Tyvek Leaves in Waltham…..

My blue/green handmade leaf stitched with metallic thread and embellished with tiny coloured beads.

Tyvek leaf with metallic thread and beading.

I’ve just got back from spending a wonderful day with Jacky Hopkin and her group of ladies who meet at Waltham Windmill on the outskirts of Grimsby.  I was invited over to teach them the technique of making a Tyvek Leaf using coloured fabric Tyvek and a wire armature.

Once again we ended up with a variety of different shapes and colours, each one very different to the next, and each leaf will look beautiful when the stitching and beading has been added.  The ladies will finish these off at home and bring them back to their meeting next month for a “show and tell”.

Many thanks to Jackie and the group for inviting me over and thank you to Brenda for providing me with a delicious lunch!  I shall look forward to seeing you all again.

Yellow Poppies Workshop…..

I’m really pleased to be announcing that I will be holding a two day workshop in August to recreate one of my favourite pieces, the wet felted wall hanging I call Yellow Poppies.  Since my quilts started touring with Grosvenor Shows earlier this year I’ve received more email comments about this piece than any other, which is really nice, with several ladies asking when I will be running a workshop.

The venue will be the beautiful light and airy Simply Stitch Studio at East Keswick owned and run by textile tutor Nicola Hulme.  The facilities are perfect for encouraging creativity and with over 400 bolts of patchwork fabric from Makower, Lewis & Irene and Cloud 9 as well as Hobbs quilt wadding you can take the opportunity of a little retail therapy if the mood takes you!  Nicola offers an extensive workshop programme so it’s well worth taking a look at her website to see what’s available.

 

 

 

 

 

Needle Felted Toadstool….

This morning I travelled down to Pode Hole, in the Lincolnshire Fens, to deliver a needle felted toadstool workshop for the Spalding Embroiderers.  The ladies had expected to be doing a beading class but unfortunately the tutor couldn’t keep the booking and I was asked if I could step in at short notice, which I was only too pleased to do.

 

We began by making the three main components, the stalk, base and top of the toadstool using white Cheviot wool from World of Wool.  Cheviot is a good choice to use as ‘core’ wool as it is inexpensive and needle felts quickly.  Once we had joined together the three elements we covered the top of the toadstool using WoW’s carded Corriedale in sour cherry (Tutti Frutti collection) and Pinwheel (Galaxy range).  The base was covered in a combination of Tadpole and Sombrero, again from WoW’s Galaxy range.

For a lot of the day you could have heard a pin drop….the concentration was so intense!

Detail was added using small skeleton leaves and tapestry wool for grass.

Once again it was a really enjoyable day in the company of a very creative group of ladies.  My thanks to Liz and Mavis for inviting me back and I’m now looking forward to our next workshop!

The Spalding ladies with their toadstools

 

Tyvek Leaf Workshop…..

Tyvek leaf

Last night I was invited to deliver my Tyvek Leaf Workshop to 24 creative ladies from the Louth Textile Group who meet once a month at the Conoco Rooms above Louth Library.   Time was going to be a little tight with 24 participants and less than two hours to make our leaves but all of the ladies rose to the challenge knowing that they would have to complete their project at home.

We began by colouring our Tyvek using our chosen medium, either felt markers, fabric paint, acrylics or watercolours.  While this was drying the ladies made their wire leaf framework.

Every leaf was a different shape and there were some interesting colour schemes taking place………

Tyvek Leaves created by ladies at the Louth Textile Group

Selection of Tyvek Leaves painted and distressed and  ready for embellishing

It was a fun night which went all too quickly…..I wish I had made the time to take more (and better) photos!  With no time at the end for a “show and tell” I’m hoping to receive images of the finished work, complete with stitching and beading, when the group meet again next month.

Many thanks to all the ladies for making feel so welcome.

 

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.

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

 

“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.

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!