• /wp-content/uploads/2012/11/slide1.jpg
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/11/slide2.jpg
  • /wp-content/uploads/2012/11/slide3.jpg

Featured Artist: Inken Gaddass of Felted Art To Wear

by EBlack on December 23, 2012

Publishers Note: This week, we have the pleasure of hearing from a German fiber artist that is taking the UK by storm. Iken Gaddass’ work (Felted Art to Wear) is anything but traditional. Her eye catching pieces combine the influences of nature and an off-beat creativity that is out of this world. I believe Inken reminds us that with a little bit of wonder, a warm sentiment for our upbringing, and a lot of drive we are capable of greatness. This artist is going places!

Spin Artiste (SA): Inken, thank you so much for speaking with us this week. I love to feature felters and your work is so amazing – Can you tell us how you became a fiber artist specializing in felt?
Inken Gaddass (IG): About 10 years ago just after I moved from Germany to the UK, I came across a felted scarf which I fell in love with immediately. I got curious on what felt is and how to make such a beautiful piece and it all started from there.
SA: I do believe curiosity is often the spring board of true talent. I know you are from North Germany and you have described the landscape as such a beautiful place. How has your childhood setting influenced your work?
IG: I grew up in Schleswig Holstein which is in the very north of Germany approx. 15 miles away from the border to Denmark. It is an area of open farmland which is enclosed by 2 coastlines (one to the left, one to the right). My felted pieces are inspired by my childhood memories such as the empty beaches, warm in summer and ice covered in winter, ever changing moods of the sea combined with the myriad of colours from endless fields of blooms in summer.
SA: It sounds breath taking! and an amazing landscape to be your muse. What is your attraction to wearable felt art?
IG: It is the uniqueness of each piece and the idea of making art practical and useful. Some people prefer a piece of art hanging on their walls, I love wrapping a piece of art around my neck to keep me warm.
SA: I love that you describe your work as “unique, and quirky, sometimes abstract”. What makes you describe your pieces with such adjectives?
IG: No two of my felted pieces ever look the same, They might be similar but all my pieces are one of a kind pieces and have their own little soul. There is always something quirky about my pieces or at least with a little twist. I leave all edges in their organic felted shape so they are raw, a bit frayed and for sure not straight. I like experimenting with different ways of dyeing, combining different materials and even experimenting with the process of felting. My felted jewelry I would describe as sculptural.
SA: Your mix of creative whimsy and organic structure makes for a stunning style of work. Even though you describe your pieces as abstract and quirky, they are all so sleek and clean; a sign of true talent and artistry. How long does an average project take you to create?
IG: This is quite difficult to answer as it depends on the size of the piece I am creating and of course on the design and materials used. A plain small pure wool scarf can be done in 1 – 2 hours. A nuno felted coat can take up to 3 days to make from the design to the last finishing touches.
SA: I’m sure with your artfully designed style you have custom order requests coming in constantly. What is the process of designing your custom pieces?
IG: Yes, I do quite a lot of custom orders. It is fairly straight forward if a customer would like to have a piece made similar to one of my own creations just in a different colour or size. If it a completely new piece the process can be a bit tricky as most of the communication is via email. Every single detail no matter how small needs to be discussed to ensure that the customers are happy with their felted custom pieces; in fact, they need to be ‘over the moon’. This is very very important for me.
SA: One can only guess that your studio is as amazing as your felt work. Can you tell us about your work space?
IG: Oooohhhh, I wish, I wish! You might not believe it but I am working at the moment in my kitchen. I do have a work space / room but I use this mainly to store all my materials. But plans are already made to make this room ‘fit for felting’ – a large work top and a waterproof floor. Fingers crossed that will happen in January.
SA: Sounds like your studio plans are going to be the perfect spot for your fiber workings , I hope your new studio space comes together soon. What tools do you use to create your works of art? Any out-of-the-ordinary or secret tools you use for felting?
IG: Depending on what kind of piece I am creating I use the ‘traditional way’ of felting -bubble wrap, hot soapy water and a lot of rolling and rolling and rolling …. or the tumble dryer, washing machine, a palm washboard or / and my husbands orbital sander. Really I use anything that I can get my hands on that might help me to shorten the felting processes a bit.
SA: You mentioned you created Christmas Angels as a part of your winter collection. Do you have a collection for each season? What other pieces are a part of this year’s winter collection?

IG: This year’s autumn / winter collection was all about swirls using my sewing machine for the swirly free motion embroidery. But also my spiky wool scarves were a big part in this season. I’ll try to have a collection for each season so my customers have something to look forward too and can’t wait to see the first new pieces. I have started already working on the first spring pieces.

SA: As 2012 is coming to a close, looking back how has your art changed over the years and what do you think has influenced these changes?
IG: My art as such hasn’t changed much – still quirky, different and one of a kind pieces. But the process of creating has evolved over the years using now different techniques in felting and dying, using different tools and new materials.
SA: I’m sure I can speak for all of us when I say, We can’t wait to see what your new year’s creative evolution will bring! What are some common reactions when people see you wearing your creations?
IG: Most times they ask me where I bought the piece. How surprised they are when I tell them that it is one of my own handmade creations.
SA: Has your nature inspired felting changed the way you look as the “great outdoors,” and if so how?
IG: All my felted pieces are inspired by nature in a way but the funny thing is that felting inspires me to take more notice of nature. Before I saw – now I take notice.
SA: Well, as you continue to take notice of the nature around you we won’t stop taking notice of your amazing talent and works of art. Thank you again for sharing with us today, and before you go I have one more question for you. Since the holidays are here, what is your favorite family holiday tradition?
IG: Lighting the first of four candles on our Advents Wreath on the 1st. Advent, which is a German tradition.
Readers, I can vouch for how great Inken’s pieces are – I bought one a couple of months ago and every time I wear it, it gets compliments galore! Here’s the link the check out what she has on hand right now.
In other news — Sheesh, can you believe the year is coming to a close already?!? As I am typing this, I confess I’m wearing my pajamas and I’m on “vacation”. I spent two days in the car getting to my destination. During that time, I did what all good little fiber-holics do: I made stuff. Finally, I finished a pair of socks I’d been knitting for something like six months (the “Civil War” socks — so named because the pattern was one used for soldiers’ socks during the war — pretty challenging…I did each heel multiple times). On travel day 2, I actually wove a scarf on my knitter’s loom while riding along. I had warped up the loom the previous weekend with a large skein of yarn I had painted ages ago. Bam! I finished that too. Now, I’m panicked because I don’t think I brought enough yarn to carry me through this trip. Argh! I can’t believe this. I’m in a rural area and there’s not any “real” yarn stores anywhere close. I can’t believe I have ration my knitting until I get home. Fortunately, Wild Hare Fiber Studio to the rescue!!

Previous post:

Next post: