Gladys Paulus

“Inspired by the alchemy of the ancient feltmaking process, my work explores the notion of transformation.” (Gladys Paulus)

Born and raised in the Netherlands, Gladys studied drawing and painting at Hogeschool voor de Kunsten in Utrecht before moving to the UK in 1995 and currently resides in Somerset. After many years of experimenting with different mediums, she finally discovered felt making and everything fell into place. Gladys made her first piece of felt in 2005, instantly falling in love with the rich and ancient history of felt; the humble materials; the shear physicality of the feltmaking process, and the alchemic malleability of wool to take on a new shape. The promise of endless possibility and experimentation continues to inform her work to date, and she feels it’s the only medium that enables her to translate the worlds of Indonesian symbolism and Dutch pragmatism that she grew up with, into a language of her own.

Frequent starting points for Paulus’ work is the natural world and deep fascinations with traditional costume, ritual and theatricality. Paulus is also influenced by images and artefacts that were part of her childhood in a multi-cultural household.

Within Black Sheep, Paulus exhibits work from her Holy Bowls series. These three bowls look like fine ceramics until, on closer inspection they reveal themselves as fantastic examples of the sculptural possibilities of finer felt! These pieces prove that felt work does not have to be overly complicated with colour and texture to be technically and aesthetically impressive.

Much of her recent work focuses on felt in a theatrical and ritualistic sense, connoting the notion of transformation. As well as her work featured in Black Sheep, Paulus creates other complex items, including extraordinary headdresses. She adopts similar seamless 3-D felt making techniques used by Thomas Horst and Barbara Keal and furthers her artistic scope with collaborations with photographers and commissions. One major collaboration includes the re-branding of Mexican shoe company Paruno, where Gladys was commissioned to create a Fox and a Hare headdress for their commercial video.

Visit Gladys Paulus‘ s website.

Images by Scott Murray

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