Karen Rao - Felt Artist
The Highland Cow
The Aries Ram
I strive to create work that is fresh, exciting and memorable. The open mouthed wonderment of customers at my fairs is a telling success of this and the commissioning of costume pieces and total trust in my judgement is rewarding. I hope to give joy to as many appreciative people as possible and to demonstrate the magic of felt making
My wearable art is constantly evolving, a natural progression in the creativity processes helped by the wealth of inspiration within the ancient art of wet felting process.
My initial inspiration was my dog, a saluki collie cross who looked like a giant jack russell. I created my first hat based on him. Following this I exhibited at dog shows presenting various dog breed hats and providing pet portrait animal hats. My subject matter moved onto woodland animals and is now evolving again within the insect and corvid theme.
I follow the ancient art of felt making by rubbing wool with soap and water to create the stunningly tactile medium of felt. I use this rural craft with natural wools to create dramatic wearable art demonstrating how felt can be used in a fresh and exciting way. Each variety of wool has its own textural quality, and each fleece washed reveals a visual explosion of sun bleached locks both coarse and soft!
I provide drop-in felt making workshops in schools, craft fairs and other local events guiding people through this fascinating process. Not only do they take a piece of art home, but a new skill too!
Recently my medium has evolved to include ink brush art, inspired by the simplicity and elegance of japanese sumie art, using black ink in a fluid, minimal form. I paint predominately ravens and other avian forms which compliment my felted work beautifully.