Gillian Brooks (Feltwilde) creates contemporary handmade felt designs and is "mad keen" on textiles. She attended her first felt-making workshop in 1994 and was immediately struck by wools extraordinary unique properties and handmade felts amazing versatility.
"Handmade felt is a strange and unique textile. Moisture, heat and friction applied to wool fibres over time creates a versatile and utilitarian fabric which can be adapted to many applications. I am continually surprised, delighted and/or challenged by the seemingly unlimited possibilities of this amazing medium, that a lifetime doesn't feel long enough. By continuing to immerse myself in my craft, make unique works, and teach, I wish to introduce other's to the remarkable and sustainable properties of wool and the ancient craft, with a modern twist, of felt-making.
OBJECT SHOP MAKER Q&A
What is your 'origin story'?! Where did it all start?
I have been mad keen on textiles from an early age, dabbling in making clothes for my dolls, macramé, rug-making, weaving, knitting, dyeing, sewing. A true child of the 70's. In 1994 I happened upon an article in a craft magazine about a women in Gerringong teaching 'felt-making' workshops. At the time I was making things out of industrial felt and had no idea you could actually manufacture your own felt. Intrigued, I signed up to do the workshop, and found my medium. It had everything I loved about other textile mediums and none of the things I didn't. I was immediately hooked!! I loved the process, the versatility, the raw materials, it's history, it's eco-cred and it still intrigues and inspires me, some 20 odd years later.
Describe the last thing you made?
I made a series of vessels (soft pots) for the Australian Design Centre.
What part of the making process do you enjoy the most?
I love the designing process, sorting through the different wools and thinking about what will work best for the piece but I also find the laying out and the felting process quite meditative and good for calming a sometimes frazzled mind.
Who should we be following on Instagram? Who are your favourite local makers?
What's next on the horizon for you?
I'm exhibiting in a show coming up in October with 5 other female Inner West makers, called A Handmade Life. It runs from the 11th to 22nd October at the Chrissie Cotter Gallery and is part of the Sydney Craft Week. So, I'll be busy making til then. Can't wait!!