Sweet Nothings Retreat…..

Sweet Nothings Retreat

I am thrilled to announce that I will be offering two wet felting workshops in France this coming July. The workshops will be held at Sweet Nothings Art and Crafts Retreat in the beautiful Charent region. The retreat is owned and run by husband and wife team Natalie and Lawrence, originally from the UK, and you can read how they came to be running a business in rural France by clicking here.

The price is €700 sharing a twin or double room or €850 for single occupancy of a double or twin room. As Natalie says…”once you’ve arrived each week is fully inclusive, you really don’t have to spend any money at all.  We feed guests well and provide wine and snacks.  I provide airport transfers also, from Bordeaux, Bergerac and Limoges, also Angouleme / Bordeaux train station.  When not in the workshop you will also have the opportunity of going on a couple of trips, again at no extra cost. If requested I can organise payment by instalments for guests, which some people find useful.“

During your six day retreat you will have three workshop days and, with a maximum number of six students per class, there will be lots of opportunity for one to one time. A small class also allows for lots of flexibility so we can tailor your project to suit your specific wishes/needs rather than all having to work on the same design or template. This also means we can accommodate absolute beginners alongside those of you who may have experience of Wet Felting but want to experiment or develope your technique further. On booking you will be sent a (very) short Requirements List of items to bring – nothing that can’t easily be packed for travelling!

15th – 20th July Nuno Scarf/Collar – In this workshop we will be working with Superfine Merino and silk fabrics, learning the basics of Nuno Felting, to create a beautiful, soft scarf/collar. Each student will work at their own pace and, once finished, you have the option of relaxing or putting your new found skills to practise on another item such as , Necklace or Bracelet. Being both practical and decorative, the beautifully soft, extremely lightweight Necklets bridge the gap between a scarf and a necklace and are ideal for wearing under a jacket on cool evenings. The necklaces and bracelets introduce another technique, differential shrinkage, which allows us to create interesting, undulating surfaces on a flat plane. Once again, each of the additional projects will be totally unique and these can be further embellished with hand embroidery and beads. It’s your retreat…you decide!

15th – 20th July Superfine Merino Scarves and Collars

Nuno Necklets – perfect for wearing under a jacket
Nuno Felted Necklace and Bracelet

22nd – 27th July Wet Felted Wallhanging – In this workshop we will be covering a variety of techniques including wet felting, needle felting, free motion stitch and hand embroidery to create our own unique wall hanging. It is suitable for any ability from absolute beginner to the more experienced felt maker as well as being a great introduction to free machine embroidery for those who haven’t yet tried it.

Using photographs or sketches as our source of inspiration we will begin by designing our layout and colour scheme. There will be examples to look at as we explore the different techniques we might use to create our pictures. The main body of our work will be wet felted, using loose fibres to “paint” our pictures. We will also explore the use of our own hand made pre felts, needle felting, hand and machine stitching to add areas of detail. Students can work to any size they wish, working on a large scale and concentrating on the one project, or working to a smaller scale and having the choice of an add-on felting project or simply enjoying more “free” time!

22nd – 27th July Wet Felted Wall Hangings
Flower Meadow – Merino wool, wet felted and machine embroidered.

If you would like more information about the workshops I will be offering please use the contact form to get in touch. If you have any queries regarding the accommodation or would like to make a booking please do that via the Sweet Nothings Website.

Towards the Wolds…..

This is my latest commissioned piece entitled Towards the Wolds. It’s based on one of my favourite views looking east down Shearmans Wath, towards West Ashby and the rolling hills of the Lincolnshire Wolds.

Shearman’s Wath is the site of a late Neolithic Henge. According to Historic England…..”the buried remains are situated 330m north of Thimbleby Mill on the glacial sands and gravels of the flood plain edge, some 150m east of the River Bain. The monument, which has been reduced by ploughing, can no longer be seen on the ground. It is, however, clearly visible from the air, and has been recorded on aerial photographs since 1970.”

The Wallhanging is approximately 42cm x 64 cm, created from 23 micron Merino fibres, Wet Felted, and embellished with hand and machine stitch. I’ve enjoyed working on this piece and very much looking forward to seeing it hanging in it’s new home!

Paint, Layer & Stitch…..

Today I was invited down to North Kilworth, Leicestershire to work with fourteen ladies from the textile group “Textend”. We spent the day painting fabric, layering with sheers and tulle and stitching to create our tree themed landscapes. Some ladies worked from imagination while others took inspiration from photos or cards. Although there is still work to be done, as you can see, the pieces are looking great. Many thanks to Ruth for inviting me and look forward to seeing some of you again next week.

Quilters Guild AGM…..

I slept like a baby last night having got home after three very busy, and very enjoyable, days at the Quilters Guild AGM. The event was held on the Jubilee Campus at Nottingham University and attended by approximately 450 enthusiastic quilters. Over the three days participants had the choice to be entertained, and educated, by hour long lectures, half hour mini workshops and demonstrations, half day workshops and full day workshops. There were several traders, a wonderful selection of second hand books at massively discounted prices, a raffle, tombola and exhibitions.

On the Friday morning I gave an illustrated talk entitled “My F-Plan Diet……Fabric, Fibre & Felting” all about how I was introduced to Textile Art and Feltmaking back in 2014 and how my work has progressed, up to present day. I featured a number of pieces to look at in detail, explaining the background to the design process and the materials used.

