I am a felt maker and textiles tutor based in Birmingham. I create felted textiles using the design label Silversoles. I also teach children and adults a range of textiles techniques including feltmaking, screenprinting, batik, Devore, paper making and embroidery, both freelance and at the Midlands Arts Centre.
I work from my home studio in Kings Heath, Birmingham, where I live with my partner, three children, plus Dave & India the cats.
I studied at Newcastle College of Art and then Art History & Architecture at the University of East Anglia in the early 90s. I then worked in Higher & Further Education as a Careers Education Guidance Adviser for ten years. I became creatively frustrated, so during my annual leave I taught children's craft workshops and undertook a Cert Ed Teacher Training qualification which led to teaching textiles for adults.
I was introduced to felt making in 1997, and have been passionate about it ever since. I started selling my work in 2000 and first exhibited my felted textiles in 2002, encouraged by the enthusiastic response my work received, I took the plunge in 2004 and left my job in educational guidance, to concentrate on developing my career as a textile artist.
My inspiration comes from organic shapes, textures and patterns, looking to nature for inspiration, in particular plant forms, corals, bacteria and fungi. The wool itself is an inspiration; I use it's' memory to retain shapes in my work, exploring the fibres' potential to form sculptural, textured and raised surfaces. I achieve this by manipulating the wool using stitch, nuno and shibori to form permenant shapes and patterns which echo my sources of inspiration.
I individually design and handcraft each piece of felt. Making the felt fabric from scratch, being involved at each stage of the process, from raw materials to finished product. I work with a range of materials and techniques to create my felted textiles, experimenting with different wools, felting techniques and adapting other textile processes to felt making. This method of working helps to make new discoveries and contributes to the ongoing evolution of my work.