This blog follows the progress of the touring exhibition ‘Black Sheep: The Darker Side of Felt’, curated by Laura Mabbutt.
An exhibition like no other, Black Sheep explores the edgier side of the extraordinary and versatile material of handmade felt; showcasing seven artists from across Europe and North America who create technically-brilliant, surreal and sometimes unsettling artworks.
Felt is thought to be the most ancient constructed textile in the world and in its long and fascinating history it has been used for everything from military armour to housing, to cosy winter garments to conceptual art.
Black Sheep curator Laura Mabbutt, says:
“I hope this exhibition will give this unique and versatile medium the accolades it deserves as well as those working within the medium, and will highlight the many contemporary applications of this ancient material beyond its stereotypical ‘fuzzy felt’ reputation. Whilst in essence the act of turning raw fleece into a sheet of felt is a process simple enough for a child to learn, this exhibition presents exciting and sometimes surprising processes used by contemporary masters of the craft in producing innovative and inspiring and skilfully brilliant work. The exhibition includes a strong body of three-dimensional work, moving away from the idea of textiles as a sheet material and highlighting the seamless construction that is achievable with felt.”
To fully immerse visitors into the world of feltmaking, the exhibition includes a hands-on area, where visitors can handle and learn about the tools and materials used by Feltmakers. The International Feltmakers Association have also kindly loaned a great collection of felted creations, further demonstrating the exciting possibilities and techniques of the medium.
Black Sheep is a touring exhibition from The National Centre for Craft & Design.
The National Centre for Craft and Design is the largest venue in England entirely dedicated to the exhibition and celebration of international craft and design.