Welcome! I am a Devon based felt artist. My inspiration comes from the land, the seasons, myth and fairytale, my own stories and musings, the beautiful local landscape of wild moor and sea and the natural world in all its forms. I like to use locally sourced or indigenous fleece wherever possible, I love playing with varying textures and any merino wool I use is guaranteed to have come from unmulesed sheep. Do check the story of where your wool comes from. Not all sheep are treated well and we make an impact with our choices.
Felt is the oldest textile in the world. It is durable, naturally breathable and ultimately renewable. There are several theories as to where it originated, I tend to think it was a natural discovery through finding that wool mats quite readily. It is insulating, strong, shapeable, water-repellant… Felt is created through friction, heat and moisture. Wool fibres have tiny barbs which cling tightly to each other, matting together to form a strong, durable fabric. It can be diaphanous or rigid, cut, stitched or embroidered. Fantastic.
I discovered felt making at an event in Yealmpton, Devon in the late 90’s. I worked away at a piece for hours and was amazed how it transformed and became a solid piece of stuff! I made many pictures, vessels and flowers and slowly became aware that I wasn’t tiring of this medium, instead of feeling like a failed painter with a ten year block I felt free to experiment with colour, shape, texture and ideas. I was only at the beginning of my journey. When I lost my mum to cancer in 2012 my world was shaken up, many things changed for me, friendship groups, home, sense of self. As the dust settled I found a surge of new purpose, imbued with a tenacity and freedom I hadn’t experienced before. Since then I have developed in technique, quality and confidence and allowed myself to play freely. I create my own patterns from recycled damp-proof coursing and work intuitively.
Much of my work is created in a little handmade shack underneath tall trees. It is constructed mostly from recycled windows, corrugated iron and local timber. Birds and other creatures visit, the wind sneaks in through the cracks and friends come and chat by the woodburner. I work in there whenever I can, the moon rises over the hedge and looks down on the tumble of fibres and wooly goodness. Sometimes I work gently with fine mulberry silk and am drawn to the lightness and finery it suggests. Other times I like to work away at a sheepy kempy hard thing. I am loving creating headwear but I am no milliner. I enjoy discovering new ideas and techniques for hats and crowns, they are born of fairytales and friends, ragamuffins and queens. Some of them have strong characters which I hope translate through the photographs. Some are born from stories, some birth stories or poems of their own. Over time I hope to create pieces of work layered with imagery, words, music, films maybe. I hope my work breathes a little extraordinary into the everyday.
Thank you for taking time to look at my work, it is a passion and a joy. If I can help in any way with felting questions do leave a comment.