeling old, it'll just age itself backwards all the way back into a polyp colony, the first stage of a jellyfish's life. That colony can then become hundreds of jellyfish genetically identical to the original one. Crazy.

Ulixis: How do you incorporate science into your crafting?

Cretur Fetur: I read about animals pretty often, and I have a particular affinity for animals that not everyone has heard of, or not many people know much about. So what I've done with Cretur Fetur is pick one of these animals per month and put them in the spotlight. I research them as extensively as my resources allow, write everything down, sketch the animal from as many angles as possible to familiarize myself with its shape, then make it into a wool sculpture. I think the sculptural part of the process gives the animal a presence and an approachability that a flat drawing would not accomplish by itself. At the same time, a drawing can show detail and accuracy in a way that my wool sculpting skills can't yet, so I also include a card with a watercolor drawing of the animal, with key parts of my research (by "key" I mean "most exciting") written on the back. So none of the data is wasted, hooray!

Ulixis: What inspires you most when you sit down to create?

Cretur Fetur: I get inspired from two fronts: one is the natural world and how insane and amazing it is, and the other is art and how insane and amazing it is. There's a couple of artists that work with wool whose art I enjoy particularly: Stephanie Metz and Masako Onodera. What I am doing right now is more craft than conceptually robust art, but I'm still getting a kick out of directly translating something from nature into something manmade. I plan to explore the medium more thoroughly soon, and hopefully make bigger, more abstract things. Eventually. Right now I just wanna make a quoll, and find out why grackles congregate in the evenings.

Check out her etsy shop at Cretur Fetur, read about her creative process on her blog here and follow CuriousCreturer on twitter.

Next up: Check the blog soon for the next in this series, when
Cretur Fetur interviews Ulixis - with a bonus 'Lightening Round'

All felted animal photos curtesy of Cretur Fetur. Turritopsis dohrnii photographs via National Geographic, by Stefano Piraino (inset) and Maria Pia Miglietta. Tiger quoll image via wikipedia.


Amanda said...

I had a lot of fun getting to know Cretur during this interview - I hope you did too!

Aren't her felted animals awesome?!?!?!!

minouette said...

Her felted animals are beautiful and expressive! I'm so impressed!

bowerbirdz said...

Thanks for sharing your art and science with us. Your attention to detail is amazing and your creations fabulous!

Julie D'Arcy said...

That was a very interesting interview! That bit about the jellyfish was really cool!

Personally, I think what you do is art, so don't let anyone tell you otherwise.
Julie D'Arcy

Lety R-Z said...

Aw, thanks everybody! :D


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