Meet the Maker- Fiona Leech

Fiona joined the feltmakers Ireland committee earlier this year. Some of you may know her from her “Feltathome” handle on instagram or as a regular seller in Dublin markets- back in the day when that was a thing!

We asked Fiona to provide us with a little information about her piece “Touch”, submitted to the Endangered exhibition. Due to the change in space and location of the exhibition changing at such late notice we even had to display Fiona’s wonderful piece vertically! When really it should have been shown horizontally- it is 2m long!

Fiona was very obliging to let this happen. For those of you that did manage to visit the show in the Phoenix Park- here is how “touch” should really be viewed, and hopefully in the future we will get the chance to exhibit it again in a more spacious arena!

What inspired your piece submitted for “Endangered” and how was lockdown for you?

Before the lockdown,I was beginning to work on a totally different piece for this Endangered exhibition but quickly abandoned it as the impact of the rapid life changes soon diverted my focus.Glued to the news and watching with horror as our lives were suddenly ruled by daily numbers.On March 11th when the first life was lost to Covid 19, I stitched a small dark circle on a scrap of pre made felt. (I always saw the soul as a dark circle as a child!) I continued stitching one circle for every life lost and it soon became an evening ritual.The inability to touch,hug or even handshake had a huge impact on me and those around me.This piece evolved daily with no plan. I used dark and light scraps of previously made felt and ended up with 41 separate pieces of varying sizes (On April 20th the day that the state recorded its highest number of deaths of 77, I decided to stop) and felted a charcoal background to put it all together. The piece measured 2 meters in length, the required social distancing measurement so I added in that visual ( that we’re all so familiar with) in red stitching. Then added newspaper cutout words and red threads to connect the circles. This was to symbolise how that we are all connected somehow. We all know someone who’s been touched by this sadness.


I found that during the lockdown,I worked more than I ever have.Getting up at 6.30 every day to enjoy the quiet hours before everyone else got up.I was working on a large commission throughout the entire lockdown from design, sampling and 11 weeks of felting and stitching.It was a piece 2.3m x .5m and as I don’t have a designated studio, I needed the kitchen table, hence the early start.The bright mornings helped too!.The piece was very detailed and based on the clients love of maths, physics, Star Wars, astronomy, Doctor Who and cycling!.All handstitched.It’s finished now and hanging in it’s new home in London.Having a routine and a focus allowed me the few hours to forget all that was going on and out of my control.Working on the endangered piece was also very cathartic for me. I think it kept me grounded.I’m not sure if that’ll last as the kids go back to school.

HAND CRAFTED FELT ARTWORKwww.feltathome.ie