November 14, 2010

The truth about my inspiration... how felting comes to life-

First step: Bringing the felting materials together, letting them speak.

In every questionnaire I answered in my artistic life, this question is asked: what inspires you?
My first answer (and the fastest) is the classical one -> everything surrounding me: my kid, nature, people, internet art, magazines…. And, it’s true. I need this stimulation but it’s only half of the truth. In fact, most of my inspirations come from my materials and my work in progress. 

Seems silly? Let me try to explain.

My fantasy runs wild all day long, but when I come to my atelier suddenly everything has disappeared in my head: a big hole with nothing in it. The only thing I know (because I work in series) is what kind of garment or accessory I’m going to create: that means that, I know whether it’ll be a vest, hat, dress, jacket…

So, I start looking around, touching fabrics, wool, fibers and all these beautiful treasures I once bought because I had great projects for them (that, of course, I absolutely can’t remember).

Sometimes it’s a color. At other times it’s a fabric which finally inspires me. I put it on my working table, add other colors and fabrics which “feel” right with the first one and start cutting fabrics or laying out wool.

 Fabric and wool: first step for my felting project.

And then, out of the blue, ideas are exploding again in my head - my fingers are acting wild, trying to flow as fast as my spirit.

But felting is a long process, demanding a lot of time and patience. While my hands bravely lay down fiber after fiber, other ideas come up, stimulated by other colors or fabrics surrounding me or former ideas coming up again. This is influencing my doing and changing the initial intention continuously. 

 Felting ideas coming together on the work table.

Once the “background” (normally 1 layer of fabric(s)+ two layers of wool) is done, I have generally changed my project 2-5 times and have still 2/ 3 ideas in mind. So, I step back and look at my work. This is the decisive moment – the final “drawing” abruptly becomes evident… I end up “understanding” what I’m creating. 

 Once I stepped back, it became clear that this one “needed” a peacock.

So, my fingers get busy a second time… sometimes I wonder if I breathe in these magic moments (surely I do because it often takes more than 1 hour to finalize). But then: voila -there it is – I did it again!  A one of a kind, unique design, making me always a bit proud and giving me immense pleasure. 

Felted Peacock by Ariane Mariane

Ever since I understood how it works and allowed myself to let things go the way it happens, creating became a fabulous experience. It nearly feels like a trance and I admit that I’m addicted to it!!!

Just to conclude on the question above - the most honest answer is: “I don’t know where my inspiration comes from”.


  1. Thank-you for sharing your creative process Arianne. Nice to see someone else who is so inspired by the tactile quality and colours of the materials themselves - I love it!

  2. thank you for sharing Arianne - I can totally relate to the fibre itself leading the way - sometimes I start out making a hat & before I know what's happened it's turned into a bag - go figure - it must happen in those breathless moments you spoke about - your work is beautiful

  3. Beautiful post, Ariane! It is very difficult to explain the creative process, but you’ve done it well. Reminds me of a post I wrote last summer about the ancient Roman theory of artists having a genius (instead of being a genius). That genius brought them divine inspiration, ideas sparked from nowhere…or everywhere. I definitely see genius in your work – thank you for sharing it with us!


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