Felt Mistress’ Hiber-Nation

Thanks to marvellous monster manufacturer Felt Mistress, visitors to Cardiff’s Millennium Centre this winter will be greeted by an eight-foot ice queen and a nine-foot yeti – or ‘hugger’, as he’s affectionately known.

The Storyteller
The Storyteller

This unlikely pair will welcome guests to Felt Mistress’ new show The Hiber-Nation, which opens this week and draws together more than 20 three-dimensional pieces.

The Hugger
The Hugger

Working from a studio in North Wales, Felt Mistress (whose real name is Louise Evans) goes about fabricating these characters with her partner Jonathan Edwards, an illustrator who draws the ideas for them in 2D before they’re brought to life.

Looking good in Welsh tweed
Looking good in Welsh tweed

The critters are crafted using a mixture of new and vintage fabrics including traditional Welsh tweed, wool and flannel, and will be taking over the building, suspended from ceilings and huddled in stairwells.

‘They’re basically the things you see out of the corner of your eye in the woodlands when you’re walking in winter’, Felt Mistress explains.

‘We went to Japan a couple of years ago and stayed in the mountains. We thought they were similar to Wales – the forest has a very similar feel.’

Wintery illustration
Wintery illustration

Alongside the final pieces, around 30 of Edwards’ watercolours, acrylics and ink drawings – depicting the characters and the landscape they inhabit, will also be on display. All the pieces were created especially for the exhibition in as little as ten weeks. 

A dapper fellow in his cowboy boots
A dapper fellow in his cowboy boots

Felt Mistress says that Welsh folklore also played a part in inspiring the pieces for the show and the traditional fabrics she used – befitting for her first show in her homeland.

‘I’ve never really noticed [the Welsh influence] before’, she says. ‘I was born there and live and work there, so it’s going to have an impact, but as this show’s in Wales I think I upped the Welshness’.

She adds, ‘I didn’t want to make the monsters too “countryside” though. People have a certain opinion of people from the countryside, so I made sure there were plenty of dapperly dressed [creatures] in the exhibition. I like to think their clothing’s a mixture between urban and woodland’.

An icy lady
An icy lady

On 14 December, Felt Mistress will be holding a free workshop where people can create their own felt creatures.

The Hiber-Nation runs from 6 December – 5 January at Wales Millennium Centre, Bute Pl, Cardiff Bay, Cardiff CF10. For more information visit www.feltmistress.com. And www.jonathan-e.com.

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