Wild Expectations

5 June 2012

Imagine walking down a bustling shopping street in London just before Christmas, but instead of stressed shoppers you see nothing but a sea of creatures? Stags, Donkeys, Wolves, Rams or the odd Minotaur, what a fantastic sight this would be!! 

This was the thinking behind the talented artist and felt-maker Barbara Keal, her love for creatures and nature drew her into the world of performance-based art and fashion.

She was inspired to start as a felt-maker after spending most of her time on the hills surrounded by the beautiful herds of mixed bred sheep like Herdwicks, Hebredians and others kept as fluffy field-mowers!

Felt making is a simple process, by which loose hair (in Barbara’s case sheep or alpaca fleece) is matted into a fabric through friction.

Her hats have graced the pages of the Telegraph, In Style and FT How to Spend it (in which the above photographs were shot by the talented Damien Fox for the December 4th 2010 issue.) This shoot adds the mystical and fairytale factor, which really sums up the nature behind these extraordinary head pieces. I can imagine myself wearing one of these dressed head to toe in white fur and wandering through the forests of Narnia! –yes I was a little obsessed with C. S. Lewis’; The Lion The Witch and The Wardrobe when I was younger!!

These hats really caught my eye when I stumbled across them. I always get totally charmed by artists such as Barbara, being a country bumpkin myself, surrounded by sheep (which of course are all named pets), I simple adore to see such highly designed pieces which, hooray, are not made out of 100% viscose but instead 100% nature!  

Images: Damien Fox for the Financial Times How To Spend It 

Barbara Keal's Website

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