Online Shop…..

I’m not the most techie of folk but I’m doing a happy dance this week as I’ve managed to set up an Online Shop linked to my Sumup Account. I’ve added a “Shop” tab to my websites navigation bar and put a few items in there to start things off including a forthcoming workshop, brooches, pendants, and scarves/collars. I’m often being asked if I will teach online so I’m also hoping to add online tutorials to the shop at some point later this year….I needed to put that last sentence in print to encourage me to get on with it!!

Visit the Shop using this link or the “Shop” tab on the navigation bar.

The First Quarter of 2023…..

After kicking myself, yet again, for not keeping my posts up to date here goes with a round up of what I’ve been doing in the first quarter of 2023.

I’ll start with the fact that I’ve pulled out of the Alford Craft Market Shop where I’ve been selling some of my felted items for the past two years. I only went in originally because in 2020 The Big Textile Show was cancelled due to Covid and I had lots of product destined for that show sitting in boxes going no where! Also workshops weren’t happening and so I had plenty of time to make more stock so it made sense to find an outlet and Lynne at the Alford shop kindly found me a space.

Workshops have always been, and always will be, my main focus so with life back to normal in 2022 it was time to leave the Alford shop at the year end to concentrate on what I enjoy doing most.

I don’t always get the chance (or sometimes I simply forget!) to take photos during a class but these are a few of the workshops I’ve run since the beginning of this year of which I have images…..

In February the Ladies at EYE’s (East Yorkshire Embroiderers) invited me back up to spend the weekend with them in Cottingham. I’d been working on a new illustrated talk for them, originally I’d said it would be The History of Feltmaking but very soon in to my research I realised that title was a huge mistake as it was far too broad a topic for a 45 minute talk! I knew I wanted to start with some of the earliest discoveries of felt known to man, discovered in the Tarim Basin and at Pazyryk in Siberia, and end with present day Feltmakers who are pushing the boundaries of what can be achieved with fibre, water, soap and imagination. The difficulty was what to leave out and what to put in from the intervening 4,000ish years which would join those two sections and ensure the presentation was interesting, exciting and had flow. Having delayed starting this project until the beginning of December it was going to keep me very busy over Christmas and in to the New Year!

This wonderful Felt Swan was discovered at the Pazyryk burial site and dates to the 5th to 4th century BCE.
Image source Hermitage Museum

Doing the research was fascinating and also very time consuming. I found myself going off on a tangent many times as one interesting fact led to another, and another……. I’ve now got enough content in the bag for another talk when I get around to sorting it out. Needless to say the whole thing took a lot longer than I anticipated and I only got finished a couple of days before I was due to present in Cottingham! My one and only talk until now has been about my journey as a textile artist and that’s the easiest subject to talk about as it’s what I know, no crib sheets required! This wasn’t going to be quite so easy, not the first time around anyway, and there was the added worry that others might not find it as interesting to listen to as I had done to research.

A Journey in Felt starts with the benefits of wool fibre and takes us from Iron Age discoveries through to the present day including some of the amazing felt creations featured in the annual World of Wearable Art Competition.

I gave my talk, A Journey in Felt, to an audience of approximately 120 ladies on the Saturday and breathed a huge sigh of relief with the positive response it received! That night I probably had the best nights sleep for several weeks and the following day we were back at the venue for the wet felted Fairy Slipper workshop.

Thirteen ladies took part in the workshop, 11 making the slippers and two of them opting to create a wet felted picture which they had done with me previously and had asked if they could do again.

Also in February I visited the Creative Stitchers at Great Coates where we spent the day painting, stitching and heat distressing Tyvek fabric to make our Tyvek leaves and 3D seed pods. I love the fact that, due to the process used, these pieces cannot be repeated so each one will always be totally unique!

Something I’m doing much more of now is small group workshops in my home studio. These tend to be groups of friends who book together either for a specific project or, as in the case of Margie, Di, Clare and Jacky, each one came with a certain idea in mind and I helped guide them towards completion. These ladies have been several times for wet felting and in February decided to ring the changes with some needle felting and Tyvek work.

Following a request earlier this year I put together a beginners Hand Embroidery Workshop. I love hand embroidery but tend to stick with using just the same two or three stitches so it was really nice to get back to basics and rediscover the ones I haven’t used for quite some time. Hand stitching isn’t something you can rush so it was also good to sit and relax and generally slow things down for a little while whilst making my samples.

