In this Felting Friends Spotlight we bring you the felted fashions of Katia (Yekatarina) Mokeyeva. Katia lives and runs her design studio Feuer und Wasser from San Francisco, California.
Yekaterina graduated the Moscow State University of Arts and Industry. Her exploration of various methods and mediums has led to a development of a more specific direction that sparked love in the realm of textile and fiber art. As an extension to her education, she completed the junior and senior years at California College of the Arts in San Francisco, focusing on fashion design and textile.
Partaking in a short summer study abroad program in London’s Central St. Martins College of Arts and Design gave her a new spectrum of inspiration as a clothing designer. The possibility to create one-of a kind items from scratch with the use of artisan textile led her to the particular technique of nuno felting.
I first discovered and began my felting experiments at California College of the Arts in San Francisco. There, I studied fashion and textile design. In one particular project, we had the opportunity of creating our own material via felting techniques, and from there, we were to design an outfit that would be a participant in the Art of Fashion Foundation competition. Many of the students had not explored this method before, so the outcomes were interesting and differed from each other.
I am deeply fascinated by the broad spectrum that wool possesses, from complex, almost surreal and impossible forms to the most unusual textures. It’s quite amazing how one material could procure such varying final products, not to mention that wool is incredibly versatile, both on its own and in combination with other materials.
Why Feuer und Wasser? The main source of Yekaterina’s designs is the wilderness theme, and its organic connection to humanity’s symbiosis with nature. Her latest ideas are going beyond just the exploration of the vast variety of colors and textures of natural objects.
Humans like to perceive themselves at competition with the natural world around them, when they should see themselves as a part of it no less than any other living being. In nature, we should find comfort, protection and endless evolution of ourselves, for our progress lies in mimicry and adaptation to the surroundings of that world, much in a chameleon-like way.
Fire and water are not mere elements of nature, but were always, and still are the indispensable skills acquired by mankind for the necessity of life and progressive skills. Felting is among the most primal and sacred of such skills, being born of the combination of water heated by fire to alter the form of wool, rendering the most minimal use of resources, but with the most versatility and interaction between humanity and nature. Therefore such interaction deems us as a part of our true biological environment.
I do what I do because I find a place of meditation and new grounds to explore in my process of creation. Among the main nuances for me are layouts. I enjoy working with layouts, because they paint the concept and give a good look at what my idea manifests itself into on the road from thought to physical item. Nature is an origin of inspiration for me. While I live in an urban environment outlying SF, the outlying places with an abundance of woods and wilds always bring another spiritual experience to me when I need it. You can find such elements in my works, down to the wonderful eucalyptus branch buttons that my husband crafts from gathered fallen branches.
Being an artist of more than one medium, before I discovered wool, I would paint and draw. After that, wool had become my primary medium of expression. I have worked with leather in the past, but I prefer the idea of creating natural garments and accessories without killing of animals involved. Of course you probably cannot replace leather with any other lasting material for say, a pair of tough shoes, but you can easily substitute skin with wool for a fuzzy wool vest by merely shearing a sheep instead of having to skin it altogether. My other favorite mediums in art are watercolors and ink with ink pens or quills for where I’m not felting.
For aspiring artists, Katia offers: “Enjoy it! Don’t judge yourself severely, simply persist and you will see the romance with fiber unfold, and you’ll begin to understand it, and it in turn will listen to you.”
Katia has upcoming workshops listed on her website, and you can also find her on etsy and facebook:
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