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Event Calendar 2017

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Abigail Rayner - Needle Felt Artist

Featured Maker - March 2017

Each month we will be turning the spotlight on one of our regular makers, to give you an insight into their work, and to direct you to more information about them.

Abigail Rayner — Needle Felt Artist

Abigail Rayner left college with an HND in illustration. Three years ago she felt she needed to be creative again and went on a quest for inspiration. Abigail came across the technique of needle felting – she purchased a book and some wool, and worked her way through the book learning the different techniques. Her first creation was a little ladybird and she was hooked! She instantly loved it especially the way something can be created out of wool with just a needle and a piece of foam to work on. Abigail says, "when I was at college my work took on a three dimensional form. I would cut out card and stick and cover with papers and tissue, paint and pastels, so for me, working in a hands-on 3d form is what I have always liked to do, and found inspiring, thus needle felting is now taking over as the perfect medium."

Abigail's pieces started out as a hobby, something to do whilst her children were at school, and to give herself another interest. However, after showing her initial designs to friends and family and receiving lots of positive feedback she decided to take it to the next stage, got her work framed and took herself out to events to see if there was a market for what she was creating. Three years on and she now has her own business and her work has progressed and changed.

Living in the country, and with a love of animals, she found them to be the perfect subject, creating sheep with their natural wool and highland cows with their beautiful, characterful expressions. Abigail sources all her wool from a British company in Huddersfield. Every piece purchased, ordered or commissioned is handmade by her, thus creating affordable, accessible original artwork. All her frames are handmade to fit around the picture, showing the work off to its very best.

After being commissioned to make a couple of Chinese Shar-Pei dogs and with two border terriers at home, Abigail decided to take on commission based work, primarily cats and dogs, but she always says she will take on any subject, and always sees something as an exciting challenge. This has now become the majority of her workload.

Twenty years on from being at college, getting married and having a family, Abigail is now running her own little cottage industry and she couldn't be happier. She enjoys visiting different parts of the country, meeting new people, other exhibitors and visitors alike and says "I can honestly say the best inspiration you can get is just talking to people. Out of every fair I do, something always comes out of it, some idea or thought and definitely a giggle!"

Abigail is exhibiting with Craft In Focus at RHS Garden Wisley from 27th April to 1st May 2017.

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For full details of our events see our calendar to the left of the page.