Trish Hirschkorn :: Q&A with a Fibre Artist
Updated: Nov 5, 2021
Trish Hirschkorn is a Fredericton, New Brunswick, based felt artist with a passion for millinery. Her handmade felt hats blend art with functionality. Each is as unique as the woman wearing it. Trish’s hats are made by fusing merino wool and silk. They are both warm and stylish. Her company is called Trish Raine and can be visited at: http://trishraine.com
Recently we invited Trish to take park in our new Q&A series. We are delighted she agreed. We hope you will enjoy learning about this amazing artist and where she finds her inspiration.
How did you discover felt making? I found it on Hornby Island while attending UVic. Years later I tried needle felting and took a one day workshop in Oliver, BC, making a rooster Coffee press cover I named Giuseppe. I was hooked. Shortly after I bought Simply Felt. When I moved to New Brunswick, and realized that the New England Felting Supply is only 9 hours away, off I went to what I now refer as my “church”.
Was it love at first sight?
Pretty much. The texture, control/lack of control in the process, and physicality really drew me in.
Music or no music while you work ? If so what kind of music?
YES. Of course music. Typically Radio 2 evening Drive and Jazz programs. Sometimes podcasts, and it used to be Moulin Rouge when I was rolling. Singing out loud and dancing helps. I swear!
Your favorite fibre?
Short fibre merino batts. Hands down.
Where do you find inspiration?
Vintage fashion, upcycled clothing. The gems you find that you can draw inspiration from or use in your design. LA Frock Stars was a dream show for me, showcasing famous designers, their inspiration and impact on fashion in their day.
Do you teach? If so what do you enjoy about that?
I have been asked to teach, but I don’t have time or energy for it yet. I’m sure once my bones are weary enough, I’ll start…but until then, I produce and follow my inspiration.
Do you have your early work?
Yes. Contrary to what I’d like to do (toss them out), I’ve kept some of my earlier work. I think it reminds you of where you’ve come from, and perhaps how far you’ve to go! I shoot each piece I make and create a portfolio at the end of each year, for reference and even inspiration in just reflecting!
What would you say to fibre artists just starting out?
Take courses. Practice what you learn, but then take it in another direction. Find your own voice. Just keep trying and exploring.
Are you a perfectionist?
Maybe? I have a clean aesthetic that I didn’t recognize for years. Details are important to me. I try not to cut corners, using the best of best that I can find and afford. I also try to get the best instruction available. I’ve asked those I’ve admired for private classes/online courses, and taken some great ones. I find you don’t know until you ask!
What is your philosophy about creating?
Do it often. It is good for your mental health. Take time to be in nature, and exercising. I find the interplay between my right brain and being in nature (getting lost in my head) very powerful. I find the best solutions and direction when out skiing/snowshoeing/cycling. I literally work things out.
Have you ever gone through a dry spell or felt blocked? What did you do to get back into it?
Yes. I stopped looking online at others and compare myself to what is out there. I was comparing myself to the best of the best, and that really squashes creativity. I stopped the negativity and spent more time making, pushing myself through it. I also talked a lot with my mentor, and booked a weekend of fun with her. That helped A LOT.
What is the best workshop you’ve ever taken?
Hard to say. Perhaps my first one. Nuno scarves with Jean Gauger. She’s incredible and that was my introduction to NEFS
If you weren’t a fibre artist you’d be…?
A back-up singer if I had a good voice!
Describe the space you create in...
Our living room with a tremendous view of the Saint John River, just north of Fredericton. I have a wood stove in the room, and dog bed under my table. Kitchen beside me, so that I can bake cookies or multi-task easier. Music blaring, very comfortable in the summer and winter.
Do you have an upcoming exhibition?
I am going to be exhibiting my hats at Fredericton’s Harvest Jazz and Blues Sept 16-17, 2016, and am preparing to attend CraftBoston’s Holiday Show in December 2016.
What are you working on now?
I’m playing with two new hat blocks, making hats weekly for the various shows. I upload them to my website when I find time. I’m going to be attending the Millinery Meet Up in Tennessee in October, and will be building a block to make a hat representing my impression of Australia, (as a part of the weekend). I’m going to get started with molding clay, hopefully finishing with my representation of the Sydney Opera House.