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Wendy Klotz :: Creating During Covid

Updated: Nov 9, 2021

felt :: feutre canada member Wendy Klotz finds artistic inspiration from the natural beauty of Canada as well as ecological and social issues that speak to her heart.

She works with a range of natural fibres including organza, silks, and felted and knitted wool. The layers of fabric and stitch she employs add depth as well as space between the layers. Line is an important element of Wendy’s work. This is applied by the use of hand and machine stitching, couching, or applying wrapped cords, which she alters or makes herself.

The materials she uses —fibre, fabric and thread— are chosen especially for their pliability and the wide range of colours and textures that can be produced. In her artist statement, Wendy says, “It is a joy to paint, dye or manipulate fabric and fibre, and see how different combinations of materials interact to create the effect I am looking for.”

In her art Wendy continues to draw from her background in quilting, embroidery and pottery.

Throughout her practice, Wendy has studied with many talented fibre artists including India Flint, Marjoleine Dallinga, Pam de Groot, and Judith Dios,

Her work is held in private collections throughout Canada as well as in the Whyte Museum of the Rockies, in Banff, Alberta. She has exhibited her work at the Gimli Museum, the Sidney Museum, the Alberta College of Art + Design, and the Saint John Arts Centre.

Recently we were lucky enough to talk to Wendy about creating during these unusual times.

The Rune Stone by Wendy Klotz

How has the worldwide pandemic affected you artistically?

The last eight months have been an incredible time for me. I started by being in a panic, thinking if I succumbed to Covid, what would I regret most? It turned out that it was the wedding quilt I had started making for my daughter 15 years ago! I set a plan and got it finished in the first couple of months. Then I started on other unfinished projects. Mostly things where I had hit a snag, got bored with etc.

Having cleared the decks as it were, I then started “filling the well”. I took zoom drawing and embroidery classes with Dionne Swift, a teacher in England. I took four sets of drawing classes, a surface design course, an embroidery course, in fact every class she had to offer. I have just taken an “Ink on Cloth” workshop with Fiona Duthie, and just started a Beyond Felting class with Eva Comacho. I had been signed up for her class at the felt :: feutre canada Symposium in Red Deer that was cancelled.

Covid made it possible to take these classes online, even though the teachers were in northern England, New York state, and Saltspring Island. Places that normally would have cost a lot of money to travel to their studios for live classes.

Now it is time to step back and distil all this information and make it my own. They actually all blend really well into a whole and I can’t wait to see the new direction my work will take.

I currently have a piece in a show with Contextural at cSPACE in Calgary. It is called Oral History. (Shown at the top of the page as the feature image.) It was previously shown with another textile group I belong to, Articulation. The following pieces as well as Oral History, were shown in Gimli. The exhibition was about the immigration of Icelandic people to the area around Gimli. This show will travel next to Sidney Museum in Sidney, BC, Covid willing.

A Crown for the Lady of the Mountain by Wendy Klotz

Tell us about your interest in natural fibres?

I do work primarily with natural fibres. I generally do a mixture of felting and embroidery. I love felting because I am able to incorporate more sculptural elements. However I also love silk organza because of its translucency. I love silk and cotton for their wonderful affinity for dyeing and screen printing. Sometimes I feel pulled in different directions, but now with having done these most recent courses, I can see melding all these elements together instead of keeping them separate as I have done previously.

Waves Upon The Shore by Wendy Klotz

What are you working on now?

I have several exhibitions with Articulation on the horizon; some have been pushed back because of Covid, but I am hopeful that at least a couple will go ahead. One of the exhibitions involves new work, mostly “Sea” related. I have been incorporating ghost nets and recycled threads into these pieces. Most of them are dyed, hand and machine embroidered but several will be felted.

What are you looking forward to creatively in 2021?

Travel! Zoom has been fantastic, but to congregate with other artists and makers will be so wonderful when we can safely do it again. I will never take it for granted! Also, as I mentioned before, I can’t wait to see where all my newly learned skills will take me.

A special thank you to Wendy for sharing your art and your thoughts. 

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