In this class we progress through the different stitches with each student making a sampler which can be used for future reference. The sampler consists of 18 stitches (some basic and some not so basic!) and students also get a template of flower shapes which they can take away and stitch at leisure using their newly acquired skills.

The next images are of the first of these classes which was held at the Alford Craft Market Studio in February.

Later that month I had Emma, Kirsty and Sue come along to my studio for the beginners hand embroidery class.

Layer, Stitch & Burn is another fabric and stitch workshop but this time using the sewing machine and with the added excitement of “burning” our fabric! The first time I saw this technique being demonstrated was many years ago in a video by a Canadian textile artist called Susan Lenz. Susan works in many different mediums and styles and uses this technique for her In Box and Window series.

Last month I took Layer, Stitch & Burn to the Sleaford Embroiderers at their monthly gathering at the Hub in Sleaford. This is a fun, experimental workshop using a variety of synthetic fabrics. Techniques include cutting, layering, bonding, foiling and free motion stitching. Finally, once everything is held firmly in place, we burn away our background using a soldering iron & heat tool to leave a lace like effect. Most of the ladies would go on to finish their work at home but here are a few photos of their work in progress.

The next set of images show the beautiful Nuno Felted Scarves made by eleven ladies in Barton under Needwood, Staffordshire. These were all created by layering Superfine Merino with fine silk fabrics. Its always interesting to see the different colour combinations students put together and how some really go to town with the added elements such as prefelt, yarn, etc to create additional texture.

Every scarf made in these classes is totally unique and I’m always thrilled to see how happy students are with what they have achieved. It’s even more rewarding knowing, as with this group, that none of the ladies had used this technique before!

My most popular workshop currently has to be the Superfine Merino Roll Edge Collar with brooch fastener. I’ve done a couple of these in my studio recently and last month I travelled down to run the class in Ashby Magna, Leicestershire for Region 8 of the International Feltmakers Association. Ten ladies attended the class and achieved some really wonderful results.

It was a lovely surprise to see that Fiona had also brought along some fabulous wet felted birds and a hare to show me. She made these at home using techniques she had learnt in my Chicken Workshop in Arnesby, Leicestershire last October…..we were all very impressed!

Fiona’s wonderful 3D wet felted birds.

All in all it’s been a great start to 2023 and in between workshops I’ve been working on some creative projects of my own so will include those in future posts……I just need to keep up the momentum now I’m back at it!!

The Big Textile Show…..

I’ve just started packing ahead of tomorrows drive to Leicester Racecourse for the set up of the Big Textile Show. It’s always a fabulous weekend with wonderful exhibits including textile art, beading, felting, lace making, spinning, wire work, etc, etc. For those wanting a bit of retail therapy there will be more than thirty different traders as well as a variety of workshops offering everything from learning to Crochet to Intricate Metal Weaving and everything in between. Add to all this a well stocked, reasonably priced food hall and free parking, what’s not to like!

The show opens at 9.30am on Saturday 29th & Sunday 30th Oct.

Uttoxeter Catch Up…..

I’ve done it again…’s over six months since my last post and I’m now sitting here wondering how it happened and whether it’s possible to “seamlessly” slip in half a dozen catch ups without it looking clunky!

As this blog originated as an online journal to keep track of the things I’m doing, seeing and experiencing creative wise, I really do want to fill in the yawning gap that was Spring & Summer 2022 but I’d be kidding myself to think I can make it look seamless. Some of what I’m going to post has already appeared on the Felting and Fibre Studio. I would normally write it for myself first and then copy it across but, for whatever reason, it didn’t happen! Anyway, here goes with my Uttoxeter catch up which takes us back to April and the Quilt & Stitch Village, an annual 3 day textile show held at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire.

It was my first time exhibiting at Uttoxeter and I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would visitor numbers be low? Most ladies attending shows like this are of a certain age (me included!) and I know some still have concerns about mixing in large groups. This is predominantly a quilt show, would there be enough interest in feltmaking or would the majority walk straight passed? I was manning my stall alone…. would the neighbouring stall holders be too busy to relieve me when I needed a loo break? I needn’t have worried, when the doors opened at 10am the visitors flooded in and it turned out to be three very “full on” days! These are a few of the items I had on show……

Just prior to the show I’d felted myself a couple of sculptural, roll edge collars which I wore over that weekend. They attracted a lot of interest which has led to me making them as commissions as well as running one day workshops for ladies wanting to make their own.

