Weekend Workshop with Mandy Nash…..

My little group, Felt Inspired, have just played host to a wonderful wet felting weekend workshop with felt maker Mandy Nash.  The four “Inspired” regulars myself, Rosie, Dreda and Pat were joined by Jane, Enid, Joan, Helen, Sandra and Robyn (Feltybits).  As well as being an inspiring tutor, Mandy, who travelled up from Llantrisant, is Vice Chair, exhibitions officer and a regional co-ordinator of the International Feltmakers Association.

Mandy Nash

The morning began with Mandy showing the ten of us examples of her wonderful wet felted objects, including hats, bags, funky fish and vessels, mainly created using Bergschaf wool.

A small selection of Mandy’s work

Some of the ladies were keen to experiment with the “book” resist technique with five of them making vessels while  Robyn decided she would like to make a fish.

Sandra working with a book resist

Robyn’s fish & bowl, Rosie’s festival hat, Sandra’s coastline inspired vessel (centre) and Pats four-sided vessel (right)

The rest of us chose to make a hat using a flat resist and added embellishment.  In addition Mandy talked us through the various surface design techniques she uses and demonstrated how we could achieve these effects using Bergschaf wool batts.

Rosie working on her festival hat

Joan made a beautiful bowler hat with slash detail

Enid’s 3 sided two-tone grey vessel, Jane’s dark blue & Dreda’s light blue vessel.

Helen and I were both smitten with Mandy’s “fern” hat so chose to make that……


Helen’s “fern” hat

My fern hat

Many thanks to Mandy for an inspiring two days and thanks to all the ladies who participated.  If anyone would like to join our group we meet on the second Wednesday of the month at Belchford Village Hall.  For more information please use the contact form.

A quick catch up…..

This is a quick catch up post, just to record a couple of felting projects that were recently finished.  The first is a pair of Bergschaf slipper boots, an early present to myself!  I made them using a scaled up version (and then some!) of the fairy boots I made in the summer.  The two boots are made as one, using a flat resist, and then cut apart before fulling and shaping.  They are the warmest and most comfortable slippers I have ever had.  I can see these lasting for years so I’m intending to embellish them with hand embroidery at some point over Christmas.

Grey Bergschaf wet felted slipper boots

Grey Bergschaf wet felted slipper boots

The second project was a wet felted cushion for my elderly aunt who is nearly 90 yrs young and loves warm colours, particularly orange.  She lives in a small flat, there is nothing she actually needs but she does love anything felted so I thought this Merino cushion would be something she could get some enjoyment from looking at.

Daphne's wet felted floral cushion.

Daphne’s wet felted floral cushion.

Concertina Hat Workshop…..

Back in the Summer I read a post on the Felting & Fibre Studio about a concertina hat workshop being run by Teri Berry.  It sounded really interesting but at that time I couldn’t commit due to holidays and other workshops.  Fortunately Teri’s first workshop was such a huge success that it is being run again this month.   As a result I’ve just finished my first wet felted Merino concertina hat and I’m really happy with how it turned out.  I’m now looking forward to trying out the next design which is Teri’s wacky but wonderful “Snail Hat”…….watch this space!

Side view blue/green hat

Ladies wet felted blue/green hat

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Too rear view of blue/green hat

 

Sculptural Collar…..

This is the finished blue and pink Merino sculptural collar which I started last week at Felt Inspired in Belchford.

Wet felted Sculptural Collar made from Merino wool.

Wet felted Sculptural Collar made from Merino wool.

I used a press stud fastener to hold it in place and added a wet felted floral detail including three leaves, two cords and a ‘rainbow bead‘.  I learnt the rainbow bead technique from the wonderful Dutch felt artist Annemie Koenen.  They take a crazy amount of effort to make but are so beautiful it’s well worth it!

Side view of Sculpted Collar

Where does the time go…..

I can’t believe it’s been a month since we started the felting group in Belchford.  Where does the time go…..

Once again we had eight ladies gathered for a felting session.  Val and Karen couldn’t make it this month but we welcomed two new faces, Ann and Sheila.   Sheila brought her current project to work on which is a very handsome needle felted owl…..

Sheila and her owl.

Sheila and her owl.

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Adding feather detail on the back.

Ann began working on a needle felted landscape and I’m loving the colour scheme…..

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Rosie was busy with her beautiful new wool making more vegetables (we’re starting to suspect an obsession here!)…..

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Looking good enough to eat!

Looking good enough to eat!

Olga was working on her sketchbook ideas for new projects…..

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Olga working on ideas in her sketchbook.

Pat was busy with embellisher…..

Pat busy on the embellisher

Pat busy on the embellisher

Janet made a wet felted bowl and then did some more work on the lovely picture she started last session….

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I started another Merino collar which will get finished at home…

Fibres laid out ready for felting.

Fibres laid out ready for felting.

All in all another enjoyable day in Belchford.

 

 

 

“with patience and love”…..

Earlier this week, under the watchful eye of internationally acclaimed Feltmaker Annemie Koenen, I learnt to make felt “with patience and love”.  The workshop in Suffolk was hosted by Region 7 of the IFA and I had a wonderful 3 days in the company of Annemie, Sally, Rachel, Jenny and Gaye.

Annemie demonstrates how to make felt "with patience and love".

Annemie demonstrates how to make felt “with patience and love”.

A few photos of work in progress…..

 

Everyone looks to be concentrating hard!

Everyone looks to be concentrating hard!

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Sally working on her sculptural belt

I took my own Merino wool to the workshop but once I had seen the beautiful  hand dyed Merino with Tussah Silk that Annemie had brought with her I just had to use it!

