An interview with Catherine O’Leary

from Annalisa Chelli - 9 February 2016

Annalisa Chelli

Community Manager at DHGshop
Sicily and Tuscany are in my blood. Travelling, movies, music, and art are the things I enjoy the most. I love whales, tattoos, the sea, Africa, good food, big smiles, Picasso, ‘The Master and Margarita’, and ‘Marriage Italian Style’. I believe in Charles Darwin and in the proverbs my grandmother said.
Annalisa Chelli

Catherine O'Leary

Select Resume


  • 1980 – 1982 completed tertiary Diploma of Art and Design, majoring in Drawing

Exhibitions and Awards

  • 2014 Finalist in Wearable Art Awards, New Zealand
  • 2013 Selected exhibition, Miniatures Poland
  • 2013 Awarded 3rd prize, Selected exhibition, Filzrausch, Gottingen, Germany

1990 – 2013 Group Exhibition in Australia

  • Carrick Hills Gallery, South Australia
  • National Wool Museum, ‘Running Stitch’
  • Metro Craft Centre, Melbourne

Teaching Experience 1992 – 2013

  • Taught feltmaking/textiles/art in textile and Art forums throughout Australia, in New Zealand, South Korea and United Kingdom
  • Artists residencies in Melbourne


  • My book ‘From Felt to Fabric’, Lark Books 2011
  • Represented in ‘Textiles,The Art of Mankind’, Mary Schoeser,      Thames/Hudson 2012


  • Filzfun,2013 (German)
  • Get Creative 2011
  • Art Price 11 vol.61 2008 (Korean)


DHG: what are your sources of inspiration?
CATHERINE: I am inspired by the events that develop around me in my daily life and by relationships with other people.

D: do you use one color more than others in your work?
C: I love all colours and can swing between colour ranges easily.

D: what do you express with your Soft Sculptures?
C: wool used in feltmaking caught my attention because I was looking for a soft, malleable cloth to embroider. I love the texture and the versatility of wool felt.

D: what do you express with your Soft Sculptures?
C: my sculptures are a reflection of my life experiences and relationships. They manifest the thoughts,  fears, dreams and sorrows of my daily life.

D: is there a time of year or of the day in which you are more creative?
C: I am most creative in the morning.

D: once your work is finished, how do you feel? Are you possessive and wish you could keep it all to yourself or are you eager to share it with others?
C: as soon as a work is completed, I am happy to say goodbye to it. It is the making part that most interests me.

D: for some people, the creative process is also an occasion for a deep self-analysis. Is this the case for you?
C: my work reflects my thoughts,  but I think it is more connected to my subconscious.

D: tell us about your collaboration with DHG. Which of our fibers have you chosen for your work, and why? Is there a particular message behind the works that came out of these materials? What will you take away from this collaboration?
C: I am very happy to be collaborating with DHG . I have made 4 pieces for the DHG Charity Project gallery exploring  different techniques using Extrafine Merino Wool Prefelt. I enjoyed working with all the beautiful colours. I chose to make a garment,  a hat, a scarf, and a soft sculpture to show the versatility of merino needlefelt sheets.

D: what’s your favorite movie?
C: my favorite movie is ‘Captain America’.

D: what literary character do you feel is most similar to yourself?
C: Elizabeth Bennett from the book pride and prejudice, by Jane Austin.

D: what’s the sentence you use more often?
C: lately it has been, ‘Everything will be fine’.

D: if you had the chance to choose a sound or an image to send into outer space inside the Voyager Golden Record to show aliens what life on Earth is like, what would you choose?
C:  I would play them Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata.

D: is there a place you especially love, a place which holds special memories for you?
C: the centre of Australia is a desert of red earth, large skies, huge eagles, green frogs and massive rocks. It inspires art and creativity by its wilderness.

D: if you had to choose one adjective to describe yourself, what would it be?
C: determined.

D: if you could turn into an animal, what animal would you be and why?
C: I would be an owl so that I could be Harry Potter’s friend.

D: if you had a time machine and could travel to the past, which period in history would you choose and which historical figures would you want to meet?
C: it is good to be a woman in this time frame,  but I would like to visit 1500 for a couple of days and catch up with Leonardo da Vinci.

If you enjoyed this article maybe you are also interested to Lisa Klakulak interview.

Related Post

Write a comment