11 CASTLE DRIVE
I was first drawn to clothing as an artform when I saw and instantly fell in love with a beautiful nuno felted cape. It was displayed on a gallery wall as one would hang a painting to be admired. The colours and textures were stunning and the fact that I could wrap this beautiful art around me and become a part of it, filled me with excitement. My husband thought it could’ve been made for me, the textile artist had been inspired by the sea and it was absolutely my colour palette. He very kindly bought it for me and I have enjoyed both wearing it and looking at it ever since and will forever more.
I studied that cape, longing to work out how it was made and knew I had to learn the skills of bonding silk and wool fibres together using the technique of nuno felting. Felt making is older than spinning and weaving and is purely created by adding water and soap to the fibres and then using hand friction and rolling to shrink it. Over the past 5 years, I have learnt the skill of creating a very soft and fine felt which drapes beautifully, through master classes with felt artists I admire and who have been generous to teach the techniques they have learnt over the years.
The process is time consuming and often physically demanding, as some pieces need to shrink by as much as 30-50% to become a wearable size. The final stages of fulling the felt always fills me with excitement as I can never predict how the felt will ultimately look. Often described as whimsical, my luxuriant textural clothing, costumes and accessories are often inspired by the natural world and the years spent working in theatre, film and television lend to them being theatrical in style.
I use natural materials, merino, alpaca, plant and silk fibres which are hand dyed in my Falmouth studio. I also incorporate recycled silk and linen, giving a new lease of life to pre-loved fabrics. My clothing is seamless, no sewing required! I only use the sewing machine to further embellish pieces with free motion embroidery or appliqué and often use vintage buttons and found objects such as sea glass and shells to give the pieces personality. Everything I make is unique and it’s especially lovely if I meet the person who falls in love with, and invests in, my wearable art. One of a kind, as are we individuals.
Facebook: Deborah Irvine - Textile Artist