Audrey Hughes

Unique pieces of hand felt art-to-wear

Audrey Hughes is a textile designer who works in fibre and mixed media, creating decorative interior wall art and her own range of hand felted Merino, one of a kind, art-to-wear accessory bags and headwear. She holds a BA Honours in Fine and Applied Arts from the University of Ulster, Belfast. Hughes, a member of the International Feltmakers Association, has exhibited her work in Ireland, UK and Australia.

The material for Hughes’s art is created in one of the oldest textile processes known. The unspun Merino wool fibres are hand felted via a system that engages moisture, friction and heat, causing the fibres to entangle, interlock and mat, thus producing nature‘s earth friendly wonder fabric – felt.

Audrey Hughes sees herself as part of the wearable art movement, which has always been interested in the individual‘s relationship with clothes. Art-to-wear does not only clothe the body but also caters for the spirit. Clothes are not mass produced like in the commercial fashion industry, yet art-to-wear is not to be found in the area of haute couture either. Art-to-wear can be more clearly defined as functional art, the body being a vehicle to express and stimulate visual imagery.

There is a strong ‘communication’ between the artist and the wearer. While the artist is in control of the work from conception through to completion, the merge of idea, sensation, emotion and form, those who wear the art, redefine the work, adding fresh vitality and life to the creative process.

Describing her work on felt hats, Hughes explains:

‘Making shapes to adorn the human head, I explore the idea of the head as being a container for the soul, a vessel of power and memory, the sacred centre place. There is an intimacy connected with placing the head inside a hollow felt form, the wearer of the headdress becomes a participant in a sensuous, tactile, touch experience.’

The artist feels inspired by her interest in legends, symbolic imagery, personal myths and ancient histories. She wants her work to tell stories about both physical and spiritual travels.

Hughes also makes cards, brooches, bookmarks, dolls and other small gifts.