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The Fabulous Fleece Company Blog

An interior designer's sheepskin adorned home

All images ⓒ Kate Kitchen

We love working with interior designers, helping them to source beautiful bespoke sheepskins and hides for their client projects.

However, considering the stylish products that those working in interiors industry have access and exposure to every day, we consider it a real compliment when our products are chosen to feature in a designer's own home.

These lovely images show the gorgeous living space of Kate Kitchen, founder and owner of Reverie Interior Design based in Sussex.

Kate ordered five individual rare breed sheepskins from us for use in her own home interior scheme. She sent us such fab images, we wanted to feature them in in more detail here on the blog, as well as on the fan board.

The dark toned sheepskins draped over the back of those stylish sofas in the living room area add a layer of extra luxury and comfort to seating that already looks super for sinking into and relaxing after a hard day.

We also love the pop of bright colour from the deep pink of those velvet cushions. The distinct flower print cushions also work really well with the whole look.

In the kitchen, Kate uses sheepskins to soften the seating around the dining table in her fabulous open plan kitchen and dining space. These pics give us major kitchen envy - just love the dark charcoal grey of those cabinets!

Of her interior style, Kate says "I love sophisticated Parisian elegance, combining classic and contemporary elements to create timeless interiors."

Indeed, at Fab Fleece Co we believe that sheepskins are timeless, classic items and they work well with many different interiors styles.

Kate shares lots of images of inspiring interiors over on Instagram so do follow her there https://www.instagram.com/reverieinteriordesign or click through to the Reverie Interior Design website: http://reverieinteriordesign.com

Spotlight on our latest bespoke sheepskins

We love the variety of individual requests we get for our bespoke sheepskins service so thought we'd share with you more details of the most recent items that we've been making in the Fab Fleece workshop...

Tibetan Lambskin Blanket with Square Cushion/ Pillow Covers

This beautiful custom blanket/throw was compiled with 12 Ivory Tibetan Lambskins stitched together. Our customer also asked for some square pillow covers to be made to match, which we happily did, combining a lambskin front with a white wool backing. The finished products remind us of fluffy clouds and we think they look heavenly...!

Grey Rarebreed Sexto

This photo was taken when all the six skins had been laid out and matched, ready for the cutting and stitching. Love the subtle mix of tones with this one. So much nicer and more natural than a uniform colour dyed sheepskin!

Light Rare Breed Decto Sheepskin

Another great example of combining some lovely light tone individual rare breeds together into a large sheepskin - this one combines ten sheepskins.

Extra Large Dark Rare Breed Sexto Sheepskin

Moving over to the dark side, this is bespoke sheepskin combining six darker rare breed sheepskins. It's made super sized by being a compilation of our extra large sheepskin stock.

Baby Lambskin Blankets

Last, but most definitely not least, is this baby lambskin blanket. We will soon be adding these to our website as a new product to order, once we've got Mike to take a proper photograph of them in his studio. But until then you get an exclusive sneak peek of this new product in the workshop!

Amazing Animal Portraits by Alison Elliott

Alison in front of her painting 'Lord of Men I'

We recently came across the stunning paintings of artist Alison Elliott when she ordered a sheepskin pet bed for her cats and we got chatting about her work - specialising in painting animals, particularly horses and dogs.

With Fab Fleece Co, and many of our customers, being big animal lovers, we were intrigued to find out more…

'Ambition' 2017 Foal of 'Talent' - Oil on Gesso Panel 18 x 20cm

Bringing subjects to life

The first thing that so striking and admirable about Alison’s animal paintings is their awe-inspiring realism. So it’s very telling that when we ask Alison to name an artist that really inspires her, she says the photographer Richard Bailey.

Indeed it’s hard to believe Alison's paintings are not photographs themselves, as they portray her subjects so realistically through attention to the minutest of detail.

'I want each subject to come to life…so much so that one can almost feel them breathing,' says Alison.

‘Sunny’, 2013. Oil on gesso panel, 10 x 15cm

‘Sunny’, 2013. Oil on gesso panel, 10 x 15cm

A love for her subjects

It is Alison’s attention to the minutiae of an animal’s form that sets her apart from other animal portrait artists. Through her paintings, you can see the deep admiration Alison has for her subjects, a love which is demonstrated by the intimacy and almost obsessional level of detail that she manages to achieve.

Animals have always been a favourite subject for Alison, ever since she was a student doing Art Foundation at Winchester, where she learnt the key skills of life drawing and photography.

As a painter, Allison is completely self-taught, learning the majority of her working process from books and magazines, reading and experimenting with different techniques and supports over the years. She uses traditional painterly methods, updating the techniques of the old masters for a contemporary audience.

‘Talent' 2017. Oil on linen, 105 x 150 cm

More about the process

Each painting starts with a consultation with the subject’s owner to identify the animal’s character. This usually involves both owner and animal visiting her studio for the initial photographs from which the paintings are produced.

Getting these initial images right is crucial to capture the clarity and colours that Alison needs to make an accurate representation of her subject.

Once a single photograph is selected to work from, Alison decides on the scale of the painting by projecting her chosen image onto a paper backdrop.

Stivalery BJ, 2017 Arabian filly. Oil on gesso panel 13 x 18cm.jpg

Focus on the subject and its detail

Like the photographer she admires, Richard Bailey, Alison strips her compositions down to just the bare essentials and focus only on the subject, ‘cutting it out’ from its environment. This minimal approach places the animal at the epicentre of the painting, with no peripheral distractions in the background to draw the viewer’s attention from the portrait.

Each painting takes four layers to get to the most precise detail, with each layer adding progressively finer marks using gradually smaller brushes. The fourth and final layer is a tweaking layer, done to bring out the finest of details such as eyelashes, highlights on hair and light in the animal’s eyes.

This process is the same for both miniatures and larger canvases, although of course the larger canvases take considerably more time.

‘Molly’, 2014. Oil on gesso panel, 10 x 15cm

A question of scale

Indeed the choice of size and scale of the portrait is another distinguishing hallmark of Alison’s painting. Many of her earlier paintings are life size – such as portrait of the horse Fledalji and Boy, her painting of a six month old Giraffe she photographed while in Australia - which are both presented at 1:1 scale.

These larger works create a huge impact on the viewer and dominate the space. However, Alison paints miniatures of smaller animals, mostly made to commission as portraits of much-loved pets and are usually sized between 10x12cm and 18x24cm.

The small works invite the viewer to draw near to appreciate the detail. Because of their size, they can be fitted into even the most crowded home.

Alison doesn’t usually frame her work but these miniatures come with a custom-made presentation box. This is for protection, so that clients can make the decision about framing themselves. It’s also a lovely way of wrapping up the commission as a package, especially if it is a gift.

Most recently, Alison has been focusing on her smaller and more accessible portraits of both dogs and horses. But whatever the size, she is dedicated to recreating her subject’s every detail and bringing them to life in paint!

If you are interested in seeing more of Alison’s work or commissioning a portrait of a much-loved animal, please see Alison’s website - https://alison-elliott.myportfolio.com

We've been lucky enough to be seen in: