About

My name is Kim Winter and I’m a textile artist specialising in wet felting and indigo dyeing, though I also experiment with other natural dyes and ecoprinting.

I like to surprise people with the versatility of these materials – transforming a mass of fluffy sheep’s fleece into a vessel that is strong yet soft and immensely tactile, or showing the range of blues that can come from a single indigo vat.

I’m inspired by forms and textures from the natural world – the natural geometry of a sea urchin, the spiral of an unfolding fern. I often incorporate stones or shells into my work to contrast their hard textures with the softness of felt, while vegetation and rusty objects are endless sources of experimentation for dyeing and ecoprinting.

Although I was quite a keen knitter in my teens and twenties, I came to textiles rather late. With a background in science and journalism, I didn’t go to art college, so I have no formal training in textiles. It was when I started my own business in 2010 that I had more time and I signed up for evening classes in creative and experimental textiles at Morley College in London. It refired my enthusiasm for colour and texture, and I started this blog to chart my exploration of this exciting world. I called it Flextiles, because my experiments at the time included including plastic and wire as well as fabric and yarn.

I’ve since taken workshops with hugely talented specialists, including:

You can see some of the items I make on the Gallery page. I sometimes sell at markets and exhibitions around London – you can see the dates in the right-hand column. I also have an online Etsy shop, where I sell my upcycled shibori scarves.

I’m a member of the South London Women Artists and also Women of the Cloth, a group of three female textile artists who hold sales and workshops two or three times a year.

felt diatoms

In my day job I’m a freelance editor – I specialise in building WordPress websites for makers, sole traders or small community groups so that they can update them themselves.

I hope you enjoy my blog. Do leave a comment on anything that interests you, or you can email me on flextiles@gmail.com.

31 thoughts on “About”

  1. Re. felting on velvet. A friend and I spent this summer doing a lot of dyeing and shibori dyeing of silks in preparation for nuno felting. We also dyed some silk velvet. I decided to experiment with felting on this velvet. I tried two samples, applying merino wool roving to both sides of the velvet. Curiously, the sample with wool applied to the fuzzy side of the velvet is being very difficult. The wool slides off the velvet during rolling. I had expected it to be “grabbed” by the velvet fibers. Instead, the sample where I applied the wool to the back of the velvet is doing much better. Any thoughts on this??

    1. Hi Josephine,

      Thanks for stopping by. I don’t have much experience of nuno felting with velvet, which is why Lisa Hawthorne’s lovely pieces made me want to try.

      Like you, I’ve had previous problems of the wool sliding off the fuzzy side of the velvet. It was one of my earliest attempts at nuno felting, and I was trying to felt some velvet circles onto cotton muslin by laying strands of merino across the velvet and the muslin. But the wool slid off, and in the end I had to resort to embroidery to get the circles to stick. (I tried an embellisher too, but I didn’t like the effect if had on the velvet.)

      Nicola Brown of Clasheen, one of my favourite felt blogs, also seems to have had a few problems.

      The only reason I can think of for the wool not felting on the fuzzy side is that the pile on that side is formed of lots of loose loops, rather than a more ‘solid’ framework of fibres, so it’s not so easy for the wool to work its way through. By contrast, the wool on the non-fuzzy side can work its way through the fibres more easily. I think that if I had put wool underneath the velvet circles on my scarf as well as on top I might have had more success!

      If the wool is sticking to the back of the velvet do you still get the ruched effect on the front as it shrinks during felting? I’d be interested in seeing some photos!

  2. I love your net and nuno shawl Kim, it is beautiful. You have a lovely sense of pattern in your work. Cheers Maggie

  3. Fused plastic works a treat – I have done some experiments with it, and would like to try some more! The spectacle case turned out really well, and love the scarf and vessel too =D

  4. Hello my name is francesca Nelson and i am a textiles student. I am very interested in your work as i am currently doing shibori at the moment and i was wondering how you did some of your techniques. i was also wondering if i could get some quotes from you about shibori for my essay on shibori if you could that would be great.

    Thankyou Francesca Nelson

    1. Fran – thank you so much. I’m very flattered, especially as I admire your blog as well. Congratulations on your award – well deserved!

