Interview with Yaroslava Troynich

YAROSLAVA TROYNICHFelt makers Ireland follows several felt makers on Instagram to get our regular fix of inspiration. A member put us in touch with Yaroslava Troynich, a 41yr old Russian textile artist, based in Helsinki, Finland.  Her specialty is felted animal puppets. She says “this is fun textile way to worship wildlife” we decided to get in touch to find out more…

 Tell us a little about you as a person? e.g. upbringing/ where you work/ work other than textiles…

My life seems to me like a huge pile of wool, which I could transform into endless forms.

I was born in USSR and had no artistic background in my family. As a child I was fond of sewing textile toys and dreamed about art school and industrial design. The next big dream was to become a policeman to fight for justice and make the world better. However, the world itself captured all my attention so in the end I graduated from university as a journalist! For several years I have been traveling the world and contributing to Cosmopolitan and National Geographic in Russia and continued to write for local media after moving to Finland in 2007.

Most of all I loved to make stories about remote places, where wildlife, traditional lifestyles and crafts remain. The best moments of my life have mostly connected to wildlife – snorkeling with manta rays in Galapagos, planting rainforest for orangutans of Borneo or searching for the sloths in the Amazon.

Humans and wild nature cohabiting and environmental issues were always on my top interest list.

 

How and when did you start your textile journey… what is your experience, tell us a little…

Once in 2009 I came across of artwork done by Stephanie Metz. Her meaningful sculptures made of white wool and some experimental textile pieces were shockingly modern, pure contemporary art.

In Russia felting is very traditional craft and to me it felt quite outdated. But this was the first moment I began to look at it differently. My inner artist woke up. I tried needle felting and was amazed of wool’s ability to take any shape. But I really fell in love with wool after my first wet felted piece. The feeling of soapy babbles on my hands and witnessing of wool fibers transformation into something totally new – this magic has forever bewitched me. Quite soon I realized that I want to work with 3D-felt. In my childhood I loved “bibabo”, traditional Russian hand puppets, with their history dated back to 17 century and originated in Italy and France. Ideas came fast and naturally. My first fox puppet was born, and it felt like a real gift from textile and craft gods. Surprisingly, combination of traditional felt with traditional toy turned in to very modern and unique art object. Suddenly everything came together: my love of puppets, of wildlife and of wool. That is the story of my own transformation into textile artist specialized in felted animal puppets.

My artwork is my small personal contribution to environmental awareness. These puppets are really great communication gadgets. They help to connect parents with children, create new stories and learn new things. They have strong social position – they support environmental education and promote love to animals. My special pride if they work with ecologists in the national parks and museums and with teachers and psychologists.

I have been learning a lot from great textile artists to develop my own skills, tried new areas of textile art but nothing makes me as happy as these animal puppets. Felting process itself has great art-therapeutic effect on me. So, I do share these benefits with others on my workshops around the world. I love to teach adults and transform them into artists and kids at least for a day. This transformation is no less amazing than wool metamorphoses. Sometimes I feel that it can be my real vocation to inspire people for creating via my puppets.

thumbnail_Bibabo_Puppets_3YAROSLAVA TROYNICH

Tell us about your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation? e.g. for hobby/ creativity/ art/ fashion/ health/ money…

My strongest motivation is a game with the world, special quest. I want to explore its secrets and search for opportunities to create new, positive and inspiring things.

Almost all my ideas I draw from the nature. Weird animals, beautiful animals, endangered animals. While visiting national parks I have chance to encounter wildlife closer. Even though I don’t follow physiological accuracy in my work, I study animals a lot, examine pictures, watch nature documentaries and read about their habitats and personal lives. I am minded in spirit of minimalism, restrained Scandinavian design and naive art, so I try to create live animalistic images using as little details as possible. But I also like to add some humor or bright travel and cultural heritage inspired details to my work. Especially, I feel free with my finger puppet collection. Some animals can wear Russian felted boots at some occasions and use the laptops at their homes. This kind of art makes me play all the time. I draw very poorly, so my rare sketches look like ugly construction schemes. More often I just have an idea inside my head and then test it directly on the wool. Complicated shapes I break into many simple forms and play with it. I combine different felting technics but my main one is wet felting. There are wool, soap, water and hands only. I use a lot of different fibers for creating animal hair, especially I love hairy goat mohair. I try to make my felt durable and flexible in the same time to keep the most of mobility for the toys. Sometimes my projects involve dyeing of materials and even painting on top of the wool toys.

It is weird, but 3D objects at first are just flat and in the beginning of my journey I was too depending on the patterns and constructive solutions but nowadays I become increasingly aware of limitless sculptural opportunities of felt. You can always change, reshape, improve. Felt makes me feel braver as an artist because in this process even apparent mistake can turn in to genius idea. Besides, it is difficult to make mistake with animals – they always come out wonderful. Probably, because they are born twice – at first from the idea and wool and then again become alive on top of the hand while playing.

