We asked Feltmakers Ireland member Leiko Uchiyama a few questions last month to get an understanding of her work and what motivates one of the members of our guild.
We hope you enjoy her responses and gain an understanding of how your fellow felt-makers work in this craft.
Can you tell us a little about yourself Leiko?
I’m Japanese and I’ve lived in Japan, NZ, France, Indonesia and now in Ireland over the last 6 years. I was studying animal science (sheep reproduction) in university in Japan and I was shearing sheep… Felting has been how I make my living since 1994.
How and when did you start Felting… what is your experience, can you tell us a little about your journey?
My first felting experience was when I was working on the sheep farm in NZ in 1987 with my farm boss and the book called “Felt Making” by Inge Evers. Then I had a chance to take the felting class with Jorie Johnson in 1992 in Japan. I was learning spinning, weaving and knitting but felting drew me the most.
What is your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation?
I like keep my hands busy and it makes my brain works. Hand craft is very important in Japan and I believe it makes the society rich. Sheep is the animal which has the longest relationship with human being and they’ve been providing us food, shelter and clothes.In this 21st century, I’d like to see what real hand craft can do and to remember how skilled our hands are.
What currently inspires you?
Everything I see and everything goes through my mind and body.
Thank you Leiko for taking the time to speak with us.