EYE’s Residential Weekend…..

It’s been a long time coming but last weekend I taught my first face to face workshop of 2021 at Cober Hill near Scarborough. Originally booked for summer 2020, this residential workshop for the East Yorkshire Embroiderers had to be carried over to this year due to the Covid lockdown restrictions.

I did wonder if it was too soon for some and if numbers would be depleted but it turned out the ladies were very keen to get back to normal! Nineteen of the twenty ladies booked for the weekend retreat turned up, sixteen came to do the workshop and three came simply to chill.

Cober Hill was built in 1890 and was purchased by Arnold Rowntree, former Liberal Member of Parliament for York, and nephew of the chocolate manufacturer Joseph Rowntree, in March 1920. Rowntree had a vision for it “to be a place of joy and beauty, …a centre of refreshment and inspiration for many of those engaged in difficult public services… I hope experiments in Weekend Schools, Winter and Summer Schools of various kinds and of longer or shorter duration may also be tried there…” The venue, with its gardens, tennis court, croquet lawn, theatre and numerous other communal spaces, offers an annual programme of craft workshops as well as hosting private groups, businesses and schools.

The theme for our weekend was “trees” and the aim was for the students to combine layers of fabric and paint with machine and hand stitching. The finished work could then either be backed as a quilt or mounted in a frame.

After dinner on the Friday evening the group were shown examples of my “tree themed” work and I talked through the techniques I had used to create them. The ladies then started to plan their designs based on images they had brought for inspiration. Not everyone wanted to do trees, one lady chose to use the techniques discussed to do a moon gazing hare while another went completely “off piste” with her abstract take on an owl!

Maggie went her own way with an Owl
Melanie painting her background layer.
Dorothy and Debra painting their backgrounds.
Ann laying down the background for her trees.
Rachel’s background is painted and now she’s working on her foreground layers.
Sandra adding detail to her foreground trees.

With the bulk of the painting completed and dried on Friday evening the ladies could concentrate on layering and stitching their fabrics on the Saturday.

Hilary’s background has been painted and now she is layering up her sheer fabrics to create depth to her forest.
The moon gazing Hare is starting to take shape.
Dorothy’s forest is pinned and ready for stitching.
Evelyn’s work in progress.

I think the surprise of the weekend was Melanie who only came to Cober Hill to keep Ann, her grandma, company. This young lady doesn’t have the use of a sewing machine and had never done any free motion stitching before…..she borrowed Ann’s machine and took to it like a duck to water!

Melanie’s lone tree is starting to take form.
Rachel adding her gate and railings.
Ruth is beginning to add hand stitched detail to her tree.
Debra used lots of free motion stitch on her version of a tree canopy.
Using the same image as Debra for inspiration, Carol created a tree canopy in autumn colours.
Judy took her inspiration from my Walk in the Forest.
Hilary made good use of zig zig free motion stitch for her background trees.
Margaret did her take on my Three Tall Trees.
Dorothy added hand embroidery for her foreground grasses and flowers.
Melanie’s finished work…..fantastic to think this was her first attempt at machine sewing and hand embroidery!
Rhona’s moon gazing Hare….what this image doesn’t show clearly is the addition of black beads which adds texture and sparkle when you see it close up.
Close up of Sandra’s finished trees.

What I hadn’t realised at the outset was that none of these lady’s had done anything like this before, so for some it had been a steep learning curve! It was great to see everyone throwing themselves into the task of painting, layering and stitching and the results speak for themselves! By the time we left Cober Hill on the Sunday there had been some terrific work created. I hope some of my students will continue to develop these techniques alongside their more traditional skills. At least one of them has since bought herself a soldering iron for doing more of this kind of work which was music to my ears!

I just want to say a huge thank you to the EYE’s group for inviting me back to teach their 2021 residential and for being such willing students and wonderful company. I shall look forward to working with you again at some point in the future.

The EYE’s class of 2021

Layer, Stitch & Burn…..

One of my favourite workshops has to the Layer, Stitch & Burn which I will be running again at the Alford Craft Market Centre on November 16th. This class teaches a technique made famous by the American mixed media textile artist Susan Lenz.

The title sums it up exactly, we begin by layering our fabrics, we use free motion machine stitching to hold them all together and then we set them fire! OK, so we don’t go quite that far but we do apply heat to manipulate and burn away sections of our work which results in a beautiful lacey effect.

