The evocative work of felt artist Lucy Storrs

The evocative work of felt artist Lucy Storrs

Painting a picture with...felt? it's not something many of can do, but Lucy Storrs' charming work shows the artistic possibilities of wool

By Abby Trow
You do feel you're looking at snow and this work has a magical ethereal quality

Artist Lucy Storrs has developed her wet felting technique over the past 12 years and her artworks are lovely, with many having an ethereal quality - such as this figure on a bike cycling through a snowy London park (90x70cm). Storrs' pictures are priced between approx £120-£780, depending on size and complexity. 'Felt does lend itself particularly well to certain subjects...snow, waves, clouds..' says the artist.

If you like the idea of an artwork that is somewhere between 2d and 3d, then you'll love the felt 'paintings' of artist Lucy Storrs. Being made from springy wet-felted wool, Storrs artworks have a sense of life and movement, but they also have a delicacy and an ethereality that make them very interesting to look at. You do want to stand and stare.

While she's not alone in working in felt, Storrs is highly accomplished in the technique and interest in her work is growing. 

'I had never come across work like mine and I got the idea for it about 12 years ago when a friend's child came home from nursery with a mouse he'd made by felting the wool. It got me thinking and I started to make little sculpures of birds using felt...

'And then I noticed that the whisps of wool you get when you tease out the fibres lent themselves well to certain obvious things like clouds and snow and I started making artworks to hang on walls. It's been a slow process to perfect, it's delicate and time consuming, but I think the results are very special because you get texture and this soft ethereal quality.

To the lighthouse on a stormy day
A quintessentially English country scene
Fish swimming in the deep blue sea
Wool comes in many colours and Storrs like to use vibrant hues for some of her pieces, such as these flowers

Storrs lives and works in London but grew up on a hill farm in Dartmoor and says sheep and wool have always featured large in her life. She likes to use British wool for her work, but it's not available in the myriad colours of merino wool, so she does tend to use more of the latter. 'I buy my wool in Yorkshire and I buy it ready dyed, but before it's spun into yarn. So what I receive aren't balls of wool, but what look like bags of candyfloss.

'There are two types of felting, needle felting when you use a needle to get the fibres to mesh, or wet felting, which I use. So I tease out the wool fibres on the wool 'canvas' I make the picture on, and then you wet them with soapy water and agitate them so they mesh together in the shape you want. It is a magical process and you don't need any glue or fixatives.' 

 

A Promise
Stormy Poppies
Lucy at work. She uses the wet felting technique

Glass or no glass?

When the pictures are complete they are attached to a back board and Storrs says you can choose whether to put them in a frame behind glass.

'People worry that glass will squash the wool, but the pictures are in a box frame so the glass doesn't press against the picture at all. Obviously the artworks are protected behind glass and they will last for years and years. But it's up to you.' 

 
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