Monday, 4 May 2009

Great Expectations

Ihave just finished creating a lovely natural merino felt and silk handbag ready for a forth coming exhibition in Maidstone. The exhibition is  focusing on Charles Dickens and is organised by the Nucleus Gallery which is part of the NAC in Chatham.  The Nucleus gallery has recently relocated from Rochester High Street to next door to Dickens World at Chatham Dockyard.  This highly successful gallery showcasing the cream of local medway artists and a couple of Kent artists (myself included).  During the month of May, the gallery at the Hazlitt Theatre has opened its doors to the Nucleus gallery to showcase some of the artists work.  From the 15th May, the exhibition changes to highlight art works in relation to Dickens.

I have created and designed my 'Great Expectations' nuno felt bag with Miss Havisham in mind.  The merino has been fused onto habotai silk in a technique known as 'nuno'.  This is a technique created by Polly Stirling and involves rolling the merino tops on top of silk to enable them to join together, the fibres of the merino penetrating the fibres of the silk to make one fabric.  I also felted in wensleydale tops.  The wensleydale has come from a local organic farm which keeps six rare breed wensleydale sheep.  Each year after shearing I go and buy the raw fleece which I then scour, clean, and hand dye.  In this instance I kept the wensleydale its natural cream lustre colour.  It is a beautiful fleece and shines gorgeously in the sun.  I also felted in pieces of antique lace to signify the ancient lace worn by Miss Havisham.
The handle loops over the bag and was taken from the front highly embellished and beaded lapel of a vintage jacket.  The intricate detail is exquisite.  The handle has been lined with butter soft vintage cream silk.  Crystal chandelier drops, mother of pearl buttons, glass and beaded buttons embellish the sides of this beautifully soft bag.

I envision this handbag being used by a bride on her wedding day, or someone who wants luck on Race Day.  A gorgeous one of a kind handmade handbag.

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