avatarPam de Groot

I am a Fibre and Textile artist with a focus on wet felting. Creating wearable gifts and accessories, including hats, scarves, wraps and bags.

I have always worked with my hands. Even as a small child I and others recognised my affinity to the world of art and craft. I loved any project that involved the piecing of things together, pushing or pulling substances into a new form.

Textiles were not my first choice of medium. Whilst I learned to use my mother’s sewing machine when young and made a few clothes, I found what I knew of textiles, at that time, too restrictive and formulaic. I hated having to cut out patterns and knowing exactly how the piece would turn out. Spinning, I thought, was for old ladies, (if I only knew then what I know now!) and weaving seemed to take too long. Patience is not my strongest suit.

I studied to be a primary infants teacher and and soon after that I studied studio ceramics. I loved the clay. Here was a substance hard yet soft, pliable and solid. This mud could be transformed into almost anything I could think of. I worked many years both as a teacher then a potter.

I came back to textiles through the craft of free machine embroidery. A friend was making the most amazing artwork and so my sewing machine and I were reacquainted in a happy reunion. The world of textiles is rich and there are so many interesting forms. I found felting most fascinating. My son’s school had a weekend introductory course and the addiction began. This medium had the same pull for me that the clay had. This soft fluffy stuff, not from the ground this time but from the back of a sheep, is transformed by my hands into whatever I can imagine. Filmy and gossamer like, or strong and solid, it can be a functional article of clothing, accessory or a sculptural piece.

I have always loved to use colour in my work and the colours possible with wool give me that freedom. I have recently learnt a whole new palette using natural dyes made from the Australian bush .  The eucalypt leaf is almost unique in its ability to dye wool and silk without the need for any adjunct mordant. The mystery of this new world of colour and botanic alchemy is incredibly exciting and endless in its possibilities.

I have been quite ‘merino centric’ in my work up to date, (I may be biased but we have the best in the world here). I am becoming more and more interested in working with other fibres, including the regenerated fibres, and am exploring the range of textures and qualities these fibres can bring to a piece. I trawl the second-hand clothing shops for fabric, scarves and other interesting bits and bobs. Silk and mohair are also a recurrent element in my work as I can’t resist the luxury of these fibres.

My own work is informed by my love of form, the natural world and the materials under my hands. I learned long ago if you respect those things the object will do your bidding. I hope to excite the viewer with the possibilities and mysteries of this ancient craft as we continue to explore the seemingly endless depths of its potential for art.

Pam teaches felting workshops and  Her work can be seen online at

www.pamdegroot.com

www.pamdegroot.etsy.com

Keep up with the latest work on her blog as she journals her process at www.pamdegroot.blospot.com

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