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Spotlight on Alberta :: Felt Artists (2017)

Updated: Nov 5, 2021

Alberta has long been recognized for its contribution to Canadian arts. From their well-established theatre festivals to the rich diversity of their galleries, to their strong and vibrant crafts council, it’s clear this province is brimming with creative possibilities. Today we spotlight dynamic fibre artists and felt :: feutre canada members working in this region and the art they are currently creating. We are sure you will enjoy this peak into their creative lives. We thank these lovely artists for being generous enough to share their work with us.

Leah C. Donald is a fibre artist living in Calgary. She runs Art Felt Studio where she runs felting classes that directly relate to the Alberta school curriculum. For the past 14 years she’s been primarily a needle felter. Her interest in wet-felting was renewed after taking two Master Workshops with Lyn Pflueger at Alberta College of Art and Design (ACAD) in Calgary. Her piece, “Blossoms”, was created in wool and silk cloud. “Prairie Shadows” is made with wool, silk and bamboo. The pieces are currently at a local gallery.  At present she’s working on a piece for the Calgary Stampede Arts and Crafts competition that is in the planning stages.

Barbara Harrison is a fibre artist and print maker who works with felt and prints in her studio in the summer months and dyes year round. This is a scarf she felted last year using wool/silk fibre in two thin layers. It was then eco printed using seeded and silver dollar eucalyptus. Barbara has gotten excellent printing results by soaking the scarf and leaves in vinegar water, rolling and tying it tightly, then “cooking” it in simmering water for about three hours. She says of the process, “It’s always fun unrolling the items and revealing the print.”

BeckyAnn Clement from Donalda, Alberta became hooked on felting when she was asked to spend the afternoon felting a scarf with a friend. She loves the creativity of the process particularly “how the fibers interlock with themselves and other natural fibers.” Her felted colourful gloves are whimsical and colourful. A truly unique creation.  Her tapered red vest is both classic and funky.

Helen Gladson was kind enough to share with us a project she’s currently working on. The piece is part of her “Canada Project.” Helen found inspiration for this piece by studying the work of the Group of Seven, and in particular, Lawren Harris’s Mount Robson. Helen’s own beautiful fibre rendition of this gorgeous work, which is for some the very definition of Canadian art, will be both needle felted and wet felted.

Chris Verhoeven created this elegant piece after taking Fiona Duthie’s  ‘Felting Over the Edge’ classIt was her final project for the class, including a selection of design elements to add visual interest to the edges of a felt project. She enjoyed the program a lot. We love the decorative elements of this wrap. The grey circular edging is a marvelous touch and the piece drapes beautifully. Chris says, ” This piece can be worn in multiple ways for different looks. It looks nice inside out or upside down too.” She says she’s looking forward to a very creative summer.

We are delighted to share work by Alberta artist, Fay Hodson. This piece is still in the planning and prefelt stages. It’s a submission to a local fair. The challenge is to create a pillow with a historic theme in celebration of Canada’s 150th year of confederation. The piece uses Tom Tompson’s iconic “Northern River” as inspiration. It’s also an homage that reflects the principles of the Arts and Crafts movement. It uses wool that she dyed at a recent Sheep Creek Weaver workshop. This fibre is new to her so she created a purse just to be sure that she could work with it. Before the pillow is complete she will do more felting on it and embellish it with stitching. She’s pleased with her progress so far. And so are we. We look forward to seeing the completed piece.

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