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Featured Artist: Galina Blazejewska of Galafilc

by EBlack on October 26, 2014

GB-G self in sweaterPublisher’s Note:  One of the ways I support other artists is with my pocketbook.  I’m not one of those folks that looks at everything and says, “Oh, I could make that.”  My knowledge of what it takes to produce a finished object of fibery goodness actually compels me to purchase!  And, this week, I’m going to let you guys in on one of my favorite artists from whom I have purchased.  It would be selfish not to share with you about Galina Blazejewska of Galafilc.  Galina is a fantastic felter from Poland who approaches fiber with a sense of freedom and produces beautifully unique  pieces that are loved the world over. With her creative genius and open heart for innovation, Galina takes chances and experiments with new techniques to create felt creations that excite the senses. Galina believes only good can come from trying something new; an inspirational message for new and seasoned fiber artists alike. 

    Spin Artiste (SA): Your felted pieces are so beautiful; tell us how you became interested in using fiber this way.

Galina Blazejewska (GB): My first acquaintance with felt began 6 years ago. I decided to read a Swedish classmate’s blog. She posted interesting scarves made with techniques that were unknown to me that time. IGB-G Pink and Green flower scarf became so curious with these techniques that I started greedily absorbing every detail I could, and asked a friend to tell me about felting. Next, I bought some wool and tried to make my first flower, and the first scarf. At that time, it was difficult to find a good felting materials in Poland. A lot has changed since then, but I am always happy to find a new information about materials, wool, and methods. The more sophisticated the skill, the more I want to try my hand at it.

SA: What is it about the art of felting that interests you?

GB-G Red hat and scarf 2GB: Felting allows me to dive into the magical world of handmade goods – everything is possible here! It is nearly magical that almost any shape can appear in one’s hands from formless pieces of wool. It can be a flat scarf or a three-dimensional object, a seamless piece of clothes, or even a lamp, shoes, or a hat.

SA: I agree, it is amazing how endless the creative possibilities are when making a fiber piece. You seem to use such beautiful floral and marine designs in your pieces. What inspires you to use these themes?

GB: I live in a village not far from the Baltic sea in Poland. Watching the seasons change never bores me. Everyone knows the color  palette of autumn, but have you ever studied how bare branches  bend in the winter, or how flower petals form in the spring and summer? 

GB-G Gray Text. Wall HangingSA: What have you found to be the most difficult thing about felting?

GB: The difficulty in felting is the same as all other specialties.  It is what we don’t know about properties of materials. It is those techniques we haven’t mastered yet. The trick is to never be afraid of experimenting with new materials and techniques.

SA: I agree.  To me over, time, it seems like the more I learn, the more fiber opens up its secrets to me.  When kinds of fibers do you enjoy using, and why?

GB: Connecting with a variety of fibers and materials gives me a whole range of possibilities to create unusual surfaces. In my designs, you can find silk, cotton, linen fabrics, yarns and fibers, lace, and many others. In the last six months, I have enjoyed working with raw wool, fleece that scissors cut right through while breeder shears the sheep. All the mud, dust, and grass shakes out in the process of felting. Therefore, I use this wool to create an ecologic fur on bags, collars and pads. Sheep stays safe and sound and we get beautiful pieces.

GB-G Felt hatSA: Speaking of your use of wool, what is the process of deciding what additional fibers will be used, and how you will incorporate them to complete your pieces?

GB: My response to this one comes straight from my answer from your 4th question. It is all about experimenting with materials and techniques. In art , there is nothing that can go terribly wrong if you are experienced enough.GB-G Cocoon 1

SA: How would you describe your art space?

GB: My art space is a collection of my ideas and their executions, materials, the finished piece themselves, all ending with the person who will wear them, weather it’s a bag, scarf or clothing. When working on creating an item, I try to embody the image that exists only in my head, using known techniques and different materials. Finished items will live entirely separate from me, and will eventually be owned by another person. I always have to make sure that an unknown person will be able to take my idea, my image, so that my image can begin to exist in the space of another person.

GB-G Two girls in flower dressesSA: What a great way to describe your space and express your creative process in that space. I think we often forget how to consider the creative needs of those who have our pieces. What are some of your favorite fiber tools?

GB: The best tools are my hands. But like every craftsman, I have many tools that makes my work easier. One of my favorites are an old washboard and a few wooden massagers

SA: How would you describe the fiber art community in Poland, and how has the community supported or influenced your work?

GB-G Octopus 1GB: Currently I am not a member of any felting guild. Actually, I am a member of a City Hall group of Textiles Art. As a member of this group, I can participate in exhibitions and fairs that take place in our city and country. We paint on the open air, and organize courses. My works are marked with the Poland Handmade sign. This sign marks the best artists in various media in Poland. Works marked with this symbol are characterized by high quality, and originality.

GB-G Big Red FlowerSA: The textile art group sounds like fun. I hope the fiber, and specifically the felting community grows in Poland soon. I absolutely adore your “Big Red Flower” textile piece! Tell us the story behind this creation.

GB: Once, I received an order to make a large mural on the wall. I was given specific  instructions to make a big red flower, and the only colors I could use were red and black. I thought a lot about how it should look: the proportion of colors, how to arrange the petals, and how to combine everything together into a single mural.

GB-G Landscape jacketSA: Sounds like it was a lot of work, but truly worth the effort. I noticed you feature step-by-step tutorials on your blog for a few items. It is great that you make your trade secrets available to the fiber art community. Do you believe teaching and sharing are important to the future of fiber art, why or why not?

GB: I believe that the sharing of knowledge is essential for development and growth of the overall level of craft. I also take a lot of information from the internet, where experienced masters share their knowledge. As much as possible, I publish my own developments.

GB-G Felt fishSA: I’m sure your followers and customers are thankful for your openness to share. Finish this sentence: “No piece is complete without…”

GB: The head of our art group in the City Hall always says that our work is not complete without our signature on it.

For me it means that putting signature on our product, we take responsibility for it. We inform all that we believe we have completed work on the product, and invested everything we could at that point.

SA: Thank you so much for spending time with us today, this was a delight. One last question before you go: what is your “go to” summer fun activity?GB-G Wool Collare

GB: I spend my summer time with a camera on a country side or do some paintings. I also spend my spare time investing in my little garden. 

SA:  Readers, I hope you enjoyed learning more about Galina.  Her work is really special.   Just to keep you up to date on other happenings…we are taking enrollments for the Journey to the Golden Fleece till the end of the month.  This is going to be a great group!  If you want to be part of the group, here is the link to the log in page.  We also announced new online spin session dates this week for November including the amazing Melissa Yoder Ricks of Wild Hare Fiber Studio!  These sessions are selling out fast! 

Meanwhile, back at my studio, I have been working on my own contribution to the Secret Stash Game.  This is a first!!!  In all the prior rounds, I didn’t play….but Linda sent me a kit and I’m super excited about my idea.  So, when the time comes to reveal the projects, one of those is going to be mine and you are not going to be able to guess it is mine!  There are a couple of kits still on hand and there is plenty of time to be a part of the fun.  Here is the link to get yours.  I’m going to finish mine today!!!  Oh, and one last thing before I sign off, I hope to get the Taos Newsletter edition out this week.  Make sure to become a newsletter subscriber so you don’t miss this one — the sign up is on the right side of this page.  Till next time, all my best fibery goodnes….Arlene


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