Clare Ashton - Artist's Statement
"I came to feltmaking without planning, but once I had discovered it I have grasped, grappled, embraced and wooed this creative process to discover all its possibilities and all I can create and express through it.
"There is a wonder in the process of making felt as loose fibres fuse and knit themselves together under my hands, becoming a fabric of as many varied shapes and textures as I can imagine. In the past I have build up my images during the half-felt stages, but recently I have begun printing onto the felt and then felting it further before adding more print and repeating. This process is enabling me to add depth and atmosphere to the artworks as the wool pulls the image into it. By printing again on top I’m building up a field of focus with the foreground sharp and the background becoming less and less focused. Only felt swallows and absorbs the print in this way, making each piece unique.
I use British sheep wool in my felt. This way I can know the story of the wool, where it comes from, the landscape the sheep walked in, the weather it endured. I also know it did not have to pollute the skys or oceans to reach me".
"Knowing the source of my materials leads my thinking onto the subject of the images I am then imposing onto it. To me it calls out to be the plants and animals, landscapes and structures which share the countryside the sheep inhabit.
When all these elements come together my work has integrity. It has been true to my creativity, my environment, my inspiration, my soul and my creator".
Clare's printed felt work will be at Central Hall, Alice Street, Keighley until Friday 6th April 2012.