Heather Belcher’s work explores the traditions and processes associated with hand-made felt. Felt is a fabric with an ancient history, thought to have been first discovered by the nomads of Central Asia more than 7000 years ago. Underpinning her work is the desire to celebrate the rich language of felt as it relates to the body, as a carrier of both cultural and personal identities. Belcher often combines the felting process with innovative techniques including hand knitting, weaving and drawings made with loose wool fibre laid directly into the surface of the cloth.
Recent work has been inspired by a collection of traditional Welsh blankets; contructed from two pieces of narrow loom woven cloth, seamed together and bound at the edges. Belcher has become increasingly interested in these edges and boundaries, selvedges and seams. As she sees them, the worn edges that unravel act as metaphors for the body and its states of ‘being’ in the world, in presence and in absence.