Category Archives: Weston-super-Mare

Creative Women in the South West – Carla Taylor, The Mousehole Woolery

I recently visited fibre artist Carla Taylor of the Mousehole Woolery in Dorset, and captured some images of her at work, creating her wool sculptures.

The Mousehole Woolery is nestled in the heart of the Dorset countryside and is the home and studio of fibre artist Carla Taylor, who creates contemporary sustainable wool sculptures inspired by the wildlife and conservation of the British countryside and coastline bringing a little piece of nature to your home. Each sculpture is hand crafted using the technique of needle felting where special barbed needles are used to repeatedly stab and sculpt wool fibres together to form a solid mass. Each sculpture is created with many layers of wool and can therefore take many hours to complete transforming fleece in to a sculptural work of art! As an official supporter of the Campaign for wool, Carla likes to work closely with local Dorset farmers promoting the use of local and British wool and will often refer to conservation awareness within her sculptures as well as incorporating vintage pieces in to her work, reflecting her lifetime passion for collecting antiques, recycling and the history of each piece. Carla exhibits her work at both galleries and contemporary and country shows across the South West as well as running needle felting workshops and is soon to be featured in “Craft It Yourself” on More4 where she shares her love and passion for needle felting and British wool!

I asked Carla how it all started:

It only feels like yesterday that I was rolling fleece in the sunshine of the rolling fields of the beautiful Dorset countryside with the lovely smell and feel of the lanolin on my hands and the beautiful textures and colours of the wool calling out to me to make a connection with the land and use them in a creative way. It was 2013, my partner’s job in farming had brought us to Dorset to a rare breed farm where they had the most beautiful White Park cattle, Hebridean and Portland sheep. It was my first experience of farming but I think I had always been a country girl at heart, always exploring nature on family walks as a child and working with animals throughout my adult life, feeling happier in a pair of wellies walking my dog than I ever did a pretty dress! Our wool at he farm was sent off to the British Wool Marketing Board a wonderful organization that operates a central marketing system for UK fleece wool with the aim of achieving the best possible net return for our farmers but I was surprised at that time to learn that it cost some farmers more to shear each sheep than the return they received for each fleece and that some were in turn occasionally burning their fleeces as they were almost classed as a by-product to the meat. As someone that likes to recycle items I found this a great waste of an undervalued resource and wanted to raise awareness of the topic and showcase British wools versatility, beauty and worth as well as supporting my local farming community. I researched the internet for different uses of wool, came across needle felting, taught myself and the rest as they say is history! The Mousehole Woolery established in the fields of the Dorset countryside!

What inspires your work?

Working with animals throughout my life and living in a farming community in the Dorset countryside provides me with a great source of inspiration for my sculptures as well as incorporating vintage finds of an era past reflecting my lifetime passion for collecting antiques, recycling and the history of each piece. An ammonite collected from a walk along the Jurassic Coast to a magical sighting of a fox cub in the garden can all be sources of inspiration captured on my iPad or camera, recorded as an everlasting mobile reference that I carry with me throughout the ever changing seasons of the year. Conservation awareness is also featured in many of my sculptures as I believe we are all guardians of our beautiful British countryside helping to conserve the wonderful environment that we share with our wildlife for future generations to come. I don’t usually tend to make sketches before I start, I prefer to physically handle objects or visualise images in my mind and then refer to my ever growing beautiful collection of wools, pondering over the colours and textures to inspire me further. Natural, undyed fibres are usually my first choice to work with such as Blue Faced Leicester, Manx Loaghtan or Shetland but I have recently taken a liking to some of the bright Merino variations with silk and dyeing my own locally sourced Dorset wool with natural plants.

What are your plans for the future?

Oh our future plans at The Mousehole Woolery now that’s a great question! We have so many things planned for the future but we couldn’t possibly spill all the beans right now otherwise there would be nothing to look forward to now would there! But if you fancy joining our woolly community and hearing all about our latest news and offers first then please do pop on over to our website at www.themouseholewoolery.co.uk and subscribe to our new monthly newsletter!

