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Rediscovering What Woolly Means
It happened just how the little written memoir below begins to descibe. In 2018 I began a journey of rediscovery, finding my creativity again after working in media for over 12 years. It wasn't easy and wasn't a path I'd expected I'd take. As I roamed fields and parkland with my daughter, just two years old, we stuffed her toy flower press to the brim and my love of pressing flowers, an activity I also did as a child, was re-ignited. At the same time I'd started embroidering again, something I'd not done since my teenage years.
I discovered the work of early 17th centry botanists and the contemporary artist Susanna Bauer and my interest in using natural materials with hand stitching began. I started embroidering little bits of paper onto leaves, lot and lot of them and immediately I just knew there was something about piercing paper that excited me. However there was still something missing, something that made me immensly happy, that was wool! Chunky soft wool. Graduating from the Royal College Of Art in London with an MA in Constructed Textiles and having had many hand knitting patterns published by Rowan Yarns and Vogue Knitting under my maiden name Leah Sutton, double knit and chunky wool was the material I adored more than anything else. I think I'm always drawn to the feeling of comfort, homliness and familiarity it provides. Design for me had to involve wool, so I began experimenting with fusing the worlds of woolly hand embroidery and flower pressing together.