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Yulia Ivashchenko – Artist Statement
I’ve always loved material art: clothing, hats, and other items that are both beautiful and practical. For me, the highest and most inspirational ideal of this form is the “landscape kimonos” of the great Japanese artist Itchiku Kubota, whose extraordinary work was a revelation to me. But my own far more humble creations center on simple wearable art that can be used in daily life.
When I first came to Vashon I began working as an assistant and model to Dorothy Duncliffe of Dova Silks. I fell in love with the shimmering beauties of silk and learned to be a dressmaker. Then I discovered felting, and never looked back. The more I learn and explore, the more I appreciate the great versatility that wool affords. I’m primarily a wet felter, though I do needle felting to add decoration to some designs. I felt a lot with merino wool, which is wonderfully soft; but I also incorporate a variety of other materials, including silk. I love that wool is a natural material that is produced without harm to animals or the environment; it’s also very good against the skin.
Every item I hand-make is unique in its combination of colors, designs, and materials. I love themes focusing on Nature and the beautiful environment of the Pacific Northwest, but I also enjoy creating designs that are more whimsical. As a dog mom, dogs feature in some of my work.
I make lots of practical items: hats of various types (beanies, bombers, and more elegant hats with brims), scarves, neck warmers, sweaters, vests, slippers, shoes, pillows, and even cat caves. I’m happy to take on custom orders.
I’m Russian/Ukrainian by birth, and my main profession is actually whale biology; I have a doctorate in marine science and still do some work in that realm. My husband and I have lived on Vashon since 2017. When not felting, I can be found wandering through the woods with our two dogs, and any other canines who want to tag along!
Yulia’s works are at Dockton Pottery, stop #14 on the 2022 VIVA Holiday Art Studio Tour, Dec 3-4 & 10-11, Saturdays and Sundays, from 10 am – 4 pm. For more information on the free, self-guided tour and an interactive map, click here.