Mireille Broeders: textile artist, owner of Marez
When I create, I feel the moment.
Mother nature is my muse, she never ceases to amaze me with her intriguing beauty in all forms of life. The proces of felting connects me to the actual moment. The placing of the fibers or the leafs is a mindful proces that needs my focus to be here and now. Prefelting lets me get in contact with feeling in a very gentle way and the fulling process that comes after that does the same thing in a much firmer way. My hands are doing the work and I feel the energy that ignites in them by that work.
Felting lets me fully inhabit my body, instead of mostly my head. To me it is a form of yoga, which is another passion of mine. I also teach yoga and I teach biology. Felting and ecoprinting puts all my interests together.
Felting is fascinating because it is an irreversible proces. This means that building a project needs carefullness and planning; you need to think about how to place the wool to get the project ending up the way you imagined it and you need to take into account about 30% shrinkage.
Besides felting I love to work with natural dyes and one of my favourite textile techniques is ecoprinting. Ecoprinting is the printing of pigments from leafs onto textile or paper. Nature has a lot to offer from a creative perspective.
Nature is an endless source of inspiration to me and I have a lot of respect for her wealth. I work with natural an environmental materials as much as possible. I only use mulesing-free (animal friendly) wool. This way, my products are ecologically friendly on the in- and outside.
With my creations I want to bring a piece of nature into your life, your style, your house. To let you experience and feel the wealth of nature inside your home.
Felting has been around for ages. Presumably it was the first textile made by humans. Wool fibers are very different from hair; wool fibers have typical scales that make felting possible. When the fibers are sliding alongside eachother the scales can hook together. Hot water and soap aid this proces.
Felting by hand is a multi fased proces. First the loose fibers need to be places very carefully; in a few thin layers to achieve thin and flexible felt, in multiple layers to achieve thick and sturdy felt that can be modelled into 3D shapes.
The layers of wool are wetted with water and soap. The air is carefully pressed out of all the layers. Rubbing the surface gently creates prefelt; the fibers are holding together but are still easily taken apart. In this face patience and gentleness are key.
When the prefelt starts feeling firmer, the fulling fase starts. The proces of fulling shifts the wool fibers into eachother even more, making the felt sturdier and shrinking it. Rubbing, rolling, molding and throwing are different fulling techniques that, in combination, lead to the desired endresult.
Plants are full of natural pigments. A lot of plants have pigments that can be used as a natural dye for fabric. Some of those plants are suitable for the Eco-printing technique. Leafs and or flowers leave a mark of their shapes and colorpigments on fabric or paper. In order to let the plants release their pigments onto the fabric or paper, they tightly bundled with it and steamed or boiled. This creates a contact print from the leafs and or flowers. The fabrics are often dyed with other natural plants before or after the ecoprinting to create beautiful colour combinations.