Felt Paintings by Moy Mackay
by Karen Pereczes
making is an ancient art - one of the oldest ways of making fabric from wool that is thought to have
been around for about 8000 years. Woollen fibres are felted together using
moisture, friction and heat. The fibres interlock and matt together as the
wool shrinks. Anyone who has washed their woolly jumper at 60
(oops!) will get the idea! Today, it remains a popular craft - many felt
makers producing items of clothing,
shoes, hats and accessories.
graduated from the Glasgow School of Art in 1990 with a BA (Hons) in Design. She
specialised in textile design and won a number of awards,
including a travel bursary to Russia, where Moy developed a passion for
Russian folk art.
"During my time at art school I travelled during the holidays to
India and Nepal where, as well as working as a buyer for a friend who owned
various shops in Edinburgh selling ethnic clothing and jewellery, I was
introduced to various hand printing techniques and methods. This led me to
experiment with hand printing methods and hand painting onto fabrics,
combining this with embroidery, silks and rich velvets. India was where I
found great inspiration in colour - especially in Rajastan, where the women
are very tall and dark and wear the most amazingly bright, fluorescent even
leaving art school Moy moved to a more tranquil life in the Scottish Borders,
working as a freelance textile designer for a London based agency - selling
designs to the UK, Europe, USA and Japan. Says Moy: "I decided that the industry wasn't really
for me and went on to set up 'The Decorative Wooden Tile Company', hand
painting folk art floor and wall tiles. The inspiration behind this came from
my trip to Russia where, in the vast numbers of museums and buildings I
visited, there are beautiful hand painted tiles inset into the ceilings." At the New Designers show in London Moy won the Tomkinson Flooring
Design award and was invited to exhibit a year later in the One Year On show
Nowadays, it is the Scottish Borders - particularly the spectacular location of Moy's home, high in the hills of Wolf Glen in Selkirkshire - that provides the ideal inspiration for her work. "Mostly my work follows two themes - flowers and landscapes," Moy describes. "I am very lucky to be living in a most idyllic part of the Tweed Valley with a fantastic view of the Eildon Hills near Melrose... hence many of my pieces have been titled something to do with the Eildons. The changing seasons and colours are a constant source of inspiration to me.
"The nature of felt making means that I have to work indoors, so I work mainly from photographs... I tend to take my camera everywhere with me, and take photos of any beautiful place, sunset or sky I may come across.
is my main passion and is what inspires me more than anything else. My studio
has a whole wall taken up by a huge rainbow of hanging merino fleece... I can
just look at my wall and see all sorts of landscapes in that alone, which in
itself is very inspiring but is primarily a great palette system. I build up
layers of merino in different directions, placing on colours as I would in a
painting - though much easier if you don't like something to just whip it off
and try something else instead of waiting for the paint to dry."
A self-confessed workaholic ("It's a family thing!" Moy laughs), Moy also helps run 'Wolf Glen Tipis' - manufacturing traditional Sioux design tipis with her partner, skilled craftsman and musician Johnny Morris. Moy also specialises in the designing and hand painting of tipi artwork and runs workshops for both children and adults in felt painting.
work is currently exhibited in various galleries throughout the Scottish
Wolf Glen Tipis - www.wolfglentipis.co.uk