Michele K.

Part 1 / History

My brother and myself are born after the war. I am the second, born in 1952. Our parents were different one of each other, and, for what I remember, had no complicity ( and love ?) together. When I was a child, I loved reading. I was very often playing theatre on my own, disguising myself with old clothes and blankets. I was often on my own. I used to glue scraps together to make clothes for my doll. According to the teacher, I would never be able to sew correctly.

I loved puzzles, sand castles, soap bubbles and books. My father used to buy me lots of books. I was cheerful and trusting but shy.

My childhood ended when my father died. I was nearly 12.
It was at the same time the beginning of adolescence. I closed in myself.
But I still liked making stuff with materials and paper. My grandmother taught me how to knit and crochet.
I studied French, Latin and Greek in university. I have forgotten all that now. I had a job at the same time because I didn't want the money from my "parents" (my mother had remarried).
I was part of an association collecting old stuff to make money for charities. I choose to work at collecting the clothes and materials, old napkins, dresses, handbags etc. That was during the seventies. I bought lots of old dresses and laces. I loved that.

Around 1980, I changed my profession ( I was teaching) and started a formation of librarian.
I met John, an Irishman who had come to France for one year to study French. He had a great sens of humour.
We married, lived in France and had 4 children. Very happy together. Complicity, friendship, love.Happy life.
I was still making some clothes when I found time. Around 1996 I started to do patchwork with the scraps, according freely my scraps.
2001 John is diagnosed with a cancer. Clouds were coming.
I took an early retirement.
I had a friend who liked to play with material like I did, any type of material. We have had great moments together. She died 5 years ago.
2008 John dies.
The children were doing their studies.
It has been long and difficult to go back to my own balance after those years of illness, pain and death.
I have never stopped sewing. I went for a while to an association making traditional patchwork. I was not interested but my head was empty and it was nice to have materiel and threads in my hand. It helped me. That emptiness lasted for something like three years.

For the last five years, I have learned how to live with myself, on my own. Most of the time I feel happy. My children are great, I have 2 granddaughters. I have discovered textile art with a group of five persons that I like. I learned lots of things and techniques.
I have the feeling that I need now to involve myself in a more personal work, and I feel strongly that time is passing by very quickly.

Part 2 / Process

At the moment, I am usually starting with an image or a few images (photos, pictures from a magazine, art books) that give me an atmosphere that I like. I choose images accorded to a word : tree bark, stone walls, seaweeds...
I am trying to do some very basic sketches and write some options. I don't always do it.
Usually the first thing I am looking for, are the colours. I go to my boxes of material and scraps. I am getting a bit better at dyeing fabric and I have a preference for those fabrics now.
I like when the piece has some volume or some bas-relief. I am often using techniques which allow that : pleats, multiples layers, overlap of material, thin or thick strings.
When the piece is nearly nearly finished, I like to add some free embroidery.

I have also started to make 3D felt pieces.

Part 3 / Content

What I am interested in :

-The Celtic atmosphere that is quite similar here in Brittany and in Ireland where I often go : the paths and walks along the river, the seashores and the rocks on the strand, the stone walls, the Irish landscapes, the stones, the colour of the sea and sky, the rain and the fog, the heathland, the flora.

-The white and coolish atmosphere of the Nordic areas of Europe I like yellows, greens, some blues, greys and whites.