Coastal, Felt and Driftwood Artist – Designs inspired by the sea
Over six months ago I spent a busy day at the Christmas Fair in Pembroke Castle and met many varied and talented stallholders (this is a great annual event and I would suggest putting it in your diary now!) One particular stall drew me back several times and I was captivated by the work of Sue Powell – she manages to somehow to really capture the natural beauty, colours and wildness of the West Wales coast. After chatting with Sue, we agreed to keep in touch and to arrange an interview in the summer.
We joined Sue at her home, and spent an enjoyable afternoon watching her at work and finding out more about her life as an artist in West Wales. When I had first seen her pictures at the Pembroke Castle event, I had not realised they are from felted wool and also had no idea of the labour-intensive work and skill that goes into each unique felted picture and her driftwood art.
On her first trip to Pembrokeshire many years ago, Sue went to Marloes and fell in love with the coastal scenery. She and her husband Brian are keen coastal birdwatchers and their favourite pastime is to be at the beach. After retiring from primary school teaching in 2011 Sue and family searched for the perfect place in West Wales to be near the beaches and have land for a smallholding, where Brian could pursue his dream, too. Coming further north and a bit inland, they settled near Lampeter and began work on growing their own produce.
Artist Sue Powell Wet Felting and Driftwood Art
Initially, Sue planned to have time to paint more watercolours, but became interested in trying out wet felting – her Mum is a real expert in this and created a wonderful wall-hanging for the new home in West Wales, which inspired Sue to take up felting herself.
Sue creates her driftwood pieces in her workshop up the garden – a warm and inviting cabin overlooking the Cambrian mountains. It is here that she sorts and stores the driftwood which she crafts into her unusual designs.
A keen driftwood collector, Sue’s first piece was the lamp in her dining room. The dining room is also the focal point for most of the wet-felting work – handy for the water supply in the kitchen – As you’ll see from our video, it’s real cottage industry – and from there her business was born!
We watched as Sue, starting from a sketch of a curlew, demonstrated her process of creating a beautiful felted artwork. The completed curlew can be seen in the video, below.
(She had intended to finish the work as a Tide Clock, adding a tidal clockwork movement, but we later learned that a delighted buyer snapped the picture up the next day to hang as a framed picture).
If you would like to see Sue’s work on display, she is a participant in the Ceredigion Art Trail as well as attending numerous events in Pembrokeshire throughout the year and is featured Artist of the Month for June at the Tourist Information Centre in Aberaeron, and here on PembsLifeOnline.
If you would like to explore the beautiful hills and valleys around Sue’s home we would recommend camping at Teifi Valley Meadows – quiet, unspoilt site with good facilities.