Marijke van Welzen
RegiVlaardingen, the Netherlands
Mediums: Textile, fabric, fiber, thread
Style: wearable art
Inspirations: Stories, Nature, Art
Education: teacher-training college Textile arts and craft / English. Under the label art2wear I make wearable art and accessories with a story to tell. I mainly use fabric collage.
Using many tiny pieces of fabric and colourful machine threads I 'paint' my designs. Appliqué, stencils, stamps, beads, ribbons, lace and anything else I think I can use, finish the piece.
I usually work very intuitively, sometimes I use a mandala drawing I made for inspiration. I also work on commission. Each garment is tailor-made for that particular client. I keep in mind wishes like favourite colour, design, shape etc.
All garments are unique, I never copy a piece. I have won several prizes with my garments. I try to have expositions regularly. I also teach workshops in the techniques I use. We work in small groups, the sewing machines are ready and waiting.
On request I teach on location too. Lately I make quilts and do some wet and dry felting (Embellisher).
How did you begin your work with textiles and fabric?
As a teenager I used curtains and hand embroidered table-cloths (by my grandma) to practice sewing clothes, most of the time I used them as is. It was the ‘70’s after all.
Please tell us your process in creating your wearable art?
- I start out with a vague idea, a piece of fabric or a call for entries.
- I start looking through my stash and collecting all kinds of stuff I think I can use like fabric, fabric paint, stencils, stamps images (internet is a great resource), my own drawings, buttons, thread etc.
- As I love to make coats, I choose a pattern or make a pattern myself.
- I cut the parts from Vilene, either black or white, with an extra large seam allowance.
- I start at the back and then work very intuitively. I use tiny pieces of fabric, that I fussy-cut and pin onto the Vilene, I need to consider shapes and contrast and negative space, but this goes naturally. Sometimes I take a picture, put the work upside down, put it on the floor to see where I’m going. It works like a puzzle, you find the right piece after piece and then you get stuck and you have to stop and come back to it later. When I’m satisfied I stitch everything down.
- The completed pattern pieces are washed , yes in the washing machine and put in the dryer. The pieces will shrink and get the quilted look. And most importantly the finished coat won’t shrink anymore.
- The pieces will come out of the dryer looking AWFUL. Fringes, bumps, distorted, because some materials will shrink more than others. There will also be holes where the materials don’t quite overlap. I straighten the raw edges, add some scraps here and there and cut out the pattern pieces to their desired size. I then add stencilled or stamped shapes.
- To these pieces I add a nice lining, do a lot of free motion quilting through and through, add.other embellishments. And then finally I can sew the coat together.
My work has been exhibited at Fiber Art and Quilt shows, where it has won prizes e.g. 2011 Hoffman Challenge 2nd Best use of Sulky, US, Sandown quilt show 2012 2nd Wearable art, UK, Sandown quilt show 2013 3rd Wearable art, Fantastic Fibers 2012, US, Sacred Threads 2011, US and many local quilt and art shows in the Netherlands.
Have you sold much of your textile art?
Only a couple of pieces at art shows and commissions.
How do you use the internet for promoting your wearable art?
Facebook, my blog, Dutch artist websites, SDA website, see.me
A book by Rosemary Eichorn: the art of Fabric Collage.
After I found it in 2000 I was extremely inspired and started to make vests and jackets.
Not only I have grown in my work, but the size of my work has as well.
Anything interesting you can share?
Being a teacher at Secondary school for over 34 years and counting.
Picture this: inner city environment, low achievers, hardly motivated, It’s a miracle I haven’t gone bonkers…
Something annoying someone once said…
Have you made this yourself? Well yeah, duh…
Just keep on working on it, I have many ideas. Not enough time
Advice for emerging artists
Do your own thing, Join other artists for a course or a workshop, go to shows, museums, outside to get inspired.
Marijke van Welzen - A Common Thread Runs Through my Artwork
RegiVlaardingen, the Netherlands
Photographer: Wim van der Stelt | Model: Jenny Baar