Friday, May 13, 2011
Felt Week: Meet Odile Gova from Woolly Fabulous!
Today I want to introduce you to Odile Gova, an innovative, creative and resourceful artist that exclusively uses thrifted and recycled items! I was introduced to Odile by Lisa Jordan after I asked Lisa what fiber artists inspire her, and once I saw Odile's Flickr stream, I knew I wanted to interview her for Felt Week!
Odile was kind enough to answer some questions for me, here they are!
Tell us a little bit about your artistic history, have you always created things?
I have always been creative. I learned to embroider and crochet when I was about 8-9, and started to sew up a storm when I was 13. I sewed for many years , enough to finally get tired of it. I discovered the art of the floorcloth and that stayed with me for over 10 years. I painted hundreds and hundreds of original floorcloths over the course of those years. Eventually I got tired of the mess and using polyurethane. I moved on to concrete sculpture and played with that for about 6-7 years. My sweet husband gave up the garage for that endeavor!! And then again, I got tired of the mess, toxic cement fumes and burns. I had to give it up.
I then decided to go back to my roots: crochet and embroidery and taught myself to knit as well. It was wonderful. I completely embraced the fibre arts and it was just a matter of time before I came across an article about fulling (felting) wool sweaters. The possibilities just blew me away. I decided to start a new business based on supplies that could be purchased at our thrift store. I soon realized a wonderful collection of buttons, zippers, yarn, threads, wool sweaters and coats, corks, interesting containers, doilies... So much fun!!!
I am an experimenter. I will spend hours snipping, playing and thinking about my materials. I do a lot of research and keep very detailed sketch books. I have a very strong, bold approach to my work. I'm not afraid of color. I think all those years of painting those floorcloths really paid off: lots of color mixing and thinking about color combinations.
In your opinion, what is the difference between "crafting" and "art"?
Is there a difference between "Crafting" and "Art"? That's a very good question. I personally don't think so. I feel every little brooch I make is a tiny piece of art. That is my intention. I feel like I'm painting with felt. The felt is my paint. I had a bold painting style which included outlining all the main elements with black paint. I'm sort of doing the same thing again because I'm outlining all my bold felt shapes with the brass zipper.
Where did the inspiration for your wonderful one-of-a-kind brooches come from?
The brooches started out with a combination of sweater felt and felted crochet elements. I soon started using the sweater felt exclusively. As far as using the zipper goes, that boils down to that fateful day where I was holding a piece of felt in one hand and a piece if zipper in the other. Honestly, a light went off... or on, LOL. I started playing with it and thought it looked really nice next to each other, soft and hard textures together... Nice. That was about two years ago. I'm still perfecting the techniques and I seem to learn a new trick every day.
You are committed to using thrifted/recycled materials in your work, can you say more about that?
I decided initially to keep to the thrifted materials based on our family budget. The best decision I ever made. I feel very good about using recycled materials and I can afford to run a home-based business because of it. I feel so grateful. I don't think I'd be where I am right now if I hadn't decided to do this. I invented a couple of fun techniques for making felt rope and felt beads from recycled sweaters. Serious fun!!! And wonderful elements to have on hand for crafting.
What fiber artists inspire you?
I was very inspired with Lisa's (from lil fish studios) approach to design and the environment. We quickly became friends and I think we inspire each other every now and then. I remember a bird brooch of hers that really started things off for me. I believe that every artisan has an original approach to a bird, owl, mushroom, flower. And I was determined to find mine. And it was that lovely Robin she sent me that got the ball rolling. I've never told her that. Wow... That just made me feel so emotional...
Aren't her creations amazing? Such beauty created from recycled and thrifted materials, what a great combination. Thank you so much Odile for participating in Felt Week, you have inspired me!
You can find Odile online here, be sure to look at her Flickr stream and her shop! Lots of goodness both places.
Woolly Fabulous Etsy Shop (check out her tutorials for sale, too!)