Gallery: Barbara Keal’s Cruelty-Free Faux Animal Art is a Thought-Provo...

Rockefeller Center’s Anthropologie may be a retail outpost, but it's also a place to find imaginative eco-friendly and recycled art. Recently, the popular store became home to a new exhibition by husband and wife team Barbara and Richard Keal. The modest space was transformed into an urban cabin escape filled with salvaged wood furniture by Richard and adorned by Barbara’s thought-provoking, cruelty-free hats that look like animal skins but aren't.

Richard Keal makes his furniture from deformed bits of wood from trees across East Sussex, England,  and draws inspiration from their natural imperfections. Using their knobby shapes to his advantage, the designer creates one of a kind furniture, chairs and cabinets. For his collaboration with his wife, Keal created a cozy series of timber cabins, resembling the primitive workshops that could be found in rural towns in the early 1900s.

Scattered around and inside the wooden cabinets of curiosities, Anthropologie shoppers can stumble upon Barbara’s magical animal hats, costumes and figurines. Using only sustainably sourced sheep and alpaca fleece from East Sussex, she carefully hand felts the wool into a fuzzy fur. The cruelty-free fur is then transformed into tiny squirrel, rabbit, gopher and rodent heads that hang together like faux taxidermy. Wooden cabin doors open to reveal a workshop of felted animal-eared hoods in white, browns, and blacks, with erect felted ears and antlers hanging on hat rests in display.

The sustainable sculptural collaboration is a treat for Anthropologie shoppers, bringing a spectacle of eco-art to a day of hectic holiday shopping. The gorgeous and cozy exhibition is on display through the end of the year.

+ Barbara Keal

Images ©Lori Zimmer for Inhabitat

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