Kent Artist Profile: Elitta Fell

Artist Elitta Fell works on a variety of media including web design and silk painting. It is this eclectic and fascinating mix that make her such an interesting designer; someone who can work with all manner of materials in all sorts of different ways. We asked Elitta some questions about her work – and about herself.

If you had to define your art, how would you describe what you do?

I paint on silk – mostly scarves and similar wearable items, but also wall hangings and pictures. Painting on silk is similar to watercolour in many ways, but the interaction of the silk and the dye makes it very interesting, sometimes with unexpected results. I use silk dyes and occasionally silk paints, both are specially formulated for application on silk. Sometimes I use a resist (of which there are various types) controlling the flow of the dye into the image I want; alternatively I may use a free-flowing technique using the way the dye spreads to create the image.

How did you become an artist?

Looking for a home occupation many years ago in the USA, I applied to become a layout artist for the Yellow Pages in New York. On return to the UK, I joined Marvel Comics UK, based at that time in Sevenoaks, and eventually became a freelance letterer, writing the text in speech balloons for Marvel, DC and 2000AD etc. This led me to becoming a freelance graphic designer for local and national companies. As I was, by then, completely computer-oriented, I wanted a more hands-on craft for my free time so tried a few different ones such as pebble mosaics, rag rug-making and batik before I finally fell in love with silk painting with its wonderful colours and different techniques – a whole new world opened up to me!

What is the most interesting commission you’ve ever received?

In different parts of my design career I’ve had quite a few interesting commissions: to take part in the creation of the longest comic strip in the world (at the time…); to letter graphic novels of two of Shakespeare’s plays; to map and draw the area of Puerto del Carmen and Playa Blanca on Lanzarote (possibly the first detailed and reasonably to scale map for those areas) for a travel company; and to paint on two huge organza strips to be used at the Guild of Silk Painters Festival Fashion Show, Silk Art ’17, at the World of Wedgwood for the introductory piece – Dance of the Hours.

You are fascinated by nature; how does that inspire your work?

Nature is so flexible and yet so precise, it allows the imagination to run riot with shape, form and colour but can also require adherence to rules. It’s all around us to enjoy in all its diversity – there is never enough time to do all that one wants!

You also give silk painting workshops – what is involved and can beginners join in?

I have just opened my new studio in Westerham. I teach to beginners or improver level at present. I have set one day a month for the workshops, but am able to accommodate on other days if necessary. Please look at my website for details – www.mouseline.co.uk/silk.

Where can we see your work currently?

At the Eden Valley Artists exhibition, TopFoto Gallery in Edenbridge from 24th March to 13th April 2018; at the Denbies Wine Estate Handmade Craft Fair on 13th May 2018; and Art in June from 10th-24th June 2018 at the Red House, Hever, as well as at various art exhibitions and craft fairs later in the year.

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