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Introducing Words :: Our 2019 Members Online Exhibition

Updated: Oct 26, 2021

In our ongoing mandate to highlight felted works of arts and Canadian felt makers, we are proud to introduce Words2019 Members Online Exhibition.

The theme inspired a range of responses. Everything from a gorgeous ochre coloured tuffet to a felted & embroidered 3-D words.

The shows features the work for 11 felt :: feutre canada members:

  1. Christianna Ferguson, ON

  2. Chris Liszak, ON

  3. Sheila Thompson, ON

  4. June Jacobs, SK

  5. Mo Junk, SK

  6. Leah Cathleen Donald, AB

  7. Carmen Ditzler, BC

  8. Monica Bennett, BC

  9. Debbie Katz, BC

  10. Sandra Barrett, BC

  11. Chantal Cardinal, BC

Take some time to enjoy this wonderful exhibition. Each piece is beautifully rendered and thought provoking. Each of the submissions is accompanied by an artist statement that discusses the inspiration behind the work as well as an artist bio. The exhibition is a great way to charge up creatively and get inspired. There’s a lot to admire.

Congratulations to all our talented artists. Thank you for sharing your work.

A big thank you to our exhibition committee. We are exceedingly grateful to you all for volunteering your time and creativity.

Christianna Ferguson, ON “I have no words”

  • 2019

  • 32 cm high 70 cm wide

  • Merino wool, recycled silk, embroidery thread

Christianna Ferguson is a feltmaker with a full time studio practice in Lakefield, Ontario. Her work and artistic practice are continually evolving and range from wearable and accessories to conceptual work with a focus on the human experience and the connections between us. Her passion for felt began on a year abroad in Western Australia where she joined a local felting group in 2012. Since then her work has been shown in several juried exhibitions and has been included in publications such as Fibre Art Now, Uppercase Magazine ‘Compendium of Craft’ and Worldwide Colours of Felt. Artist Statement ‘I have no words’, is a celebration of felt and of my artistic practice. This piece incorporates what I love to explore technically within the medium, surface design, three-dimension, and colour. The single word ‘felt’ encapsulates many ideas. It can imply physical touch, emotion or to hold an opinion. Felt is an action for but is also a physical tangible thing. The word ‘felt’ to me, says it all.

Chris Liszak, ON Cobblestones

  • 2019

  • 44 cm high 105 cm wide 9 cm deep

  • Merino wool, silk fibres, silk fabric, yarn, foam shapes

Since Chris discovered felting in 2010, she has been constantly drawn to this medium, experimenting and exploring, to find new ways that wet wool can be manipulated. Her art pieces have been in several galleries in Ontario, including twice at Fibre Content at the Art Gallery of Burlington. Three pieces have sold. You can find Chris’ wearable art (coats, vests, scarves) for sale in Jordan Village, and at Artisan Shows in the region. Chris also teaches felting at workshops at the Fibre Garden in Jordan Village. Artist Statement The words of Simon and Garfunkel’s “the 59th Street Bridge Song” have always made me feel light and happy. I used my favourite words to wander through the felted cobblestones, and finished in the bottom corner with the word “groovy”. The cobblestones, being so squishy and soft, invite (if you could) to skip barefoot over this path. A happy, warm, inviting place to be.

Sheila Thompson, ON Railway Towns Revisited

  • 2019

  • 41 cm high 29 cm wide

  • Merino wool roving, silk images, transparencies, knotted linen, spun wool, felted ropes, nubs

Sheila is a Toronto-based fibre artist although she grew up in Calgary and lived in Africa and the Caribbean during her days as a bio-geographer. She has been teaching herself how to wet felt for about 15 years. Her style is characterized by a rich bold palette, inclusions throughout the layers, nuno and resist techniques, and prominent use of organic materials. She tends to create series of works around particular themes – e.g. environmental impact, resilience and movement, community and connections, or social justice commentary about the railway industry. She often interjects science imagery into her art to push boundaries as with her series of slime mold imagery nuno felts. She exhibits in many art shows around the Greater Toronto Area and participates in textile exhibitions in Canada and elsewhere. She was the co-curator of the Ontario Arts Council sponsored travelling textile show “Edge of the Forest” and a participant in our Shrine show at the Craft Council of B.C. Artist Statement A small book of railway maps circa 1947 and once owned by my English grandmother, inspired a series of felts about Canada and the impact of the railway on land and lives. As i read the names of the towns in the book – Conquest, Sovereign, Fort this and King that – I felt the weight of all that settler colonialism. Reading the book “Clearing the Plains” by James Daschuk really clinched it for me.

