JC: My second interview is with Eve Marshall, a full time artisan felter and teacher, who has become very prolific in this corner of the world over the last few years. I first came across Eve’s work at Art in the Heart when it was still at the Bridge Street address. Her quirky pieces have proved popular and are very in keeping with the shop’s exclusive appeal. Quite frankly, I don’t know how she finds the time, but Eve can still be found helping out at Art in the Heart every Friday.
The PAOS committee are very excited to have Eve on board this year for the first time. If you have not previously come across Eve’s work before, there is a choice of two venues to visit and peruse her work; Ferry Meadows Discovery Den and Charron Pugsley-Hill’s studio in Longthorpe. Details are all on the PAOS website. This interview will give you a flavour as to what is to come…
JC: Why have you decided to join PAOS this year?
EM: A lot of my work has been involving Peterborough this year. So, the Poppy Project I did with Charron (Pugsley-Hill) meant people started recognising me as a Peterborough Artist. However, I don’t actually live in Peterborough, so haven’t actually thought about doing it before. I had a chat with Tony Nero (PAOS committee member) who said I could combine with someone else to take part. Mainly because a lot of my artwork is sold here and I do a lot of workshops here, I thought it would be a good time to show off other bits that I do. I learned from Tony that you can exhibit as part of PAOS as long as you work or live in Peterborough.
JC: Why were you drawn to feltmaking initially?
EM: I bought myself a kit about 12 years ago when I was a primary school teacher in America. My medium then was watercolour and I was doing a lot of painting and sewing and things like that. I wanted to incorporate some extra bits in with my sewing and I started needle felting squids and jellyfish. Then I moved here and started teaching all sorts of crafting classes. I was able to get the wool and the felting materials quite easily and started teaching felting too. I found it a very versatile medium to work with and I got to use all my skills as an artist too.
JC: What did you specialise in before you became a primary school teacher?
EM: My degree is in Fine Art and Early Childhood Education. I did early years primary school in America and painting as a hobby.
JC: What memorable responses have you had to your work?
EM: A lot of people have come to exhibitions that I have done and said that the pieces are lovely and whimsical, and things like that. They can’t necessarily afford them but they still enjoy looking at them. Some people come and want me to teach them after having seen them, which is always nice.
JC: Will you be doing any demonstrations during the PAOS weekend?
EM: Yes, Charron and I have a couple of different things planned. We have been doing lots of free workshops at Ferry Meadows for the last couple of months for her residency and we will be doing some demonstrating of making felt flowers and things like that.
JC: Where do you get your inspiration?
EM: I live in the countryside, in a tiny village in South Lincolnshire. A lot of it comes from my surroundings, as I am driving around, mentally taking in the scenery. I have had a series of mice in the last year and a half because my Mom has cats that eat mice. About three times a day we had all these dead mice to deal with and I started really studying them and decided to make some out of felt. So inspiration comes from what’s around me, colours and textures and seeing what I can stick into my felt pieces.
JC: You lived in America; I am intrigued to find out why you are now living in Lincolnshire?
EM: I moved to America when I was six with my family. I was born here, but we moved because of my Dad’s job. My Mom moved back 15 years ago, I have been back for seven years now. I am a British citizen with a ‘weird’ accent.
JC: What was the last exhibition you went to and what did you think of it?
EM: I went to a group exhibition in Stamford, which was all to do with ‘abstract’. I had a really nice time and it was very well curated. I believe it was the students who do the abstract classes at the Arts Centre and they were showing off what they had done.
JC: What if anything, would you like to improve on in your work?
EM: I am trying to work on accessibility of pieces. Right now, I am trying to work on pieces that don’t take me so long. Some of my pictures take me a very long time to do and selling them is hard because of this. I am trying to do sketches in felt now, something I can make, which I enjoy, which are very similar to a pen and ink sketch using felt. I want to have all shapes and sizes available for the Open Studios instead of lots of big pieces with minute details, which I love to do but aren’t always that accessible.
JC: What do you like about your work?
EM: For me, a lot of feltmakers create very similar work with landscapes and textures and things like that. I try and get the landscapes but also include an animal with lots of details, which I think makes my work stand out from other felt makers. I guess it’s my attention to detail and the wacky and weird too.
JC: What research do you do?
EM: Usually I have a lot of books on animals and nature around. I am always looking at books to make sure everything looks the way it’s supposed to. I’m not one of those artists who looks at other people’s art that much. Mainly it’s from surroundings, taking photographs and thinking, ‘how can I make that out of felt?’
JC: What would be your dream project?
EM: I would really like to do a tea set. It’s just wondering what to do with it when it’s created. It would need to be part of some grand project.
JC: Do you have a favourite place that inspires you the most?
EM: Usually just sitting in my conservatory is one of my most inspirational places. I can see and hear birds and completely relax there. Just walking around my village actually, there is so much wildlife and lovely bits to enjoy.
JC: Professionally what’s your goal with regard to your artwork?
EM: I would like to do some more exhibitions and try and stay local. I have worked nationally but found the travelling too much. Work, life balance is the big thing at the moment.
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