Virginia artists Stacy Cantrell and Erika Cleveland, along with more than 130 local volunteers spent nearly a year crocheting, felting, and knitting all of the flora and fauna to create “Materialized Magic: Mythical Creatures in a Yarn Artistry Habitat.”

It was on view at the Arlington Arts Center and Torpedo Factory Art Center.

Vasilisa the Brave

The immersive installation features woodland, desert, and waterfall dioramas constructed almost entirely from yarn and felt.

Baby Clyde’s cave

The group used approximately 60 pounds of yarn and five pounds of wool in total.

Baby Clyde

Clyde, the baby cyclops, is based on some of Stacy’s own body measurements.

Sonoran Guardian

A special saguaro cactus. In the Native American tradition, she represents the first saguaro, who is said to have been created when a young woman sank deep into the earth and rose back out as a giant cactus.

The cactus is sacred to the Tohono O’odham people. It has been an important food source to people and animals for thousands of years. Her elf owl resident is symbolic of Athena, goddess of wisdom.

The Tree of Life

The tree alone took 250 hours to create and uses approximately seven pounds of brown yarns.


Peamae the mermaid

She roams the seas helping animals in need. The seahorse she holds in her hand is actually Poseidon, King of the Sea, in disguise! According to Greek mythology, the sea horse is an emblem of strength and power.


There are more than 50 rocks in the installation. All of them have been crocheted, knitted, or felted.

Tiny mythical fauna

Taming the Dragon Within

Pigs now fly

Baba Yaga/Mother Earth

The Russian folk tale of Baba Yaga tells of a fearsome witch who devours anyone who tries to enter her chicken-legged house in the woods.

Traditionally, Baba Yaga wears the skulls of her victims. In this version, she is a healer. Instead of skulls, she is adorned with a life-giving tree from which twelve new souls are born. On her sleeves is the Russian symbol of “Moist Mother Earth,” representing the healing powers of nature.

Photos by Jingwei Li, Stacy Cantrell, Chanelle Whitfield