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Marjolaine Arsenault :: Artist Talk at Symposium 2018

Updated: Oct 30, 2021

It’s all about heart for Marjolaine Arsenault, it’s something you discover moments after meeting her. Marjolaine believes strongly in pursuing one’s passions. A belief that has led her up some pretty exciting avenues.

For twenty years Marjolaine was a graphic designer with a highly successful business and many corporate clients. Then one day she realized she needed a change so she sold her business. Not long afterwards she began a career in landscaping and garden design.

During that time she became very interested in labyrinths, both studying and creating them. If you know Marjolaine you understand there’s a certain poetry to this. What could be more fitting for an artist who pursues her heart’s inspirations so completely. After all labyrinths according to The Labyrinth society, “evoke metaphor, sacred geometry, spiritual pilgrimage, religious practice, mindfulness, environmental art…” All things that can be seen in the stained glass patterns found in Marjolaine’s felted pieces.

After 10 years as a garden designer, it was time for another transition for Marjolaine. This time she discovered felting. She says, “it was an immediate attraction” the colours, the wool.” Once again this transition is easily understood. Marjolaine’s mother and grandmother were both professional seamstresses. Her mother supported the family with her woven creations.

Marjolaine’s early work was inspired by nature. She often worked with white. She experimented with Ecco printing and botanical dyes. Later her work changed. She began creating openings in the sold felt to create windows and a stained glass affect. She liked the sculptural quality of nuno felt and became interested in seamless garment making.

Looking at Marjolaine’s work it’s easy to see the influences of both her work as graphic designer and a garden designer. The layout, the way her colours work together, the attention to detail and texture are important aspects of her creations. Look a little closer and one also sees winding pathways, stonewalls, the shape of trees and the light reflected over a stretch of grass.

Along with creating beautiful garment, Marjolaine enjoys giving workshops. She views it as an opportunity to share the knowledge she has gained over the years. She hopes to do more workshops in the future.

Throughout her fibre art career, Marjolaine has shown her work in fine craft shows across the States. (Though she’s a Canadian by birth, she has lived in New York state for many years.) She was awarded the Collector’s Award at the Palm Beach Fine Craft Show in 2013 and the Outstanding Achievement Award at the Chicago Botanical Garden Fine Craft Show in 2014. Her garments were exhibited at Kent State University Fashion Museum in the show Entangled: Fiber to Felt to Fashion in 2014-15.

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