Last month our Elle was in the studios taking photographs of work by contemporary fibre artist Jorunn Hauge. Jorunn is a Norweigian-Korean artist living and working in Manchester who produces work using wool and traditional felt making techniques.
Her beautiful pieces caught our eye so we interviewed Jorunn to find out a little bit more about her work.
Why are you drawn to using wool and felt making techniques?
Of course the rich history of felt making and all of the associations that you can make with the material are interesting: it’s one of the oldest fabrics found in ancient cultures around the world, its been used both practically and decoratively to make a whole array of objects from yurts and shamanic ceremonial robes to blankets and slippers. But the principal reason that I am attracted to working with wool is the direct experience of the material itself. It’s natural qualities of warmth, softness and pliability. It’s first and foremost a tactile experience.
I started looking at traditional felting techniques as well as improvising my own in order to be able to explore how I could use the material in my work.
What other materials do you use in your work and what is it about them that interests you?
Currently I have used a list of different materials in my work but felt has been there as a constant for a long time now. I have also used wax, wire, mirror, pieces of broken pottery, latex, copper, steel, glass, plastic and found objects. All of the materials that get incorporated in my work are there for the same reason. The common denominator is my personal attraction to their physical qualities. Something will excite me about their colour, texture or form and I will find myself wanting to incorporate them into a piece.
Your work seems to reflect elements from nature but also from technology, is this contrast in materials and imagery important to you?
I enjoy taking things out of context and working them into new and harmonious compositions. This has obvious resonances for me as an adopted Korean who grew up in a list of countries around the world.
What influences your thought process when you are making your work?
Sometimes the materials themselves will suggest an idea. Sometimes the idea will come first and thematerials will take shape around it. Either way I generally start with a clear idea of what I’m working towards and from there it’s a question of working through the technical challenges of realising the piece.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’m currently working on a few pieces. There are two larger scale vase pieces. One that will be finished with a detailed drawing, the other is further exploring the visual qualities of the fibre. There is a small lined felt chest which is being finished with brass fittings, a Korean rice bowl to be decorated with a Norwegian rose painting design and I am playing with ways to incorporate electrical cable into a piece.
Where do you produce your work?
I have a small studio space at home which is rapidly becoming too small so I’m thinking of looking for bigger space some time soon.
What artists do you admire?
When I was younger I was interested in artists like Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Cornell and Joseph Beuys but these days I spend a lot less time looking at other peoples work. I think this is because I am now a lot clearer about my own ideas.
Do you have any advice for people wanting to work with traditional felt making techniques?
If anyone is interested in using traditional felt making technique I would encourage them to learn the basic skills and then to play with the material and not feel limited by any idea of there being a right way of doing it.
Where can people see your work?
I am currently trying to arrange an exhibition but for now, people can see some of my work at www.jorunnhauge.co
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