Valérie Wartelle

2021 QEST William Parker Scholar - Wet felting
West Yorkshire

Valérie is a fine artist whose practice is rooted in the traditional craft of wet felting and the manipulation of textiles as an expressive art form. The technique uses water, soapsuds and friction to bind wool fibres together in a sturdy non-woven textile. Taking the rural environment as her inspiration, she draws on its colour, texture and form to create contemplative and evocative artworks. Process has always been central to her practice, and through ongoing exploration of materials’ behaviours, Valérie builds her compositions in a layered and painterly way. With a BSc in Textile Design and an MA in Interactive Multimedia Product Development, Valérie worked as a senior knitwear designer and as a local government officer before setting up her studio, Valérie Wartelle Art in 2014.

A QEST Scholarship will enable Valérie to deepen and expand her understanding of the materials and processes she engages with. Her programme takes her to The Netherlands where she will work with Dutch artist and activist Claudy Jongstra, a world-leader in wool crafts. The hands-on internship at the ‘Farm of the World’, Friesland includes making of large-scale artworks and architectural installations in the studio, learning about natural pigments from the botanical research garden, as well as preparing of raw wool using natural dye processes in the colour lab. This training will foster a unique and rich identity in her developing work and ongoing teaching.

It seems through deep understanding of materials and mechanics of a craft, a more intuitive space opens up when making – this is not just a thought process, it is also an ongoing sensory language which I am forever curious to explore. My work is effectively a reflection of the ongoing sensory dialogue between process, material and myself.

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