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Kathryne Bourgeois And Focus Pokatus

Updated: Nov 4, 2021

felt :: feutre canada member, Kathryne Bourgeois is a member of Les Métiers d’Arts du Québec. In 2016, She won the People’s choice award at the Salon.

Her organization, Focus Pokatus, began after her brother’s death from cancer.  It was part of a list of fifty-five things Kathryne created to honour her brother. Today she combines her two gifts: nursing and art to help children with cancer.

Recently Kathryne’s piece, “Tea with Leonard Cohen” was featured in Fiber Art Now magazine June 2018 quarterly issue.

Tell us about your piece “Tea with Leonard Cohen” that was recently featured in “Fiber Arts Now”. What was the inspiration? The creative process? Did you make it specifically for the showcase?

I love this piece as I wanted to pay tribute to Leonard Cohen for the great man he was. The inspiration came from Montreal Contemporary Museum of Fine Arts and Deserres Art supplies. 

They asked artists to present a piece that would inspire a song from Leonard Cohen. The contest was finished but still I wondered what would I have done?

I gave myself a challenge and started to draw it out. Later, when felt :: feutre canada offered a bursary for the 2018 felting symposium, I sent it in as I was interested in going to the workshops. Although, like Fibre Art Now….so many talented people sent in their work. I wouldn't want to be in the place of the judge–I respect all the artists. I took the plunge with the magazine and months later, I found out it would be in the magazine. I was sooo excited!

This teapot has a lot of symbolic meaning to it. It was based on Cohen’s the two most popular songs: Suzanne, the dancer he had orange pekoe tea with–hence the reason why I wet felted over a resist teapot and the orange wet felted flower and orange nibs. The second song is Bird on a Wire, so a hummingbird, needle felted with some angelina to give shine on the chest, was placed on two guitar strings, Cohen’s instrument. There are also some cracks in the wool on top of the teapot, which was the name of the exposition in Montreal, “A Crack in Everything”. You will also see two Cat Claws pods, which gives elegance, but also represents an orange tabby cat often sitting beside Leonard Cohen.

What inspires you?

Felting is on my mind everyday…everything I see in nature, (sea, plants and animals) ,travel, architecture, culture, major events. It stimulates my mind. Even in my dreams…sometimes I wake up to draw or felt. I love my hands getting in to the wool wet or needle-felting and I allow my heart to bring a piece alive. I love the calmness and the feeling. I am happy while I felt…it brings me closer to reaching many goals I have for the future.

What are you working on now?

Presently, I am working on piece that I would like to show for felt :: feutre canada’s SHRINE exhibition. The piece was inspired by an important life event…spreading my fathers ashes off the coast of Venice and all that resulted because of it. One thing led to the next with that trip: two published articles and winning an Aeroplan contest.

I am also working on sculptured pieces for an art gallery exhibition at the end of May and Christmas pieces for pre-booked shows. Then a special project I want to do for Art Doll Quarterly, which I will submit at the end of the summer.

Do you have upcoming shows, sales or expositions in the near future? If so, we’d love to hear the details.

Yes, a felt art exhibition at The Indigo/Chapters from May 25th to June 3rd, located at Maison Garth, Lorraine, Quebec. This show not only promotes felting, books and the art, but encourages children to read —as the artists make felted characters for books. It’s also a fundraiser so that we can continue to give free art therapy and felted pieces to children with cancer. This is the ultimately why Focus Pokatus exists.

My teapots will be traveling from gallery to gallery for months. I plan to attend the Salon des Métiers d’Arts du Québec exhibition, the biggest event Québec has. Plus shows such as Place des Artisans in Verchères in October and Lorraine, Salon des Métiers d’arts in November.

We wish Kathryne great success with her endeavours.

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