By Nicky Orr
Like many artists and makers, Heather Potten still doesn't believe she is good enough. In the five years we've know each other, I've watched her skills and ambition grow. I was so pleased when, in August, she decided to work as a feltmaker full-time. It's been a challenging and slightly uncertain time too. But wow, what amazing progress she's making.
Working 4 days a week in the studio has not just given Heather more time, but it allows her to experiment with new ideas for creating beautiful felt products. We've discussed what she wants to make and also what might sell.
Heather has been working on creating fine felt, having been inspired by a series of workshops she attended last year with Ewa Kuniczak.
"These workshops helped me to question my work at the time, and it's taken a year to develop a new technique as well as ideas about shapes, designs and colour. There's a big difference between my work then and now. The wools are more integrated, colours are not quite so bright."
Heather is passionate about felt and wants to show people how fine and soft and sculptural it can be.
"People are a bit unadventurous in the way they wear scarves. My felt scarves are intended to frame the face. They have to be positioned and can be pinned in interesting ways. They have fabulous texture and structure, and they make a statement about you. The wool softens with wear, and is always beautifully warm."
Heather is still working on the new collection which will be launched at the Annual Fashion Show at St Margaret's House on 5 December. At a recent fitting models, it became clear that some colours didn't quite work with the models' hair colour or face shape, so it was back to the felting table.
What can we expect to see?
"Wearable felt, of course. This year, it's scarves, collars and cowls, lightweight, wool with silks, and with a colour palette of pinks, duck egg, jade, blue and orange. I've loved working on a scarf for each model. It's been an amazing challenge, and I'm really looking forward to the show."