This is an example of Susan’s work

I first discovered Susan’s work via a video on YouTube where she was teaching how she made her “In Box” series. I had only just discovered there was such a thing as textile art and had started experimenting with my own projects, so to see a Textile Artist with a heat tool and a soldering iron was pretty exciting stuff! It inspired me to research further which led me to Margaret Beal and her book New Ideas in Fusing Fabric…..needless to say I’ve had an interest in manipulating fabric by burning ever since!

Originally In this workshop we made a square piece of work to fit a small box frame but there is also the option of using this technique to make several smaller pieces which can be used as brooches. These leaf brooches were made using the same fabrics that are supplied for the workshop and the same method but students can apply it to any shape or subject matter.

Leaf Brooch made using the Layer, Stitch & Burn technique

It’s very strange times right now and, understandably, lots of ladies are not yet ready to come back to classes. I’m just hoping that we get enough interest to run this workshop on the 16th……fingers firmly crossed!

Needle Felted Animals…..

Since I began running workshops I’ve frequently been asked if I do classes for making needle felted animals. Up until now my answer has always been “no, but I can point you in the direction of someone who does”. It’s not that I don’t like needle felting, or animals, it’s just something I have never done and never particularly fancied doing…..up until now!

When I received a request for animal needle felting just before Christmas I decided the time had come to include it in my workshop programme. These are my first needle felted animal workshop samples and I have to admit I thoroughly enjoyed making them and feel I’ve really been bitten by the bug!

They were made using wire armatures, wrapped with core wool, and then “cladded” with blended and carded fibres. I can feel a few more hatching so watch this space!

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.

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.

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!

 

Nuno Felted Collar Workshop…..

Last week saw eight members of the Belchford Felting Group come together for a Nuno Felted Collar Workshop.

Using the “tile” technique we combined superfine Merino fibre with silk fabrics, most of which were bought from local charity shops.  All of our collars were backed with Uzbek silk for a wonderful, soft feel against the skin.

Jacky has her tiles laid out…..

…..and after Felting.

Margaret working with beautiful, bright colours…..

……and working on the other side

Alison chose a warm, Autumnal colour palette…..

…..and Alison’s finished collar

A close up of the beautiful Indian Silks

Robyn’s Collar is ready for fulling…..

…..and the finished collar looks great!

A close up of Carols work

This one is Sheila’s

Close up of Yvonne’s Collar

Val’s finished collar

Everyone did a terrific job and took home something that’s not only unique and beautiful but very practical too!

Bird Mask Workshop…..

Bird Mask Workshop with Gladys Paulus

Last week I attended a wonderful four-day Bird Mask Workshop with Internally renowned feltmaker Gladys Paulus at Big Cat Textiles in Newburgh near Perth.

Gladys has been high on my list of tutors I’ve wanted to work ever since I started felting.  Her three-dimensional work is exceptional and she is such a warm and generous tutor.

The first layer of fibres are laid down around a resist in the shape of a birds head.

Layer one of my bird mask

I chose to make my mask using Bergschaf fibres and originally he was going to be a red kite……I soon realised I wasn’t going to achieve that aim in the time we had so he morphed into a generic bird of prey!  Apologies for the fuzzy images but with a four-day schedule time was always going to be tight so photography wasn’t high on my list of priorities!

Sandra making her Blue Jay

Diana working on her Cockatoo

Caroline shaping her mask

Liz was always one step ahead of the group!

Sharnie working on her Lapwing

We all learnt such a lot in the four days and everyone came away excited and very pleased with their finished piece of work…..

A gaggle of bird masks!

My bird of prey mask

Thanks to Gladys for an inspirational workshop and many thanks to Alison and Netty at Big Cat Textiles for looking after us and being such wonderful hosts!

The Final Show and Tell…..

My first stint at tutoring a residential weekend came to a close this afternoon with the final show and tell at Cober Hill.  It’s been a terrific three days spent with the 18 creative ladies from the East Yorkshire Embroidery group.  They don’t shy away from putting in the hours and the effort to learn a new skill but at the same time they certainly know how to enjoy themselves!  We’ve had lots of chat, lots of laughs and the ladies have produced lots of wonderful work.  It’s worth remembering that for many this was their first attempt at feltmaking……..

A huge thank you to Maggie and Carol for giving me this opportunity and I hope to work with you all again sometime in the future.