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Thursday

5 Questions: Interview with Kim Chatel, author, fiber-artist, photographer

I recently came across the beautifully rendered work of the talented and prolific artist Kim Chatel. Do you know what caught my eye? Colourful, detailed creations that, as she puts it, "sing"! Kim agreed to answer 5 questions about her art.


"Why did you choose to integrate music boxes in your work?"

I have always been a crafter and I’ve dabbled in many different media. I was making gift boxes with my photography when I discovered needle-felting and fell in love with this unique art. Needle-felting is like sculpting with wool, and I’ve discovered that I can make anything out of wool. Like many crafters, I have oodles of miscellaneous supplies hanging around. I was looking for embellishments when I came across some crank-style music box movements I had bought, thinking to add them to my photo-boxes. I held one in my hand for nearly ten minutes, turning it and listening to the music, wondering if I could incorporate this into a felt sculpture. In the end I wrapped the music box movement in velcro so it would stick to the wool and began making felt music boxes! I’ve made dozens now—bears, toadstools, puppies mermaids, dragons and more. I like to let the music dictate what creature will be shaped around it.


"What is the most challenging step in your creative process?"

Needle-felting is not a craft for the impatient. Simply building the structure around the music box can take days. This used to be frustrating to me, but I’ve learned not to rush it. My music boxes are a labor of love. They are generally too expensive to sell easily at craft fairs. I make many of my smaller critters and ornaments for these. As a result, my music boxes are made just for me. I take my time and let them evolve slowly. Though I’ve sold many music boxes, I often give them away as special gifts.



"When do you know a piece is finished?"

As a writer, I appreciate the value of revision. However, with needle-felting, I could continue to poke and prod the wool endlessly. Eventually, I have to be satisfied with my product. I generally have an idea in my head, what I want the music box to look like, but I love to add fun details and when the creation makes me smile, then I know it’s done.

"Do you have a favourite piece?"


Needle-felting generally has a built-in cuteness factor, because it’s fuzzy and soft. Some of my boxes, like Peter Cottontail and Terry Terrier make me all warm and squishy inside. However, the one I am most proud of is Hailey the Mermaid. I started making her at a book signing and promised a little reader that I would name the mermaid after her. Hailey is the culmination of many years of practice and I think she is my most technically challenging piece. Plus she is whimsical and full of fun details.


"Where can we buy your beautiful things?"

My Esty store (http://www.etsy.com/shop.php?user_id=5913111) has all my current pieces (including Hailey). I can also make custom music boxes and ornaments.

Chatel Village
(http://www.kimchatel.com) is my website for children’s books and here you can find “Rainbow Sheep” my picture book illustrated with needle-felted art.

The Art Gallery in Chatel Village (http://www.kimchatel.com/D1A_Art_Gallery.html) also showcases many of my past creations, including a video of Hailey the Mermaid as she spins and sings.


7 comments:

  1. What lovely work you do Kim. My favorite is the mermaid too, though all of them on your site are beautiful. You are amazingly talented.

    Best of luck!

    Cheryl

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  2. Thanks Cheryl. I really enjoy making these, because each is unique. I have a weakness for stuffed-animals--always did. This gives me a grown-up excuse to play with them. : )

    Kim Chatel

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  3. Great work, Kim and I love them all...Tabs

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  4. Kim, you are a fascinating and oh-so-talented lady. Great interview!!

    http://www.margotfinke.com
    * Manuscript Critiques
    * Writing Help
    * Children's Books:

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  5. There's something about music boxes that immediately takes me back to my childhood. I love Kim's artwork, her books, her wonderful Chatel Village website!

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  6. Thanks for stopping by, everyone. I'm glad you enjoyed the music boxes. They really are a labor of love.

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  7. Awesome work! I do think that Mermain is great,I am also in love with that unicorn :)

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