The cockerel and hen also proved popular with visitors. I had originally read a free tutorial on how to make a wet felted parrot in an issue of the Australian “Felt” magazine. It had been written by a wonderful Feltmaker called Sue Smorthwaite who creates fabulous birds native to her home in Australia. Keen to try the technique, but not wanting to use Sue’s design, I had the idea to make a pair of chickens. By making two I could kill two birds with one stone (sorry!) as I also needed to create a pair of “something” for a Noah’s Ark Project…..but that’s for another post!

My pitch was next to Project Linus, a charitable organisation that provides quilts and blankets for children in need. Their aims are to “Provide love, a sense of security, warmth and comfort to children who are seriously ill, traumatized, or otherwise in need through the gifts of new handmade blankets and afghans, lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.” And to “provide a rewarding and fun service opportunity for interested individuals and groups in local communities, for the benefit of children.”

Project Linus always attracts a lot of interest and the two lovely ladies on that stand were swamped with visitors for the three days! Somehow they still managed to cover for me when I needed a comfort break which was really appreciated!

I didn’t get much chance to visit other stands but when Jane (Wylde Oak Artistry) came over to say hello and told me she was working with Spun-bond fabrics I had to go see her work. I loved her masks and corsets, made on the theme of body dysmorphia, and came away feeling that there is so much more I could be doing with Lutradur!

Another stand I particularly enjoyed was “Traverse”, a group of exhibiting textile and mixed media artists. Apologies for not getting close ups of their work…….it’s worth following the link and taking a look at their website.

It was a good show, spread over three large halls as well as various other smaller buildings. Most of the photos I took were prior to opening but as you will see from the last three, we really did get visitors!

British Quilt & Stitch Village…..

Back in 2019 I signed up to take part, for the first time, in the 2020 British Quilt & Stitch Village Show which is held annually at Uttoxeter Racecourse in Staffordshire. Needless to say it got postponed due to Covid and was rescheduled for 2021. With Covid delaying it yet again it was rescheduled for 2022 and will finally be launching in three weeks time on the 22nd of April.

It’s been such a long time coming I am so excited at the thought of getting back to exhibiting again after all this time! It’s also going to be great to see the other exhibits… exhibitions are better than none but you can’t beat being up close and personal to really appreciate other people’s work.

The show will be on from 10am each day on the 22nd , 23rd & 24th of April with lots of fantastic exhibitors and traders eager to help us replenish our stash! There is lots of free parking and the site is wheelchair accessible. The show offers a warm, friendly atmosphere, displaying plenty of embroidery/quilt exhibits (group & competition), and work from textile artists and Feltmakers plus a variety of traders and fabulous workshops.

If you are planning to visit please stop by my stall and say hello. Unless there is a last minute shuffle you will find me in the Premier Bar, these are just a few of the pieces I will have on show.

A Collar or a Necklace?

I can’t decide whether to call my latest pieces, made from World of Wool Superfine Merino and Viscose fibres, a collar or a necklace? Weighing less than 1oz they are my lightest yet, and I really don’t know I’m wearing them, but they are perfect for dressing up a plain outfit.

The grey/pink version is held in place with a hand painted, embroidered and beaded Tyvek brooch while the grey/yellow has a matching felted flower (with a nod to Pam de Groot’s “splash”)


Where did January go? With the lifting of Covid restrictions and things starting to get back to normal the time is passing in a blur. It’s terrific to be takings bookings for classes once again and I’m looking forward to working with new groups this year. It’s also going to be great, after two years of cancelled exhibitions, to be showing my work at the Quilt & Stitch Village at Uttoxeter in April and the Big Textile Show at Leicester in October.

At the Waltham Textile group we normally have a biannual exhibition of our work but, due to Covid, it was cancelled in 2020 rescheduled for 2021 and then had to be cancelled again. It’s now been confirmed for August but in the meantime I’ve sold my main “Leaf” themed piece made for that show so recently made this mixed media “Monstera” to replace it.

I bought a 40cm x 80cm canvas with the intention of painting Monstera leaves on it and then adding a 3D Felted leaf. After drawing a template onto paper and offering it up to plan the layout I changed my mind about painting onto the canvas. It’s not something I’ve done before and the surface appeared to be a bit too textured for the look I wanted to create. Instead I sketched the leaves onto a piece of white cotton fabric, outlined them with an Inktense pencil and added a little shading. The aim was for very simple, very smooth, perfectly formed leaves looking more like curved metal than the foliage on my cheese plant. I think this was influenced by the very smooth metallic looking Tyvek seed pods I’ve been making lately.

