Brought up in Blandford, Ray Reynolds (also known as Rachel, née Rachel Coleman) studied Fine Art at Chichester University before settling in Southampton, Hampshire.
Much of her work is inspired by the landscape, particularly the Hampshire coastline which is rich in colour, texture and is a mixture of natural and industrial scenes. A favourite place on Ray’s map is Keyhaven which overlooks the Isle of Wight, Hurst Lighthouse and is home to many birds throughout the year. The seaweed is a bright green colour and covers the bottom of the seabed when the tide is out. The green is vibrant and full of texture, a matted carpet of threads and fibres. This is a source of inspiration for Ray who delights in colour, texture and light.
Ray works with hand made felt, machine embroidery and hand embroidery. Ray writes ‘The beautiful thing about felt is that it is so manipulative and the process so diverse. I work in a painterly way by blending different colours and types of fibre together. Once felted I have a background to work on and then I use the embroidery threads for the detail. The colours of the threads enrich the colours in the felt. The process of the stitching is very satisfying as the felted fibres seem to soak up the stitches. Felting and stitching is a very calming activity and if working with hand embroidery, a piece of work can take weeks to complete so you need a lot of patience.’
Ray spends time walking and drawing to produce ideas for her work and her new project is based on the 60 mile walk between Keyhaven and Emsworth where she will produce a number of pieces that show the different areas throughout the walk.