So this summer I managed to get one final work placement with a wonderful lady called Clare Ashton, who runs a felt making business called felt feelings which is based in Todmorden.
Initially I was a bit unsure as to whether I would enjoy it or not as I am not much of a textile person! However I couldn’t have been more wrong, the processes and techniques involved with felt making were fascinating. I love the tactile nature of the whole process, having to know by touch when the felt is ready and finished. There is so much more to the textile than it seems, i must admit i had some pre-concieved notions of felt being a product to make weird hippy-ish products such as ill fitting hats or slippers, but it truly is amazing what is possible with this natural material.
Clare makes two types of felt, one is called Cobweb felt which is incredibly fine felt made of Wensleydale wool which has a curly nature to it leaving waves in the felt. (the wensleydale sheep shown below) This type of felt is used by Clare to make lamp shades, the delicate nature of the felt gives a wonderful glow to the shades and really brings the product to life. (photo shown below)
Aswell as the Wensleydale wool clare also uses Shetland wool to create a standard felt, this is used mainly for book coverings as it is thicker and reasonably hard wearing. Both types of felt get images drawn by clare screen printed onto them, the imagery used is mainly inspired by british wildlife and nature. The products themselves are incredibly beautiful and a lot of work goes into making each product as i found out!
Duirng my month with Clare i learnt a great deal, making sheets and sheets of felt, sweing book covers, printing, building light shades and even exhibiting at the Home and Gift show! It was an incredible opportunity for me and i am very greatful. Heres some more pictures of my time with Clare!
Working with pre-felt (partially felted wool, done to a stage thats brings it together as a fabric but still has enough capacity for things to be done to it e.g. adding coloured fibres)
Making my own felt by hand which is tiring work!
Some examples of Clares other work- Felted soaps and felt garments
A needle felted Wensleydale sheep! How cute!!
Emma Xx 🙂