She’s created a fantastical Christmas window for Selfridges and been behind major ad campaigns and fashion shoots but Louise Evans is probably best known for being the Felt Mistress.
Now she’s sharing her tips on creating her amazing felt characters and revealing the secrets of her trade for the first time in a new book.
Make Creatures with Felt Mistress: 12 Couture Characters to Sew shows crafty readers how to create their own loveable monsters with step-by-step instructions and line drawings to guide them through the creative process.
Who is the Felt Mistress?
The fashion designer and milliner turned couture character creator has lived in Gresford near Wrexham for almost 20 years.
She has an international fan base of people who collect designer plush toys or are simply interested in fashion, character design and craft.
Louise worked for Laura Ashley before turning to fashion design and then character creating. Felt Mistress is a nicknamed she coined herself.
“It started as a joke when I was sending a gift I had made for my friend Craig. I wanted to send it anonymously – although he would have known straight away it was me – so I just signed a card ‘Felt Mistress’ and from then I continued to use it,” she said.
Where does she get her ideas for her imaginative characters?
The amazing characters she creates come largely from her imagination but are sparked by people she knows or comes into contact with.
“You never know when you are going to spot something or someone that may spark an idea. Snippets of overheard conversations in shops, on train journeys, and people talking loudly on their phones (even though sometimes annoying) are entertaining and sometimes if you can’t see the person talking it’s great to imagine what they look like,” she said.
“I have always made stuff. Both my mum and my nana would sew stuff with me when I was a child and so felt has always been around.”
What made her decide to share her secrets in a book?
Louise wrote the how-to guide after an approach by Laurence King Publishing.
“Before that I hadn’t really thought about writing my own book,” she admitted.
“I had an ‘art of’ book written about me a few years ago called Creature Couture. It was written by Woodrow Phoenix and was a big 400-page book of all my work to date. I never thought I would make a how-to book as I only ever make one-off characters so documenting the process is something I have never had to do before.
“So this is the first time I have shared my process and patterns. I must admit it was really fun and I am looking forward to seeing other people’s versions of the characters from the book.”
Where have her characters been on show?
Louise has brought hundreds of felt characters to life and exhibited them in galleries around the world including shows in New York, Osaka, Los Angeles, Mexico, Berlin, London and most recently Tokyo.
Her 12ft huggable furry yeti – known as Hugger – is still used at Christmas by the centre.
Where can I get her new book?
*Make Creatures with Felt Mistress: 12 Couture Characters to Sew is available from bookshops and www.laurenceking.com from August 19, price £14.95.