BLOOMFELT — ‘When Feathers Come Together: A Global Chicken Collection’
BLOOMFELT | Canada
Marjolein is truly a master felt-maker. We were captivated by images of her work online and curious to learn more about the techniques and the creator behind her magnificent pieces. Marjolein was the only collaborator who requested to receive the chicken bodies at her studio in order that she could sculpt the feathers herself with needle and thread. The day we received the finished chickens in our studio from her we were absolutely amazed! The intricacy of her felting and the fabulous color gradients drew us in day after day. We have learned much from studying these chickens and would never grow tired of them. Thank you for being a part of this special project, Marjolein. — Sally Linville
Marjolein Dallinga was born in the Netherlands where she studied Fine Arts. She moved to Montréal, Canada, in 1989 to pursue her art career through making art books and jewelry. While raising a family, her creativity led her to toy making and teaching art classes. This led her to discover felting, and she now works in this medium.
The world-renowned CIRQUE DU SOLEIL became interested in Marjolein’s work, and for the last five years she has experimented with felt for their costume design while also creating final products for their shows.
Marjolein has her own company, Bloomfelt.com, and works from her studio with sewing and dyeing rooms. She has taught felting for fifteen years in North and South America, Europe, and Australia. Last year she won three awards for her costumes made for the WOW (world of wearable art) in New Zealand. She also makes large felted sculptures which have been exposed all over the world.
My contribution to your hens are almost just made from felted wool. I really needed to have them in my studio to design their feathers. I must say I liked them immediately and started playing with ideas right away. I have changed ideas several times about how I would go about this project and they both are made without a strong preconceived idea beforehand.
They grew slowly everyday, what was mostly a challenge is to keep the balance of the chicken shape design right while I tried to surprise the style of their feathers. It was a project which took me a lot more time than I had imagined, but I had a lot of joy making them because the whole project seemed so exceptionally funny, recognizable and light-hearted.
I have never made recognizable somewhat realistic creations in felt before. For me it was important that I still could recognize my own style of art making, see my own hand in those chickens. I have used sculptural felting techniques which I have used before in my own sculptures.
Why did you say ‘yes’ to this collaboration project?
I like to say yes to new things, sense of adventure I guess, I find it a peculiar project and felt challenged.
What was your inspiration and process in creating your feathers?
When the chickens arrived here I immediately liked them, I started throwing studio samples on their backs and felt inspired, their shape really spoke to me. I played for days with all kind of samples of felt I have in my studio. I started with the big one, the starter piece is a sample I made ten years ago for “Cirque du Soleil”, we were experimenting then heavily with felt and feathers. From that sample I created the big chicken. The small one also came from a sculpture I did years ago which I installed as a kind of tail to little hen, then I made her with that design in mind. I let the material and the original basis chicken be my guide…
What was the most challenging aspect of the project?
To get the proportions right. I never did very defined sculptures before, more abstract work… here it was quite important to get the balance right. I learned a lot from the experience.
What have you enjoyed about this project?
The shape is really fun, I had great pleasure creating the chickens, it’s whimsical, light. I don't always feel that about my work.
Felted Wool; Raw Silk; Glass Beads
It was so amazing to stitch on Marjolein’s felt— almost like stitching on a living being. There is movement to her pieces. It’s remarkable to see the creativity all those ladies have! I’m so excited you all thought of doing the collaboration. So wonderful and inspiring to see others’ ideas on our chickens! — Tonya Everley, chicken finisher