Interview with Valerie Wartelle.

Into-The-Drift-#2SS-VALERIE WARTELLELike many of our members I follow a few felt makers on Instagram and Facebook for inspiration. One Artist that caught my eye recently is Valerie Wartelle. When I saw in the spring that she was attending a Royal horticultural Show with an Artisan felt stand thus marrying my two loves of craft and plants I was inspired to make contact. I asked Valerie a few questions about herself and her practice.

Tell us a little about you as a person?

Brought up in France and French Polynesia, I enjoyed a loving childhood with my two siblings, French father and Scottish mother. My mother involved us from an early age in all kind of making, sewing and cooking. Therefore as a teenager you would have found me happily making my own clothes and involved in varied creative crafts.

Somehow predictably, on completion of my schooling, I left France to study in England – I attended an art foundation in Essex followed by a BSc Textile Design course at the University of Huddersfield (then Huddersfield Polytechnic) where I specialised in Knitwear.

Then followed a 10-year period working in Manchester as a knitwear designer. Whilst I loved it, I felt the need to bring my IT skills up to the 21st century and in 1999 returned to University to take a Masters in Interactive Multimedia Product Development- such joy to be learning again! Strangely I then worked for over 13 years for my Local Authority mainly with Elected Members, and barely touching a thread or knitting needle.

The-Hum-SS-VALERIE WARTELLE

How and when did you start Felting… what is your experience, tell us a little about your journey with felt?

I was introduced to needle felting during my studies, though I must admit never explored it further. It was not till many years later that a friend showed a few of us how to wet felt. I remember the event well – a rainy Autumnal Sunday afternoon and more specifically finding myself utterly spellbound by the wet felting process…

Move forward to 2012 when I finally tackled my first wet felting project, slowly reacquainting myself with my love of colours and textiles. I initially made design products, such as notebook covers, laptop covers, scarves; but it wasn’t long before my interest solely focussed on mark making, textures and colour.

I quickly realised I needed more time to dedicate to my new hobby, and resolved to compress my working week onto 4 days. I started showing pieces at local art events, received good feedback and in September 2014 decided to take the leap and establish myself as a full time artist.

I now have a studio near my home in Halifax in an old Mill – it’s a lovely space if a little dusty and unfinished, but has plenty of light, and critically some heating!

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Tell us about your process from conception to creation?

My inspiration comes mainly from the rural environment – sometimes from a collected object (pebble, fossil, and grasses), sometimes a photograph, and lately more often than not a drawing or sketch. Whatever triggers my interest, I draw on its colour, texture, form and light… curious about how to translate it using wet felting.

Understanding the craft and behaviour of materials is very important to me, but so is the manipulation of fibres as an expressive art form.  I love the properties of wool and I feel it lends itself well to the dramatic and moody landscapes we have here in Yorkshire. I start with a pre-felt, which equates to having a blank canvas, and I apply fibres in fine layers in a painterly way. I enjoy bringing in other elements (fabric, thread, printing…) to create depth and transparency within the composition. The analogy with painting is significant, making the viewing inquisitive and challenging people’s perception.

What currently inspires you?

Currently I am experimenting with working BIG… size and weight brings a new set of issues to have to resolve along with working flat, working wet and with shrinkage. However solving issues is to me intrinsic to the creative process – it is by seeking out solutions that I achieve small breakthrough. The organic and at times unpredictable response of the medium will keep me curious and engaged for some time to come.

 

Thank you Valerie for taking the time to respond. Your story is inspiring. Valerie plans to exhibit at the Knit & Stitch show, Dublin in 2020. You can find more information on workshops she runs and her work at her website below.

www.valeriewartelle.co.uk/news

Drifting-Thread VALERIE WARTELLE
VALERIE WARTELLE

We at felt makers Ireland plan to keep in touch and perhaps link up with Valerie to run a workshop in the future.

 

 

Heritage day event

https://www.heritageweek.ie/whats-on/event/felted-bunting

heritage day 2

It would be lovely to see our members on the day! Familiar faces and fancy felters, to help guide new beginners in the art & craft of  this past time from past times- that is felt making.

Thank you again for all your contributions already to our wonderful bunting! If you haven’t already submitted a piece of your work- a triangle of bunting then this is your chance! Come along, drink tea, eat buns and show your skills.  This is an extra long felting session- replacing our normal Sunday session…

We will be using this bunting for decorating our stand at the knit & stitch- your piece is vital. Your skills are welcomed and we would love to see our valued members pass on their skills to new comers.

