Updated: Nov 5, 2021
For those of you who don’t know me. I’m Violet Racz, your new President. Building community has been ingrained in me since I was a young girl. Every time I called my eight brothers to come for dinner there was always someone new at the table. Felting, food and friends, a great way to build community!
With every New Year there comes a time when we reflect on our lives, our passions, and to be conscious of the many things in our lives for which we are grateful. I want to begin by expressing my sincere gratitude for Fiona’s passion, dedication and visionary leadership.
Fiona has accomplished so much over the years, bringing felt :: feutre canada from a vision to a growing creative community of felt artists. Fiona is embarking on a new phase in her life and creative journey, a time to reenergize and explore her creativity to the max! I know we’ll be watchful and eager to see what directions she takes her creative practice and the best part is, Fiona will continue to guide and inspire us!
Our new team of Board and Committee members are working hard as we transition into our roles. We are very excited about working together and with you, the members of felt :: feutre canada to continue to grow our Canadian Association. I’m very excited and grateful to Sharon & Dave, owners of Chaotic Fibres in Victoria, for being our Membership Sponsor for 2019. Chaotic Fibres is offering a 15% discount on all fibre purchases over $50.00 to our felt::feutre canada members. Orders must be purchased and shipped within Canada so now is the time to build up your stash! When you renew your membership your bonus code will be sent separately.
Lesley, our Media Director, will be working closely with us as we introduce you to the Board and Committee Chairs. Connecting names with faces and the range of talent and expertise we’re bringing forward. I’m very proud and in awe of each them! We are happy to volunteer our time and skills and we need our members’ support, feedback and participation in order to create a strong felting association that meets your needs.
Together, we can make 2019 a year filled with both creativity and community.
felt:: feutre canada's incoming president, Violet Racz lives in Kelowna, BC, in the heart of wine and orchard country. She’s a retired Radiation Therapist, a photographer, fly fisher, fibre artist and llama mamma. Recently we were lucky enough to interview her and learn about her many passions.
Why Felt-Feutre Canada, and what are you looking forward to sharing with our members?
I worked in the field of Radiation Oncology for 18 years, loved my job and took medical retirement after I was injured. I found myself in a position of reinventing how I was going to spend my daylight hours. I have been raising, showing and breeding llamas since 1996 and have retained a herd of 15 and utilizing their fibre was my first introduction to felting.
I became involved with a group of llama breeders in BC’s lower mainland who worked with the fibre that our llamas produced, that we then spun, dyed and felted. In 2013, while my husband was on sabbatical from UBC, we lived in New Zealand for 5 months where I was introduced to dyed merino in every color imaginable. A group of felters from Invercargill on the South Island took me in and then WOW, I was hooked.
When my husband and I moved to Kelowna in the fall of 2013, I was disappointed that there was little evidence of a felting community in Kelowna. I met my good friend and felting partner, Alice Pallett, at Art Walk in Lake Country that fall and we started felting together on a routine basis.
Eventually, three more felters joined us and the Art Felt Collaborative was formed. We’ve done several exhibitions together and continue to support each other through our collective journey. During our exhibitions we were often approached by women interested in learning how to felt, and how do we join your group. In order to address this void we formed Felt it Forward, which is a collaborative community of felters who are passionate about fibre, felting and friendships.
In the fall of 2015, Vinitha John and I joined forces with Fiona and we worked diligently to establish felt :: feutre canada as a not-for-profit organization, while organizing the 2016 felt :: feutre canada Symposium in Penticton. It was a very busy time, yet so exhilarating! I continued in my role as secretary until early 2017 when my Mother’s health deteriorated, so I took time away to be with her. I couldn’t stay away from being part of felt :: feutre canada, so here I am!
I’ve always enjoyed bringing people together, whether to implement a new program in the medical field, breeding and showing llamas, organizing felting workshops, or networking with felt artists. I love to watch friendships grow when common interests and passions are brought together and the magic begins! That magic is what drives me to be a part of the felting community, close to home and across Canada. So that’s why I want to support and be inspired by felt :: feutre canada.
What are your looking forward to creating in 2019?
I’m not a prolific felter. I’m drawn to working within a theme or concept or to test a new technique. I am an avid organizer and participant in workshops, travelling to Hungary, the US, across Canada, and visiting felt artists in New Zealand and Australia. I was thrilled to win “People’s Choice Award” for my piece “Sheepish” which I entered in the 2016 felt :: feutre canada exhibition, “Migration.”
For the exhibition “Triumph” in Lake Country, I created a piece inspired by my Mother’s internment during WW2 and her miraculous recovery from a massive blood clot in her chest. Few people survive a day with this condition, yet at the age of 90, she recovered and lived past her 92nd birthday. My Mom inspires me!
I love to learn! I’m very excited about several workshops I’m participating in this year and for the opportunity to network with more fibre artists that are passionate about felting.