In the afternoon The Guild held what they call the “Carousel”. This involved four tutors, each in a separate part of the room, demonstrating a particular technique. I called my sessions The Half Hour Flower and at the end of each half hour period and bell was rung and the participants swapped to a different tutor…..it was like speed dating for crafters!

The Half Hour Flower

With this being a “quilters” event, and with all the other guest tutors being textile artists, I felt privileged that the organisers had invited me specifically to teach and promote Feltmaking. On Saturday I had a class of 14 students making wet felted “Landscape” themed pictures, several were trying out wet felting for the very first time. The ladies each brought an image they wanted to create and we began by looking at how they could interpret the various shapes and textures in their design using fibre. Some students incorporated prefelts and everyone had time to do a little needle felting if they chose to, to begin to add the finer detail. The variety and quality of work produced in such a short time was amazing! Being quilters I think everyone was intending to add free motion stitch or hand stitching to their work once they got it home so I’m really hoping I get sent some images of the finished work.

Fantastic work all round from Saturday’s class!

On Sunday I had a class of six ladies making Wet Felted Bowls. We began by discussing the different fibre layouts that can be used to affect the shape and structure of 3D objects as well as how we can create interesting shapes using prefelts and differential shrinkage. The ladies each chose a style they wanted to create from my examples shown below and, as you will see, the results were terrific!

It was a great weekend and I got to meet, chat and work with some lovely ladies. I would just like to thank all my students for being so enthusiastic and working so hard! Thanks also to the Region 10 Committee for inviting me to be a part of it and hope to work with you again in the future.

Quilters Guild AGM…..

I am thrilled to have been invited to appear as a guest speaker and tutor at this years Quilters Guild AGM in Nottingham. Just got the car loaded (I really must get a van….it’s rammed full!) and about to set off. If you reading this and attending I look forward to meeting you…..for everyone else I will post images from the weekend when I get back.

Jeudis at Manchester…..

Yesterday I travelled over to Manchester’s EventCity with fellow Jeudis member Christine Plummer for a day of stewarding at the Creative Craft Show.

We were there as members of the mixed media textile group Jeudis, to promote our group and our most recent body of work on the theme of Abstraction.  The work is very varied and include 2D and 3D pieces, wet felting, quilting, collage, hand stitching, machine stitching, etc, etc.  My main piece was inspired by rockpools and made with wet felted Bergschaf fibres,  found shells and pebbles, hand and machine embellished.

Rockpool on display at EventCity, Manchester

I took this theme further, making several items of felted jewellery for the sales table, and was delighted with the response these brought.  The rock pool bracelets were particularly popular and the grey necklet found a new home with a lady who looked absolutely stunning in it!

Rockpool Brooches

Rockpool brooches made from Bergschaf fibres

Rockpool inspired Necklet

The following photos show more of the groups work…..

…..by Gill Green

Close up detail of Gill Greens bowl

…..by Jean Baker

…..by Sue Lewis

…..by Cathy Ball

…..by Linda Settle

…..by Elaine Winterton & Sue Lewis

…..by Christine Plummer

…..by Hazel Brewer

Our next Exhibition will be at Birmingham NEC and I will confirm dates nearer the time.

Abstract Wall Hanging…..

Inspired by rock pools this Wet felted Abstract Wall Hanging, made from natural shades of Bergschaf fibres punctuated with orange, is very textural and tactile. It’s a mixed media piece combining pebbles, shells and paper with free motion stitching and hand stitched colonial knots. Size approx 54cm diameter x 10cm deep.

Wet Felted Abstract Wall Hanging
Close up detail of 3 dimensional abstract wall hanging
Abstract Wall Hanging detail

I will been exhibiting this piece with textile group Jeudis at the Creative Craft Show in Manchester from January 31st to the 2nd February.

Lutradur Forest Workshop…..

Day two of the Lutradur Forest Workshop saw the ladies layering and stitching their Forest designs to their base fabric.

As often happens in a workshop, although all of the ladies worked constantly over the two day’s and the quilts are looking terrific, everyone has some finishing off to do at home.

Clare is adding clumps of bluebells to her Forest floor, hand embroidering them with Colonial knots

Janet’s design featured trees in leaf as well as these wonderful old gnarly tree stumps

Sue created lots of depth with her shading

Clair based her design on a photo she took while visiting a Canadian lake in the Fall

Janice is making lots of individual leaves which will be added to the foreground on the right of her design

Patricia has created a very strong contrast with her dark foreground tree and the lighter grey trunks in the background

Lyn will add stitched detail the her ferns to create interest in the foreground

Thanks to Nicola at the Simply Stitch Studio for being a wonderful host and to all the ladies for their enthusiasm and hard work.  I will look forward to receiving photos of your finished quilts.

Lutradur Forest Workshop….

A Walk in the Forest art quilt by Karen Lane

Walk in the Forest

Today was day one of a two-day Lutradur Forest Workshop at the Simply Stitch Studio, Wetherby.  Using my “Walk in the Forest” design as a starting point, eight ladies have begun the day designing their own “Forest” art quilt which will consist of several layers of Lutradur fabric.  Today the Lutradur has been cut out and painted and tomorrow we will begin layering and stitching the fabric in place.  As you can see from the photos not only is each design unique but also each student is displaying a distinct style of their own.

The ladies start by drawing out their design ideas on paper

The Lutradur is cut out and painted

Cutting out foliage using a soldering iron

This is where we are at the end of day one…..

Tomorrow we will bring all the main elements together and stitch them in place before adding any foreground detail and hand stitching.  I’m really looking forward to seeing how these pieces develop!