The Wool Clip's latest Spotlight exhibitor is Jane Firth of Ullswater Felt Art. Jane's needle-felted portraits of animals, particularly sheep, have been displayed at Woolfest in the past and were also recently part of the EVAN Open Studios exhibition at Eamont Bridge.
Alice Underwood of The Wool Clip met Jane through the Cumbria Support Group of the Rare Breeds Survival Trust (RBST): "With a passion for needle felting, Jane started a few years ago to produce pictures of all our native sheep breeds. Whenever possible, she has used fleece from the actual breeds, including some of the rarest, in her pictures. She has since been working her way through the RBST watchlist for other livestock breeds too, such as goats and horses, and 10% from the sales of these pictures goes to the RBST. We are delighted that she has included the wonderful Lakeland Herdwick sheep, Cumbrian fell ponies and a red squirrel in this, our latest, guest artist Spotlight."
Jane started felting after a career in education that had taken her to Hong Kong, China and Tanzania. She moved to Cumbria in 2013 and was inspired by the area's long history of sheep farming and its native hill breeds of sheep.
"Needle felting is an ideal medium to capture the textures and colours that characterise the animals and the landscape," she says. "As well as being a member of the RBST, I am also involved in the Hare Preservation Trust and the Penrith and District Red Squirrel Group and I love the fact that I can use my work to raise awareness of the need to preserve the habitat of these animals."
A selection of Jane's framed needle-felted animal portraits and printed cards will be on display and for sale until the end of October at The Wool Clip, which is in Priest's Mill, Caldbeck. The shop is open Tuesday to Sunday each week, 11.00am to 4pm.