Barbara Keal's work combines the qualities of performance, craft, sculpture and fashion. Her extraordinary felted hats are hand crafted from local South Downs wool and other sustainable sources, including alpaca. Each is a unique work of art inspired by badgers, hares, stags, tigers, wolves, lions and more, and Barbara is documenting the effect they are having in the wider world as they form their own unique global community.
Barbara graduated from the Wimbledon School of Art in 2003 with a degree in Fine Art Sculpture. After showing her fantastical handmade hats at Origin 2010 and 2011, she has been constantly making hats for individuals, leading boutiques and costumiers. Her work has featured in Omer Asim’s Winter Collection 2011, the ‘Telegraph’ November 2011 and even BBC’s ‘Once Upon a Time: Little Red Riding Hood’ in 2010. Barbara has also worked on a variety of performance based projects involving and influenced by diverse methods and concepts which include felt, ceramics, song and the role of the individual as part of a group.
We watch our children play, like little gods, they take out their toys and create a universe as they want it to be. We too like to play, we gather materials, arrange and combine them, we too have ideas and ideals. The objects and garments that we make are intended to transport and transform their users, simple natural materials connect us with our origins as creatures of the earth.