Felt maker will be part of Belper Art Trail

The creative journey Anne Alldread has been on has been long and varied but she reckons that at last she has reached her destiny – and the craft that has finally captured her heart is felt making.

Anne started her working life in catering and then in the 1990s she decided to give up her job to study visual arts and printmaking.

After graduating with a 1st class degree in 1994 she set to work as a sculptor and spent a few years carving stone.

But it wasn’t what she wanted, and drawn to textiles she studied for an A level in textiles and fabric weaving and in 2012 a post-graduate diploma in Tapestry and Textiles at West Dean College in Sussex.

She thought weaving was for her, and even spent time in Peru learning their version of the art, but when she returned home she still wasn’t convinced.

“Felt making had been a mandatory part of the course at West Dean and even though I had gone there with the intention of learning to weave it was that process which caught my interest,” explained Anne.

“It is a magical but not complicated process which sees the wool turned into fabric and I soon realised its possibilities.

“The material is so manipulative and it can be either delicate and floaty or really robust. I love the fact that it can be used to make 3D work and part of installation works.

“Thank goodness I got there in the end and found something I wanted to do and it meant that my time at college had not been wasted,” she said with a grin.

“I started off making straightforward scarves and bags but progressed to combining the felt making with other materials such as silks, cottons and metallic threads, wires and fabrics.

“I am constantly experimenting with new ideas and now my work is evolving further to include 3D vessels, wall hangings and art works as well as home interior and fashion accessories.”

Anne lives and works in Belper and her studio is in the Derwentside Mill in Derwent Street. Go to http://www.annealldread.com for more details.

She will be one of the artists taking part in the Belper Festival Arts Trail on May 1 and 2. This year the trail has more of everything – artists, venues, music, food and street entertainment.

There will be an installation in the Memorial Gardens called People Watching; children’s fun with Captain Dan; willow weaving with Emma Parkin and book magic from Babalula Arts.

Elsewhere there will be a Ceramic Nail installation by Marion Stuart which celebrates the town’s nail making history.

Other artists, crafters and makers among the 105 exhibiting include giftware designer Elizabeth Adcock,  printmakers Duncan Pass and Steve Wragg, painters Andy Mayers, Jayne Nemeth, John Rattigan, Steve McLoughlin, Peter Wigley, Mark Langley and Kelly Nixon, jewellery designers Judith Brown and Zoe Adamson and photographers Sharon Repton and Anthony Fisher.

Go to http://www.belperarts.org for more information about the trail and http://www.belperartsfestival.org for the whole festival.