Profile Video: French-English Textile Artist ‘Valerie Wartelle’

My main fascination lies within the manipulation of fibres and textiles as an expressive art form. Taking the rural environment as my inspiration,I explore long-term interests of texture, colour, layering and process to create contemplative and ethereal artworks.

   My primary technique is wet felting; a traditional craft technique using wool tops, hot water, soapsuds and friction to interlock the fibres together. The making is muscular and rhythmic as I lay, pour, roll and squeeze again and again. It seems repetition nudges me into a semi-meditative space – it invites me to trust myself, and let the haptic connections sinuously paint a new space for the viewer to contemplate.

The compositions are built in layers, hinting at what may lie beneath, and use translucency and light to create absorbing moods. These are highly textured felt pieces in which cloth is embedded, prints disguised, and threads unravelled as a painter with her brush. The analogy with painting is significant throughout, making the viewing inquisitive, and challenging people’s perception.

   Brought up in France and French Polynesia, I originally came to the UK to study textile design and am now a widely exhibited artist working and living in West Yorkshire. In 2015, I was awarded the Embroidery Magazine’s Best Emerging Textile Artist at SIT Select Showcase, as well as Best Picture in Show at theGreat North Art Show.

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