The Monstera in our lounge looks a bit neglected, to the point that I couldn’t bring myself to photograph it for this post! Its been with me for more years than I can remember, moving from house to house, and I thought it would be nice to make a piece of work inspired by this plant….or should I say the plant it used to be!!

I don’t consider myself a painter but I do like painting on to fabric. If you need to paint precise lines a good tip is to use aloe vera (by far the cheapest) or acrylic medium instead of water when applying acrylics on fabric. This keeps the paint where you want it to be and avoids it bleeding into other areas. I managed to get a tiny bit of black paint on the lower section of the fabric but stopped short of starting all over again when I realised the felted leaf would cover it up!

My paper template for the painted leaves was 13” x 18” so to make the felted leaf I multiplied by 1.4 enlarging it to 18.5” x 24” to allow for shrinkage. Layer one was a very yellowish green Merino (might have been lichen but not certain). Layer two was a combination of various shades of grey with the yellowish green running down the centre. This was topped with a layer of dark green Merino and Ireland Viscose all around the edge and snippets of gold Viscose down the centre. These images don’t give a true representation of colours but you get the gist.

After wetting out I measured the fibres and found they had spread to approx 20” x 27”. At the fulling stage, every now and then, I put the original template on top to check for size and ensure I was keeping to the right shape.

Once it had shrunk to the correct size it was left to dry. The next stage was to add wires to the back of the leaf so it could be shaped. This could possibly have been done with directional laying of the fibres and lots of fulling but I wanted the option of posing the leaf once it was attached to the canvas and wires are a good way of doing this.

The wires were spaced out and attached on the reverse using a zigzag stitch which also formed the veins on the front side. You can see that bright yellowish green colour on the reverse of the leaf. Once that was done it was just a matter of cutting into the felt to form the individual leaves and the characteristic little holes of the cheese plant before attaching to the canvas.

Inspired by Nature…..3D Textiles

My recent Forest Floor workshop for the ladies of Snape Textiles up in Bedale has reignited my interest in working with Tyvek fabric. It’s a material I hadn’t used for a little while but making a tiny seed pod a few weeks ago, as a sample for their class, has led to more, and larger, pieces and an idea for a new workshop I’m calling Inspired by Nature…..3D Textiles.

These pieces all start with a wire armature wrapped in hand painted Tyvek fabric which is then distressed with a heat gun.

What I particularly like about this technique is the metallic look that can be achieved…..although they are strong, and look as if they are heavy, these pieces actually have the weight and feel of paper.

The first Inspired by Nature – 3D Textile class will be held at Belchford Village Hall LN96LJ on the 22nd January 2022 so if you are interested in learning this technique, or want to know more about the workshop please get in touch via the contact form.

Forest Floor…..

I recently had the pleasure of running two consecutive one-day workshops for members of the Snape Textile Group up in the beautiful village of Bedale, North Yorkshire.

The group had booked my Forest Floor workshop which covers lots of different techniques for working with heat manipulative materials and creating the kind of stuff you find littering the forest floor such as leaves, twigs, bark and seed pods. With 30 ladies interested it was decided to split this fast paced class into two days to ensure all of them had the best learning experience and no one got left behind!

Real bark v fake bark

After each demonstration the students set to painting, stitching, wrapping and distressing (using heat guns and soldering irons) their Tyvek and Lutradur to create the various elements.

This is a sample based workshop and students are not necessarily expected to produce a finished piece of work by the end of it when it’s booked as a one day class. We do discuss how to pull everything together and create a suitable background but this is something that can be done afterwards at your own pace. If a group particularly want to see it through to the end it can either be booked as a two day class or we simply limit the amount of leaves made on the day to get a finished piece done. Yes, it’s those leaves that tend to hook folk in and then the time just disappears!

It was a full on weekend with the ladies producing an array of wonderful work and, hopefully, having a lot of fun in the process. This was the first time some had used a heat gun or a soldering iron but going by the response it won’t be the last!

Thanks to all for your enthusiasm, hard work and good company and a special thanks to Sarah Lowe for hosting me for the weekend. I’m looking forward to working with you all again at some point in the future.

Do You Recycle Your Coffee Capsules?

Do you recycle your coffee capsules? I’ve recently started doing this, on a very small scale I admit, by getting creative and adding them as inclusions to my felt. It got me wondering what other folk might be creating with theirs. This is a guest blog I’ve just written for the Felting and Fibre Studio on that subject…..

Recycled Coffee Capsules