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.
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 JulyNuno 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!
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!
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.
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!
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!
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.
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!
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.
This weekend I am up in North East Yorkshire teaching wet felting at the E.Y.E.s (East Yorkshire Embroiderers) annual Residential Weekend Retreat. It’s being held at a wonderful venue called Cober Hill, overlooking the North Bay Area of Scarborough.
Out of the 18 ladies attending sixteen are creating wet felted pictures while the other two are here doing their own thing. We met up on Friday afternoon and after a brief introduction got straight on with planning our designs and laying out our fibres.
After a three course dinner the ladies were straight back in the studio and hard at work rolling, throwing and generally fulling their work.
I’d been warned that some of the group would be working all hours and I found myself staying in the studio until 11pm with Ruth who was the last woman standing!
This morning I heard one lady was in the room and working at 6am……I certainly wasn’t!!! Most of us resumed work straight after breakfast adding needle felted elements and beginning to free motion or hand stitch into the felt.
There is some fabulous work being created and I reckon we are going to have a really impressive “show and tell” tomorrow lunch time! Watch this space…….