Thelma R.

I was brought up in an area best known for its heavy industry, but what I remember most about my childhood was picking flowers, looking for birds’ nests, fishing for pond life, walking on the moors and paddling in rock pools.  As a teenager, I was obsessed with the historical novels of Georgette Heyer, which led to a similar obsession with costume - I spent many happy hours in the reference library copying out notes. More recently, traditional clothing and embellishment has become a major interest.

I have experimented with all kinds of textile techniques - basically anything that would give me an excuse to buy fabric or beads - then ten years ago I discovered feltmaking. I am very concerned about environmental issues, so using a renewable fibre in a low-tech way appealed to me.  It’s an endlessly fascinating process and I’ve been lucky enough to attend workshops with some of its master practitioners.

Felt is an amazingly versatile medium and can be used for everything from solid sculptures to lace-weight scarves. My personal style has developed in two directions which reflect my main preoccupations: firstly, simple felts in muted colours which suggest landscapes, often with plant images and secondly, complex brightly coloured felts with lots of stitching and surface texture. Printed images, recycled fabrics, stitching and traditional braids are all part of the mix. I do occasionally do wall pieces, but I prefer to make functional objects such as journal covers and table decorations. I use a high proportion of British wools.