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Wild Workshops

Selvedge

Known for her extraordinarily dramatic felt animal masks, Gladys Paulus can still remember an important moment of about ten years ago. “It was my first experience of making felt, of understanding its magic and the way that the material transforms in your hands,” she says. “I immediately started thinking about its potential.” 1d3d7a1c90a74f2a8fe7d1d82e7fff42-1 Paulus describes her entry into the world of felt making as a happy accident. Born into a Dutch Indonesian family, she grew up in the Netherlands and studied fine art. But art school and its demand for conceptualisation, she says, crushed her spirit and instinctive love of painting. “I felt completely blocked,” she explains. Then, after moving to the UK, something happened on a chance visit to the local sheep farm at lambing time with her young daughter. “I was shocked that farmers often end up burning fleeces, because there is so little money in wool,” she recalls. “I bought a fleece to bring home, partly from indignation at the waste and partly because I was curious.” After dyeing and spinning the wool, she tried her hand at knitting (“I made a very ugly hat,” she laughs), before moving on to felting after borrowing a book from her local library. “I’ve since learned that I was lucky, because a lot of wool doesn’t felt well, but my fleece was from a breed that worked beautifully,” she says.
1602031145276dd2c17076fce1140d123f0064f6f67a                     While initially she made small toys and puppets for her young children, she quickly moved on to projects that were more ambitious in scale as her felt-making knowledge and skills developed. Today, her super-size felted animal masks – from a sinister raven and sly fox to a hare that is so faithful to nature its nose almost twitches – are sought after for theatre and performance, for films and photo shoots, and as sculptural pieces in their own right. And her inspiration? “There’s something about what they represent to me and in mythology,” she says. (This is an extract from Amelia Thorpe's article in the Millinery issue of Selvedge)
maker-623-image-56b86bb56bf7f4.60085308_1400_490_c1 Join Gladys this summer at the beautiful Chateau Dumas to learn the techniques for creating the three-dimensional forms for which she has become known. Depending on your experience (total beginners are welcome on this week) you will either make an art piece based on textures and patterns from the natural world or tackle something more ambitious such as a series of free-standing sculptural forms based on seed pods, buds and plants. 12-19 August, Chateau Dumas For more information please visit this page: www.selvedge.org/events/gladys-paulus/


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