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YAROSLAVA TROYNICH

What currently inspires you? 

Lately I am passionate about the animation to give my puppets even more life and voice. It is inspiring to integrate and collaborate different types of art and creativity in to the one beautifully felted structure. Well, and sponsors of all my ideas and inspiration invariably remain wildlife and life itself, with all that everyday routine and new changes. The coolest ideas come to me when traveling or hang out in the mountains, through the forest or along the cold ocean. The Amazon jungle and Himalayan snowy peaks are my eternal favorites.  But during my life in Finland, I fell in love with the north. Perhaps the northern animals are not the most vivid and expressive as objects for creativity, but the power of life in northern nature, with its short as a flash summer, is simply unique.  This power nourishes me. In Finland, people are very respectful to their nature resources, and this gives me the feeling that I am in the right place. After all, partly my work is pure nature worship, and toys are a tribute to the nature.

 

Thank you Yaroslava for taking the time to answer our questions for supplying the wonderful images of your work and for providing the dose of Instagram inspiration that we need. If you want to see more follow Yaroslava at the below.

 

Instagram

@yara_bibabo

#yaroslavatroynich

 

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YAROSLAVA TROYNICH

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Sunday Session

dec 19 session

The Next Sunday session will be a very casual affair… mince pies and coffee and some relaxing hands on felting… maybe make a christmas decoration… as regular members advice on projects… bring along some things you are making and show us… A crafty little day time get together away from the Hubbub and hoobala of the Xmas rush.

 

SLOW DOWN this year, have a chat and a coffee… make something, watch….

Everyone is welcome ( members/ non members/ past /present and future).

 

Christmas Sunday Session

dec 19 session

The Next Sunday session will be a very casual affair… mince pies and coffee and some relaxing hands on felting… maybe make a christmas decoration… as regular members advice on projects… bring along some things you are making and show us… A crafty little day time get together away from the Hubbub and hoobala of the Xmas rush.

 

SLOW DOWN this year, have a chat and a coffee… make something, watch….

Everyone is welcome ( members/ non members/ past /present and future).

 

Fashion, made in Monaghan

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made- in- monaghan

A unique “MODE – Made in Monaghan Designer Showcase”  will  mark the end of our Very Successful 2019 Programme

This showcase extravaganza will provide an excellent opportunity for our many talented designers to display their creative collections to other women in business and a wider audience.

Monaghan Designers being showcased on the evening will include:

The event, which will be expertly hosted by Maria Macklin, House of Colour, will include a range of refreshments and we will end  the evening with some excellent live musical entertainment provided by very talented Dara MacGabhann and Andy Hogg, aka “The Two Five Ones”.

Details of the event are:

Venue:          Westenra Arms Hotel, The Diamond, Monaghan
Date:            Wednesday 27th November 2019
Time:            7.30pm
Admission:  €15 including refreshments and entertainment

We are really looking forward to hosting this unique event which will provide our gifted designers with an excellent promotional opportunity and will provide you with an informative, enjoyable evening out – and inspiration and ideas for supporting local businesses and buying local for the festive season and in the years to come!

Please book early to avoid disappointment.   We have a limited number of places available and they really will sell out very very quickly.  The booking link is here.  Click on it now to grab your place!

Larissa is one of our members and will be presenting the first Sunday Session of 2020 at the knockmarroon Gate studio- on different breeds of fleece and their specific uses in feltmaking!… the date for your 2020 calender is 12/01/2020

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Sunday Session Nov 10th

nov 19 session

NEWS UPDATE:

Sunday session on Nov 10th will be held as usual at Knockmarron Gate Studio 10:30am, all welcome to attend. Clodagh will give a talk on Japanese textiles and show some of her own dye work. She is asking members to bring along any examples of their own Japanese textiles. Perhaps you have travelled there for the Rugby or plan to go next year for the Olympics? Japan is on trend in fashion too for 2020.

Please bring any examples you have of Kimonos, Shibori ( your own felt examples or otherwise) to contribute to the discussion and make the session lively.

 

KNIT AND STITCH

Thanks to all volunteers in advance of the show- without your help Feltmakers Ireland would not be able to have an exhibition stand. The Sunday session is running as usual despite it being the last day of the Knit and Stitch show… maybe we can share information about our visits and experience.

FIBRE will also be available- though there may be limited stock this weekend due to the Knit and Stitch show exhibit.

