Meet the Artist – Gaelle Chassery

A young white woman with glasses and dark brown hair lies back on a pile of grey crocheted throws, and has more throws piled on top of her. Only her smiling face is visible.

We meet Gaelle Chassery, Neuk Collective member and textile artist, to talk about her work, the beauty to be found in neurodivergent spaces, and ways the art world can effect real change for neurodivergent and disabled artists.

Profile by Elspeth Wilson

Hi Gaelle! Can you tell us a bit about the work you do?

A young white woman with glasses and dark brown hair lies back against a pile of crocheted throws, with other throws piled on top of her. She is smiling gently.
Gaelle surrounded by her work.

I champion pure Scottish wool by crocheting intricate throws and shawls. I mostly use undyed wool sourced from small producers with high welfare flocks and solid regenerative practices.

All my work is improvised, each design being inspired by the landscape, topography and atmosphere of the land that grew the wool used for every piece, making each project completely unique and precious.  

Sometimes I use botanically dyed yarn, which offers an extra layer of connection to the land I am paying tribute to. 

I love to think of the things I make as little pieces of a landscape to rest in. They offer an invitation to relax in nature while being at home, and give the eyes a lot to perpetually discover. They are also very tactile and offer an interactive experience, like a mini journey. Wool is a very soothing material for many people: using pure wool means that the gentle smell of sheep is preserved, which can offer a nurturing experience while cosying up. For me, each stitch in the work is like a step on a walk. It offers an alternative to remaining connected to nature when it is not possible to go outside.

So, what drew you to join Neuk Collective? 

I was looking for a support network that is aligned with the way my brain works. I felt exhausted and disheartened trying to fit into networks that don’t have an awareness of how being neurodivergent impacts my practice and lifestyle.

Neuk Collective is a safe space where being my full self is not only encouraged, but beautifully supported. My potential is seen and I am invited to participate, always with full respect of my fluctuating capacities.

Close up of a rippled crocheted shawl, in various shades of green. It looks naturally dyed. There is a quote superimposed on top, reading: "Neurodivergent artists are amongst the most quietly gifted and strong I know, and I would love to see more space made for us" - Gaelle Chassery

Does being part of a network of neurodivergent artists impact your practice at all?

View of a crocheted shawl or hanging held up against the sky. There are big enough holes in the fabric that you can see the blue sky and green landscape showing through. There is a subtle pattern in the weave of the fabric.
Detail from inside Gaelle’s installation, Dawn to Dusk on Uist, 2023.

All the awesome and challenging aspects of being neurodivergent are totally understood in Neuk Collective because they are lived by all of us. There is a wealth of experience generously offered by other members, and a space to discover my creativity and take it in directions that have not been available to me before.

As a disabled artist, there is an understanding that my capacities and availability vary, and I never feel discriminated or ignored on that basis. This is a first for me. I have been offered work as part of Neuk Collective and been paid for it – fairly and on time – and with complete transparency and support. It’s been wonderful for my confidence and has opened up some exciting doors in a life that is really quite limited otherwise.

The way Neuk Collective impacts my practice is beautiful, firstly in supporting me to give myself permission to follow the fluctuations that come in the creative cycle due to various symptoms and levels of energy. To have support to relax into those cycles and do what is needed to take care of ourselves is still revolutionary in our society. 

I also love the practical aspect of Neuk in terms of legislation and what support is available so that we can take clear steps and implement the structure and help we need. This reduces stress and confusion and can redirect energy towards the essential act of creating.

And I am always amazed by the incredible kindness, skills and artistry in my fellow members. To be inspired and received in such a way is not something I have ever had before.

Close up of a grey crocheted throw, with pebbly sections and sections with ripples like waves. There is a quote superimposed on top, reading: "We don't always have the energy to educate and advocate; it would be great if people could willingly make the effort to inform themselves and engage in conversations"

As a neurodivergent artist, what changes would you like to see in the arts sector?

I am tired of hearing about inclusivity without seeing actual inclusive practices when it comes to working with me as a neurodivergent and disabled artist.

Too many people I have worked with are very active on social media while being hopeless at communicating by email, therefore a lot of things remain unanswered, there is no clarity and no ongoing contact, which for me is a huge source of stress and confusion when collaborating.

Detail of a grey woollen blanket. It is made up of at least 3 separate sections, with the "weave" going in different directions.
Detail of Song of Wave and Stone, 2023

Because my work does not fit into the way things are generally done, I have also been ignored on multiple occasions. This had felt incredibly isolating and discriminating. It has hit me in a way that was hard to process, especially because there was no acknowledgement of it. 

Whenever I mention that I am neurodivergent, disabled, housebound, and therefore very limited in terms of what opportunities are available to me, I am met with standard sympathy but no practical alternatives. The lack of interest, awareness and understanding is gruelling when repeated systematically over a period of years. It takes unimaginable persistence, strength and confidence to keep going.

It can be devastating to feel so unseen and irrelevant, especially within established circles that function primarily on travelling for physical interactions within groups centred around well-oiled events and rituals, which are completely beyond my reach on so many levels. That emphasis on huge communities while neglecting the core is something I can never get used to. It is overwhelming and makes me feel displaced.

Neurodivergent artists are amongst the most quietly gifted and strong I know, and I would love to see more space made for us. Not just in words to look good and politically correct, but in actual opportunities that are truly informed and inclusive and don’t force us to shape-shift just to get a look in. A lot of flexibility is needed. We don’t always have the energy to educate and advocate; it would be great if people could willingly make the effort to inform themselves and engage in conversations that clarify the situation.

You can see more of Gaelle’s work on her website and instagram:



Photos courtesy and copyright of the artist.