Monday 2 May 2016

Laurence Bergeot Veréb ~ a.k.a Feltoohlala

Needle felting is one of those crafts I've never done myself but love the finished result and I've heard nothing but good things from the people that have done it regarding how enjoyable it is.

I found Laurence Bergeot Veréb otherwise knows as Feltoohlala (great name!) on Etsy while browsing one day.  I love her dolls, they are so beautifully made and each one has it's own expression and to me they have a very Nordic feel to them.

Laurence lives in Hungary where Needle Felting is a very ancient traditional craft.  I just love the passion that Laurence clearly has for her craft.  If you visit her website you will find the following description where she describes the smell and the sounds that felting makes and even in just her description you can hear her passion.

Needle felting proved to be the right technic for me, which I came across applying about the year 2009 first!
I really love doing it, for the contact of the wool and even its smell,  and the special noise of the needle when I insert it in the wool. It is like  stepping in the snow to me, millions and millions of steps, in the quiet and  virgin snow ahead, but also something warm and soft...and yet full of the  possibilities of forms and shapes your mind decides.

I want to take up Felting just based on that description!

When visiting Laurence's website HERE you can have a look through the gallery at some of her early work as well as her more recent felting

Here are a few from her 2010/2011 gallery..

I adore these Gnomes and that Slug is just gorgeous (never thought Slug and gorgeous two words I'd put together)

and this one entitled Daar reminds me of a little Eskimo...

Next we come to Laurence's 2011/2012 Gallery and two dolls that just blow my mind that they start as just some loose fibres and are then created into these beautiful works of art.  

That is the most amazing thing about art/craft, when you take each element of a piece back to it's very first form, in this case fibres, then you see what someone with a creative vision can create from sometimes very basic materials ... it's so emotive.

The first piece is called Fawn and the second piece is called Snow....

Stunning, both dolls and that Snow Leopard! beautiful.. sometimes someone's work just leaves you struggling for ways to describe it.  Both dolls though appear to convey perfectly, for example the second doll, looks exactly how you would expect a snow queen to look.

Laurence's 2013/2014 Gallery has one of my absolute favourites - The Girl and the Unicorn and I presume a little pretty Fairy Princess called Shay.


The two last dolls of Laurence's that I am going to share are from her 2015 Gallery, the first is called Tea and the second is Petit Nuage - my French isn't great (well it's pretty non-existant)  but I am led to believe Nuage is French for Cloud.. just the perfect name.

Isn't she pretty, just a hint of rosy cheeks and those lashes!

So let's meet Laurence, as with all the people I feature she was kind enough to answer some of my questions...

1.Please tell us your name and how old are you?
My name is laurence Bergeot Veréb, I am 45 years old.
2. …. and could you tell us a little about your art..
I am creating art dolls out of wool. They are needle felted and human figures.
Needle felting is a very interesting technique that brings warmth and texture to my dolls.
I love trying intricate forms and solutions from a very humble material,wool, that anyone can handle. I also love to work on a fiber that animals produce yearly, so that it is very organic in its form and particularly convey to dolls .
Dolls convey a lot of humanity, they are objects that carries all the passions in a symbolic way. Creating art doll is a very liberating art expression , and allows to touch people in very different ways.
When needle felting, you create your own material (the felt) at the same time you create your shape. So that the doll is insulated with life along the process at its most, and I think it shows  and people feel a soul behind the object.
As much it is easy a technique and not so intimidating, one might say even forgiving, I must say it is strainous work to transform a fiber that is naturally hairy, into smooth hopefully “light catching surface with a feel on it” when it is applied to human figures. And of course, the finer the details and intricate the shapes is the most difficult and time consuming.
Also running Feltoohlala as a brand is part of the doll process since I am selling my works, and it is as much effort of communication and care to do on a daily basis. A process to learn in a continuous way I am afraid, but oh so needed for sustaining my activity out of the hobby category.
 3. What is your earliest creative memory?
This is a hard one...creativity is a way of expressing in life that is a response to the way you think, the way you see and make do in life....I am not sure it starts with a special event.
However I remember early “artistic” feelings, and recently came back to my memory of the time when I first saw exhibited sculptures in a museum at young age, and had a real emotional and intellectual shock.
I think basically seeing a sculpture out of its prior purpose made me realise that there was intelligency behind it, someone had to create and choose to express that particular form in three dimentions.Those pieces talked to me as they were exposed to be seen for themselves, out of urbanistic context and thus “looked all different”.
4. Do you ever suffer from a creative block and if so how do you get yourself out of it?
Not really...sometimes I do feel less creative in doll making, and it is always because I don’t find a good solution (a technical solution for exemple) or make my mind up  on something. But then, I will go on other creative projects, often in miniature, or a child toy nowadays, just for myself, and it allows my brain to breathe and resolve the problem by itself so I can “successfully” go further back on my doll again.
5. Are you inspired by any one specific person?

I am inspired by people who carry their dream in real life, and have extra persistency in what they do. Also I particularly appreciate creativity when it is whimsical.

6. What is your favourite piece of work that you've created?

It is always the last one I am working on when I am working on it...till the next one!
The process might be the most important for me .Once the doll is completed , documentation photographs done, and a little promoting, I kind of loose interest of the piece itself. Till I have a sell, I then take time to rediscover the details and make sure i made my best at the moment and love to make the packaging.
 7. What are your creative ambitions for the future?
I am still considering somewhat animating for a film...not necessarily with stop motion though even if with the use of dolls.

8. What do you do when you're not being creative?

I think being creative is something one cannot help but be. It shows in other areas of life if not strictly the arts. It is a way of living and thinking, live or die!.
Now if I am not making dolls, or films, I would certainly make something for my children to play with, or search for inspiration in the work of others.I love watching movies, read , and totally recreate myself at the contact of nature, so I love to go in the outdoors.
9. What 3 creative items would you take with you to a desert island?

Wool, one barbed needle felt needle and my foam board for comfort. I hardly really need anything else for my activity.

10. Tell us where we can find your work and your social media sites.
My dolls can be purchased through my etsy shop
Website and blog
Some of my dolls took residency in the city of Prague at the 7 design store on Misenska  street 7 in the Czech Republic.

Thank you for allowing me to share your beautiful dolls Laurence, they are stunning.

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Thank you for reading and if you enjoyed this post you might also enjoy my post about Dorothe Zaukaite

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