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An interview with Maria Friese

from Annalisa Chelli - 02/07/2015

Annalisa Chelli

Maria Friese

Maria Friese's recent exhibitions:


  • Passionfilz - Siegburg / Germany
  • Architecture Textile - LA NEF, Montpellier / France
  • Black Sheep – the darker side of felt - National Center for Craft & Design, Sleaford, Lincolnshire / Great Britain
  • A Pas Feutrés - l’ATELIER des Ateliers d’Art de France - Viaduc des Arts, Paris / France

Maria Friese



  • Young Designer Contest 2013 - edited by  «Les Ateliers d’Art de France» - Paris/France
  • Second price at the International Felt Art Competition  «100g, un poids – une unité», special mention for creativity  - Felletin / France

Maria FrieseMaria Friese


What are your sources of inspiration?
My sources of inspiration are especially nature and geometry. For me both of them belong together. Geometry is present everywhere in the nature, in each element of life. I like symmetric orders in nature forms and structures with their natural irregularities. To achieve regularity and symmetry in felt is a challenge for me. The result comes close to the "natural" symmetry with their small irregularities. At this moment I’m very inspired by the underwater world with their extraordinarily and diverse forms and structures, but also fossils.

Do you use one colour more than others in your work?
I primarily use white and shades of grey, further brown and nature tones. But it changes from time to time. At this moment I’m also inspired by tones of blue and purple. But I always use it in association with white and shades of grey.

The world of textile art is wide and diverse, why has wool caught your attention?
The wool fibre is vivid, organic, originally and unique. From the beginning I was impressed by their astonishing qualities. The transformation of the wool fibres in felt is a relatively simple process which needs no engines or eccentric tools. Further, there is apparently no limit in creation. That impressed me during my textile design studies, because it meant a big liberty for me, contrary to other textile technologies I’ve learned. I‘m still fascinating.

What do you express with your Soft Sculptures?
That’s a good question! Feelings, emotions, connection with the nature, the beauty of the wild, the transformation process, perhaps my own transformation. I think transformation is an important word in my work: I’m inspired by forms or states of evolution, I’m transcending wool and I can see my  own transformation in my work.

Is there a time of year or of the day in which you are more creative?
Principally in spring. In winter, I come to rest, I relax and I gather new strength. I recharge my batteries, establish order and do my choices. And then after this short break, new ideas come to me. Projects clarify.  When springtime is coming, I’m ready and full of energies to start creating new works of art. Concerning the daytime, I think it’s rather in the morning or very lately in the evening.

Once your work is finished, how do you feel? Are you possessive and wish you could keep it all to yourself or are you eager to share it with others?
I feel very connected with my works. And, therefore, sometimes it’s difficult for me to show them to the public immediately. If I take the step, I am quite enthusiastic. It is always exciting for me anyway!

For some people, the creative process is also an occasion for a deep self-analysis. Is this the case for you?
Of course I have a lot of time of reflection during felting. Thinking about myself, does not stay away. To me, making art is also a way to grow as a human, inner growth. Or rather, it helps in growing. Doing art has healing power. At this time I try not to analyse my work anymore. I like to follow my intuitions, jump in the process of creating, and drift away. Accepting changes and take the things like they are with my emotions and choices are also something I’ve learned a bit from the felting process.

Tell us about your collaboration with DHG. Which of our fibres have you chosen for your work, and why? Is there a particular message behind the works that came out of these materials? What will you take away from this collaboration?
I worked with the 16 mic Merino wool. I like felting with these very fine fibres. In my works I always look for fineness in structure and colour. The colours inspired me immediately to a small series of seeds-like objects. The result is a small row of poetic sculptures. It was a good and helpful experience for me in different ways. Usually I work with different fibre mixtures for my sculptures. My interest was, to use only one sort of wool. The challenge was to work out sculptures with a kind of stability only by using this extra fine 16 mic wool fibres.  I developed my techniques and the result was very rewarding. It was also a good training for me to work on an exhaustive series. Often I have too many ideas at the same time. I‘m easily diverted and I need more time and more hands to create all my concepts and make entire series.

What's your favourite movie?
I like a lot of movies.  Actually, I don’t have a special favourite film. The last movies which had impressed me were "Interstellar" and the Austrian film „Die Wand“. Another movie I have often watched is “Schlafes Bruder « (Brother of sleep).  And I love “Harold and Maud”.

What literary character do you feel is most similar to yourself?
I don’t feel similarity with any character of a book. But I like very much “The saga of Norea” by Marianne Fredriksson. Norea’s figure fascinates me, because she is so connecting with the nature. She can feel the invisible world, communicate with animals and plants.

What's the sentence you use more often?
I often say to myself: it’s all about perspective!

If you had the chance to choose a sound or an image to send into outer space inside the Voyager Golden Record to show aliens what life on Earth is like, what would you choose?
I don’t know. I think I would choose a sound with a strong contrast. I haven’t found a song witch fits to this. But this could also be nature sounds, a harmonious summer day with a gentle breeze, birdsongs, sound of water opposed to sounds of a severe storm or perhaps disturbing sounds of engines destroying a forest.

Is there a place you especially love, a place which holds special memories for you?
It’s the place where my house and my studio are, in my adopted country. The nature all around, the Pyrenees … it’s really a special place for me, a little paradise. It’s a place that offers peace, strength and inspiration for me. Sometimes I’m still feeling like I’m in vacation here.

If you had to choose one adjective to describe yourself, what would it be?

If you could turn into an animal, what animal would you be and why?
A bird. I love birds and I am so fascinated by them. They are a symbol of freedom. They can change the perspective on things with ease. Birds take a look on things by a faraway distance, but they also can come very close to them. Birds are carried by the wind, they drift away. It looks like they are playing with the wind and are having a lot of fun in the air. I’m sure that we can learn a lot from birds.

If you had a time machine and could travel to the past, which period in history would you choose and which historical figures would you want to meet?
Well, I think I would like to have a look who has really built the pyramids in Egypt.

You can find Maria works in DHG Art Gallery.

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Carded ´Maori´ Wool - Raw Colors
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