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Women Who Create
This is Michaela Younge

Women Who Create is an ongoing portraiture project all shot in B&W in my studio in Woodstock, Cape Town. I love to connect with other creatives and see what motivates them and find out what is behind there work.

I’ve followed Michaela’s work for a while as I find it intriguing, another world but also our own. I met her for the first time when I invited her into my studio to participate in Women Who Create.

She brought with her soft clouds of colourful, loose merino wool (which we used in her portrait), one of her complex, beautiful and completed pieces and a dangerous looking felting needle.

Michaela Younge is a South African artist born in Cape Town in 1993. After high school, Michaela attended the Michaelis School of Fine Art, where her father lectured in the Sculpture department. She graduated in 2015 receiving a Bachelor of Fine Arts with distinction. While at Michaelis, she primarily worked in the mediums of sculpture and print, however, after graduating she began working with wool, constructing felt tableaux depicting scenes of the everyday, the violent and the bizarre.

Her works are created by needle felting merino wool into textiles as well as found fabrics, such as old curtains and tapestries. The works are textural and are characterised by colourful, busy scenes that often play with perspective. Michaela is interested in the absurdity of everyday life, often finding humour in theatrical scenes of violence or through a comedy of errors. These scenes invite a closer look at human relationships and interactions – sometimes skewering the subjects in the process.

Below is a Proust-like interview with Michaela:

Why do you create?

Art-making is generally exciting, and expressive, and making money from something like that is rewarding, so I guess I create because I get pleasure from it.

What is/are your greatest extravagance/s?

“Decorasie” type objects, second-hand toys, ceramics, clothes.

Your greatest fear?

Alien abduction, going under anaesthetic but it doesn’t work and you’re just paralysed.

What defines your idea of happiness?

Watching BBC with my mom next to the heater is pretty good.

What do you think is overrated?

Pasta; everybody seems to love it, but let’s be honest it’s just long pieces of cooked flour and egg! I’m not saying it’s terrible, cause it can be good, I just think its overrated.

On what occasion do you lie?

If there was no benefit in telling the truth, and the truth was really a massive sack of awful.

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?

Using expletives, such as “fucking”, “bloody” and the word “wow”.

When and where are/where you happiest?

Having a drink on Bakoven Beach in the late afternoon on a hot summer’s day.

What is your most treasured possession?

My grandmother’s ring, gifted to me by my mother.

What is your most marked characteristic?

Apparently I give very good hugs, but that’s not useful in the time of Corona! A friend said that I get excited by things or going places some people wouldn’t, and I always have a story from it.

What do you do to help put you into your optimal creative space?

If the weather is bad, I have to have a hot water bottle as I find being cold very distracting, and a hot water bottle has the placebo effect of making my concentration better.

What does your (physical) creative space look like?

I work off a big desk, with a large lamp and I always have to have a pencil and some paper, especially if I’m talking on the phone as I get pre-emptively nervous that I may have to take notes at any point. Then there are two large boxes of colourful merino wool on the floor, and a lint roller.

What do you get huge satisfaction out of doing apart from your primary creative outlet?

I’ve been using pencil crayons and khoki pens and doing more drawings, and I’ve been experimenting with resin which is a hot mess but I love it.

When creating what is your biggest frustration?

Balancing admin, chores and creative work. I have to set aside time for emails as they give me a lot of stress!

When you’re in your ultimate creative space what word would you use to describe the experience?

“Quiet” or “quick”.

You can find Michaela’s Instagram profile here.

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