Gladys Paulus

Gladys Paulus

Profile

Gladys uses the ancient technique of felt making to create work which hints of ritual practices, archetypes and tribal art.  Her intricate costumes and body adornments give physical expression to her interest  in the nature of our human condition, concepts of self, and loss of a sense of sacredness in the modern world. 

Gladys was born in the Netherlands into a biracial family. She was trained at Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Utrecht (NL), where she studied fine art painting. After moving to the UK in 1995, she started exploring traditional crafts, and via an interest in natural materials and plant fibres, eventually found her way to wool. Felt is her current medium of choice, although she increasingly incorporates a range of other materials into her work.

The starting point of much of Gladys’ work is informed by the primal nature of her raw materials, and the alchemy of the felt making process itself. Wool fibres, water and soap are combined to transform into a fabric which can be shrunk into tactile forms, the wool memorising the form as it dries. This idea of the wool “remembering’ led her to explore her ancestral “Hinterland” in a body of work with the same title, created in 2016-7 in response to the death of her father the previous year.

Hinterland consists of a series of Ancestral Healing Costumes that tell the traumatic experiences of her forebears in the former Dutch East-Indies (now Indonesia). The process of creating this work has been a ritual of healing and remembrance; a way to honour her ancestors, and to heal some deep ancestral trauma that includes colonialism, war and displacement, attitudes towards gender and race, and issues of identity and belonging.  

Gladys’ practice of Insight meditation and study of Buddhist concepts and ways of seeing, feed and inform her arts practice, and she  is particularly indebted to the work of her teachers Rob Burbea and Catherine McGee.

Gladys is a visiting tutor at many specialist felt venues, both nationally and internationally, where  master classes on her sculpting  techniques are much in demand. She is on the Crafts Councils Selected Index of Makers.

ANCESTRAL HEALING COSTUME FOR TOEMPEK | 2017: Wool, silk, plant & rust dyed fabrics, copper, copper wire. Photo: Juraj Ladziansky
ANCESTRAL HEALING COSTUME FOR TOEMPEK (Detail) | 2017: Wool, silk, plant & rust dyed fabrics, copper, copper wire. Photo: Juraj Ladziansky
ANCESTRAL HEALING COSTUME FOR OPA | 2017: Wool, silk, charcoal, metal, rice, eggshells, found objects, my grandfather's war medal. Photo: Juraj Ladziansky
ANCESTRAL HEALING COSTUME FOR OPA | 2017 : wool, charcoal. Photo: Juraj Ladziansky

England

South West

2018

Workshops: Yes
Talks: No
Commissions: Yes