“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.

Faraway Places…..

This morning I visited “Faraway Places”, an exhibition celebrating the work of the Waltham Textile Group, led by Jacky Hopkin.  The venue, adjacent to Waltham Windmill, makes it an ideal spot for families to visit with cafes, picnic area, miniature railway, etc.

There was a very varied and interesting selection of work on display featuring a whole range of techniques including hand stitching, free machine stitching, crazy patchwork, applique, burning, fabric painting and machine embellishing to name just a few!  The work really was inspiring as you will see from the following selection of quilts…….

Blue Mountain & Horizon by Ann Kitching

Blue Mountain & Horizon by Ann Kitching

Holiday Dreams by Ann Kitching

Holiday Dreams by Ann Kitching

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Snowdrops by Margaret Beadham

Snowdrops by Margaret Beadham

Desert by Carole Parkinson

Desert by Carole Parkinson

Gecko by Carole Parkinson

Gecko by Carole Parkinson

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The Water Carriers of India by Jacky Hopkins

The Water Carriers of India by Jacky Hopkin

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Heavenly Sky by Kath Greenfield

Heavenly Sky by Kath Greenfield

India by Venessa Drewery

India by Venessa Drewery

Riverside Trees II…..

Last year I made a little 20 x 30 cm riverside quilt as part of the Hockney Challenge.

Original Riverside Trees

Original Riverside Trees

Overall I was happy with it but, 18 months on and feeling more confident, I thought it would be a good exercise to revisit the design and make a larger version…….. Riverside Trees II.  This quilt is 68 x 108 cm and I’ve aimed to give the scene more depth by placing forests in the background and a near side bank with dried grasses in the foreground.

The main tree line is applied with forests behind

The main tree line is applied with forests behind

The colour of the sky was too dominant first time round so I’ve made it subtle and gone for texture rather than colour this time.  The trees are pretty much the same as previously but I felt the original version was too fussy so I’ve reduced their number from 7 to five and left off the smaller branches.  I think this has created a stronger overall image.

Auditioning fabric for the fields and river bank

Auditioning fabric for the fields and river bank

The lighter hand died fabric was chosen for the field and a chiffon scarf for the riverbank

The lighter hand dyed fabric was chosen for the field and a chiffon scarf was distressed and used for the riverbank

The river is applied

The river is applied

Finished Riverside Trees II

Finished Riverside Trees II

With this one finished I’m going to concentrate on my sketch book over the next couple of weeks and work on some new designs.  The latest quilt challenge to be drawn out of the hat at Cranwell is to produce a piece with the theme “a walk in the Black Forest” so that will be right up my street!

Announcing New Online Class and a Giveaway!

An exiting on-line workshop from Ruth Lane, starting in September for four weeks. Printing onto your felt can add a whole new dimension!

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My new online class Print, Stencil and Play with Thickened Dye on Felt is finally ready! It is the third module of Embellishing Felt with Surface Design Techniques – A Mixed Media Approach. The cost for the 4 week course is $45.00 (US). The first offering of the course is September 16, 2016. To register for the course, please fill out the contact us form here.

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Do you love to experiment and play? This class is going to be a lot of fun as you learn how to make thickened dyes and a variety of ways to apply thickened dye to felt or silk. You’ll learn how to make stamps, stencils and various mark making techniques.

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For more information about the course, check out the class page here. 

Finished Stenciled Fish on Felt

Now for exciting news! I am giving away one free class slot for this class. To enter to win, share this post on social media…

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Felted brooch…..

Floral brooch made with Merino wool and silk organza

Wet felted brooch

I’ve just got back from attending two “play days” with the IFA Region 8 ladies at Arnesby Village Hall.   There were mini workshops happening on both days and, having seen the lovely felted brooch that Sandra Jenkins was making, I decided to join in with that one.

Preparing the individual components

Making a circular background from Merino and painting silk organza for the flowers

These pretty little brooches are a great way of using up your left over tiny scraps of fabric and felt from previous projects.

Combining the silk and felt to make the tiny flowers

Combining the silk and felt to make the tiny flowers

Wet felted brooch with tiny felt and organza flowers

My finished brooch

On day two I began laying out Bergschaf and Merino wool to make a fish.  I didn’t make very good progress, mainly due to spending a lot of time chatting, looking at other people’s work and perusing copies of “Felt Matters” magazines.   I’m continuing with it at home but it’s taken on a new life and will be a sort of fantasy sea creature……..watch this space!

Speaking of fantasy creatures, these felted Monster Bags were made by Sylvia Winn, aren’t they great?

Monster Bags

Monster Bags

I get the impression that Sylvia is a big fan of novelty bags……this is the “fishy” bag she was working on yesterday, complete with zip closure and fishing line shoulder strap!

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Horncastle – Gateway to the Wolds…..

I’ve just completed a commissioned quilt, entitled Horncastle – Gateway to the Wolds, for the local branch of the WAW (Walkers are Welcome).  The two characters in my design are based on the twins from the old Start-Rite children’s shoe advert, but in this case they are carrying backpacks and are walking in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

The old Start-Rite children's shoe advert

The old Start-Rite children’s shoe advert

After taking several photographs of the local landscape I chose the view which was taken just outside of Horncastle, with my back to the A158, looking across towards the Wolds and towards the village of West Ashby.

Photograph taken from the A158 on the edge of the Lincolnshire Wolds

View of the Lincolnshire Wolds looking towards West Ashby

The 30 x 30 cm quilt combines several techniques including the use of Inktense pencils to draw and colour the background scenery.  The twins are applique with 3D backpacks.  The trees have vilene trunks and needle felted foliage created using the embellisher machine.  The hedgerows were made from a lightweight scarf which was distressed using a heat gun while the stitching is a combination of hand and machine embroidery.

Working on my design for the Walkers are Welcome art quilt

My preliminary sketch for the WAW quilt

Working on the WAW quilt

Work in progress

I’m not a fan of borders so, as the brief was to include a border, I’ve painted it to make it an extension of the main image.

Horncastle - Gateway to the Wolds

The finished quilt

 

Wet Felted Fairy Shoes…..

Two of my boxed sets of wet felted fairy shoes have recently gone to new homes so this weekend I set to and made some more.  These shoes were demonstrated by Robyn Smith at one of the first felting workshops I attended back in 2014.  Trimmed with beads and mounted in a box frame they make a lovely gift for a little girls bedroom…….or maybe even for big girl’s like me who still believe in fairies!

Fairy boots made from red Merino wool tops, embellished with beads

Red Merino Fairy Shoes

Fairy Boots made with blue Merino wool tops embellished with tiny beads

Blue Merino Fairy Shoes

Fairy Boots made from green Merino wool tops and embellished with tiny enamelled flowers

Green Merino Fairy Shoes