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Carmen Laferrière

Discipline: Visual Arts
Homebase: Vernon
Languages: English, French
Contact Me: (250) 309-4801 , Email

Carmen lives on the unceded, traditional, and ancestral territory of the Syilx First Nation. She is a member of the Francophone community. Her approach is to create hands-on experiential learning opportunities which allow students to engage the big ideas of the BC curricula. Through the medium of natural fibre felting projects, students of all abilities can develop competencies in the areas of communication, thinking, and personal & social responsibility. Through the approachable, warm and tactile medium of wool, Carmen guides students from kindergarten to Grade 12 in the creative process. Her goal as a visual artist is to bring out each student’s creativity and to enable their artistic voices to flow freely. Examples of cross-curricular projects include the exploration of historical or contemporary events though felted communal murals or individual pieces; the exploration of local ecosystems and indigenous plants; eco-printing and dying; and writing poetry using sumi ink and creating geo-poetic journals. All of her projects are designed around place-based, environmental learning. Carmen has successfully collaborated with Indigenous knowledge keepers to help students explore and illustrate local legends. She is mindful of practicing cultural safety in the classroom and draws upon the First Peoples Principles of Learning for guidance, in particular "Learning involves recognizing that some knowledge is sacred and only shared with permission and/or in certain situations."


Testimonials

My grade 11 French Immersion students and I had the pleasure to learn the art of felting through exploring 20 important events in BC in the 20th century with fibre artist Carmen Laferrière. She made the whole experience relaxing and fun, allowing the students to develop their creativity regardless of their level of artistry. They were proud of what they accomplished and were able to cultivate a greater level of appreciation for art. Thank you Carmen! Yvonne Fiala, Teacher, W.L.Seaton Secondary, Vernon
I had the pleasure to have Carmen teach the art of felting in my Kindergarten class. She is passionate about what she does. She is very knowledgeable about her art and in her ability to engage all students. Her interaction with the children is gentle and inclusive. Lisa Poirier, Enseignante de Francization, École Entre-Lacs, Penticton
Carmen's felting workshop was excellent. She had a group of Grade 3-4 students and they made a felted bookmark for reading week. They were introduced to the legend of felting and then to make and decorate their bookmark with silk embroidery thread. They worked in pairs and learned to twist a cord for their bookmark. It was a very successful, innovative and interactive activity. Jacinthe Alarie, Spécialiste, École Entre-Lacs, Penticton

Project Examples

20th Century Most Important Events


French immersion or Anglophone schools, grade 11 Social studies. This project will focus on 7-10 significant events that happened in BC during the 20th century. Students will work on 2 different perspectives and complete a felted project to illustrate their findings from the research they did at the Museum, community members, elders to deepen their understanding of the event. Students will showcase and present their works through an exhibition/installation to the school community and community at large. (please see video link)

Felted Voices: Feltmaking and Social Injustice


The project will focus on the process of felting while exploring social justice issues that the students are encountering and wish to explore more deeply. The students who choose to participate (Grades 7-11) will be at the center of the project and will use an active hands-on approach working with wool to make felt works, exhibit their work and organize a poetry evening or show. The students will draw from their own experiences to actively shape the project and what they wish to do. The project will take shape using an arts integrated approach and therefore will connect with other subjects.

Social Studies and Français


Using felt making as a core medium, students will explore some significant events that took place in your town or in BC in the 20th century. They will create tactile metaphors to represent and communicate how these events impacted their own lives, community and culture. Through the process of felting, using different techniques they will develop their creative and critical thinking skills. An exhibition of their works will take place at the end of the semester.

Voyage between Fibers/Plants and Science


Grade 4 and up can work with little buddies from lower grade on occasion. for Anglophone, French Immersion or Francophone schools. Natural plant dyeing for our geo-poetic journal cover, Tatakizomé ( Method of hammering pigment of fresh plants on cotton), and hand- sewing. Plants are collected from Pollinator garden to make a geo-poetic journal. Haiku written in place-based environment such as garden. Journal cover is wet felted with sheep's wool and dyed with natural, indigenous dye-plants if available. Student share with geo-poetic journal with peers. Each students interviewed to talk about journal and process of making it. Exhibition in the school display case for the school community to enjoy. (please see video link)

Wool to create connections between people


Any grades, french Immersion/anglophone schools. Explore the role of wool in creating deep connections between people. Nomads of Central Asia (yurts) French Canadians (La laine du pays), Scottish people, Cowichan sweaters knitted by Coast Salish women in BC. Students can also choose a community they belong to. With wool and felting teams will illustrate their findings. They will showcase their works in the library to the whole school community. A special presentation of the steps in transforming wool, from sheep shearing to wool being knitted, spun, carded and dyed will be presented 2X in the school library.

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