The Final 3 featured Artists showing at “Something Red” in Finland

This is the final in a series of posts featuring the Artists whose work was selected for the “Something Red” exhibition in Finland. This week we look at the work of Niki Collier, Marika Miklosi Manning & Nessa McCormack.

Luckily as most of us have not been able to see the exhibits in person, we look forward to the Irish exhibits returning and featuring as part of the Shorelines Arts Festival 8th-22nd Sept in Portumna

Artist – Niki Collier 

My Egg. Do Not Sit III

An interpretation of the human ovary in fibre, mounted on a transparent structure. Discussing women’s freedom and the perception of ownership. 

Sale price. €875.00

Materials – merino wool, silk fibres, Nuno felted knit mohair, vintage silk from the artist’s grandmother, Russian silk from her mother, Blueface Leicester fibres, fibre from a dog who had miscarried, and fbres from a sheep who won the national championship at Gosford.

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Marika Miklosi Manning

Artist – Marika Miklosi Manning

Red Between the Lines

We can easily miss or are blind to  trouble or pain,  sometimes we are in denial about  the “red” between the lines.

 Sale price. €125.00

Materials – Kap merino wool, tussah silk fibres, merino wool

Notes – this is intended to be displayed standing with the long cord casually laid on the table, encircling the vessel.

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Nessa Mc Cormack

Artist – Nessa McCormack

Untitled.

I have always loved groups of things, little colonies of harmony repeating themselves. It’s a reassuring feeling, the process of repeating, making and slowly building layers. I am very drawn to rolls of delicate paper and fabric with the selvedge exposed. I think these elements have influenced me in making this piece.

Red is not a colour I usually work with. In the process of making this piece I learned how much I liked the intensity of saturated warm colours. It was nice to be surprised in this way.

Sale price. €325.00

Materials – fine merino fibre, pieced and stitched.

Once again our sincere thanks to DCCoI for the part funding received that enabled Feltmakers ireland to take part in these exhibitions.

crafts-council

Heritage Ireland GANS update

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215Further to our (Felt makers Ireland) submission to Heritage Ireland 2030, an Information Session will be held in Dublin Castle Printworks (Lower Yard) on the 28 May.

Given the enormous response to the consultation, with over 2,000 submissions received and the limited number of places available at this time, places are limited to one representative per organisation.

However, I (Breda Fay, Feltmakers Ireland GANS- Guilds, Associations, Networks Support– rep) have registered and been allocated an extra ticket. If you wish to attend the consultation information session please email hello@feltmakersireland.com and depending on interest, the 2 places will be allocated.

For anyone unable to attend but interested in the event, please note the event will also be live-streamed, details of which will be announced in coming days on the Department’s website.

Kind regards

The Feltmakers Ireland Committee- on behalf of The Heritage Ireland 2030 Team

www.heritageireland.ie

Dietary Requirements

A light lunch will be served-I did not indicate any dietary requirements in my booking.

HI2030 28 May Summary Programme

 

 

NUNO Felting: JUNE 15TH 1 day course

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Felt makers Ireland is delighted to announce a 1 day “Felting with Fabric- NUNO” course. On June 15th, 10am-5pm Discounted for members to €55, ( non members €80).

Tutor: Elizabeth Bonnar, suitable with those with some felt making skills- for example if you make at home, or have attended a basic and beyond course… increase your knowledge and expand your skills.

See the application form below- this has the full details of materials required and application process and payment.

Please contact hello@feltmakersireland.com if you have any questions or difficulties.

NUNO FELTING WORKSHOP JUNE 2019NUNO FELTINGRATHMICHEAL coi NATIONAL SCHOOL MAP

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019

Interview: with Nancy Ballesteros

Nancy Ballesteros from the renowned “Treetops Colour Harmonies” in Australia is planning a series of workshops in Europe in 2020. We really hope here at Feltmakers Ireland to be one of the lucky groups to host a masterclass workshop with her.

We decided in advance of this to ask her a few questions about her felting journey and what currently inspires her. We at Feltmakers Ireland hope that this interview in turn inspires you.

NANCY BALLESTEROS (2)

Tell us a little about you as a person, Nancy?

I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma with an artistic father and creative mother who bestowed me with a love of art and textiles.  While at University I stumbled upon an opportunity to learn how to spin yarn, I took to it like a duck to water.  Spinning continued to be my passion for many years after finishing a degree first in pre-Veterinary Medicine that finally changed to Biology/Geology.  In 1986, I was made redundant from my corporate job and decided to follow my textile passions.  I began by selling handspun yarns. It quickly became apparent; however, that what people really loved about my creative efforts was the passion and flare I had for colour.  So, I decided to do just that – create colour!  In 1990, my husband Mark and I re-located to Perth, Australia where I immediately launched an international web-based business called Treetops Colour Harmonies.

