Under the Spotlight has been finding out what made local textile artist Marijke Seller take up weaving. She has been exploring textile craft for some years, but recently became inspired to try weaving. She is pleased to discover how her skills with surface texture and colour, acquired working on crocheted pieces as well as making experimental stitched work, inform and enhance her weaving.
Do you have positive/negative memories of art when you were at school?
We only had one hour of drawing a week and the teacher was not very inspiring.
What would your school report have said about your art?
I don’t think that art was mentioned in the school report.
Did you go on to further education in art or are you self-taught?
I go to a weaving workshop locally but I haven’t had a real art education.
I started weaving about four years ago. I did a lot of textiles before that; knitting, crochet and some textile workshops. At Ally Pally by chance I saw the British Tapestry Group stand, and I liked the work on display, so I bought the starter kit. Then I was hooked! The weaving workshop I attend now is run by Jane Brunning – she’s a well-known weaver.
What or who has inspired you over the years?
My mother, she started me off. As 10 year olds, my friends and I would come together at my place and we would craft together with my mother overseeing us ( the first Knit and Natter group). I crocheted outfits for my Barbie, and as a teenager I crocheted curtains, which were very fashionable in Holland in the 70s.
I used to go to ‘Textile Tuesdays’ with Hazel Imbert, and I learned a lot of different techniques; it opened my eyes to the possibilities of textile work, which I find useful in my weaving.
I have always done different crafts; card-making, patchwork, scrapbooking and then, accidentally got into weaving. I have really surprised myself with the results I am getting now. I have finally found the right medium to work in, which suits me, and I am proud of my work.. I feel I have moved from crafter to artist.
What Artists do you admire?
Jane Brunning, she is the tutor of the weaving workshops. I like the techniques she uses and I like her designs. Her work inspires me.
Peruvian weaver Maximo Laura, his colours are so vibrant and the designs are beautiful.
Escher, Hieronymus Bosch, Mondrian, Klee.
I work in a library so I have access to a lot of art books which are also very inspiring.
What is your favourite piece of work (yours and someone else)?
I like a lot of work done by my fellow weavers.
At an exhibition a couple of years ago, there was a beautiful weaving by my tutor, Jane Brunning, in browns, purples and creams, very textured. Lots of different techniques were used to give the work depth, and the use of colour was amazing.
My “Bluebells” piece; inspired by a spring walk in the woods in Patching. The bluebells are a dense and intense blue area at the bottom, and there are five trees, just the trunks, bare and lit from the side, rising out of the bluebells, against a green background . I was very pleased how the trees worked out. My best work so far.
What has been the highlight of your artistic career so far? What are you proud to have achieved?
Over Easter I had two pieces in the exhibition at The Mill House Gallery, Angmering, organised by the British Tapestry Group, South East. The exhibition is moving to Hastings next.
I feel that is very special.
My weaving will be in the Worthing Artists Open Houses 2016, venue 46.
What have you sacrificed for your art?
A tidy house!
But, I am very lucky. I am able to keep a balance between work and being creative.
What’s the best bit of advice that has been given to you?
I did a workshop ‘From drawing to weaving’ which was very good.
I was told to look really hard, be very observant. I learned to look at things in a different way.
On walks in the woods or on the beach, you see inspiring ideas for weaving all around you.
I look for shape, texture and colour.
What advice would you give to an aspiring artist/craftsperson?
Being creative is very relaxing. Make time. Have a go and you will find your way.
Don’t be afraid to change your mind on colour or design etc. it is a work in progress.
How do you start a piece of work?
Coming up with a design is the most difficult part. Inspiration comes from nature and I also like to go through art books. In the library there are so many art books available. Sometimes I have to simplify a design to make it suitable for a weaving. I find it difficult to weave something with a lot of detail.
Then I have to choose the material I want to work with which depends on the design.
I am planning a piece based on a drawing by Picasso and I want to weave this with wool I spin from fleece. This will be all in natural colours.
Achieving the colours you want is hard, you have to adopt various techniques; for example
you can use multiple strands of yarn, then produce shading by taking one yarn out and replacing it with another colour, changing the colours gradually . I used this technique for ‘Sunset’.
When is it finished?
It is finished when the last weft is done when you are at the top. Once the weaving is done you can not change anything. There is still a lot of finishing of all the ends to do.
Do you have a mantra, quote or line from a song that best sums up what your art means to you?
Does music help with your creativity? If so what would you choose to listen to whilst working on a piece?
Sunday afternoon I listen to Johnny Walker ‘Sounds of the Seventies’ in the front room with the sun on my back, lovely.
What is your favourite medium to work with/in?
Textiles; wool, linen, cotton, silk, hemp, nettle. I also work with strips of recycled fabric and lace etc.
Do you have a lucky or favourite something that you use that has been with you forever?
Are you living your dream through your art or do you have one – what do you strive for?
I really enjoy what I am doing. Since my daughters left home, weaving has helped with the ’empty nest syndrome’. I feel this is one of the transitions in life.
Is there anything you avoid with your art?
Very fine drawings as I find it difficult to get the detail in the weaving.
Thank you very much Marijke, it was a real pleasure to watch you create your beautiful work. You can meet Marijke and look at her work in this years Worthing Artists Open Houses, Marijke will be exhibiting in venue 46.