The Lakes International Comic Art Festival 2022: ‘Wander More with Welsby’ – A Comics-Inspired Trail Around Bowness-on-Windermere!
by Richard Bruton
More community comics projects coming out of the Lakes International Comic Art Festival with the announcement of the Wander More With Welsby comics trail.
The Lake District town of Bowness-on-Windermere will become the hub for comics in the UK with the Lakes International Comic Art Festival in October, one of the biggest UK comics events and one modeled very much on the European festival, where comics take over a town for the festival but also contribute to the town’s culture in the time leading up to the Festival.
We’ve already told you some of what’s going to be happening in Bowness with various community events and projects, including the ‘What Is, What If, Floods Comic Project,’ but now there’s news of what looks like a fun comics-inspired trail ‘populated with weird and wonderful creations’ on the ‘Wander More with Welsby’ comics trail created by Louise Evans, AKA Felt Mistress, an internationally-renowned creator of felt figures, from human-looking creatures to monsters and bugs, and her partner, comic artist, illustrator, and designer Jonathan Edwards.
The trail opens from 17th March 2022 around Bowness-on-Windermere – a partnership between the Lake District National Park Authority and the Lakes International Comic Art Festival, allowing visitors to follow Welsby on a character trail running through the beautiful town of Bowness and its surrounding countryside. Along the way, you’ll meet such creatures as Belmondo and Duffell, and the mysterious Mossop, the Woodland Sage.
Both Louise and Jonathan have been involved with LICAF for many years, and this latest project brings something wonderful and slightly weird to the quiet town of Bowness, in readiness for the total immersion of the area in the world of comics.
“We are so excited to bring these wonderful creatures to the Lakes! The trail will definitely bring a smile to your face and the quality of the work is just sensational. This is a taster of the creativity we’ll be bringing each year to Bowness-on-Windermere – the new home for our comic festival.” – Julie Tait, Director, The Lakes International Comic Art Festival
“We are very excited about the trail and hope it will delight audiences of all ages, encouraging them to explore the Lake District and see it in a new and fun way. The cultural landscape of the Lake District National Park has inspired artists for generations and it’s great to see that legacy continuing through contemporary artist Felt Mistress. The trail has been created to celebrate our partnership with Lakes International Comic Arts Festival, which we hope will encourage new audiences to explore and enjoy our beautiful and inspiring National Park.” – Kerry Powell, Director of Communications and Resources, The Lake District National Park
The Wander More With Welsby trail launches 17th March 2022 and ends 25th April, with all of Felt Mistress’ creations returning in October, in time for the annual Lakes International Comic Art Festival (14th – 16th October 2022) in Bowness-on-Windermere.
Announced guests for LICAF 2022 so far are: Dimitris Anastasiou, Lucie Arnoux, Lina Ghabeih, Jaime Hernandez, Andrew Humphreys, Olivier Kugler, Mick McMahon, Bill Morrison, Rebecca Ollerton, Sean Phillips, Mike Perkins, Greg Rucka, Posy Simmonds, Fiona Stephenson, Jorg Tittel, Twin Cartoons, Andi Watson – and, of course, Felt Mistress, aka Louise Evans, and Jonathan Edwards.
Louise Evans‘ alternate life as Felt Mistress comes from a background in fashion design and millinery and she’s brought this couture knowledge through into her work creating her one-off bespoke creature creations. Her work has been exhibited in the UK and internationally, she’s had her own Selfridges’ window for the 2010 Christmas display, headlined the Headspace arts festival in Osaka, been a speaker and exhibitor at the prestigious international character design festival, Pictoplasma, in Berlin, and staged her largest exhibition yet, The Hiber-Nation, at the Wales Millennium Centre in Cardiff – including the debut of her biggest creations to date including a 9ft tall ‘Hugger’.
You can find out more about Evans’ work as Felt Mistress at www.feltmistress.com or in the 2012 Blank Slate Books 400-page Felt Mistress: Creature Couture (and you can get a huge preview of the book here.)
Jonathan Edwards work has appeared in so many places since he first appeared in 1993 in Deadline and Tank Girl Magazine, working with clients as varied as The Guardian, Mojo, Q, MAD, The Black Eyed Peas, The Jungle Brothers, and The Glastonbury Festival. He’s also published several of his own comics and can be found online at www.jonathan-e.com.