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Alla Salem

A Mechanical Engineer by trade I underwent a number of professional incarnations ranging from Sport to Art management. Originally from Russia I moved to Australia in 1987 initially settling in Melbourne, then Sydney. In 2002 my work took me to Italy, India and Qatar for a combined period of 15 years. I became aesthetically inspired and influenced by the traditions and crafts of these diverse cultures and embraced the opportunity to visit local artists and craftsmen witnessing the painstaking process of the age-old traditional crafts and textile making techniques.
In search of a creative outlet over the years I undertook various courses: Gemstone Identification at the GIA, Dubai; Introduction to Contemporary Art at the Sotheby’s Institute of Art, London; and a Certificate IV in Applied Colour and Design at the ISCD, Sydney. But it was my interest in the traditional textiles that brought me to Felt, the oldest known to human nonwoven textile, and I have never wanted to search any further.
I have been making felted one-of-a-kind designs since 2014 and am completely self- taught.
I became fascinated by the laborious manual process which fundamentally hasn’t changed since the ancient times. Though I was well acquainted with a certain type of a heavy Felt having grown up in Siberia, the limitless design possibilities of the contemporary innovative felting techniques completely consumed me and I have been endlessly experimenting with Felt making.
I use predominantly Australian and New Zealand merino, Alpaca, Wensleydale and other types of wool, raw fleece and numerous other natural fibers ranging from silk, rami, rose fibers etc.. I like incorporating the recycled silk sarees, scarfs and other silk and knitting wool leftovers into my Felted designs and accessories.

While experimenting with the natural dyes I came to know the fascinating process of eco-printing where plants leave their imprint on various fabrics, paper etc. This discovery has expanded my range of accessories and as a result of this passion for continuously creating a Woolsi label was born. All Woolsi hand-made designs are created by me in my home studio. These designs are totally unique and will never be able to be reproduced. I use only soap and water in the process of felting and sometimes dyes for silk and wool. I believe that inspiration can be found everywhere, in the art and design, the music and literature, the ocean, the sunsets and the beautiful and unique flora and fauna of WA.
Previously I have been selling my work at the Kirribilli Art Market in Sydney and at the National Trust of Australia (NSW) Christmas Fair. I moved to Perth from Sydney in October 2019 and was very fortunate to have discovered the Fremantle Artisan Store. I hope you too will become fascinated by the Felted and Eco printed designs and will enjoy their uniqueness.

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