Antique silver spoons with found objects embedded in resin:
December 2014 exhibition at General Fine Craft click on images to enlarge
Artiste multidisciplinaire de Chelsea Quebec, Diane tire son inspiration de l’histoire de la région. Elle est fascinée par les innombrables possibilités que lui offrent les fibres naturelles pour ses créations.
Son style particulier de feutrage se distingue par l’incorporation de matières récupérées. Ainsi, elle crée des objets multimédias mixtes évoquant un lien entre le passé et le mode de vie actuel.
Diane Lemire s’inspire du monde naturel qui l’entoure pour créer des sculptures en techniques mixtes, de l’art textile et des peintures évoquant la mémoire, le temps et le lieu. Après une jeunesse à voyager et à travailler à l’étranger, elle a étudié les beaux-arts à l’Université d’Ottawa. Diane fusionne fibres naturelles et matières recyclées. Elle a exposé partout dans la région et, en 2010, a reçu le prix du Mississippi Valley Textile Museum.
see interview with Diane on Radio Canada: http://ici.radio-canada.ca/widgets/mediaconsole/medianet/7202318
A multidisciplinary artist who resides in Chelsea Quebec, Diane draws inspiration from the history of the area and is fascinated by the numerous possibilities natural fibers give her in felt making.
With her quirky style, Diane creates mixed media textile objects that evoke a link to the past and to the present. Her work fuses natural fibres with recycled materials. She draws inspiration from the natural world around her to create mixed-media sculptures, textile art, and paintings that evoke a sense of memory, time, and place.
Having spent her formative years travelling and working abroad, she studied fine arts at the University of Ottawa. She has exhibited throughout the region, and in 2010 was awarded the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum Award.
Article from verFlizt Und zugeNaht / Zeitschrift fur Filzbegeisterte (a German Felt Art magazine), April 2013 1
Dealing with Things / Dealing with Felt by Marion Kasmayr
Diane Lemire draws inspiration from things in her environment. Her sculptures are made of various materials, her textile art and paintings evoke a subtle sense of memory, time and place. For over ten years, she has experimented with various felting techniques, seduced by the ancient tradition of this craft, tirelessly testing the fusion of natural fibers and recycled materials.
She lives with her family in the vicinity of Ottawa, the capital of Canada. Most of her working time, Diane Lemire devotes to art, but she also works as a teacher at the art school. In the community of Chelsea she teaches children in textile art and she is also a volunteer art teacher at the local Waldorf School. She is an active member of an artist and textile art association and in order to find balance she exercises sports such as triathalon, yoga and watersports.
After a degree in social sciences and bachelor’s degrees in education and visual arts with specialization in sculpture, Diane Lemire worked for ten years at the National Gallery of Canada. In this interview, she describes how she came to the field of felting and what significance the techniques she uses have for her work.
When did you realize that wool is your material?
After I had made sculptures out of cement with lace trim, I tried the combinations of felt and last which proved to be very sustainable. I am quite familiar with massage therapy and felting is very similar to that kind of physical manipulation, except that the medium is wool. Nine years ago, after graduating from the University of Fine Arts in Ottawa, I started to get interested in natural fibers. Working with this original material is always gives me the possibility to connect with nature that inspires me, as well as the fact that is biodegradable. The cultural history of the wool is also very interesting to me. Thus many different kinds of wools are the main component of my work. I also use silk, natural fibers and different things that I find. These all have a story , and that inspires my creative process. I also like to work with historical costumes and generally like to change my point of view. I love the questions that arise in connection with the objects and their meaning.
When did you get in touch with felt for the first time?
My son went to a Waldorf school, so I became familiar with the philosophy that toys should be made of natural materials. So I designed my son’s toys from felt and also aprons for stories, the use of storytelling at school.
So you have a felting ritual?
Some aspects of the labour process are the same for each felted object. But my works are entirely unique. I always start my day in my rocking chair on the terrace, a coffee cup in hand. Then I think of what I will do next. I’m definitely feeling more creative and productive in the early morning.
