Moretonhampstead has a fascinating array of craftsmen and women within its community. We take a two-minute stroll from the Hotel to Bellacouch in Cross Street to look at the stunning work of local felter, Yuli Somme.
Bellacouche – which means ‘beautiful resting place’ – is the studio of Yuli Somme, a hugely talented designer who makes beautiful works of art out of felt. The range of things she makes is startling – from quirky fun tea cosies to hats to burial shrouds – yes, really.
Yuli says: “Wool is my raw material, which is made into felt, and from this is crafted a unique range of lovingly hand-made products including bags, tuffets (seat pads), tea cosies, woollen insoles, hot water bottle covers, hats, little decorations, wall hangings, felting kits and ‘Leafcocoons’ – a unique soft wool eco coffin, designed for natural burial.”
“Dartmoor is where I live and work – a beautiful and wild landscape – and this is a great source of inspiration. I am deeply mindful of our environment and the preciousness of nature, so everything I do or make bears this in mind and I keep my impact on the planet as small as possible.”
The needle tool she uses on the felt (pictured) is very sharp and each needle has small barbs on it so, as the tool is plunged in and out of the felt it tangles the felt fibres and enables other colours and shapes to be grafted on. It’s incredibly simple and is a way of creating clothes, shoes and decorative items that goes back thousands of years.
Yuli’s studio is housed in an old Methodist chapel that is somehow the perfect backdrop for the magical things she makes. Her tea cosies and hats are sold widely and are wonderfully warm and tactile, as well as beautiful. A trip to the Aladdin’s cave that is her studio, is inspiring – with beautiful felt items hanging up, draped over sofas and in the process of being made. Her small shop area is crammed full of lovely things, her chicken tea cosies being a firm favourite – and a lovely Dartmoor product to take home with you, or give as a gift.
As it is a working studio, and Yuli is sometimes out at shows and exhibitions, it is wise to call or email to check she is in, or you could just enjoy the short stroll and take pot luck!
Yuli also creates and sells felt kits so if you feel inspired, visit her website and perhaps have a go at making something…
Tel: 01647 441405 Mobile: 07763 935 897