"My work explores patterns of change and transformation, which are echoed by the alchemy of the felt-making process itself. The wool fibers, water and soap are combined to form a fabric that can be shrunk into tactile shapes through a long physical process, the wool memorizing the shape as it dries.
The idea of "remembrance" of wool gives me not only the means to mark and treat the important events of my life, but also to attach myself to an ancient textile tradition that has played a vital role in the history of humanity. The medium allows me to express myself in a way that other mediums have not allowed, but I am incorporating more and more other materials into my work.
Despite the strenght characteristic of the felt, there is an implicit fragility to the sculpted form. I am fascinated by this tension and how far I can push the boundaries of the medium. "
About the artist:
Born and raised in the Netherlands, Gladys studied drawing and painting at Kunsten's Hogeschool in Utrecht before moving to the UK in 1995. She made her first felt hat in 2005 and instantly fell in love with that rich and felted history of felt: the humility of materials, the shear resistance of the felting process and the alchemic malleability of wool to take a new shape.
She began to make masks because she is interested in the relationship between wearer and observer and because masks represent certain aspects of our life (such as the importance of ritual), with which most of us are no longer in contact. In recent years, some of her animal masks have found their place in theater, film, music videos and fashion shoots.
Her most recent work "HINTERLAND" is a deeply personal and moving exploration of her ancestry, which has received laudatory reviews and moved visitors.
Gladys currently lives and works in Somerset, England, with her partner and two children.