Business name: Felted Alpaca Images
Diana Worthy….a little bit about me. My training background culminated after several college years, with an MA in Ceramics from The Royal College of Art under Lord David Queensbury, whereupon (after 3 years lecturing and freelance design) I started a small ceramics workshop and gallery in Derbyshire – Crich Pottery. Here I established a unique “handwriting “in rich, colourful glazes on stoneware clay, which for nearly 30 years kept the wolf from the door! With my husband David, the pottery successfully supplied Liberty, Heals and the British Craft Centre in the early days plus Craft Galleries across the UK, Norway, Germany, Italy, the USA, Japan and the UAE. During this time there were fleeting moments when I would have loved to experiment with other materials – textiles in particular, but there was never a moment to indulge this interest - I needed mental space to change creative direction. Many summers spent cycling from coast to coast discovering her “ jewels in the crown “ had brought us under Spain’s magic spell , so in 2004 we made the decision to close the pottery and fulfil our Spanish dream ; but how to work…? I knew from the isolation of the property we had bought that I would need to be very self-sufficient in whichever media I chose , so initially I purchased several books covering subjects such as wool ,weaving , spinning, dying ,felt making and simply began to draw again ( a long time since those obligatory college drawing classes ) ! Weaving looked interesting as I had been once lent the 4 shaft school loom for the summer holidays at the age of 11 and had made some very impressive twill tablemats (unfortunately in pink ) which I still possess. We decided to drive down to Morocco to try and locate one of those huge vertical rug looms which I had seen on earlier travels in Morocco and India but found the craftsmen all made their own! We returned to Spain, with the car loaded with fleece and yarn, I bought a 2nd hand 4 shaft table loom and got started. However I soon realised that weaving was quickly failing to fulfil… Meanwhile we had bought 3 gorgeous white alpacas and for no good reason had decided to start breeding them here on our Spanish hillside and as everyone knows Alpaca fleece is just exquisite so with a newly acquired spinning wheel, I started to spin...But spinning floored me and with no one to teach me its subtleties I soon looked towards other ways of working with this amazing fibre that now had me hooked. First experiments were with wet felted flat pieces , which I created as landscape images , teaching myself the techniques from “the books “and after attending a one day course in Wetherby , Yorkshire , discovered felting in 3D. I also started making half felts to integrate into the images to obtain more detail and appliquéd prefelts to fulfil the ideas that flooded into my head. Working in felt truly has captured my imagination and has led me on a voyage of discovery, a journey that has shown for me what a wonderful sensory and uniquely soft material alpaca fibre is. It possesses a living, moving quality with a mind of its own, an understanding of which is needed to channel its movement in order to achieve the desired results. When I use colour I paint the fibre and dye it in the microwave, where it undergoes a magical change – like alchemy! When I begin a new piece, there is no finite image in my head (and no limit imposed); just an idea that comes to fruition by allowing me to draw out of the fibre its living, breathing quality. I see myself now as a textile artist, an image maker, inspiration drawn at present from the idea rather than the reality of landscape. Diana Worthy Dip AD M Des RCA