Conversations with the Makers

An array of questions to fibre/textile artists and their answers.

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Conversation with Pamela MacGregor, USA

  ‘My life as an artist has taken many turns over the years. Artist as student, artist as teacher and now retired teacher as felt artist. Since my retirement, the discovery of felt making has charged me with a new artistic energy. I find the versatility and engineering possibilities for each project both mentally and physically stimulating. At the end of the day, there is usually a sweet surprise, an ah ha moment of inspiration giving me insight for future felt works, bringing with it new and unique possibilities.’

http://www.tarveycottagestudio.com/

Pamela will be teaching at the FELT @ THE WINTER SCHOOL in JULY 2014...go here for all the info and enrolment form

 

CONVERSATION WITH THE MAKER(CWTM)Did you always envision a life as an artist?

PAMELA MACGREGOR(PM)Actually it was a toss up between art and biology.  Obviously art won out in college. 

CWTM Do you have a dedicated studio?

PM I am fortunate enough to have a lovely studio. We remodeled a part of my horse barn.   It is small and cozy but well equiped for my needs.

 

CWTM Can you describe a typical day?

PM My day begins at the computer and moves on to do daily chores in the barn.  Once the chores are done I slip into the studio for most of the day.  I try to treat my studio time as a regular work day.

 CWTM Would you consider your art making to be more about the process than the outcome?

PM My time spent in the studio is split evenly between process and outcome.  I experiment quite and bit and try to develop new idea for workshops and my own work, but I also do exhibition pieces.  I seldom do production work for galleries.

 

CWTM Do you agree that a small element of uncertainty about the finished look is what makes the process of creating so enticing?

PM I call the element of uncertainty in my feltmaking the “Ah ha” moment.  It is what makes the entire process interesting to me.  Working three dimensionally can be a challenge. How I mentally invision something does not always work out well in the actual engineering stage. Many twist and turns happen before the works is actually on display.

 

CWTM Any indispensable tools or equipment? 

PM I find some of the simpler tools found in the kitchen and hardware stores the best. My four favorites are the rolling tool I made,  a spring loaded, long needlenose plyer,  a dish drainer and flour sack dish towels to be the tools I use daily.

 

CWTM Do your pieces start with a planned course of action or are they more spontaneous?

PM I usually have an idea or a sketch of what I what  to do, but quite often the felt tells me where to go once I am actually in the project.  I embrace spontineity.

 

CWTM How do you know when to “stop” – when do you consider a piece actually finished?

PM I am not sure a work is ever really finished.  I have older works I pull of the shelf and “update” to my current level of felting.  I could pick them apart for hours.  I just have to tell myself “It is now done and leave it alone!”

 

 

CWTM Favourite quote?

PM This in my favorite quote since I have been retired.  I  borrowed it from my son.  “ I do what I like and I like what I do.”

 

CWTM When do you do your best creative thinking? 

PM My best creative thinking is done  just as I wake up and  just before I go to
sleep..  I keep a sketch pad right next to the bed.

 

CWTM What do you enjoy most about your work?

PM Felting gives me so many options.  I feel there are never any misstakes only discoveries.  Every piece of felt can be used in some way.

 

CWTM Best advice you’ve ever received?

PM Relax and breath is the best advice, but I often find myself holding my breath.

 

 

CWTM Best part of your day?

PM Mornings when no one is home.

 

CWTM Who would be 6 people that you would invite to dinner?

PM Georgia O’Keefe, Picasso,The Dali Lama, Mother Teresa, my Father, and Frieda Khalo would be very inspiring and interesting people to invite to dinner.

 

 

CWTM What are you excited about right now in the world of textile art?  

PM Sculpture is always exciting to me.  I also really enjoy Elis Vermuelen’s instalations.

 

CWTM You’d be lost without…

PM I would be lost without my husband and his loving support.

 

 CWTM Has the advancement of computers and technology impacted your work?

PM Yes the advancement of computers and technology have impacted my world by bringing felters into a larger and much more connected global community of felters.   It is also so wonderful to be able to see what so many felters are creating at a push of a button.

 

CWTM What do you enjoy most about your work?

PM The wool, it  brings me joy.  I love the touch, the smell and all that can be made from it.

 

 

CWTM What is next for you?

PM I will continue my studies of three dimensional felt work and hopefully include other mediums into it.