Creatures of Arlington

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Visitors to Arlington Court from 15 March to 4 May can enjoy the work of textile artist Amanda Graham.

Taking inspiration from the wildlife that lives on the estate, the livestock cared for by the staff and the extensive collection in the house, Exmoor-based artist Amanda Graham has created new work specifically for Arlington.

A wealth of inspiration

Nestled on the edge of Exmoor National Park, the Arlington estate is host to a wealth of wildlife including red deer, lesser horsehoe bats, herons, foxes, otters and more. Additionally the estate is home to a herd of Red Devon cattle and Jacob sheep. The Regency house is a treasure chest of items collected by the Chichester family over several generations. Any artist would not be short of inspiration during a visit.

Working with felt

Amanda says, 'Any medium which offers both colour and texture appeals to me. I particularly enjoy the link to the countryside through the source of the material. I try to use British fleece including Exmoor Horn.' Using a natural material means the results can be somewhat unpredictable. But this makes each finished piece unique, from the hand-dyed colour to the wet-felted shape of the work.

Time well spent

Each finished piece goes through several processes, some of which require drying times. Initially the wool has to be dyed to the shade required. The background is then felted and the animal created separately. Once dry all the various pieces are felted together and details are either hand stitched or machine embroidered on top. Amanda has also used Nuno felting, which is the practice of felting sheer fabrics to wool to give additional depth to the work.

Displaying the work

Rosalie Chichester, the last heiress to the Arlington estate, was herself an artist and some of her still-life paintings and sketches can be viewed in the house. Amanda’s newly created pieces will be on display on the first floor of the main house, along with work created for previous projects. Amanda will be available most Tuesdays to talk about her work and demonstrate some of the creative techniques.