Work in progress: huge illustrated fabric wall hangings!

I get asked to do a lot of weird and wonderful things and this request has been my favourite in a long while – illustrated fabric wall hangings.

The client has recently had a house extension and has large areas of his new living room to cover with art – and he also wanted to soften the reflection of noise on the bare walls.

I’m no stranger to creating large works – I created this four-metre bilingual mural using watercolour pigments and salt for the Wales Millennium Centre, but this is even bigger – four panels that together make a forest scene progressing through the seasons that is five metres by .8 metres, and one tall piece to go above a fireplace that is 2.1 metres by .8 metres.

I’ve initially working the illustrated fabric wall hangings up in pencil: the first job was coming up with various concepts using rough layouts – below is a close up of the set of four panels as roughs.

The next job was working up the selected concepts to a larger scale to improve the composition and increase the detail. Here are some critters from the seasonal scene, set in a forest of silver birch.

illustrated fabric wall hanging - close up of pencil design - hedgehogillustrated fabric wall hanging - close up of pencil design - boxing haresI’m keeping the designs fairly simple. I’m planning to do a lot with colour and texture on them – I see them as being a delicate balance between detail and simplicity. So the birch trees will be of a fabric with a subtle sheen: in spring they will have catkins dangling from their branches, in summer leaves, in autumn the leaves will be orange and in winter there will be snow. There will be a subtle gradient of colour in the sky in the background and the ground will be textured.

illustrated fabric wall hanging - close up of pencil design

Snippet of design for tall illustrated fabric wall hanging

The next job is to work in colour – I have a strong palette in my head (I am obsessed with colour – did you know this? I really am) and I can see them coloured up very clearly – now the pencil works are all approved I will colour them up. The client’s paintwork is a slightly lavender grey and my colours will work well with that.

Once we have the colours, it’s on to buying the materials and creating some of the details in advance – the animals, for example. The hangings will be appliqued and machine-sewn with some embroidery, quilted to aid the limiting of sound reflection, and hung from bamboo poles. I’ll travel up with my sewing machine to Cwm Gwili and spend a week constructing these illustrated fabric wall hangings. I cannot wait to see them in the flesh!

PS have you seen my new rook screen prints?



New rook screen print available!

After a break of two years I’ve created another screen print – and o! how I loved it.

Falmouth University’s print room has some amazing equipment and I am delighted with how these prints have come out.

It’s an edition of 15, and as I write there are 10 left for sale.

The rooks were hand drawn and inked, scanned into photoshop where the coloured layers were added, and then the three colour layers (black, pink and blue) were separated out, printed onto acetate and exposed onto screens with a photosensitive coating. Where the screens were exposed the coating can be washed out, and ink pushed through the tiny holes in the screen with a squeegee.

The prints are roughly A4 in size, and mounted onto 12″ x 16″ professionally-cut white mount board. They are £45 each including postage and packing to the UK.

You can click on this link to buy them. £10 from every sale goes towards my housing co-op’s fund to increase the family space we have available.