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Artist & crafter, Odile Gova – her winding road to her ideal medium

Updated on June 5, 2012

By Leslie A. Panfil

When Odile Gova’s son Zain developed juvenile diabetes at the age of 5, she decided it would be best for the family’s peace of mind for her to stay home. She has worked from her home studio for the last 10 years producing a broad range of art.

“I have always been very crafty,” said Gova. “From a very young age I was taught to crochet, knit and sew. I started out painting floor cloths, this lasted a few years. I finally gave it up because of the polyurethane I used to seal the rugs. I designed and hand painted hundreds and hundreds of rugs both large and small. “

She then moved on to hand cast concrete garden sculpture. Working mostly with large leaves, she hand painted the pieces she casted. “I worked mostly out of our garage and I could really only do this in the spring and summer. I needed another project to keep myself busy during the winter months,” explained Gova.

“I decided to start knitting and crocheting again. I had read an article about how people were felting their knitting and crochet work and I was very intrigued with this idea.

It was just a matter of time before I came across another article about ‘fulling’ sweaters. Fulling is a technique where you turn a thrift store sweater into nice thick felt.”

Gova ran out to her local thrift store the same day and bought a few wool sweaters.

She admits there was quite a learning curve but within 6 months she had developed two techniques for making felt rope and felt beads. “I had also decided that I would only work with materials that were found at my local thrift store wool sweaters, wool coats, buttons, doilies, yarn, zippers, embroidery threads and fabrics,” said Gova.

Then she stumbled upon one of her signature looks, incorporating zippers. “I had found a rather large bag of brass zippers and started playing with them. I didn't want to make the rose shaped zippers everyone was making but I was sure I'd think of something fun to do with them. The idea of incorporating the felt with the zipper was a very gradual process. Then one idea led to the other.”

“Needless to say, I pushed to concrete work aside and now I work exclusively with the recycled wool felt and brass zipper. I also love coming up with new ideas for the vintage doilies I've been collecting.”

Gova plans to display her work at the spring 2012 "One of a kind show" in Toronto. “This will be the first time I've done this show with my new work. I've done this show many times before but it was with the floor cloths and concrete work.”

“I rarely get into a rut,” she admitted. “If I feel stuck I only have to go to my sketch books for inspiration. I keep very detailed sketch books. I develop ideas and then draw and draw and draw, until I feel I've stretched an idea as far as it will go. I work in my sketch book at least once a week.”

Gova recommends crafters keep a detailed sketch book. “Keep your eyes open for new trends and then try to make them your own. Also try to learn a new skill like embroidery or crochet or maybe take a watercolor class. You never know how these skills may impact your work.”

Gova is also a bit of a shutter bug. “I love photographing wild mushrooms. We live minutes away from the Rouge Valley here in Southern Ontario. I hike quite regularly, for the exercise and mind clearing benefits. I always have my camera with me. I never know what I'll find!”

She’s found Flickr, a photo management and sharing site to be a supportive artistic community. “I photograph all of my work and keep it all on my flickr site. There is a fabulous crafting community on flickr and the feedback on my work has been incredibly helpful. It was because of the kind support of other crafters on flickr that I finally got the courage to set up my Etsy shop.”

“I enjoy doing small craft shows but, they can be disappointing because of the light traffic. I prefer a large crazy busy venue. While these platforms can be far more expensive to get involved in, they can really pay off.”

“I have truly enjoyed my Etsy shop experience but, it can get lonely. I must say that I love doing a show every now and then because of the interaction with fellow exhibitors and customers.”

“I feel truly blessed to be working from home. I have two children, ages 12 and 14. My Studio is set up on the main level of our home and I'm always in touch with them. My daughter is very talented and loves to work with me. I'm sure she'll end up taking over the business one day!! I taught her to crochet just last week and she's completely obsessed.”

Gova’s work if sold exclusively through Etsy

Brooches range $30-$40.


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    • profile image

      Barby Anderson 6 years ago

      I have always adored Odile's art. She is so talented, uses vibrant colors and is a lovely person on top of it all. All my best to you Odile!


    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 6 years ago from the short journey

      Such beautiful, fine work! Stunning, really. Thank you for sharing!

      Voted up and bookmarked.

    • RNMSN profile image

      Barbara Bethard 6 years ago from Tucson, Az

      I really enjoy reading about new artisits and seeing their work. A wonderful Hub and tribute to Odile Gova!! Pinned to Pinterest :)