Odile Gova, AKA Wooly Fabulous, was one of of the first friends I made on Flickr. I believe we met in the Stitched By Hand group, but I could have just run across her vibrant felted pieces and decided to stalk her until we became pals.
Even though we've never met face to face, that didn't stop her from sending me a beautiful felted cuff, accented with zippers, when I was having a particularly down day. I'm constantly grateful for her friendship and encouragement, and I'm thrilled she allowed me to interview her!
Tell me about your background. Did you grow up arting and crafting, or is this something you discovered as an adult?
I have memories of the Nuns from my grade 2 class fussing over my coloring skills, it's a memory that's still very clear oddly enough.
I loved coloring and any crafty thing I could get my hands on, I learned to sew when I was 12 and made all of my clothes right through High school. I became the designated family seamstress, I remember staying up till the wee hours trying to get something finished so I could wear it to school the next day.......
In between the sewing I taught myself how to crochet, knit and embroider.
I tried going to an Arts and Crafts school , I made it through the first year. It was just too slow for my liking, I felt like I was being held back....I wish I knew then what I know now....
Crafting in one form or another has been a constant throughout my life, always will be.
Do you have many artist friends? Are they supportive of your work?
Are your kids creative types too?
I don't have very many like minded artist friends close to me, I wish I did. I have made some wonderful friends from the one show I do every year ("One of a kind" in Toronto), and I make new friends each and every time I participate.
The friendships I have made through flickr have been hugely encouraging, I am very grateful for that... I never would have guessed.
My children are very creative, I'm thinking my consistent efforts at trying to create something every day has rubbed off on them.
Zain(11) loves his piano, he also plays the sax in the school band and my daughter Yazmin (9) is a serious guitar player.
Origami is their choice of obsession these days!!
What inspires you? What themes are you drawn to and why?
I am very grateful to be living next door the the Rouge Valley here in Southern Ontario, I'm also just minutes from the shores of Lake Ontario. I find great inspiration throughout nature.
I prefer a bold graphic approach to almost everything I do, I'm not sure why that is. It has always come very naturally to me .
Do your pieces come out finished the way you envisioned them?
I sometimes plan my projects, more often than not I'll start out with an idea and just let it take me where it will.... sometimes good and sometimes........
Some of my best ideas have come from misunderstanding something I've seen, this has sparked some interesting concepts and approaches to my work. The ability to observe is very important even it's off the mark, how we visualize something can vary tremendously from one person to the next. It's what you do with that information that matters the most.....
Do you consider yourself an artist or a crafter? Do you think there is a difference?
I do consider myself an artist, (finally) I've felt a bit self conscious about calling myself an artist for the longest time. I also consider myself to be a crafts person / crafter, I design all of my own work and I have developed the skills necessary to follow through with those ideas...
What do you hope people take away from your work?
I hope people appreciate my approach to putting things together, I'd be thrilled to know that someone could look at one of my brooches and know without a doubt that it's a Woolly Fabulous brooch.
If you had sixty seconds to come up with a mission statement/motto/coat of arms relating to your work, what would it be? Start NOW!
You're torturing me with this "mission statement" thing......
How about a motto? " bold and graphic " .......
What other artists do you admire? Do you feel like they have influenced your work?
I'm a fan of Jane Sassaman's work, so wonderful!! I also love Hundertwasser and John Klee , the list could go on and on and on....
It's hard to say if these artists have influenced my work or not, most likely they have. I just know what makes my heart soar...... I always pay attention to that.
You've got your hot little fingers into so many mediums, do you have a favorite? What are your currently working on?
My first real obsession would be sewing followed by floor cloth making. I made hundreds and hundreds of hand painted canvas rugs, I finally got tired of pulling hair out of the polyurethane and cleaning paint brushes.
I discovered leaf casting and played with this medium for about 7 years, concrete burns and not being able to use the garage put this effort to rest.
I turned to knitting that year and one thing lead to the other. Before I knew it I was felting sweaters and starting to investigate all its potential. I'm madly in love and I imagine I'll be working with this medium for a long time to come.... there's no end of possibilities.
I've introduced thrifted metal and plastic zippers in my work and that seems to be working out just fine.
I can't believe I'm designing accessories, a very unexpected experience for me. It's a good fit, I look forward to my work every day.
I like to throw in unexpected projects every now and then, this helps me keep my felt work fresh and interesting.
*****Make sure you check out Odile's Etsy- woollyfabulous.etsy.com and give her Flickr a look. Not only will it brighten up your day, but it will inspire your brain!
Thank you so much Odile!