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Anna Mathis :: Bursary Winner (2018)

Updated: Oct 27, 2021

This year’s bursary winner, emerging artist Anna Mathis is an international award winner who’s worked has been exhibited across Canada. A graduate of the prestigious New Brunswick College of Craft and Design where nowadays she teaches, Anna has worked at fibre events such as: TWIST, in Quebec, the Maritime Spinners retreat, and the Nova Scotia Fiber Arts Festival.  In addition to teaching Anna sells fibre art supplies and wearable art.

Recently we asked Anna to tell us how it felt to be our bursary winner. Here’s what she had to say:

My wonderful experience at the 2018 Canadian Felt Symposium…

I sailed in to Digby, Nova Scotia on the ferry from Saint John, New Brunswick. After a short 15-minute drive along the coast, I arrived at the Felt Symposium, tucked away at the Annapolis Basin Conference center. I soon realized that my short commute of 5 hours was minimal compared to the distance that so many symposium participants and instructors had traveled. I met felt-makers from the across Canada flying from as far as British Columbia and even the Yukon. Our instructors flew in from Finland, Australia, Scotland and the US.

I took the 3-Day Felt Fantasy Explosions Hat making class with Elina Saari, a felt-maker I thought I could only dream of meeting.  Her vibrant, fun and standout style as present in her personality as in her work, taught me so so much about her techniques and felt making philosophies.  I finished up the week with Marjolaine Arsenault creating a shimmering, silky, 4-way felted vest, which I have worn, nearly everyday since returning home!

Having the opportunity to rub elbows at dinner with well known felt makers from across the world is still mind boggling to wrap my head around even a week after the symposium has finished.  We were so well taken care of, everything was thought of, the food was delicious and with artist talks, the fashion show, vendors and the SHRINE exhibition we were kept well entertained.

Many of the attendees worked in to the evening sharing a glass of wine or two, most of the instructors came back after supper to continue helping us with our projects. I wanted to put in as much time as possible, this opportunity to learn and to spend time surrounded by such a wealth of knowledge, ideas and different thinkers.  For a full week my entire mind was felt, felt, felt.  I found my hands twitching in my sleep, dreaming of needle punching my felt hat, and my wrists longing to roll my bubble wrap burrito.

There are so many lessons, big and small that I will be taking home with me to apply to my own practice. I am so grateful to have been chosen as the Bursary winner. This experience has opened my eyes to the widespread and innovative creativity that felt makers’ posses. The bar has been raised for what can be achieved in my work and I have been given the tools to reach those goals. I discovered a community of like-minded thinkers; as felt makers we create art, using this sturdy versatile medium as our language.

Thank you, Anna for sharing your thoughts.

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