British Columbia

Victoria textile artist's work in the spotlight after being featured in hit Netflix series

Textile artist Heather Cadieux's felting work was featured on the set of the critically acclaimed show Maid, which was filmed on Vancouver Island.

The drama series Maid, which premiered in October, was filmed on Vancouver Island

Heather Cadieux's work was featured in the Netflix drama series, Maid, which was released in October. (Heather Cadieux/Facebook)

A Victoria artist's textile work is in the spotlight after decorating the sets of Netflix's newest critically acclaimed drama, Maid

Maid is about a young mother who escapes an abusive relationship and tries to get by with a job cleaning houses. Though the story is set in Washington state, the series was filmed in various locations around Vancouver Island. 

The producers sought out local artists to feature in the set design. Artist Heather Cadieux was initially approached by the production team based on an online post featuring her signature felt pieces of food items.

"It was just the food originally and then she contacted me about making a four-foot dragon in four days [for the daycare set]," said Cadieux to host Robyn Burns on CBC's All Points West. 

Felting is a type of craft where you take a fibre — like wool — and interlock it together into a shape or structure, typically using a special needle. 

"[You're] basically stabbing it repeatedly until it takes the shape that you want while trying not to stab yourself at the same time. There are no guarantees," said Cadieux. 

Cadieux had never made a dragon before, let alone one at that scale, but she worked quickly to put together a "mixed-media" creature, made up of sewn felt, wooden dowels, and a felted outer body.

A scene from Netflix's Maid, which features Heather Cadieux's large felt dragon. (Maid/Netflix )

It was a success. 

"They gave it back to me for repairs half-way through the episode because the kids were playing with it," she said, laughing.

"I did this project in January and it was a long wait of anticipation but it was really great to see it."

Working on the show was a sweet moment for Cadieux, whose felting work began as a response to her challenges as a young mother.

"The reason I started my felt business was because I got laid off from a housekeeping position and so it was interesting to see the parallels in her story," said Cadieux.

"I would like to … teach other people to kind of get out of that paying for daycare so you can go to work to pay for daycare cycle."

Heather Cadieux, a textile artist based in Victoria, B.C., makes creations out of felt. Her pieces were featured in the Netflix drama series, Maid, which was filmed on Vancouver Island. (Felt Mercantile/Facebook)

Currently, Cadieux runs an Etsy shop, a YouTube tutorial channel and sells patterns for her felted creations online. 

"On my channel, people always say, 'Oh, I can't do this.' I have to remind them that I didn't even know how to do anything other than sew a hole in some pants two years ago," she said.

"You just keep practising and I didn't even know I could needle-felt two years ago. And now I'm making this four-foot dragon."

The made-in-Victoria Netflix series Maid earned rave reviews when it was released earlier this year. It's also been raising the profile of textile artist Heather Cadieux. If you've seen the show, you might have spotted her felting work decorating the show's 'Island Kids Preschool' set. She spoke with Robyn Burns.

With files from All Points West