Work in Progress…..

Last year I joined a group of creative ladies who meet once a month at Waltham Windmill.  As well as working on our own projects we have a number of set “challenges” requiring us to work to a certain theme. This week I began one those challenges which is to produces three A4 size pieces of work using just three colours. Each piece is to have one predominant colour, plus a small amount of the other two. The format can be landscape or portrait but all three will be displayed together. The design, techniques and materials are entirely up to the individual.

My first thought was that I wanted my 3 pieces to be joined together and initially I was thinking along the lines of a leaf motif, using the veins to span the gaps between the work. The first design was for a very simple “spear” shaped leaf.

The second idea was to simplify it even more and loose the outline of the leaf. The background would possibly be heavyweight interfacing or Lutradur and the veins would be free motion stitched, spanning the gaps by stitching onto dissolvable fabric.
In the meantime I happened to take my dog for a walk in the woods at Hubbard’s Hills in Louth when I had a lightbulb moment! There were some wonderful exposed tree roots at the top of the hill and I suddenly saw these as being the joining element of my 3 x A4’s. The design now was for a “forest floor”.
Sketchbook page showing a design for piece of textile art
I realised that I would need a sturdy backing so I’ve wet felted these using Bergschaf fibres and they will be individually mounted onto stiff card…..at least that’s the plan so far! There will be little background showing on pieces two and three but far more on piece one so I included some thick cords under that sheet of felt to indicate buried roots.
Wet felted Bergschaf fibres
The tree roots above ground have an aluminium wire as their core, wrapped with wadding and strips of medium weight Lutradur before being painted grey.
Tree roots made from aluminium wire and Lutradur fabric
I’ve started making the weeds using free motion stitch on dissolvable fabric but I will look at alternative materials, possibly Lutradur, to introduce different textures, create more bulk and not least to speed up the weed making process!
Making weeds using free motion embroidery
The fallen leaves at the base of the roots will be FM stitched on Lutradur. Once they’ve been cut out using a soldering iron and heat distressed to make them curl they will be painted in varying shades of gold.
Lutradur leaves
I’ve managed to get a couple of other group members to send me images of their work in progress…..
Jacky approached the challenge by choosing blue, green and gold as her colours and using the “stack and whack” method to cut them up. After selecting her fabrics they were cut up quite randomly and then machined together in strips. The three sets were then layed on top of each other and sliced through again. The yellow and green shapes in the resulting strips made her think of plant pots and this led to her theme of “neglected pots and plants”. In this piece Jacky has added an appliqué cactus and free motion stitched the neglected straggly plants on the left. This one isn’t far off being finished but Ive been told the other two are still piles of fabric on the workroom table!
Carole has chosen to use a combination of plain and patterned fabrics in her chosen colour scheme of red, blue and yellow. Each of her A4’s feature a different piecing technique i.e. strips, curves and crazy patchwork. Again this is a work in progress but already you can see how individual members are putting their own mark on their work and how different everyone’s finished work is going to be. I will post images of the completed challenges next time.

Tile collar

I just love it when I hear someone has been inspired to have a go at a technique themselves!  Lea’s work is wonderful and it’s well worth taking a look at her other projects.

Lea's creative moments blog

I saw a blog post by Karen Lane of a nuno felted collar workshop she ran for the Belchford Felting Group using the “tile” technique and thought I would try my hand at it.

Recyled silks and fragments of an Indian open weave cotton and tinsel scarf

Framing the fabric tiles with merino roving

I then convered the framed piece with two fine layers of merino roving. Added some commerical felt flowers in one corner for embellishment and then covered the roving with a layer of navy Margilan silk gauze. After felting, fulling and leaving to dry, here is the finished piece …

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Pebble Necklace…..

I’ve currently got a thing for pebbles so thought it would be nice to create a Pebble Necklace.  This has been wet Felted using grey and lichen superfine Merino and white Silk.  It features hand stitched Colonial knots and is finished with a bronze coloured metal chain and fastener.

Wet Felted Pebble Necklace
Wet Felted Pebble Necklace

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!

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.

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.

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.

The Big Textile Show 2018…..

Nuno Necklets made with Superfine Merino and Silk fabrics

I’m looking forward to exhibiting again at The Big Textile Show at the end of this month.  It’s being held on Saturday 27th and Sunday 28th October.  Last year was my first time as an exhibitor.  I just loved meeting the visitors and discussing my work as well as getting to see and hear about everyone else’s creations…….fingers crossed it’s as much fun this year!

I’ve been busy making a selection of Nuno Necklets for my stall.  These are extremely lightweight as they are made from Superfine Merino and silk fabrics.  I hope my visitors like them as much as I do!

For more information about the The Big Textile Show visit www.thebigtextileshow.co.uk