Martien van Zuilen
Martien van Zuilen is a felt artisan and fibre artist based in Perth, Western Australia. She exhibits her high-quality distinctive artworks nationally and internationally. Since the late 1980s she has delivered felt-making workshops at all levels of experience throughout Australia, as well as in Europe and throughout the USA.
Martien was instrumental in establishing the Victorian Feltmakers Inc. and for 18 years she coordinated the Australian National Yurt Project. In 2013, she completed her PhD (Anthropology) with an ethnographic thesis on the significance of women’s textile art practices within the context of Australia’s cultural landscape.
Martien is the current editor of Australia’s national magazine FELT, and the Convenor of Fibres West Inc. (www.fibreswest.com.au). Alongside her studio practice and teaching schedule she undertakes curatorial work, writes about fibre art, and operates her artisan dyeing studio Colourant Dyeworks, supplying fibre crafters and artists worldwide with high quality hand-dyed fibres and fabrics. All this makes for a fibre-filled life!
Martien’s artwork is published in numerous international publications, including Showcase 500 Art Necklaces (book), Surface Design Association (USA), Textile Fibre Forum (Australia), Felt Matters (UK), ViltKontakt (Netherlands), Fiber Art Now (USA), Yurts Tipis and Benders (book), FELT (Australia), verFilzt Und zugeNäht (Germany), the 2015 book Pots and Pods for Feltmakers, Adventures in the Third Dimension, the 2016 book Worldwide Colours of Felt, the 2019 book The Women’s Gallery 1988-1995, and the 2020 book Felt Forward: New Technologies in Feltmaking. Her 2018 work Standing Tall (5 hand-felted vessels) was selected for the juried exhibition ‘Family Matters’ in the US (Surface Design Association).
About her arts practice Martien says the following:
Throughout the years, my sense of excitement when making felt is undiminished. It is an ‘open’ process; there is nothing between me and the fibres, we connect ‘face-to-face’ and in a ‘hands-on’ fashion. What matters in the creation of distinctive objects is the intentional engagement with making, and the interplay of materials, experience, design, and ideas. Making felt engages my whole being; it suits my fold. Sharing the magic of felt through teaching continues to give me great enjoyment. I feel fortunate to be part of a vibrant community of makers; the social networks and spirit of generosity mean the world to me.