For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother's womb
Psalm 139:13

Tuesday 10 January 2012

where the woolly things are

above images from/whole shoot here

Image from

This is artist and feltmaker Barbara Keal
She makes scrumptious felt animal hats.  Keal uses 100% pure wool only in natural colours.  This gives the pieces an authenticity and distinct raw quality.  They look like they've sprung from the earth, or been discarded by some wild thing in a deep dark forest. 

Her work was on show at Origin in September, and stood like a meadow sanctuary amid the bird jewellery and neat ceramics.  I asked Barbara why she'd starting making the hats. She said simply "I wanted to be a sheep!  The hats made people happy, so I carried on making them".   She wasn't wrong.  I tried on one of the wispy, woollen creations and immediately began to grin from ear to ear. I felt like Max in Where the Wild Things Are, and had to fight the urge to scamper off into the nearest hedgerow.  There is something earthy and quite magical about them.

I spied her work on the cover and inside the Telegraph's Christmas Food and Drink magazine.  Raid the recycling.  If you find a copy, salvage it!  It's a really beautiful spread; not only Keal's work, but pyjamas, Hunter wellies, snug socks by Toast and delicious Fairisle.  I can't think of a nicer way to keep warm. 

A scribble from my sketchbook straight after Origin. 

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