This spring I decided to take my first on line course with a textile artist. I enrolled with Pam de Groot on her- “Surface form and Space- April 2019” course.
Pam de Groot is an Australian textile artist who teaches at home and internationally.
The quality of Pam’s online tutorials, her teaching methods, videos and her clear instruction has all helped. The course was easy to follow and I have learnt so much. It was also really beneficial to be able to be part of a workshop in my own time and on my terms. Never feeling exhausted because I could choose when it suited me to work -and I still have access to the tutorials for the next 6 months, so I hope that I will have a chance to re-watch and really solidify the learning.
At first I was concerned that I wouldn’t feel “part of a group” but in fact all fears have been alleviated by Pam’s swift and direct response to questions and queries. As well as that, the community atmosphere generated by fellow felters regularly posting photos of their work and process helped to motivate me.
I have looked forward to my Friday mailbox when I would have my treat of “the next lesson”. Now that this course has finished, I am a little sad, but eagerly looking forward to my next opportunity to take a workshop. My biggest learning in fact has been to discover a new found discipline. Keep up the working habit, felt weekly, and felt better.
Pam has very kindly agreed to take part in an interview for Felt makers Ireland. We will also stay in touch and I hope that with a European Tour on the horizon for 2021 that Pam might plan a visit to Ireland, when maybe I ( and we) will be lucky enough to meet her in a face to face in a workshop scenario!
Tell us a little about you as a person? Upbringing/ where you work/ work other than felt etc
I come from a background in Studio Ceramics and also Primary Infants teaching. I moved to textiles when my children were small as it was more forgiving. Children need you right then and there and I could drop and pick up the work when time allowed.
How and when did you start Felting… tell us a little about your journey with felt?
I was introduced to a textile group by a friend and we experimented with many different media. Felting being just one. I loved the felt and how its transformational qualities reminded me of the clay. I slowly had a couple of very beginner classes and then worked on my own for some years occasionally taking a class with those I really respected and admired. I particularly think my work took a new turn after a class with Marjolein Dallinga. Her approach in walking into the unknown really resonated. I haven’t looked back. From beginning this around 18 years ago I have changed my methods and built a wealth of knowledge around wool.
What is your felting process from conception to creation and what is your motivation?
I have really tried most things felt over the years, but more recently I am drawn to work in sculptural felt. I am using the felt as my medium for self expression. Each year the work becomes less about the techniques (though they are there too) and more about the concepts. The flexibility of the wool never disappoints me. It teaches me so much every time I venture somewhere new. I am always its student.
I have been teaching locally here in Australia and abroad for many years now and have in the last couple of years begun teaching online also. I am really enjoying this new way to share and develop the interest of so many the world over.
What currently inspires you?
I am currently creating work which is delving into my own world of personal feelings and emotions around family, friends and relationships. I feel these are topics that we all share and relate to. A common thread, a connection. I have a couple of works that will be part of a travelling exhibition next year, and I am quite proud of the work and the story they tell. Sorry!! no images of those pieces yet but they will be released later in this year.
Pam signs her email with the following quote, which I think gives all of us who are not quite at her stage of mastering this fine art of felt making, a little hope…
“Every artist was first an amateur”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
You can get more information on Pam de Groot on her social media platforms.
You will also find regular updates on her website of upcoming on-line workshops- and these I can now personally recommend!
Thank you Pam for taking the time to answer our questions and supply your highly inspirational photographs. Looking forward to your travelling exhibition and your European tour in 2021- watch this space fellow members!