I located this piece in southern Alberta where Calgary is the HQ of CP Rail. The hills are built up from felted ropes and nuno felting of silk imagery from another one of my felts. Tiny maps of the railway lines and towns are tucked in resist holes among the canola yellow fields. I added new names of towns on black labels stitched using a blanket stitch. They reflect the realities of those impacted as the railway “opened up the west”. This piece says stay mindful of romanticizing the old days. We still have much to improve.

June Jacobs, SK Pondering

  • 2019

  • 22 cm high 24 cm wide 6 cm deep

  • Various wool roving, natural plant dyes, hand book binding

I have been involved in the arts for over 35 years and an artist for 20 years working predominately with fibre based techniques to express natures wonders, with an underlying social sub-context and statement. I participate in exhibitions provincially, nationally and internationally. I teach, mentor and run The Hand Wave Gallery. Artist Statement “Pondering” is a fabric book comprised of 14 pages with front and back cover. Each page has a word that refers to the pondering of an idea and the action taken to create …but not in any particular order. The words on the pages are as follows: access; balance; choose; commit; compare; create; direct; dream; enhance; experiment; question; reference; revisit; research. Creating works of art allows for thought processes that are directed by past experiences, accumulated knowledge both technical and personal that are always in a state of transition. This book is comprised of felted wool fibre, dyed with plant material from my gardens records my thought processes.

Mo Junk, SK Komorebi Heartfelt@MoHeartfelt

  • 2019

  • 13 cm high 59 cm wide 13 cm deep

  • Hand dyed and commercially dyed merino, wire

Mo lives and works in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. She is a member of the Saskatchewan Craft Council and has been exploring felt and fibre in her art practice since 2010. Mo graduated in 2016 from the University of Saskatchewan Certificate in Art and Design program, with a focus on sculpture. She is constantly fascinated by texture and the visual and tactile feasts in everyday life. Artist Statement Words that have no direct translation into English are fascinating, as they provide a glimpse into the thought structures and social priorities in other languages and cultures. How much more complex is this phenomenon when a language is made up of visual characters, like Japanese. A language which communicates different thoughts simultaneously through a single character is as much about differences in perception as it is about thought processes – especially when written communication is from back to front (for Westerners), right to left, and down to up. This piece uses the international phonetic alphabet to represent the Japanese character made up of: “tree”, “leaking through” and “sunlight”. It could be translated as the interplay of shadows and light created when the sun shines through leaves.

Leah Cathleen Donald, AB Swords

  • 2019

  • 41 cm high 41 cm wide

  • Merino, wool yarn, wood, jute

Leah Cathleen is a Canadian fibre artist and felting instructor living in Calgary, Alberta. She is a mostly self-taught artist who appreciates the diverse ways wool can be used to create art. Leah has taken many felting workshops with some of Canada’s top felt makers. Felting resonates with her need to use her hands, her insatiable curiosity, her natural playfulness and love of experimenting. Leah is a wanderer, a curious person, a day dreamer, a teacher, a rock gatherer and a life-long learner. She is also an entrepreneur with a successful felting instruction business – ArtFelt Studio. Leah has taught felting for over 15 years and in her lessons she encourages students to appreciate the process as much as the end product. Leah Cathleen’s art can be found at the Leighton Art Centre where she is an artist member. Van-Go Felting is her next big adventure. One day soon, Leah plans to hook a camper up to her van and head out on the road to teach felting in communities across Canada. Artist Statement Inspired by a simple shield, ‘Swords’ is a statement to the incredible power of the spoken word. Words have the innate ability to elevate or reduce. They are used every day for battle or defense. This piece incorporates merino wool and yarn and invites us to look past the surface to see what’s inside. Designed to dangle from a tree and be animated by the wind – it requires the sun’s illumination to reveal the juxtaposed words (as you can see in the detailed photo). ‘Swords’ acknowledges the truth that words can be kind or harsh, gentle or demanding, giving or inconsiderate. Each word we articulate is simply air, yet it has the tangible ability to pierce or protect. Watching this piece turn on the wind, you’re invited to think of the words you use – are they damaging and destructive or do they shield and uplift.

