Meet the artist; Helen Rushton
What is your background/ where are you based?
I was born and brought up in Bristol and as a teenager, spent my time either on boats or in the countryside. So my love of the countryside developed at an early age. I lived in Chewton Mendip at the edge of a wood for 20 years and moved to High Littleton 15 years ago to be a carer for an elderly relative. Having to be at home gave me time for my crafts of spinning, weaving, dyeing, feltmaking and willow weaving.
When and how did you get started in your art/ craft?
My parents were both artistic and as children we were encouraged to be creative. I used to knit and sew clothes for my toys. About 28 years ago I was interested in evening classes at the Blue School in Wells. I noticed there was one for Spinning Weaving and Dyeing, the next day I saw an advert in Wells for a spinning wheel and everything fell into place!!
The classes were run by Mary Stanbridge, a very talented lady and I loved every minute. From there I joined the Somerset Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers.
Mary came to the class one evening, wearing an amazing felt hat, she made it at a workshop with Ama Bolton. I went to Ama's next workshop and completely fell in love with feltmaking, which became my main passion. I ran feltmaking classes for 10 years
What inspires you?
Colour and texture inspire me, I love the colours of nature, the flowers in gardens, sunsets, butterfly wings and bright clashing colours.
What are your aspirations as an artist for the coming months/years?
I want to concentrate on improving my weaving, textile and willow.
What is your most memorable piece of work and why?
My most memorable piece was an 8 shaft block weave double cloth rug. It was a nightmare to set up the loom and the weaving took forever, but I was pleased with it in the end.
What hints and tips woud you give to fellow artists?
Join guilds, workshops with like minded people. Visit craft fairs and exhibitions. Never be afraid to try something new, even if I doesn't work, you will still have learnt something.
As I tell people that come to my workshops... JUST TRY IT AND SEE