It's that time of year again when I get to tell you a few more details about our annual Fibre Artist Millstay! The Fibre Artist Millstay is an opportunity for artists to become immersed in the roots of wool production, while at the same time allowing our local mill community, from farmer to budding artist, an opportunity to interact with and learn from different fibre artists that we admire. This year, we are very excited to host fibre artist Rosemarie Péloquin. For the month of September, she'll be in residence at the mill creating, reflecting, learning, and teaching.
Rosemarie is an artist from Ste. Rose-du-Lac, Manitoba. From the first time I stumbled across her work online, I was taken with it. She sculpts portraits using wool, a barbed felting needle, and some kind of insight that captures in each creation a deep character with years of stories and experiences. She has been featured in video-reportages on Radio-Canada, TVA and TFO 24.7, has appeared in Fiber Art Now (US) and Textile Fibre Forum (AUD) magazines, and has shown in exhibitions in Manitoba, Alberta, and B.C. As you can imagine, I was quite thrilled when she showed up at the mill one day to have a tour and pick up supplies - it turns out much of the wool she uses is from Custom Woolen Mills!
"Seeing the person beside you brings the world into perspective. I am drawn to ordinary people, those who make up the wallpaper of everyday life. These faces I have observed represent an honesty, a life lived. I try to capture moments of truth that we can connect with in our shared humanity. They are “M et Mme Tout l'monde” - those people that populate our world, that we don't necessarily pay attention to during our busy lives, yet, who still have a lot to offer if we took the time to listen.
I am constantly surprised by what comes from the collaboration of hand, barbed needle and fibre. There is a powerful connection that happens when I sink my fingers in the soft wool, when I hear the satisfying crunch as the needle rhythmically stabs and connects with the fibres, and when I see the personality emerging as I push and pull and tease the spirits within.
The wool as medium is important to the works, as is the quiet act of needle felting. The wool is light, soft, warm and comfortable in my hands yet, in the making, becomes strong and durable. The repetitive act of needle felting that intertwines the wool fibres mirrors perseverance, close connections and strength that are born from daily living.
The scale and material make these characters both accessible and vulnerable. They evoke a familiar nostalgia. We come face to face with our own experiences, wishes, fears and stories.
I try to honour the traditions that came before me, the life that gave me this sensual material, and the learning that I have acquired, by presenting a new image of the fibre and giving it power that is not readily apparent." - Rosemarie Péloquin
During her stay, a selection of her work will be on show at the Carstairs Museum Pointen Art Gallery. Just a quick drive from Calgary, in the town Carstairs, The Pointen Gallery is open Monday through Friday 10am to 4pm making it a great place to stop on the way out to the mill to say hi to Rosemarie in studio.
Rosemarie will also be offering two courses during her stay out here at the mill. The first, a half day course on September 14th, is a beginner's introduction to 3 dimensional needle felting. The second, a full day course on September 21st, is a look at 2 dimensional needle felting with a focus on design. So, whether you are curious about trying needle felting for the first time or looking for an opportunity to advance your own art work, we've got you covered. Sign up online or feel free to contact us for more details!
To wrap it all up, we'll be having an exhibit of her work while at the mill on our Open Saturday tour day, September 29th!