Ola Birch


CAAF Residency st[art]@art central, April – May 2013




Growing up in 80’s USSR we had no choice in toys, so thanks to my parents I learned how to make many different toys by hand. I have no days go by without new and creative ideas. I spent 5 years in Music and Art school and another 3 year of Art College in Riga, Latvia. Although I started with Acrylics, Oils and sculpture, now my main work is with wool. I taught myself Needle felting 2 years ago and still find this medium and sculpting technique magical.

With English as my 2nd language it’s sometimes easier to connect through colour, and humour, which I use a lot of in my art. After 5 years presenting my paintings, and ‘unique’ creatures within the Calgary Art communities, and as a member of UAS, Quickdraw Animation, I am happy to call this place a home for my artistic journeys.

You can find my work in “Motion” Gallery downtown Calgary at the Eau Claire Market and several Art Markets such as the “Market Collective”. Also check out my newest and biggest felted monster at Telus Sparks Science Center at “Creative Kids Museum” from their most recent “Telus Monster Exhibit” of which I was a part.



My work reflects the positive attitude toward life and the bright colours that inspire me. I always felt that through my art and use of colours people can forget about their daily routines and break away into imagination world and fun, if only for a moment.

I feel that it is really important to not only see but Feel my artwork. I have a lot of fun creatures running in my head and I just want to share them with the world. I know people would like to touch them and the best part is… they can!!!

As a big fan of old artistic techniques as felting, crochet and such I hope to bring more of this to the people of Calgary, and the Artistic community in the years to come.

I had an idea to play evolution, I want to mix and match animal parts and create weird creatures. Some of them will have a backdrops made out of recycled materials such as bottles, newspapers or old fabric, painted and shaped to mimic caves, forests and even different planets. Needle felted sculptures will have plastic eyes but they will look realistic. Their noses and teeth will be sculpted out of polymer clay and pained with acrylic to give it more natural look.

I want to share my love of Needle Felting with everyone. There are different techniques of felting, I prefer needle felting, and it is a popular fibre arts craft created without the use of water. Special needles that are used in industrial felting machines are used by the artist as a sculpting tool. It starts to be popular in Calgary but usually people make jewellery and accessories. I’m taking it to the next level and trying to make realistic sculptures and let people enjoy them not only by looking at wool art but also touching them. My art makes people smile and feel good as people go by, it is hard to resist smiling .It does look cartoonish but I believe that every person is connected to their inner child and it will want to jump out and make people feel like kids.