2016/17 Panniers: natural cotton rope, machine-stitched
“Felt-making involves engagement with simple materials and tools – wool, water, soap and hands. It is a process that resonates in the way that I work and is reflected in the clean lines and pure forms of my pieces. The natural colours of the wools that I use – mainly whites, greys, and browns – complement this direction towards clarity and simplicity, and reference the origins of the material I work with.
One of the challenges in making sculptural felt is that the material is pliable. Using techniques that I have developed, my pieces retain their firmness while preserving the inherent warmth and tactility of felt, features that drew me to this medium.
My sculptural pieces are intended to be appealing to both visual and tactile senses, to create an imaginative space to breathe, reflect and contemplate.”
Carmella’s home and studio are nestled in Gatineau Park, Quebec among century-old pines hung with pails for maple sap in the spring and flaming with colour in the fall. Her love of nature – the beauty, wonder and tranquility she finds there – is woven throughout her life.
Carmella has a Bachelor of Science in Biology from the University of Saskatchewan and a Master in Environmental Studies from York University. Her first career was in the field of nature interpretation and education, working at Ontario Parks and the Canadian Museum of Nature before she became an artist full-time.
Over the years she has been creating art with fibres and textiles – wreaths with natural materials, wall hangings in cotton fabrics, and Dupioni silk collages mounted on canvases – and she is now engaged in making wool sculptures, some with mixed media. Her pieces have an elegant simplicity that comes from her “less is more” aesthetic. She encourages people to touch and hold her pieces, to feel the inherent warmth and softness of felt.
Her most recent work are panniers stitched together from 100% natural cotton rope. They are sturdily made with thoughtfully designed handles for carrying.
Carmella’s work is in the City of Ottawa’s Fine Art Collection and recent exhibitions include Wall Space Gallery in Ottawa and Harbinger Gallery in Waterloo. Two sculptures will be featured in the international World of Threads Festival held during the month of November in Oakville, Ontario.