I sell felt 'paintings'. There is no actual painting involved. My artwork is made from sheep's fleece which has been washed, dyed and carded. I use the fibres in much the same as a painter would use paints to build a picture. I also use silk fibres with the wool and make it in to felt. Felt is a wonderfully versatile medium and making felt is an ancient craft which pre dates any other fabric.
I began making felt when I moved to a small holding and began keeping sheep. They have to be shorn every year and I wanted to do something with their fleeces as I hate waste. After trying spinning and weaving I began to experiment with feltmaking. At first I made bags and hats but discovered I enjoyed decorating them more than making them so I began to make felt pictures. Since I started 12 years ago my work has evolved and I now needle felt the fleece to hold it in position then wet felt it to make a strong fabric and then add stitching to create extra texture and add detail.
My work is now sold all over the world which I find incredibly exciting and my feltmaking has become my full time job. Sadly I very rarely use the fleece of my own sheep now because the process of de greasing, washing, dying and carding takes too long. I do, however, spin yarn from their fleece and use it to embellish some of my felts.