Maria Lalić studied Textile Art at the renowned ‘Cooks’ College in Llandaff. She gained her BEd in 1979 but taught only briefly before moving to work in the NHS. In 1999, Maria was runner up in the Embroiderers’ Guild’s international President’s Cup Competition. She studied Creative Textiles with the Open College of Arts and in 2007 Maria gained a First Class Honours degree in Combined Studies (Textile Art, Creative Writing and Welsh) from the University of Glamorgan.
As a Textile Artist, Maria is inspired by the legend, landscape and people of Wales but she also uses recycled or natural materials to craft dolls, teddy bears and other items with a distinctly nostalgic feel. She has shown her work at Wonderwool , The Wool and Willow Festival and the RWAS Winter Fair as well as taking part in events at the National Botanic Gardens of Wales, the National Wool Museum and the National Eisteddfod. Her exhibitions include The Commoners of Coity Wallia (solo – 2012) and From the Wood (joint with Willow artist Maggie Shaw – 2013) at Oriel Lliw, Pontardawe. In 2014 she was recipient of an Arts Council of Wales grant for the creation and exhibition of a body of Textile Art ((The Keepers), the development of which could be tracked in real time through an on-line exposition. Maria writes a monthly blog on her website (www.marialalic.co.uk) in which she seeks to demystify the design and creative process for those interested in Textile Art.
Making for the Challenge
The 2m length of wool fabric had been finished so needed little in the way of preparation. I intended to make 3 teddy bears and 3 rag dolls so I cut the fabric into 4 pieces. One retained its original colour, one was washed and dyed in cold tea to take the bright finish down a little; the other two pieces were washed and dyed in pale pink and dark brown. The natural oils in the wool fabric meant that there was a drift into the yellow area of the colour spectrum giving me a flesh coloured pink and a slightly grey tinged brown.
I made one sample teddy bear to get a feel of the drape, fraying and moulding properties of the fabric. Reassured by the weave stability, I saw no need to protect edges from extensive fraying or to use an interfacing. I proceeded to cutting out 3 large teddy bears and 3 rag dolls using patterns of my own design. The teddy bears are made in individual stuffed pieces which are then assembled. I commissioned 12 porcelain buttons from Stone Hens Ceramics (www.stonehensceramics.co.uk) for the button joints on the teddy bears and hand stitched the facial features. The rag dolls are semi jointed and fully dressed. Two of the teddy bears were stuffed with Cambrian Mountains Wool tops and the other teddy bear and all of the rag dolls were stuffed with polyester of toy stuffing.