Freya works in needlefelt and mixed media, combining her felted animal sculptures with fabric, paper and found materials to create delicate and tactile scenes inspired by the natural world. A fascination with nature often leads her down different creative paths; most recently, bioprinting textiles.
"My mum taught me to sew, helping my sister and I make simple clothes for our toys from scraps, and teaching us embroidery stitches; she kept a well stocked craft cupboard and we were always encouraged to be creative. I tried making my own clothes as a teenager, but was never any good at following patterns, and turned my hand to more freestyle work, creating Hobby Animals and 'Marine Mobiles' [sewn sea creatures suspended from driftwood] from remnants of cloth. I kept experimenting with different textile techniques, including relief printing and batik, but when I first tried needle-felting, it felt like something clicked.
"Needle-felting allows me to start with a basic shape and gradually build on it, making adjustments as I go; it's quite forgiving! I always start by studying the animal, looking at photographs and drawings: making sketches helps me to notice details and pay attention to proportions. I usually start with a wire armature, some of which is based on the animal's skeleton; this also supports any significant protrusions, like the hare's ears. This frame sets the scale of the model and as wool is felted around the wire, the animal gradually takes shape; its a lovely experience, watching the character emerge in my hands.
"When I started, my style was a bit too 'cute' and I still might tend towards slightly over-sized features, but I aim to capture a sense of the wild animal, its energy or attitude. I combine the animals with natural or found materials, since wild animals deserve to live in their preferred habitat!"
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I recently discovered bioprinting, and have been exploring the colours and shapes that I can achieve with different leaves, before the autumn takes them! I mostly print onto habutai silk, but also experiment with cottons, printing onto second hand garments that I come across in my frequent charity shop visits. Each print is unique, as there are so many variables at play: not only the species and arrangement of leaves, but the concentrations I use during mordanting, the time spent steaming, the maturity of the leaf... all create different results.