      However, I am going to pass on this one, as I don’t really like giving out personal information. I know, I know – so maybe I shouldn’t be blogging in the first place. 😉

  5. hi
    i love all your work . . . . i am a final year student of architecture and my design thesis is on origami and methods of folding . . . . i am using fabric as a material so i just wanted to know more about the techniques of felting and nuno . .. . . if you could guide me for the same i would love to send you the research i have done so far if you could help me with your email address

    thanks a lot!

  6. Hi there Kim,

    My name is Mary Wingo. I am in the textile industry, specifically fabric
    label branding. I am doing an outreach to introduce myself to fellow
    colleagues. I see that this is a huge and often times fragmented sector,
    with some amazing entrepreneurs and artisans. From our vantage point, we
    work with a wide array of people, and a lot of these folks are running
    businesses without a lot of support. This is rather surprising, but true.
    I have recently found some interesting insights speaking with my clients
    about how they develop and grow their businesses
    I have put together a guide that interviews 50 people in the industry, and
    provides insights of how they market and develop their products. Here is
    the link (it’s free).
    http://roxwellwaterhouse.com/insights-into-the-fabric-product-industries.html
    Can you tell me what you think of this? I do appreciate your thoughts.
    Would you consider reviewing my ebook?

    Thanks much,
    Mary Wingo
    roxwellwaterhouse.com
    682-227-0100

  7. Hi Kim!
    I’m Anu and I simply love your blog. It’s a huge inspiration for an amateur shibori enthusiast like myself who doesn’t have a formal design or textile background. Your work, of course is fabulous!! Thanks for sharing your experiences and atb for your new adventures in 2015!!
    cheers

    1. Hi Anu,

      Thanks for stopping by and for your kind comments about my blog and work. Had a quick look at your blog and your work is lovely too!

      Keep going, and welcome to the world of indigophiles! 🙂

      Kim

  8. Have only just come across you Kim and have to say I love your blogs and your work. I am a felter and Eco dyer/printer. Still trying to find a good way to Eco print on my felt vessels but because of their shape I can only felt my eco printed silks onto my vessel. I would have liked to print my leaves directly onto the vessel but rolling them up and boiling them in the vat hasn’t worked for me yet.

  9. Hi Kim,
    I’ve come across your blog as I’m an avid fisherman and something in the back of my predominantly right sided brain has flickered and gyotaku has caught my eye. Your gyotaku looks interesting and your blog is quite informative.

    I’m keen to try this, and being relatively unique skill, I have found information rather scarce. I was wondering if you could find some time to email me some tips.
    I am going to start with some simple fish and squid that I catch.
    What ink would be best for me to try as an alternative to squid ink as it is rather smelly?
    And what paper would you suggest I start with
    Cheers

    1. Hi Mike,

      Thanks for stopping by!

      I’ve tried gyotaku only three times, so I’m no expert, but based on my experience I can offer the following advice:

    2. Fish with scaly textures work best, not smooth fish like mackerel. Squid and octopus are quite smooth but they have tentacles and suckers to add interest.
    3. I found that thicker ink worked better for me. Squid ink is good because you can eat the fish afterwards – and the smell disappears in a couple of weeks! 😉 I found that acrylics worked quite well; someone who left a comment on my blog recommended tattoo inks.
    4. The best paper is thin and flexible but strong so that it moulds around the fish rather than creasing. Finding suitable paper was actually the trickiest part for me. In the workshop I went to we used tissue paper to practise on, which is good, but it tears quite easily so you have to be gentle. Then we used a fine Japanese rice paper.
    5. There are a few gyotaku videos on YouTube – to do it properly you’re supposed to dry it out and stuff its orifices to prevent leaks but we didn’t do this! There’s also a PDF guide here: http://heatherfortner.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/gyotakuinstructionhandout2010test.pdf

      Good luck!

      Kim

  10. Hi Kim

    Just came across your 18 October 2014 piece about the seed pod that inspired your vessel. I love that vessel. As an Australian, that seed cob looks like a Banksia and is related to the Proteas of South Africa. As you would guess, many Australian felters are also inspired by the banksias, and yours is up there with the best

    Cheers, Leslie

    1. Thanks Leslie! Someone else pointed out that it was a banksia seed, and the Australian who bought one of the vessels said she immediately recognised the source of inspiration! 🙂

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