 

Sunday Session Nov 10th

nov 19 session

NEWS UPDATE:

Sunday session on Nov 10th will be held as usual at Knockmarron Gate Studio 10:30am, all welcome to attend. Clodagh will give a talk on Japanese textiles and show some of her own dye work. She is asking members to bring along any examples of their own Japanese textiles. Perhaps you have travelled there for the Rugby or plan to go next year for the Olympics? Japan is on trend in fashion too for 2020.

Please bring any examples you have of Kimonos, Shibori ( your own felt examples or otherwise) to contribute to the discussion and make the session lively.

 

KNIT AND STITCH

Thanks to all volunteers in advance of the show- without your help Feltmakers Ireland would not be able to have an exhibition stand. The Sunday session is running as usual despite it being the last day of the Knit and Stitch show… maybe we can share information about our visits and experience.

FIBRE will also be available- though there may be limited stock this weekend due to the Knit and Stitch show exhibit.

 

An interview with Daisy Collingridge.

Burt LungesSome of you might know of the amazing and wonderfully fantastical work of textile artist Daisy Collingridge. I’m an avid follower of her work on Instagram and when I saw that she was coming to the Knit & Stitch shows including the RDS Dublin venue I was just delighted at the prospect of seeing the work up close!

Felt makers Ireland decided to get in touch ahead of Daisy’s exhibition to ask her a little about her journey as a textile artist. We realise that this work is not felt, nor made from wool but I hope, that you like me will love it and it will inspire you to develop your textile practice further.

Tell us a little about you as a person? e.g. upbringing/ where you work/ work other than textiles…

Mum is a sewer, stitcher, patchwork maker. She decorates cakes and constructs curtains. It is her influence that has guided me towards being practical and ultimately towards stitch. My family home is full of fabric, threads, paints, wood. We are all hoarders so there is always plenty of materials to get a project started. I still return to my family home to do large parts of my sculptural work. My family play a huge role in what a do, whether it is practical or moral support they are always there.

The current form my artistic work takes isn’t the most financially rewarding so I am also an illustrator. I have my own greetings card company; DMC Illustrations. It is very different to my sculptural work, but keeps things fresh! When I’m not sewing or drawing, I like to run. Running has always been part of my life and it has given me the discipline to grow my card company and continue to sculpt with fabric. It keeps me sane.

How and when did you start your textile journey… what is your experience, tell us a little…

From making over 40 stuffed toys as a kid. (I was a little obsessed with teddy bears) it has been a direct route through Fine Art GCSE, A-level, Art foundation and finally a degree in Fashion Design at Central Saint Martins that has led me to this point. There were always textiles elements to my work during school, which naturally led to fashion. On reflection my heart was never really in fashion, but the freedom to create and the people that I met during my degree were invaluable. Since graduating I have predominately left fashion behind focusing more on sculpture (though still wearable). These have been shown as part of the 62 Groups’ Ctrl/Shift group exhibition as well as part of the World of Wearable Arts in New Zealand. My best story is still making a dress for Bjork. That was unreal!

Dye bath for DaveTell us about your process from conception to creation and what is your motivation? e.g. for hobby/ creativity/ art/ fashion/ health/ money…

I like a deadline. It’s good to work towards an exhibition or competition. I take great pleasure in seeing a project from start to finish and more importantly to create with my own hands. I felt that I would lose that if I were to be a designer for a company. I never stopped making even during the years that I didn’t have a focus. It is impulsive and rarely planned. The act of creating makes me happy. So, I guess my motivation is happiness!

Projects usually start with a period of experimentation. My work is driven my fabric manipulation and experimentation as opposed to concept. It can be difficult to allow yourself to just play without an ‘end piece’ at the end. I think it is vital phase to keep your ideas moving forward. The ‘Squishys’ have been a development on from my graduation collection. They are the culmination of free machine quilting pushed to the extreme. I work in the same way as I would making clothes, I work mainly on the stand. Draping and physically wearing the pieces as I go to see how they hang and move. The result is no longer a ‘couture’ dress but a ‘couture squishy’!

The fabric is hand dyed. Once I’ve selected my colour palette, I used Procion dyes to create the pastel shades. This is done in the sink (my parents kitchen sink). Each Squishy is made from 5-6 different garments; mask, trousers, top and/or jacket and gloves. I build up the underlying volume at this stage using thick wadding; essentially build the silhouette. I then begin to build up the relief and shape by hand sewing on blobs of fabric with wadding and beans (both heavy and light). I always start with the head first. This informs the character of the person I am making. They are all made up in this way (rather than based on real people).

Daisy Collingridge clive kneelerWhat currently inspires you? 

Bringing things to life.

I worked with the animator Isabel Garrett to produce a miniature squishy for a short animation called ‘Listen to Me Sing’. It was pure magic to watch the small person I built around an armature actually breath and come to life!

