Sue Powell (Pebbles in the Sand)

Sue Powell (Pebbles in the Sand)

Tell us about what you make 

I am a wet-felt artist and I’m best known for my pictures of sea-birds, although I love to create pictures of all sorts of birds, as well as sheep occasionally. I often make other items too with my felt, such as doorstops.

Sue PowellWhat inspires you and where do you find that inspiration? 

The coast in particular inspires me, and I love to sit and watch the waves and the birds on the shore. I find I need to ‘meet’ a bird before I can depict it in my work, as each species has a different character and a specific way of moving. 

Tell us about your favourite medium 

I use wet-felting for the majority of my work. This involves creating layers of fine carded fleece, some natural colours but also dyed fleece. The wool is wetted with warm soapy water and rubbed until the fibres start to felt together. I love the natural blending of colours that I can get with this method. 

What are your favourite and least favourite parts of being an artist or maker? 

I love spending time at the beach and calling it work! I also love getting so immersed in a piece that time becomes non-existent. Finding I have to stop and cook the tea when I’m ‘in full flow’ is probably the least appealing part of being an artist.

Meeting my customers is always a treat, and to find that other people actually love something I’ve made is very humbling. 

What does being a member of the Ceredigion Art and Craft Trail mean to you? 

It’s great to be a member of such a supportive group. It has given me a greater range of opportunities than I could ever generate on my own, and it’s so lovely getting to know fellow members and sharing our experiences. 

How do you manage a work-life balance as an artist/maker? 

Recently my husband has been very unwell, and that has been a challenge. For a while I had to step back from my work, but I’m back felting again now, if a little slower. I have had to reduce the number of exhibitions I do, but I can still sell my work through shops that stock my work, and on my website too; it’s just about adjusting things a bit.

My husband is a keen birdwatcher so it’s something we can do together, and we both spend a lot of time at the beach, binoculars in hand; it’s great research and an excellent opportunity for me to ‘meet’ more birds that I can felt. 

What are you working on at the moment? 

I have started making pictures for Llanfair Art Exhibition in only exhibition this year. I’m presently working on a few small felts of garden birds. 

How do you know when your work is finished? 

That’s a tricky one! Sometimes I just have to walk away from a picture for a while. When I come back to it I can see it afresh; it really helps. 

What is the biggest challenge of being an artist/maker? 

As I don’t actually have a studio, I just work on my dining table. However, my husband also uses the dining table to do his 1000 piece jigsaws and is inclined to spread, so I can safely say that my biggest challenge is trying to grab my fair share of the dining table! However, I do find that the watery nature of my work, and the risk to his jigsaw pieces of becoming soggy (or possibly totally waterlogged) can provide a very persuasive argument! 

What advice would you give to new artists or makers at the start of their creative journey? 

Do what you enjoy doing, not what you feel you should do.