What kind of different techniques and tools do you use?
My primary technique is wet felting with soap, a plastic sheet or with just a net. Occasionally I am felting with the needle. I also embroider. I do not use machines for felting. Everything I do, I do by hand, because then I can control the outcome in a much better way. Felting is a physical, tactile process that demands energy and imagination. I create a variety of objects with the same material. Whether coarse and thick or light and airy: it is always a pleasure to work with felt and especially to wear it.
What kinds of steps characterize your working process?
I’m inspired by items that I collect on my travels. I like to go to flea markets or second-hand stores, I work in a very intuitive way, but I also have a sketchbook in which I record some of my ideas and plan with them. I usually have a theme in mind, such as the series of small coats that commemorate the history of the Rideau Canal or exhibition on lungs … The Breath, Reveries and the Spaces between.
What was your best experience?
I really enjoy getting some feedback on my exhibitions. Mostly it verifies the efforts I made, and the ideas that I have developed. All the time something surprising can happen, and I’m always curious about the result. For example once I felted a kimono and did not know if it would work. With time, patience and passion, it finally did.
Is your working process mainly planned or rather more playful and free?
Sometimes I need to have a plan, for example if I have to fulfill guidelines of galleries. But as far as working, I am very flexible and often change the form or shape of the work piece even during the process.
Has your style of work changed over the years?
It will take quite a long time until you gain some skill in felting, comparable just to the baking of good bread. Technically I feel very fit, but the creative part is constantly changing. I am always curious and like experimenting, like doing something new. Sometimes it works, sometimes not. Until today, I have made more than a thousand scarves over eight years, but not one is like the other. Over time, I’ve tried new ideas, did a lot of reading, was surfing the internet, had taken courses and exchanged ideas with other artists, which still makes my work richer today.
Do you have a dream project?
I would like to make a great exhibit for a museum. For example, I am thinking of a huge mural out of wool that I would love to show worldwide. I would also like to work together with a seamstress, in order to create a work of art with fabric.
Do you prefer to work alone or in community?
I like both. I worked ten years alone, but now I’m in an artist’s cooperative and I am already looking forward to this cooperation. I enjoy being around people, eventually I come from a family with ten children. This summer I’m moving into a new studio, and am looking forward to working with other textile artists.
How important is the tradition of felting to you?
Very important. I like the history of felting. I want to convey to people today, how important the craft was once. Somebody has to make people aware of the largely forgotten tradition and this is what I consider as my mission and challenge. However, I try to give the material a contemporary look.
What are you working on right now?
On a lot of things: in August, I will participate in an exhibition of small felted cloaks in Ottawa. In the same month I will visit the Moon Rain Textile Center in Paltimore, Quebec for two weeks. I will also teach there. Furthermore I will teach at the Ottawa School of Art. Then I planned creating a new website. I will also take part in an artist tour with members from around Chelsea and Quebec. Finally I applied for a travelling exhibition that presents Canadian artists.
And where do you sell your work?
There are two galleries where I exhibit and sell my art. La Pai Gallery in Ottawa and General Fine Craft, Art & Design in Almonte are selling my felt scarves. Since five years I participate at the already mentioned artist tour in Chelsea that happens to be every autumn. This is especially nice because it allows you to make your studio and home publicly available. Meanwhile my objects are well known in Quebec and Ottawa.
Thank you very much for the interview!
Diane Lemire exhibits in Canada and London. In 2010 she won the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum Award. La Main a Aussi les Reves (Even hand has its dreams), is her latest exhibition, conceived after a seven-month stay in London. This year there is an exhibition at the Chelsea Library, in the Cultural Centre of the art in Chelsea. She also prepares to take part in the exhibit at Skenkman Centre in Ottawa. Moreover she plans to participate as a street artist at the Triennale Internationale des Arts Textile en Outaouais 2013.