A group of feltmakers from the north Dartmoor area are hoping for gold at this year’s Devon County Show.

Devon Feltmakers, who are based in Okehampton, are proudly presenting their big picture entirely made from felt, Belstone Sunrise on Dartmoor.

The sheep in the picture is a rare breed White Faced Dartmoor, surveying a scene of rough moorland and rocks, each detail in the picture created by the group. The sheep’s head, complete with curved horns, was created by member Helen Merchant.

The artwork can be seen in the Craft and Garden Marquee at the show, which runs today (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday).

It is inspired by a photograph by local photographer Brian Johnstone, taken last year, who gave his permission to the group to recreate his work in handmade felt.

Some of the talented craftswomen who worked on the project were at the show.

Group member Christine Munkenbeck, of Okehampton, described how the project had been a labour of love.

It took more than 40 people working for over 180 hours to create the picture.

‘We’re based in Okehampton but we have members from all over the place,” said Christine. “We have workshops in Whiddon Down Village Hall every couple of months. A core group of us also meet more regularly.

‘We got gold at the show last year, so we are hoping for gold again. We made the background first of all and then that is rolled out 400 times to get it to fit. It shrinks from 9 by 6 ft to 7 by 5.2 ft. We only saw it upright for the first time last week.”

The process of making felt from carded wool involves brushing two pieces of wool together with soapy water so the little hooks in the wool knot together, creating a dense fibre. It is done by hand, and is a sociable experience.

Kate Davey, from Sticklepath, was one of the members who came along to the group.

She said: “I find craft very therapeutic and the social aspect is what I like about it too, so I combine my hobby with meeting great friends.”

The group used wool donated by John Arbon Textiles in South Molton, The Bead & Fibre Cellar in Black Torrington and Axminster Carpets.

The group’s next meeting is at June 2 at Whiddon Down Village Hall.