I got back home from Leicester last night after two wonderful days exhibiting at The Big Textile Show at Leicester Racecourse. Although I’ve previously shown work as part of a group this was my first stint at having a stall and exhibiting in my own right. I wasn’t too sure what to expect but it turned out to be an amazing experience and the two days just flew by. I met lots of lovely people, stall holders and visitors, and it was great that so many folk took the time to stay and chat.
A big thank you to the Leicestershire Quilters for the loan of the quilt stands and to my friend Sandra who very kindly put me up over the weekend, helped set up the displays and stayed all day to help on the stall…..much appreciated! Here are just a few more images from the show…..
Local Spinning Group
Part of the Sea & Sky IFA Members Exhibition
This evening I held a needle felting workshop for a group of members from the Skendelby Ladies Guild. Not one of the group had tried needle felting before but, by the end of the hour and a half session, everyone had achieved a piece of work to take home with them.
Skendelby Ladies Guild members
Most of the ladies chose to make a brooch and used cookie cutters to form the basic shapes.
Thanks to Sandy for inviting me along this evening, it was a pleasure to spend time with the group and I hope to see you all again sometime.
Following on from my little experiment with Shibori felting I thought I would share a few of the wonderful items I have found which feature this technique, both felted and otherwise.
Martha Stuart chiffon scarf.
Martha Stuart has instructions here for making this delicate scarf using small stones tied into chiffon.
Mrs Polly Rogers Bubble Scarf
Mrs Polly Rogers has instructions here for making this very chunky, felted bubble Scarf.
The World Shibori Network is a great place to visit to find out more about the techniques used in this ancient craft. Michelle Griffiths is a professional artist/teacher, living and working in South Wales. She is the World Shibori Network representative for UK/Ireland. Her work is on permanent exhibition in her gallery/studio at Model House Craft & Design Centre, Llantrisant, where she continues to develop the shibori study centre with its shibori workshop programme, textile collection, and reference library.
AntiGravity Necklaces by Michelle Griffiths.
Michelle Griffiths Bubble Wrap Fabric.
I particularly like the ‘AntiGravity Necklaces’ and ‘Bubble Wrap Fabric’ while ‘Relief 1’ is absolutely stunning!
I also love the detail in the scarf below but unfortunately cannot remember where I found it!
Blue Shibori Scarf
Last weekend turned out to be a bit of a wool fest! Saturday morning, for the first time, I attended a meeting of the Lincolnshire Spinners and Weavers at Revesby Village Hall. My friend Sheila suggested I might find it interesting as they were having a talk and demo by a local needle felter called Cindy Thompson. Cindy’s creations, which were mainly sculptures of dogs, were beautiful and incredibly lifelike. Each piece is created using a thin wire armature covered with wool and needle felted. It was nice to pick up a few tips regarding the construction methods and the fact that the noses, etc are actually sculpted from Fimo, something I wouldn’t have thought of myself. You can see more of Cindy’s work on her ‘Chicktin Creations’ facebook page.
Some of Cindy’s fabulous creations on display at Revesby Village Hall.
During the morning I got to talk to several of the Guild members and saw various projects they were working on. Although some were camera-shy I did manage to get a few photos to share with you. Lesley Daniels is a keen spinner but also enjoys needle felting and brought along some of her felted animal creations and a velvet bag which she has embellished with needle felting. A particularly interesting piece on show was a stunning needle felted ‘peacock’ wall hanging which Elise is working on Isee top left image below). If I get the chance, and Elise OK’s it, I will post images once this is completed.
After lunch Sheila and I headed off for a visit to the National Centre for Craft and Design at Sleaford to see their latest exhibition ‘Black Sheep – the darker side of felt’. This exhibition is an exploration of the edgier side of this extraordinary, versatile and often overlooked material. Exhibition Curator Laura Mabbutt says: ‘This exhibition’s aim is to go some way to giving this unique and versatile medium the accolade that it deserves as well as highlighting the many contemporary applications of this ancient material beyond its stereotypical ‘fuzzy felt’ reputation.’ The work on display is innovative and inspiring, from unusual vessels (Maria Frieze) to outrageous dresses (Horst Couture), fantastical animal themed headwear (Barbara Keal) and teddy bear skulls (Stephanie Metz), to textured sculptures (Marjolein Dallinga), and all of it created from wool. To compliment the exhibition there was a vast collection of objects associated with feltmaking displayed for visitors to touch and test i.e. different varieties of wool, tools and various small felted objects. If you have the slightest interest in textiles/wool this exhibition is a must and its due to run until Sunday 11th May.
I have been meaning to post these photos for several days but where does the time go? Last Saturday I met up with a group of other ladies at the Thomas Garrett Rooms in Heighington to take part in the ‘Fairy Shoes’ felting workshop run by Robyn Smith of Feltybits. Once again it was a great workshop with Robyn offering lots of encouragement and advice regarding wet felting, working with a resist and embellishing. The tiny shoes were created using Merino wool tops and decorated with seed beads. The finished items all turned out different in colour and style and looked particularly cute when lined up for the photos!
When I began felting a few months ago I hadn’t imagined that it was going to turn out to be this much fun and this addictive! At some point in the not too distant future I will have to do some housework, phone some friends and generally catch up with all the stuff I have shelved while I have been enjoying myself! In the meantime I thought I would share the two pictures I have just done. Both of these started out as wet felted backgrounds (Merino tops onto muslin fabric) and then I added detail with needle felting and free motion embroidery. When they were finished I found that I liked the reverse of the pictures as much as the front…they had a real ‘sketchy ‘ quality to them. I sometimes forget to lower the foot before embroidering so I tend to get the ‘birds nest’ effect on the back of my work. If I can get my head around not doing this I will get a neater finish and be able to use the reverse of a picture as the front.
