An award-winning Huddersfield felt artist is one of 12 artists from across the UK who have been selected to take part in a prestigious mentoring scheme.

Zoe Stainton from Holmbridge is being supported by the art& RAW Talent Award, which nurtures emerging artists by offering support in business development through expert mentoring and group workshops.   She has also been given free exhibition space at a forthcoming art& show at York Racecourse from 27-29th October.

Zoe studies the animals of the Pennines as inspiration for her stunning needle felted sculptures.  Using barbed needles to compact and sculpt the wool, she layers different colours to make each piece individual and unique.

With an ample supply of locally sourced wool she is developing a range of products, from foxes, badgers and hares to stags’ heads and even highland cattle.

Zoe, who currently juggles a teaching career with making her felt sculptures, sees the York event as a great opportunity.  The show offers a chance for collectors, buyers and art lovers to meet artists face to face and she hopes that her work will be picked up by some of the larger department stores or hotels in the area.

“I’m really excited about exhibiting at such a high profile event,” she said.  “Hopefully all this additional support this will enable me to exhibit nationally and make a living from my felting.”

Zoe received the ‘Best Newcomer Award’ for her work at the 2016 Holmfirth ArtWeek exhibition and went on to showcase her sculptures at the Country Living Fair in Harrogate and Saltaire Inspired makers fair.

Her strong affinity with the local countryside inspired her to sketch the animals that live there and develop her felt work, having originally studied ceramics at Cardiff University.

“I love the tactile and sensory experience of making felt sculptures,” she said.  “I still have a lot to learn and, for the time being, I want to concentrate on British wildlife for my inspiration.”

Her animal sculptures are currently flying off the shelves and she is always searching for vintage and recycled materials to incorporate into her work.

“I love anything antique, so I’ve been mounting my animals on children’s wooden toy blocks and reclaimed pieces of wood,” she said.

“And because every animal is handmade of 100% wool, they all have unique expressions.”

To find out more about Zoe’s work go to;

www.facebook.com/Zoestaintonartist

or contact her on 07799 521 478.

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