Wild wool.

I’ve been looking forward to seeing Black Sheep: The Darker Side of Felt for some time, and went to it last week to Bilston Craft Gallery, here in the West Midlands. It is a show that has been at the Knitting and Stitching shows, so many people will have seen it, which is good, as it is as impressive as I hoped it would be; it’s a pity it wasn’t larger.

There were also lots of things to handle, which is always instructive, especially with a medium such as this, which is not always as it first seems.

An interesting and indeed at times interestingly spelt history of felt making opens the show, outlining the long and fascinating history of the textile. Here are a few images.


Horst Couture.


Horst Couture and Marjolein Dallinga. On wall, Maria Friese. .



Above and below, things to handle and read.


A felt bulb, growing inside the box with the flowing locks at the end of the table in the image above.



Foreground, vessels by Maria Friese.


Gladys Paulus.


Above and below, Stephanie Metz.



Barbara Keal.


After Bilston the show goes to Oldham and Clitheroe.

I’ve been busy this week finishing a commission in time for Christmas, working on the computer and dealing with domestic occurrences.

During the evenings I’ve enjoyed the nice soft stitching of pages for a small textile book; this is a rare thing for me, as I frequently seem to make work that requires a bradawl and pliers as well as a needle to be hand stitched, together with much grunting and swearing.

The pages are all done now and are waiting to be edged and bound. There will be some text to integrate into the piece too, which I think I may print onto acetate.


Most of the pages. They are about 25 cm square.


The pages and some Bondawebbed fabrics I will be using to edge them, and some text printed onto Khadi paper for the borders.

And below, a couple of close ups.


Leaf, print block and paracetamol packet Gelli print, beads and hand stitch.


And a jolly bird. It’s a thermofax print, with added appliqué, stitch and beads.

Off to Worcester Cathedral tomorrow to see the trees in the cloisters, so expect some dodgy badly lit but enthusiastic photographs in my next post, deep joy.

9 thoughts on “Wild wool.

  1. Stephanie I so love your blogs !I am totally in awe of the work you do and inspired by your ideas. I am still trying to improve my skills but I so love your work and your news I did not know about Bliston craft gallery and I’m now going to visit! You inspire inform and invigorate,thank you so much for your blogs. I felt I should give some feedback. Best regards for Christmas and a productive and creative New Year. Diane Keelan

    Sent from my iPad


    1. Hi Diane,
      You have reinforced my feeling that I should comment more on the inspiring blogs I read, so thank you for leaving such an uplifting comment on mine. I am glad you enjoy it, and I hope your work continues to develop; the textile world is a good world to be in, and Brockhampton is a lovely group.
      Bilston Craft Gallery is a gem, over the years it has had some of the best shows I have seen. Enjoy the show and have a good Christmas.

    1. Hi George, hope you are well, I saw your snowy Facebook picture! Thank you for your comment; the book will be at shows for a while, and it would be nice if someone wanted to own it at some point!

  2. Well, that is the most beautiful use of paracetamol I have ever seen! Perhaps you should offer it up as an advertising campaign. Not only does it ease pain, it provides creativity and inspiration!!!
    The book is going to be wonderful. Love your work as always

  3. I gave up making a felt a few years ago – too much like hard work in the end – but I can still be seduced by what you can do with wool, water and a bit of friction. I love seeing such sophisticated items created with the medium and think this would be a delicious exhibition to catch. Shame it’s heading north instead of west! That hand stitch book project sounds perfect and I love that last photo of the bird on the grey/blue background. Very jaunty. Looking forward to the dodgy photos…

    1. Good to hear the photos might even be in focus as my eyesight is not what it used to be…. neither are my technical skills as I had not noticed that one of those dratted updates that get foisted on you had changed my settings and made me ‘anonymous’. Sorry about that Steph.

  4. My efforts at felt making were disastrous, so I gave up very quickly. I especially enjoy other artists’ work in felt knowing how difficult it is to produce work of this calibre. Dodgy photos on the way, I think some may be in focus, with any luck…

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