Felti by Sarah Leigh
Unstructured Bark Shade
Oversized Chrysalis Light
Nuno Felted String of Lights
Through the medium of feltmaking my practice focuses on designing and creating unique, tactile pieces that play with, and exploit, the nuances of wool fibre. This is often in conjunction with illumination to create lighting in many forms; whether a cobweb edged string of lights, a large drum shade featuring an exaggerated bark texture, or a highly sculptural and organic oversized cocoon - each is created with a desire to produce a piece that draws people in with its tactility and warmth of tone. My greatest pleasure is witnessing the response to my work; observing a nurturing touch of a felted vessel or a tentative ruffle of the felted layers of a piece of lighting - and knowing that somebody else feels the same way about the medium, and my work, as I do.
Textures and forms in nature are an endless source of inspiration; from the magnified imagery of pollen to the bark structure of a towering Redwood, from the curl of an unfurling fern to the delicate papery surface of a sea urchin. From these I'll identify something that makes my heart skip a little beat, and from there I'll sketch ideas and make samples until I feel I've captured the essence of this inspiration.
Working with a variety of carded wool fibres, chosen especially for their unique properties, I use the techniques of wet felting to create unique felted pieces that exploit the nuances of fibres, particularly when combined with illumination. Each piece begins life as layers of fluffy wool, but when it meets soap, hot water, and an awful lot of elbow grease transforms into a robust and unified surface. It is this alchemy that first saw me hooked on the medium of feltmaking. Coupled with the use of resists, Shibori techniques to create a manipulated surface, or the inclusion of other fibres, the options within feltmaking are limitless.