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Name: Heather Potten

Medium:Textiles

Heather first encountered feltmaking in South Island, New Zealand where she attended an inspirational workshop. On her return to Edinburgh, she followed a series of courses at the College of Art and in Newburgh, Fife. More recently, she has attended classes run by Ewa Kuniczak, one of Scotland’s best-known feltmakers.

Heather’s designs in felt are driven by a love of colour, texture and form: she is particularly fascinated by seamless felt. Her wearable cowls, decorative vessels and structural wall art are all created over a resist, and involve multiple layers of feather-light merino wool tops and a variety of additional silks and yarns for decoration.  A palette of rich hues is used to create vibrant, structural pieces. Felt cowls can be gently hand washed. Use cool water with a minimum of soap. Squeeze out excess water and steam-iron dry.

Decorative felt pieces need only be shaken or dusted, but need no other particular care. Felt vessels are intended to be decorative and so can stand alone as ornaments. However, they can also be used as vases for dried flowers.  With a jam jar or bottle inside the vessel to hold water, fresh flowers can also be displayed.

“I enjoy creating 2D patterns by way of repeating imagery I’ve either drawn or taken shapes from photographs.  A single motif is interesting in itself but the real magic happens when I repeat and add unusual colour schemes so that spaces in between become imagery in themselves and unconsciously evolve.

I spend time researching ideas behind collections so that certain designs have common themes and the process from beginning to end is very satisfying for me.

Influences for each collection varies: past collections have taken inspiration from different cultures, in particular places I have visited like Japan. Also shapes in nature are always a great source of inspiration as well as urban landscapes for my more geometrical designs and art movements in history are a constant influence when rendering the style of application. My artwork is digitally printed onto fine wools; pure silks; natural linens; and crisp cottons. The fabrics are then sold by the metre; or made into various products such as kimono; wraparound reversible skirts; cushions; wall hangings; scarves; capes; limited edition prints; bags and purses. I also enjoy deliberately juxtaposing designs together in patchwork to create one-off fabrics which can be worn as skirts, kimonos etc or commissioned as unique statement pieces for the home like curtains, throws, bedspreads, wall hangings…

My work is developing and evolving constantly and for 2011 I will be working on conceptual-based surface patterns which can be applied to various media through the digital process, for example, wallpaper and ceramics.”