I am a Contemporary Felt Artist living and working in the Midlands.
I create vibrantly colourful textile pictures, hand crafted using traditional felting techniques, combined with free machine embroidery and hand stitching.
Born in Kent, I grew up drawing and painting, sewing and making things. In the early 1980s I attended Christ Church University College in Canterbury where I studied Fine Art and Literature. Here I gained experience in ceramics, silk screening, painting and photography, specialising in my last 2 years in oil painting. I graduated in 1985 with a BA (Hons) in Fine Art & English Literature.
After I left University I soon found it was not easy to make ends meet as an artist, so for practical reasons I moved to London and took a job in the charity sector. I found myself working in similar roles for the next 20 years. Life took over and art fell by the wayside. In the early 2000s, ill health intervened and I was forced to leave my job. During these hard years, I found myself returning to my creative roots and my first love of art.
I discovered the medium of felted merino wool which set my creativity alight. I was astounded to discover that felted merino could be used in a similar way to that as a painter I had previously used brushstrokes. I discovered that creating textile pictures combined my love of painting and drawing with sewing and making things that I had had growing up. The wide spectrum of colours of merino wool and how it can be used to create rich vibrant artworks with luminous colour and light also appealed to my lifelong passion for colour.
In my pictures I use a combination of wet felting, needle felting, free machine embroidery and hand embroidery to create impressionist style paintings. The main fibre I use is merino wool tops, but I also include Angelina fibres, mulberry silk noil, mulberry silk, wool nepps and bamboo tops to give added shine, sparkle and texture.
I work both from life and from my extensive collection of photographs that I have taken. My work is inspired by classic English gardens, the countryside and the coastline. I love colour and light - brilliant turquoise seas, sunny yellow rapeseed fields and brightly coloured flowers are all subjects that inspire me.
I understand how difficult life can be for many people. The ethos in my art, therefore, is to offer people something “to make their lives bigger, better and brighter, something to take their minds off their troubles in life" (Alfred East 1911).
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