For some years now I have been making felt and learnt how to make nuno felt which is an excellent felt technique for clothes. I liked the idea of making clothes in one piece without a seam. So I first began by making a friend a skirt as a present for her 50th birthday and just really enjoyed the process, the slightly shrunken result and the blending of colour, being able to stitch on top. I asked a few friends if they would like to take part in a project – to make them a skirt, they would contribute to the cost of materials, the skirt would be theirs, on the condition that should I wish to borrow it for an exhibition they would lend it back to me.
This morphed into 10 felt skirts for 10 women.
With each woman I would have a conversation about colours they liked or something that was precious to them, how would they like to be seen through a piece of cloth essentially. They could give me some words that were important to them or an artist. With each skirt I tried to channel the woman I made the skirt for, not only did the skirt need to please them it also had to fit. I had one disaster, a skirt that I was not happy with at all. A tragedy, my teacher misplaced my work on a bus and I lost a finished skirt and several meters of painted silk. Refusals, I asked 10 women to take part who for various reasons, including allergies to wool said “no”.
Each skirt takes approximately 3 to 5 days to make. To have a conversation, to think and draw, to cut out a template, to paint the silk, a day to make, laying out the wool and silk and felting it together and in some cases, time to hand stitch text. Each skirt is different, but then the women they are made for are all unique. These skirts were made with much enthusiasm and sincerity.
This work was shown at “Biography in Cloth: Fringe Arts Bath 2018”