I feel very lucky to be able to work ‘from a home-based studio’. We had the opportunity to purpose-build a passive solar studio/workshop into our house design. My space contains both my Treetops Studio and my own workspace intermingled. There are separate dyeing and storage areas.  My family has, in self-defence, set up “Wool Free Zones” in the rest of the house…

NANCY BALLESTEROS

How and when did you start Felting?

I first learned how to felt at a spinning retreat in America. It wasn’t till I moved to Australia that I really developed my passion for felting.  Nuno felt making was just being developed by Polly Stirling. It just so happened that Polly was teaching her technique at our First Southern Hemisphere Felting Conference in Bunbury, Western Australia. That changed the course of my felt making. Nuno allowed us, in the warmer Southern Hemisphere, to make lighter weight cloth, but most of all it was the ability to create my own cloth that fascinated me!

Tell us about your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation?

In a nutshell, I love to “Investigate Ideas”.  I’m always asking myself “How”, “Why” and “What if”…  I believe it’s my science background having an on-going conversation with my Art-self.  I think about things a lot, and then I play. I like explanations, but then I’m happy to break rules…  I love creating Nuno for fashion.

NANCY BALLESTEROS4

What currently inspires you?

Last year, having seen some gorgeous but very expensive striped deck chair fabric, I decided to set aside a month and embark on a journey of creating Stripes! I had never much liked stripes before…! I became fascinated with the idea of “What constitutes a ‘Great Stripe’?” That question soon morphed into “HOW does one create a great Stripe design?” After experimenting a bit, I very quickly realised it wasn’t as simple as it appeared!

To stay focused on my journey, I decided that I needed the pressure of ‘going public’.  I declared that “I was going to make and post a Stripe sample every day for 30 days” – I called it “My 30-Day Stripe Library Challenge” (you can find in on my website at https://treetopscolours.com.au/natural-rhythms-30-day-challenge/). The name, after my challenge, from ‘Stripes’ to ‘Natural Rhythms’ when I realised that ‘Stripes’ were really only one part of a broader category of Linear Patterns, and my interests included both.

Along this journey, I discovered how the Fibonacci sequence was a great tool to help me design a more balanced ‘Natural Rhythm’ pattern. It also tapped into my 30+ years of working with colour theory!  Along the way, I have had to create a method of “working with wet wool” to obtain sharper linear elements.  The seeds of this idea had been sewed several years earlier when working with my Silk Hankies.

I will be teaching these ideas in Europe in 2020. There are several workshops on offer from creating your own ‘Natural Rhythms’ garment, wrap or scarf. Or you can choose to happily fill 2 or 3 days with creative play ‘Developing your own Sample Library of Natural Rhythms’ – the possibilities of colour and movement are endless!

From Feltmakers Ireland, “thank you, Nancy” for taking the time to complete this interview with us. We really love to learn about our fellow felters artistic pathways and do hope that we will see you face to face in Ireland in the very near future!

For more workshop details see: https://treetopscolours.com.au/more/information/workshops/  or visit my website on www.treetopscolours.com.au

You can also follow Nancy on FB and Instagram:

FB: www.facebook.com/treetopscolours

Insta: www.instagram.com/treetops.colours

NANCY BALLESTEROS3

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019

Masterclass workshop: Leiko Uchiyama

agriculture-animal-animal-photography-459215

Hi folks

We are delighted to announce the next workshop!

This will be a 2 day “masterclass” – led by tutor Leiko Uchyiyama.  She will be showing us her “Pine Needle Technique” and we will be making a scarf following these instructions.

Leiko is a highly regarded felt artist, who teaches around the world.  Originally from Japan and now in Ireland over 6 years.

You can see more of her work on her website: www.leikofelt.com

You can also read a little about her inspiration in an interview we did some months ago.

Interview.

Please see the application form attached below. Please also see the list of materials required. Hand dyed ultra-fine merino is required and will be available to purchase from Leiko herself.

LEIKO UCHIYAMA PINE NEEDLE SCARF 2019

Leiko materials list

Places are limited to 12. The course will be held in Shankhill, South Co. Dublin. Members of Felt makers Ireland will be given priority and should this class be oversubscribed we will pull names from a hat! Good luck everyone.

Application forms should be emailed directly to:

workshop@feltmakersireland.com

LEIKO APRIL 2019