Elite Tour de France cyclists may not believe their eyes when they fly through Holme village in July.

At the side of the road in the village centre will be a large yurt - a sight more commonly seen in the steppes of central Asia, where it provides a portable home for the nomadic population.

If the athletes had time to stop, they would discover that the interior will be even more spectacular than the exterior. Adorning the large tent-like structure will be multicoloured five metre-long hangings suspended from the ceiling and made entirely of felt, along with numerous felt works created by children from Kirklees schools.

Driving force behind the project is Thongsbridge textile artist Sue Clay, who has gained an international reputation for her felt works of art.

She had a dream of bringing a decorated yurt and hub of creativity to the Tour de France as part of The Yorkshire Year project, but failed to secure funding.

Now, thanks to the generosity of company Yorkshire Yurts, which has donated a the tent-like structure for 10 days and a local landowner who has donated the site, her dream will become a reality.

Sue’s new studio was damaged by fire in January, but friends and family rallied round to clear up the mess and get her back to work.

Now she is devoting all her creative energies to making the yurt project a success – even without a major backer. She runs workshops with local schoolchildren, having recently done residencies at Moor End Academy and primary schools in Brockholes, Holme and Honley, with several more in the pipeline.

Sue said: “The children have never worked with felt before and they are loving it. They are producing some very creative and colourful scenes.”

The yurt, which will contain a licensed bar, will be pitched on the land at Holme from June 30 to July 8 and will host a series of creative events, including music, theatre, drama, dance, sculpture and poetry.

Sue makes everything from pictures to scarves and boots from felt, and one of her hand-made felt coats was seen on the catwalk at London Fashion Week.

She is donating her time free of charge to make the large felt tableaux, but is seeking sponsors to help pay for the materials for herself and the schools. Each of her five hangings features a bicycle and takes a week to make. They represent scenes from around Huddersfield including Castle Hill, Digley Reservoir and the canal at Slaithwaite.

She is also seeking help to make a video which will be shown to felt makers in other countries.

Sue added: “The yurt and feltwork is completely unique – it will be fantastic. It has been made possible by the wonderful generosity of people, but if anyone else can help, it would be


Sue’s felt is made from fine merino wool. She places the wool in layers at 90 degrees to each other before combing them with a carder. She then covers them with a net and wets them with warm soapy water before “tickling” the wool by rubbing it with her hands to create a piece of felt.

For more information on the yurt project click here.