Carmen Ditzler, BC Tuffet of Joy

  • 2019

  • 28 cm high 55 cm diameter

  • Merino wool, silk habotai, gauze, chiffon, cotton cheesecloth, thread, embroidery floss, upholstery foam, wood base, antique wooden claw feet

Find me on a walk poking into nooks and crannies, pockets full of rocks and treasures. Fascination with nature is at the core of my art- noticing textures, colours, and weird lines. It’s been nine years now, captured by wool, making felt in a crooked little studio, heated by trees in the Kootenays of British Columbia. Seeing what wool will do, what happens to the colour and the surface and the texture is endlessly fascinating. I have taken workshops with some fabulous felt artists in person and online and made an infinite number of mistakes to develop my skills. I have participated in local art shows, and for the last two felt:: feutre canada exhibitions.

At one stage of my life I worked in long term care and palliative care. During that time I saw a lot of people die and I have observed that fear of death can rob us of joy in life. Much of my work explores the themes of connection with nature, life, death, beauty and joy. Artist Statement Putting my feet up at the end of a long day is a joy. A simple, luxurious pleasure to rest in safety and comfort. These colours and textures make me happy. Bumps remind me that life is bumpy and uneven and slightly random. Free motion “ham and cheese” stitching makes me think of all the ways there are to get from one place to another. Sometimes we end up somewhere completely unexpected and find joy. This crazy journey of a life is not linear, we’re out here without a map and it’s joyful if we let it unfold and unwind. The cluster of cocoons reminds me that there are always places with hidden secrets and surprises. Silk and wool combine to remind me that we all need connection. The feet…every life needs some whimsy and contrast. This little tuffet reminds me to put my feet up at the end of a long day, practice gratitude, and choose joy.

Monica Bennett, BC Drought

  • 2019

  • 26 cm high 53 cm wide

  • Finn and Corriedale wools, resist material

My felting journey began with wearable art in the early 2000s. For the past 5 years or so, I have been creating three dimensional, sculptural pieces, working to find my voice. This approachable art medium connects with people, which allows me to express my thoughts and emotions. I’m passionate about protecting our coast from environmental disaster in all forms. In my work, I showcase the small, the fragile, the overlooked parts of Nature in all her beauty, all the flora and fauna that are so vulnerable to climate change. Depending on the piece, I will use only natural wool colours, choosing to reduce or remove entirely any colour as I have found that viewers are drawn in closer to the work when colour isn’t there to distract the eye. My work has been juried into both the Sidney and Sooke Fine Arts shows, published in ‘Felt’ magazine in 2018, and included in the book, ‘Worldwide Colours of Felt’, by Ellen Bakker. Artist Statement The climate crisis is having a real impact where I live in the Southern Gulf Islands of British Columbia. It is shocking to see native species, such as salal and the iconic Western Red Cedar, dying around me. Despite being in a coastal rainforest, there has been a distinct lack of rain this spring and we are living in drought conditions already this year. This means that river water levels are low for returning salmon and reservoirs are getting too low to meet current human water usage levels. One and a half months earlier than normal, regional governments have declared a Stage 3 (of 4) water restriction which encourages overall voluntary water conservation and limits activities such as lawn watering and washing of decks/cars/fences/driveways. I chose the ‘cracked mud’ technique as a blunt illustration of the conditions in which we are finding ourselves and as a message that we must adapt our lifestyles to fit the changing environmental conditions.