Lacock Abbey visit

The problem with self-employment is that if you’re not careful you can find yourself feeling like you can’t stop – if you’re not working, then you’re marketing and doing all the admin that comes with running a business.  So I made a decision the other week that I would take a day off, and actual full day off, on a weekday too, and took myself off on a day trip out.  It wasn’t totally a day off from photography though as I decided to take a trip to Lacock Abbey and village, near Chippenham, which is the place where William Henry Fox Talbot produced one of the first (if not the first) photographic negative. Although I’ve been a photographer now for nearly 20 (yes, 20!) years, I’ve never got around to visiting Lacock, and as I now live around an hours drive away it was time I made the trip.

03102017-Lacock Abbey-002

The Latticed Window – replica camera and negative

Lacock Abbey was the family home of William Henry Fox Talbot, and is now owned and maintained by the National Trust.  Inside the main entrance there is a fascinating small museum dedicated to Fox Talbot and the early days of photography – I found it interesting to hear that he started his experiments in capturing and image due to the fact that he couldn’t draw or paint as well as his wife and daughter.  I also got into photography as I’m 03102017-Lacock Abbey-004pretty rubbish at drawing, so photography is one way of creating without having to try and learn to paint! The museum also holds some interesting items and images related to photography over the years since Fox Talbot created his images, including a gold Nikon camera!

Whilst I was there, there was also an exhibition upstairs in the museum entiled “Drawn to the Land” with images by Sophie Gerrard, documenting 6 women living and working in the most remote parts of Scotland. Some stunning images, and I ended up chatting to a lovely couple and giving them a few hints and tips on photography whilst we wandered around looking at Sophies images 🙂

Wandering around the Abbey, it’s a beautiful place, and of course the part I really wanted to see was the lattice window, made famous as the subject of the oldest negative in existence.

03102017-Lacock Abbey-093

It was very strange to be stood in the same spot as Fox Talbot, and to think that if this invention had turned out differently, who knows what job I would be doing, and to think that from this point back in 1835, came the life of images we have today. Photography and all things that have evolved from it have advanced so rapidly, this photo below (grabbed quickly on my mobile phone) is an interesting representation of who far we’ve come, we take so many more photos in 30 seconds, than were taken in the whole of the 1800’s.  Everyone has a camera in their pocket, and the quality is getting better with each new phone that comes out.  The photo below was taken on my Samsung Galaxy S6 phone – not bad, eh?

20170310_115731.jpg

 

It was quite something standing there, looking at the same window, and taking the same photo that was taken all those years ago.

The Abbey itself is such a lovely place, there’s so much to see, not only the furnished family rooms, but also the unfurnished abbey rooms, which open out into the cloisters.  I found it interesting, reading some of the signs around the place, that some of the external walls were taken out in the 1800’s to create a romantic ruin which opened up onto the main grounds. These walls have since been replaced, but I can imagine how beautiful it must have all looked.

After a walk around the Abbey itself I also took a stroll through the grounds, which were looking beautiful as all the crocus were coming out, the daffodils and snowdrops were still around just about.  There were signs that in a few weeks it could be bluebell central – maybe I should book myself another day off!

Below are a couple of panoramas I shot whilst there, well worth a quick spin!

 

My 2016 in Pictures

Here are a few of my favourite images I’ve taken over 2016 – some are work assignments and some are just for my own pleasure 🙂

Meg Attwood Potential Difference Coaching www.potentialdifference.co.uk

Business Headshots

A couple of images from a recent headshot photo session with Meg Attwood of Potential Difference Coaching, based in Clevedon.  We had a great session, and luckily the weather stayed dry, so we could get outside for some relaxed shots to go alongside the more formal indoor ones.

 

#366for2016 – February

These are my February images for my #366for2016.  These images are a random mix of Nikon D800, Olympus OM-D EM-10, Samsung Galaxy Tab S and Samsung Galaxy S6 mobile phone.  They’re just my life as I plod on through the year.  February to follow on another blog post.

#366for2016 – January

A couple of years ago I did a 365 project, taking a photo a day for the whole of 2013 – that gallery can be found here: https://heidiburtonphotography.wordpress.com/blog/photogging-365-page and I thought that seeing as we’ve got a leap year I’d give it another go.  These images are a random mix of Nikon D800, Olympus OM-D EM-10, Samsung Galaxy Tab S and Samsung Galaxy S6 mobile phone.  They’re just my life as I plod on through the year.  February to follow on another blog post.

Happy New Year!

It’s 2016, and whilst I’m not so great at updating my blog on a regular basis (once every couple of months seems about average for me!) I have been busy with my work, so I thought I’d do a quick roundup of some of my favourite images from 2016.