Thelma Russell

After working in many textile disciplines, some years ago I discovered the endlessly fascinating process of feltmaking. I am very concerned about environmental issues, so using a renewable fibre in a low-tech way appealed to me.

My feltmaking style has developed in two directions: I was brought up in an area best known for its heavy industry, but what I remember most about my childhood was picking flowers and berries, looking for birds’ nests, fishing for pond life and paddling in rock pools. This is reflected in simple felts in muted colours which suggest landscapes, often with plant images. As a teenager I was obsessed with historical novels, which led to a keen interest in costume and, more recently, traditional clothing and embellishment. This inspires brightly coloured felts with lots of stitching and surface texture; recycled fabrics, stitching and traditional braids are all part of the mix.

I make some wall pieces and pictures, but my emphasis is on beautiful but functional objects such as book covers, table mats and vases. I have rented retail space in Northumberland since 2006, and have been accepted by Woolfest for the last three years.