- Tell us a bit more about yourself: your location, professional affiliations, personal stuff…
I am a felt artist from the Eastern European country of Georgia currently living and working in St. Louis Missouri. I am a member of the Women’s Caucus for Art and my work is featured at the Art Glass Array on the second floor of the Crossroads Art Studios in St. Charles, MO. I mostly work in my basement and use my kitchen floor for wet felting. I have a husband and a 2 year old son who is usually asleep when I felt otherwise we end up with wool and silk fibers all around the house. Felting is very kid-friendly and makes art projects fun and exciting. I will be teaching introduction to felting class as part of Innovations in Textiles 2009 on October 4, 2009 at the Crossroads Art Studios. I also teach introductory felting, felting jewelry and nuno-scarf (felted scarf) class at the same location couple times a year and felted jewelry class at the Adult and community education of St. Charles.
- What first inspired you to become an artist?
Wool fiber has been used for wearable items and home décor from ancient times. Wool fleece is a warm, dynamic and creative organic fiber from right off the sheep's back. My passion for organic fibers originated from a childhood encounter with nature and cultural harmony. Born and raised in beautiful mountainous country of Georgia, I was fascinated with rich cultural heritage and abundance of folk craft techniques. I was introduced to felting as a child and rediscovered it a few years ago when I started experimenting with natural and hand-dyed wool and silk fibers. I am fascinated with textures, shapes and blends achieved by wet and needle felting and I always look forward to unfolding my final product after rigorous process of wet felting and seeing how multicolor fibers emerge into one solid pieces of felt.
- Please describe your creative process: how you create, when, where, with what materials…
I work with ECO-FRIENDLY wool and silk fibers including exotic fibers like Karakul wool and Tussash silk.
Thin multicolor fibers are built up in alternate directions and then wetted. The process involves rubbing, beating and rocking until the fibers mat together and fleece fabric emerges. Vigorous agitation and soap lubrication allows movement of fibers through organic fabric to create stunning hand-felted textiles. I use wet- and nuno- felting (laminate felt) techniques with subtle needle-felting touches to create two- and three- dimensional art. I also integrate various natural and artificial fibers and fabrics to diversify surface design.
- What are your favorite materials to work with?
I like blending coarser wools with softer wools and silk fibers. Exotic Karakul (Mongolian sheep breed) wool creates very rustic surface and unique blends with other softer fibers like merino and mohair. I use Tussash silk because it is a ‘vegetarian silk’ or type of silk collected after silkworms live their full life and leave their cocoons
- What is your next project?
My next project will continue ‘Housewife’ (piece selected for the WCA ‘Made by hand’ exhibit at the Crossroads Art Studios and Gallery ) series and will explore character and visual images of the early 20th century Georgian female roles and personality.