Every year at Woolfest, we offer a stall to a worker in wool who has recently started in business, in memory of Carolyn, our colleague, friend and co-founder of The Wool Clip, whose vision and inspiration led to Woolfest.
Previous recipients of this free stall and showcase have included Jane Rawling for her innovative Herdwick wool coats, Naomi Harrison with her modern Linton tweed clothing designs and Daniela Kloppmann, a young spinner, dyer and felter from North Yorkshire.
The 2010 stall was awarded to Emma Dolan from Leeds who handcrafts decorative teacups and saucers using classic design styles and fabrics, in 2011 Jon Booker of Natural Born Dyers was the recipient followed by Joss Wrigg, a felt sculptor from Allendale in Northumberland, who makes stunning animal figures from fleece.
Our winner for 2013 was Polly Shacklady, a knitwear designer and maker with a modern take on traditional Fair Isle techniques and styles. 2014's recipient was Mandy Marshall with her range of Herdwick tweed bags and accessories then in 2015 it was Maggie Jeffers of Fox Tapestry Design. In 2016, the Memorial Stall went to Liz Reed who creates quirky driftwood characters, often dressed in wool.
The 2017 Carolyn Rawlinson Memorial Stallholder will be Hellen Edwards, a textile artist from Stockton-on-Tees in County Durham. Hellen’s work combines wet felting techniques with creative embroidery and 3D needlefelting. Her subjects range from glorious floral arrangements to the industrial structures of the northeast of England.
“I’m a Teessider at heart and I’m inspired by piers, bridges and industrial landscapes,” says Hellen, “but my more commercial work tends to be the flowers and, more recently, birchwoods. Wet felting can be unpredictable but I love that about it and enjoy the challenge of creating realistic landmarks in wool.”
Hellen was slightly stunned to be invited to have this year’s Memorial Stall: “I’d applied to be a stallholder and it had already been a confidence boost to be accepted for Woolfest,” she says. “To then be invited to have the Memorial Stall was amazing. I’m typical of a lot of artists and not always confident about my work so this is really helping to build it up.”
The work that Hellen will be bringing along to Woolfest will feature a selection of subjects and sizes and the prices for finished, framed work will range from about £65 to £350.