Conversation with Angelika Werth, Canada

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I have lived and worked in four countries: France, Germany, Australia and Canada; I love them all, Canada is my home. The most inspiring experiences in the Textile world for me was working for Yves Saint Laurent in Paris, France many years ago and most recently: taking a class at Central Saint Martins in London, England.

CONVERSATION WITH THE MAKER (CWTM) Did you always envision a life as an artist?
ANGELIKA WERTH (AW) I always envisioned myself working in Textiles.

CWTM What was your first experience with making art?
AW Drawing and stitching, combining paper, leaves, flowers and materials given to me by a dressmaker who was making my dresses (my mother did not sew) into dolls dresses and houses.
CWTM Do you have a dedicated studio?
AW Yes, I down sized a few years ago. I have no living room, but a large studio.

CWTM Can you describe a typical day?
AW I start with tea when I teach, coffee on studio days, feed the birds…go into the office, answer emails, do my office work, walk to work (teach) or settle into my studio for the day.
CWTM Would you consider your art making to be more about the process than the outcome?
AW Both, my process is time consuming, I love the process, the sketching, maquette making, designing and making of patterns, constructing and stitching.

CWTM Do you agree that a small element of uncertainty about the finished look is what makes the process of creating so enticing?
AW Yes, to embrace mistakes, to expand on an idea, to give oneself permission to stop at any time or taking a body of work into an unpredictable direction and at times stopping in the maquette stage or taking the work into a series.

CWTM Any indispensable tools or equipment?
AW Pencils, paper, vintage materials, fine wools, vintage hardware, scissors.
CWTM Do your pieces start with a planned course of action or are they more spontaneous?
AW It changes constantly, however I like to make a sketch to keep track of ideas, to stay focused.

CWTM How do you know when to “stop” – when do you consider a piece actually finished?
AW Stopping is a challenge at times, when a piece is overdone, it is too late…

CWTM Your greatest source of inspiration is….
AW It can be a quote, a song, a poem, a structure, architecture, a fragment of fabric, a button, any material, any texture.

CWTM Favourite quote?
AW Life is what happens while you are making other plans. John Lennon
CWTM When do you do your best creative thinking?
AW Unpredictable

CWTM What do you enjoy most about your work?
AW Everything. The luxury of being able to work in my chosen field, the time in my studio, the solitude, creating a piece from start to finish, working with my hands, the texture, structure, feel and history of Textile, the history and memory of the found vintage treasures.
CWTM Best advice you’ve ever received?
AW Keep on going.
CWTM Worst advice you’ve ever received?
AW Give it up.

CWTM Best part of your day?
AW In the summer early mornings, in the winter late afternoons.
CWTM Who would be 6 people that you would invite to dinner?
AW Could I have six’ dinners for two’ instead? CWTM That is a brilliant idea!! Can I come to one of them?
CWTM What inspires your creativity?
AW It can be a quote, a song, a poem, a structure, architecture, a fragment of fabric, a button, any material, any texture.

CWTM What are you excited about right now in the world of textile art?
AW The renewed interest in textile work, the acceptance of contemporary textile as an art form, the creative interpretations and combinations of traditional and contemporary techniques.
CWTM You’d be lost without…
AW My loved ones, my books, my notebook.

CWTM What would you do with a few extra hours each day?
AW Spend more time in the studio.

CWTM Your favourite luxury in life?
AW Taking a long walk, oh, and I would love a secretary to do my office work three times a week.

CWTM Has the advancement of computers and technology impacted your work?
AW Not in my work, but in the connection with fellow textile artists/craftspeople, contact with galleries, publications etc.

CWTM What do you enjoy most about your work?
AW The initial designing at the start and the hand stitching at the end.

CWTM Is it important for us to be recognized by the art world and if so, how can we help affect that change?
AW By producing outstanding work and encouraging the dialogue about contemporary textiles.

CWTM What is next for you?
AW Working on a solo show in 2014

Angelika Werth, Canada