My collar is taking shape

My collar is taking shape

Annemie’s approach to teaching this workshop was to ask each of us in turn what we would like to make and then ensure that we were guided and supported at every stage to accomplish our goal.  Annemie has a very relaxed and approachable style of teaching but that doesn’t make her a soft touch!  She watched us all like a hawk and kept a very strict eye on timings and on the quality of our work.  As a result I came away with a stunning collar and a head full of tips and inspiration for future projects.

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My finished Autumnal collar

My finished Autumnal collar

A big thank you to Annemie for a wonderful workshop and to the ladies in Region 7 for making me feel so welcome.

The ladies with their finished projects.

The ladies with their finished projects.

Felt Inspired in Belchford…..

Today was the first meeting of a new felting group, Felt Inspired, which will meet in Belchford Village Hall on the second Wednesday of every month from 10-4pm.

Eight ladies attended our first meeting.  Olga, Pat, Karen and Jenny brought their embellishing machines to work on.

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Rosie concentrated on needle felting…..

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……while Val, Janet and myself chose to wet felt.

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It was an enjoyable day with good company and the time went far too fast!

Taking a break from all that hard work!

Taking a break from all that hard work!

If you are in the North Lincs area and would like to join us or want to know a bit more about the group you can get in touch via my contact page.

 

Marjolein Dallinga Workshop…

Last week I rode down to South Wales to attend a two day Marjolein Dallinga Workshop with the ladies from Region 12 of the IFA, organised by Mandy Nash.  Originally from the Netherlands Marjolein, an internationally renowned Feltmaker, now lives in Canada and I couldn’t believe my luck when I discovered that, not only was she in the UK but that there was a spare place on one of her workshops!

The workshop was held at The Model House Craft & Design Centre in Llantrisant.  positioned at the top of the hill, close to the castle ruins.  The Model House has a gallery and gift shop on the ground floor and then several more floors consisting of more sales areas and craft studios where you can watch the resident artists, including Mandy, at work.

Marjolein’s workshop was different to any other I’ve attended.  The first difference was that she didn’t bring along any of her work as she didn’t want us to be influenced by it.  The second difference was that normally you would know  at the outset that you are making a bowl or a waistcoat or a picture, etc……we knew nothing!  What we were told was that we should allow ourselves the freedom of making something just for the enjoyment of “play”.  The aim was to allow our creativity to come to the fore and experiment with colours and shapes, with no preconceived idea of what the end product should, or would, eventually look like.

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We were asked to use different colour combinations at different stages of our work, some which we particularly liked, some we didn’t like, some warm, some cold. The idea was to get us to use colours we wouldn’t normally work with and to experience the changes in those colours, and in our perception of them, as they blend and merge together.

We made two pieces, the first was based on an egg shape and represented our “inner energy”.  Unfortunately I was so engrossed in what we were doing I forgot to take a photo of mine but you can see the basic shape and size from the one that Mandy has in the centre of her table…..

Mandy working on her two experimental pieces

Mandy working on her two experimental pieces

Our second piece represented our “outer energy”…..

My "outer energy" piece with resist removed

My “outer energy” piece with resist removed

Pleats are sewn into the prefelt before completing the felting & fulling.

Pleats are sewn into the prefelt before completing the felting & fulling.

My finished "Outer Energy" sculpture. It makes me think of a fossilised ballet shoe!

My finished “Outer Energy” sculpture, it makes me think of a fossilised ballet shoe!

.....and other side.

…..and the other side.

My finished "Inner Energy" sculpture

My finished “Inner Energy” sculpture

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…..and the other side.

My two finished pieces are completely different, both having been pleated, fulled and cut away.  Once again I learnt such a lot, met some lovely people and came away inspired!  It was a privilege to spend time with Marjolein.  Not only is she incredibly talented but she has a very calm and warm personality and you really couldn’t wish to meet a nicer person,  Here’s hoping she comes back to the UK very soon!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Masterclass with Dagmar Binder….

I have just got back from a fabulous week in North Yorkshire with Region 10 of the IFA.  I rode up (yes “rode” up, with my motorcycle stacked high with supplies!) to take part in a residential Masterclass with Dagmar Binder and 9 other students at The Old Mill in Skeeby.  I am a huge admirer of Dagmars work and was thrilled to be taking part in her workshop.

Day one, making a start on our samples

Day one, making a start on our samples

My sample piece

My sample piece

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Over the three days we learnt such a lot about making a successful felt garment.  On day one we started with pattern making and then after lunch we made a small set of samples to explore the use of pre felt and how the direction of the fibres affect the finished piece.  Completing the sample would help us to get to get to grips with our “collars”.  Although only small this piece took quite some time to make and the majority of us ended up back in the studio after dinner in order to get it finished.

Laying fibres for my waistcoat

Laying fibres for my waistcoat

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Dagmar talks us through the fulling stage

Louise is the first to finish!

Louise is the first to finish!

Lamona proudly shows off her work

Lamona proudly shows off her work

Niki added some beautiful texture to her design

Niki added some beautiful texture to her design

It was an intense workshop with the majority of us working late into the evening, every evening, but it was so worth it!  I had intended to create several more collars on my waistcoat but soon realised that the work involved, for me, was too much to fit into the time scale we had.  My finished waistcoat isn’t perfect but I am confident that I now have the skill to know where and how I can improve when I make my next one.

My finished waistcoat

My finished waistcoat

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A big thank you to Dagmar, Iris and everyone I met in Skeeby for making this such an enjoyable experience.