A sculptress of felt: from penguins & purses to ostentatious chandeliers, meet designer and ‘Queen of Felting’ Gillian Harris, founder of the colourful Gilliangladrag brand in this month’s Prima Makes

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Before we started working with the quirky and madly colourful Gilliangladrag brand (www.gilliangladrag.co.uk), the art of ‘felting’ was a bit of a mystery to us.

To the unacquainted, feltmaking is a process of binding raw wool tops (that’s the unspun fluffy stuff plucked fresh off the backs of lovely British sheep) and binding the fibres together – either by way of ‘stabbing’ it multiple times with a barbed needle (HUGELY cathartic and very much like voodoo – but without the black magic and probably way more productive) or by rubbing and rolling it in a bamboo matt (the same used for sushi) with a sprinkle of warm soapy water.

It’s compulsive, addictive stuff. The possibilities of felt, we discovered, were endless. Hell, you could quite viably sculpt the Statue of Liberty from the stuff, if you had enough sheep, time and arm power.

Felting is still a long way off from before becoming a mainstream craft like knitting, sewing and crocheting  – but with pioneering designers at the helm of this ‘movement’ – we’re going to be seeing a lot more felted madness and colourful creations bloom before our very eyes in the not too distant future.

Gillian Harris, author, self-styled ‘Queen of Felt’ and proprietor of the Gilliangladrag brand is arguably one of the felting movement’s most prominent ‘sculptors’, carving out everything from penguins and purses to ostentatiously eccentric chandeliers – and all, essentially, from fluff. Even her Surrey based wool emporium where she holds her popular craft workshops and produces her own felt making kits is rather appropriately called ‘The Fluff-a-torium’.

Walking into this rainbow-coloured-alternative-world is akin to a chocoholic stepping into Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory. It is sheer, tantalising eye-candy for the creative with bursts of pinks, mints, fuschia and canary yellow blossoming from every corner or the room. It’s a fascinating sight to behold and I challenge even the craft-shy sausage-fingered among us to not be inspired to give something ‘creative’ a go.

This month (November) Prima Makes magazine features Gillian in a Meet The Designer feature – with nuggets of information from the Queen of Felt herself on what inspires her and why she set up shop in the first place. Read it here for a quick dose of design and inspiration.

Within our humble little team, we’re always finding new ways in which to grow creatively, through reading plenty and doing lots of cultural things. Museum visits, yoga, watching film noir, zorbing, standing on our heads and being mindful and – yes – even felting – has all contributed to the PR creative process. Try it and you will see that felting is SERIOUSLY meditative stuff (and in this meditative state can some of our most colourful creative ideas derive) – just don’t zone out too much; you might find yourself stabbing your fingers with the rather evil looking barbed needle … OOOF!


Gillian Harris’ felted chandelier, as seen in her book ‘Carnival of Felting’ (published by Colins & Brown)



Sunnies that put the ‘oo’ in bamboo and help an eye clinic in rural India – as seen on Grand Designs (Dec 14)

We’re excited because the lovely E-Side (our luxury eco & sustainable design retailer client) has had one of it’s dead cool products featured in the December issue of Grand Designs.

US label Proof’s stylish sustainable wooden sunglasses have been cited as a great Christmas gift for the “Eco Warrior”. Know of a stylish and earth-conscientious soul who’d love one of these bad boys?

Individually handcrafted and rendered in a variety of beautiful, eco-friendly woods such as ebony and bamboo, Proof’s unisex shades look classically cool and also contribute to a good cause. For every pair you buy, a portion of the sale price goes to supporting charitable causes and projects worldwide, including an eye clinic in a rural, underserved area of India.

Pick up a pair here: http://www.e-side.co.uk/product/Bud_Ebony_Gold

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Luxury furniture makers Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture appoints boutique consumer agency ASP PR as its retained press office


Luxury furniture makers Barbara Genda Bespoke Furniture (www.barbara-genda.co.uk) has appointed new consumer boutique agency ASP PR as its retained press office operation.

ASP PR will replace incumbent specialist homes and interiors PR agency In The White Room this month.

The account will be headed up by founder and director Andrea San Pedro, an ex-M&C Saatchi PR consultant with 10 years experience in consumer and lifestyle comms. The agency, which is just two years old, has a number of independent retail, design and crafts brands on its books including eco and sustainable design e-tailer E-Side, quirky crafts brand Gilliangladrag founded by author and ‘felting queen’ Gillian Harris, babies and children’s boutique Hop Like A Bunny and wedding dress designer Shanna Melville.

ASP PR will be tasked with delivering on an integrated communications brief, publicising the furniture maker’s work across all relevant consumer lifestyle and interior titles. Barbara Genda is a small, highly skilled and passionate London-based studio. The company specialises in creating and developing beautiful interior design solutions for all spaces – from walk-in wardrobes and in-built media centres to children’s playrooms and ergonomic home offices.

For more information and high-resolution images, contact Andrea San Pedro at ASP PR, email: andrea.sanpedro@asp-pr.co.uk, tel: +44 (0)7970 468982.

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