A motley crew of fuzzy creatures are lurking in a forest somewhere, thanks to a financial analyst turned fiber artist. Using natural wool and a combination of felting techniques, Misz Ajdacki makes a living creating unique sculptures. Although there isn't a specific theme to his body of work, Ajdacki often combines the whimsical with the anthropomorphic, adding hats, ties, and even leather shorts to various woodland creatures that reflect the absurdity of the corporate world he left behind.
"There are hordes of creatures milling around my head. Some just pop out, some need more time to ripen. They are built from me, my experiences, memories, from the stories I hear, things I read, see, watch. Life itself is quite inspiring, but most of them come from the center of me," Ajdacki tells Creators.
After finishing business school in Poland, Ajdacki spent years pursuing a career that utilized his degree, before finally deciding that he'd rather focus his life on the satisfaction he derives from making things. "I made quite a U-turn, turned my life upside down and started making creatures. First, it was my childhood dream, second, I do things that make other people happy. I like when my clients, which are 95% adults, squeak [sic] with joy, and their inner child just implodes with happiness. And the last thing — I like the feeling that I'm making things. That I produce something with my hands," Ajdacki says.
Although he didn't formally study fiber art processes, like needle felting or other techniques involving fabric or yarn, Ajdacki did gain experience working with fibers at an early age. "As a kid I picked up some basic knitting from my grandmother, I used to sew teddy bears and clothes for them, so when I came back to that in my adult life, that's what I started with. But I struggled with translating what I had in mind into a two dimensional pattern, and I started looking for alternatives. As soon as I tried working with wool, I knew [I was] home," he says.
After rekindling his childhood interest in fiber arts, Ajdacki says he approached felting by experimenting with processes rather than seeking out formal instruction. "The main techniques I use are felting — needle felting, which is sculpting wool with sharp felting needles, and wet felting with soap and water, sometimes with help of a converted sanding machine to speed up the process."
Though Ajdacki seems to have mastered the techniques he now uses to make his endearing works, he continues to experiment and make time to create whatever ideas happen to strike his fancy. "Sometimes I feel like a couple of pigs, or a bleeding bear on another occasion. It depends on where I am in my head," says Ajdacki.