Floral picture using wet and dry felting and machine stitching.
The second picture was inspired (albeit very loosely!) by Ruth’s Jackson Pollack challenge on the Felting and Fibre website. I looked at some of his work and really liked the colour combination of Yellow Grey Black. With this in mind I planned my background using three shades of grey and mixed the lightest of these with a flesh tone to warm it up a bit (remember I did say very loosely inspired!).
Fibres laid out ready for felting – three shades of grey and a flesh tone to add a little warmth.
So here is the finished article….I realise it was a bit of a cop-out to do flowers (yet again) but you can’t say I am not consistent!
Reverse side of Yellow Poppies.
Sheila’s Needle felted landscape.
I have recently been helping my friend Sheila with a project she has been working on, a needle felted landscape, using one of my pictures (see banner heading) as her inspiration. It was really nice to work on this together, trying out different materials and bouncing ideas around. The hills are a mixture of merino top, knitting wool, fine netting and free machine quilted fabric. Rather than being 2D, we made the tree 3 dimensional which gives added interest to the piece. The trunk was needle felted as a separate element, and then placed over a sausage shape of wadding before being anchored to the background. Tapestry wool was used for the branches and also to depict vines growing up the tree trunk. I have to say I love Sheila’s version – it’s very colourful and vibrant and looks great in its frame.
Away with the Fairies…
It seems ages since my last post but its been a busy time craft-wise so now I’ve made the time to sit still I have plenty to ramble about!
I attended another of Eve Marshall’s fabulous felting workshops just before Christmas and this one, following on from the Elf on a Toadstool with Robyn, was perfectly timed to feed on my reawakened childhood love of all things magical/mystical. The basic process for making the body of the wet felted Fairy was very similar to that of making a flower i.e. laying the tufts of fibres overlapping in a ‘starburst’ formation. One thing to remember before commencing the felting is that the centre of the ‘flower’ will become the Fairies head and therefore the fibre laid here should be your chosen ‘flesh’ colour.
Laying the fibres for the ‘Spring time’ fairy
The head is simply a felted ball, but getting the size right was a bit hit and miss to begin with! The ball is positioned in the centre on the wrong side of the skirt. The skirt is then pulled tight over the ball and tied in place with thread. I have discovered that the best thing to use for this is dental floss as its very strong and can be pulled tight without fear of breaking. At the same time I attached a second length of floss through the top of the head which can be used, if required, to suspend the Fairy. The figures are not given a face, these are left blank in the Waldorf tradition.
The head is formed and thread attached for suspending.
My first attempt at a wet felted Fairy.
Although I was pleased with my first attempt, she now looks pretty crude compared with the ones I made over Christmas! The black hair on this first Fairy was made from wool top and attached by needle felting….I prefer the hair on the more recent examples which I made using a textured knitting wool and decorated with a headband of tiny beads.
Each Flower Fairy is decorated with a beaded headband and carries a posy.
The delicate, translucent wings are formed using ‘Blaze’ heat bondable Angelina Fibres – I hadn’t heard of these of these before but I can see them being useful for all sorts of future projects! To make the wings the Angelina Fibres are simply laid between two sheets of paper and ironed using a medium heat setting for a couple of seconds.
Gothic Flower Fairy
When I made the ‘Gothic’ Fairy I couldn’t find a suitable wool for her hair so I simply used a permanent marker on the orange wool and the result looked fab! This one is my favourite so far…she worked out smaller than the others and looks so cute….which is your favourite?
More exciting news on the felting front….my brooches and key rings are going on sale at the Sir Joseph Banks Centre in Horncastle from tomorrow. There will be a mixture of large wet felted brooches and smaller dry felted gifts to choose from. The Sir Joseph Banks Centre is the home of the Sir Joseph Banks Society where visitors will find information on the life and the amazing work of one of our most famous and respected explorers. The Society is very proud to have Sir David Attenborough as its president and the building it occupies houses a growing reference library and is working towards establishing a research centre.
The building also boasts a thriving gift shop, run by volunteers, and crammed with all sorts of beautiful gifts. There are a mixture of “bought in” and hand crafted items, with a lot of the stock being created on the doorstep by talented, local artists/crafters. From pictures, jewelry, ornaments, clothing, accessories, etc., you name it and they probably have it! So if you are in the Horncastle area and looking for unique gift ideas be sure to give this shop visit!
A selection of my handmade wet and dry felted brooches and keyrings.
Beautiful gifts for the home on sale at the Joseph Banks shop.
The shop is crammed with great gift ideas for Christmas!
OK so I had a go at making the wet felted bowl this afternoon…..not an absolute disaster but it could have worked out better! I used Merino wool from Adelaide Walkers ‘Brights’ collection laid onto a flat circular resist. All seemed to be going well until it came to taking the resist out. What started out as a small hole in the top of the bowl got stretched and became a huge gaping hole! I think my problem lay in not making the bowl thick or sturdy enough to withstand having the disc pulled out through the small opening. If only I had made this a bit bigger it would have come in useful turned upside down and worn as a funcky ‘dog-walking’ hat!