Debbie Katz, BC Lost Words

  • 2019

  • 30 cm high 26 cm wide 20 deep

  • Shetland and Icelandic Wool, tencel thread, India Ink.

My felting work is characterized by my use of vibrant colours, a certain whimsy, and a connection to the coastal community in which I live. My felted work explores the boundaries between art, fashion, and home decor in a colourful and sometimes humourous way. My work has been submitted and accepted into the Sidney and Sooke Fine Art Shows on Vancouver Island several times over the past ten years, and as well my pieces have been accepted into three felt :: feutre canada juried shows. I work in a small studio in my home on Pender Island and spend the summer months selling my work at the Pender Island Farmers Market. Artist Statement The vessel I chose to create is called ‘Lost Words’. My intention is to capture the essence of our attempts to connect with the world as we think, speak, hear and write words. So often, it seems we lose words, ideas escape us and memories fade. We are left with just the skeleton of our thoughts, words and ideas: just the letters remain. Letters make up words and sounds and eventually convey meaning in our lives. As my calligraphy teacher once said, “The greatest thing in the world is the alphabet, all wisdom is contained within except the understanding of putting it together.” On the surface of the vessel calligraphic letters are highlighted with stitching signifying the importance of these simple units.

Sandra Barrett, BC Woven Words

  • 2019

  • 45 cm high 55 cm wide 2 cm deep

  • Merino wool, silk chiffon, handmade Japanese Mulberry paper, Inktense colouring pencils, aloe vera gel, fabric ink,, Sashiko cotton thread

Sandra Barrett began her felting journey 28 years ago in the Lake District of England on a felting day with her two young children. She is still learning, but thanks to tuition and guidance by others has developed and diversified her felted techniques. Sandra now lives and works in Fernie, BC, owning and operating a felting studio and gallery called “Eye of the Needle”. Previous work has been published in “Worldwide colours of felt” by Ellen Bakker, specialist magazines Felt and Felt Matters and online exhibitions. One of Sandra’s wallhangings “True North” was accepted for a year long tour of Britain with the International Feltmakers’ Association travelling exhibition “Sea and Sky”. Her felt and metal “Spiritual temple” was one of 18 submissions across Canada accepted by the Craft Council of BC in 2018 and featured on the cover of the “Shrine” catalogue. Sandra volunteers as the Membership Coordinator for felt :: feutre canada and is the representative for Region 18 of the IFA. Artist Statement Instead of inspirational words of wisdom, I’ve chosen practical and descriptive labels. I’m curious about how colours are defined, and by whom. Would you know which shade Hooker’s Green or Payne’s Grey is, for example, without a colour in the title to influence and inform you? The weaving of paper through silk colour swatches as part of the strip weaving felting process adds movement and interest to the piece. The words are on the crest of three dimensional waves, delicately balanced above the merino wool and silk background. We’ll probably never know the stories behind the words or who decided their names. We only know that they demand to be read, one at a time.

Chantal Cardinal, BC A Shade of …

  • 2019

  • 39.5 cm high 54.5 cm wide 4.5cm deep

  • Local Romney hand processed wool in natural color with hand dyed Merino in shades of green, white Merino, black yarn and black Norwegian mohair yarn.

I use the name FELT à la main with LOVE to create a tactile world from a familiar one. My focus is on the process, where I like to simmer and stay a while. To meditate about where the wool comes from as I undertake each piece with care. The connection I feel with the origins of the primary local wool has become an important part of my artistic practice. I explore nature’s architecture for inspiration and motivation as I work on large scale wall installations or fully functional artifacts such as a suspended cocoon chair. I create and workshop out of my Arts Factory studio as well as participate in the annual Vancouver EastSide Culture Crawl.

This past February, alongside two fellow artists, we exhibited ?WHAT MATTERS! at the Gibsons Public Art Gallery, which explored the tactile nature and true essence of each of our chosen mediums: glass (Aurélia Bizouard), plaster (Catherine Tableau), and wool. ?WHAT MATTERS! will also be exhibited at CityScape in North Vancouver, February 2020.

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