Spotlight: Micaela Losada, Felt Artist
Largely self-taught, Argentinian artist Micaela Losada finds her most fulfilling expressive outlet in creating with wool felt. She is fueled by the challenge of finding ways to make fibers react to each other in a way that solves a problem or answers a question.
How long have you been felting? Why does that medium appeal to you?
I started to use wool fibers in felt in 2008. Currently, my work in natural fibers defines me. I found in felting my most authentic form of expression. It’s an infinite road to explore, a new language that I made my own. It drives me and it allows my imagination to take form. And this feeling grows when I share it with my students.
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After experiencing and experimenting in many disciplines and materialities (painting, engraving, clay, glass, paper, etc.) I found in the wool felt a language that I could make my own like no other and that allows me to express myself with total freedom. I think I can understand the reaction of each fiber and that allows me to work them without any limitation. In addition, it is essential for me to work on a technique that is absolutely sustainable.
Do you plan your work out ahead of time or just dive in and let the materials guide you?
My design process is usually very chaotic and messy because I’m usually working in multiple ideas at once, so designing to me implies submerging in a world full of notebooks with scribbles, papers with schemes or words to help my memory (although many times i forget what they mean). All of this then mixes with pieces of wool, fiber, fabrics and loose threads. The advantage that i found in this messy chaos is that many times, an unexpected solution comes from this mix of ideas that otherwise would have never occurred to me.
What keeps you interested in making art?
My motivation always comes from some technical challenge, from the need to achieve a certain result. I think my search is focused on finding solutions, on understanding exactly how each fiber will react in the felting process. Because, in reality, in addition to the object, I like to design the technical process from its materiality, always trying not to neglect parallel variables such as the sustainability of the process and the final product.
What is your work process when you create with felt?
The felting process consists of the natural reaction that we achieve in protein fibers when we subject them to moisture, friction, pressure and heat. In this way we encourage the fibers to intertwine and contract. The technical challenges arise from the multiplicity of variables that occur with these same actions when using different types of wool. Many times the desired result is not found in the use of one or another type of wool, but in a specific combination of several types of fibers.
What is your typical day like?
My routine is the non-routine. All I need to repeat every day is to get up as early as possible and have breakfast … all the rest the more changing the better. Repetition bores me terribly …
How did you start designing? What is your training?
From a very young age, I always looked for solutions to different needs. And I think design is always the answer to a need. Academically I trained at the Faculty of Architecture and Design of Mar del Plata, and at the Rogelio Yrurtia School of Art. But in regards to Felt, my training is mostly self-taught, the result of trial and error, having attended some intensive seminars with different artists specialized in this area.
What inspires you to continue with your work?
I believe in the healing power of creating, in everything we discover when we encourage ourselves to experiment, to teach with passion and as a multiplier vehicle, in the energy generated by working with what nature gives us, in caring for the impact that our actions have in the environment, in the infinite possibilities of expression that this language gives me, in enjoying the rhythm that the working times mark, and in the satisfaction of transforming my imagination into something realized.
What are you working on now?
Do I have to choose one? I focus on several projects simultaneously:
- Always I search for the artistic, which may be the least I show, but it is without a doubt where I work with more passion.
- I also seek to continuously design new educational proposals to transmit the language of the fibers. I place the greatest commitment in this area.
- In product design, I am currently developing objects such as containers/pots, different types of hammocks, bags and wallets, clothing, footwear, etc …
What activities keep your creativity going?
The creative process is always born from solving a need. But it is also very inspiring for me to be in touch with nature. It always helps me to reset, then start over with the clearest ideas.
Tell us about your studio/workshop.
My workshop is a wonderful space; it is the truth. The space was once my dad’s factory. It is in the highest part of a building, super wide and ideal to receive my students so they can work comfortably; ideal to accumulate materials that others discard knowing that I will then find them useful; perfect for listening to music knowing that I will not disturb anyone. And I also have a place on the terrace for plants. The light and sunsets viewed there are incredible. I can not ask for more.
Statement – Micaela Losada
The place I find in the felting process is that of intermediary.
The fibers are intertwined and then, when contracted, strengthen their bond.
It is in this natural reaction where materiality manifests. My task is to translate its very principle into a message that I make my own.
Interview posted January, 2020
Browse through more inspiring felting projects and stories on Create Whimsy.