Similarly, I love creating videos with my wearable pieces. I am excited to do more film work. They are the most fun.

Felt makers Ireland would like to thank Daisy for her time in participating in this interview process. We can’t wait to see the work in November. We wish her every success in her textile journey.

The Knit & Stitch show is on at the RDS Dublin 7th-11th of November- where you will be able to meet Daisy’s fantastical creations- in person!

Website: www.daisycollingridge.com

Instagram: @daisy_collingridge

www.dmcillustrations.com

Interview with Catherine Kaufman

12-Lee-Parkinson---Live-Magazines-Photography---Catherine---Sculpture-14Catherine Kaufman, sometimes affectionately known as the “Woolly Queen”. Feltmakers Ireland requested an interview ahead of seeing her work in this years Knit & Stitch at the RDS, Dublin.

Following on from her win at the Ribble Valley Craft Open Exhibition 2019, Catherine Kaufman was asked to exhibit her work at Olympia in London, and she is set to showcase her sculptures in Dublin as part of the Knit & Stitch show 7th-11th November this year.

Catherine grew up in a household full of art –her father was an antiques dealer and as a small child, she recalls her mother drawing beautiful elaborate pictures.

“Our home was filled with beautiful art and furniture – this greatly influenced me. My mother drew dancing ladies with crinolines for me which I loved.”

As a young girl Catherine always had a love of nature, imagining a world of fairy tales in the forests, countryside and riverbanks as she played near her childhood home.

“I remember that I always gravitated to the nature table at school, it was a magnet for me. I was always making and putting things together. I loved sand, playing with water and my favourite was fuzzy felt.

36-Lee-Parkinson---Live-Magazines-Photography---Catherine---Sculpture-38This was the start of things to come.

“I loved the smells of nature and the birdsong and noises. While among nature my imagination would be full of fairies and pixies and characters from stories I had read. It was all there, a rich tapestry just waiting to emerge.”

Attending a Catholic school in Altrincham, outside Manchester. Catherine left school at 16 but it wasn’t until she was living as a housewife in Rossendale, that she began to re-engage with her love of art.

“I began painting, I joined a local watercolour class, while bringing up my three children and I was asked to apply for a place at Blackburn University to study for a BA in Fine Art. At first, I thought it was crazy as I had no academic experience and I was a housewife with children! I wasn’t sure they had the right person to be honest!

“I made every possible excuse not to goas I was scared, but they kept pursuing meso eventually I decided to try it.”

Catherine went on to gain a first-class Fine Art degree in 2012 and is now one of the UK’s leading needle felt fibre artists.

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“Working as a felt fibre sculptor happened by chance. One morning I saw a lady who was demonstrating spinning and felting. I had never considered this medium before.

I asked her if she thought I could make sculptural figures with wool. She went onto teach me all the craft skills I needed to start creating my work.

That lady was Judith Beckett of the Wonder of Woollies and she became my guru and mentor. “Wool is now my love and being a fibre artist is my life.” says Catherine.

Catherine gleans inspiration from many things to create her beautiful life-size sculptures, as she explains: “It all starts with a thread of an idea. Where to start comes in many forms, I may find a figure whirling around in my subconscious – I often don’t really know who will surface so it’s very exciting!

“Then I get to work practically and physically, and the figure literally comes pouring out. It’s something that once I start, I don’t stop until its finished, so I never quite know how long it’s going to take or how I’m going to create it. It all happens naturally and organically during the creative process.”

Catherine admits that her creations are a reflection of her emotions. It is a way of working that suits my personality. I work for long periods with my pieces, so I can attach myself and immerse myself

completely into it. I find this very healing and comforting. The making process is so physical – it is very therapeutic and cathartic.”

Having chosen wool as her medium for her art, Catherine says it was important to her to select a material that is environmentally friendly and organic.

“In a world of synthetics there is no substitute for wool. Wool has a celestial symbolism that represents purity and truth.”

She sees her work as a ceaseless daily discipline: “It stems from my love of the making process, the physical repetitive act of making and assembling. I explore my own sense of self and that of the female narrative within the yarns.”

Her award-winning work showcased at the Spring Knitting and Stitching Show in London, was highly praised and she was delighted to be able exhibit there:  I was chosen to be an exhibiting textile artist there and was lucky to have a large stand where I displayed my collection of sculptural needle felt. The show was wonderful, and I have had a great response to my work, and I met some wonderful people.

I hope to raise awareness of the value of traditional crafts. This at the heart of what I do and if I can inspire young people to keep these ancient skills alive, then I have succeeded.”

You can see Catherine’s work at this year’s Knit & Stitch show in the RDS 7th-11th November… support your fellow felters- and get along!

Catherine Kaufman

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.