Felting matters

Felting matters


Sunday, 13 July 2014


...start this week on the island! 
I’ll be exhibiting at Shalfleet Village Hall during week one
 then at Quarr Abbey for week two and there’s more details here… 

Lots of new work on show so here’s a quick preview! 

 Recently I’ve been working more texture into my felt with threads, 
stitching & beading and trying out new vessel shapes…


and for the first time I'll have some felt pieces in frames.

 It will be interesting to get reactions to these!

 Scarves and wraps in all colours & styles. 

The large wraps in muted colours are perfect for any summer occasion, 
simply fastened with a matching felt flower. 
Light-weight, elegant, easy to wear
 and extremely practical to take away on holiday….

and in complete contrast these bright funky scarves

all have a real organic feel! 

I'll be bringing lots of familiar favourites along… 
New nuno scarves, embroidered bags & brooches,
 lavender birds & mice, felted pebble weights, notebooks with felt covers,
 hats, fairy slippers and much much more!

Shalfleet & Quarr Abbey are two very special places on the island and
I'm so looking forward to returning there for Open Studios.

It's going to be an exciting & enjoyable couple of weeks...!

PS. You can download a copy of the OS Yearbook here
It's full of information about all the events & artists taking part

(and click on any of the photos to enlarge...)

Saturday, 14 June 2014

WOOL to DYE for...

What a perfect way to spend a sunny June afternoon -  ‘dyeing’ with friends...!!!
 Came home with stained hands & clothes, smelling of bonfires 
BUT with some wonderful coloured fleece ready for felting…

 All the natural plant materials were boiled up first in old pots to create 
the dyes using traditional methods and recipes. 
Some plants came from the garden - red dahlia heads, parsley, onion skins -
as well as some more exotic plants such as madder, cutch, purple heart & logwood. 

The wool was soaked first in water & urine (YES a traditional ingredient!) 
then added to the dye and stirred gently… 

Slowly the colours begin to develop…

And as the day passed the dyed wools were hung up to dry.

I’ve always been fascinated by the alchemy of natural dyeing, 
especially when mordants are added to the mix. 
These are powdered metals such as tin & copper that help fix the colour 
but also dramatically effect the results! 

 Natural dyes are always unpredictable & surprising 
and when worked together their soft muted colours always blend beautifully.

Some of my dye samples go back to the 1980’s 

when I kept note books, photographs and records of all my experiments 
and even grew some dye plants in my garden. 
I've lost count of the number of jumpers I've knitted using as many dyed wools 
as possible as the colours are so complimentary 

I’ve always dyed unbleached spun wool, bought on cones from 
Jamiesons in the Shetlands, so all my dyed wools are the same and
 can be knitted up together.

This was the first time I’d dyed Merino tops and I’m pleased with the results. 
I did sew the lengths of tops into net bags just to prevent too much agitation. 
I didn’t want the wool to start felting in the dye pots with all the stirring!

Now I’ve got some wonderfully muted colours that are 
quite unique and ready for felting.

It was one of those idyllic summer days!   

Lots of tea and cake, cheese scones & elderflower cordial...

Lovely company and really good fun!

PS. Don't forget you can click on all the photos to enlarge them...

Sunday, 8 June 2014

LOOKING forward...

The IOW Open Studios Yearbooks have just been delivered 
and suddenly the event in mid-July 
seems SO much closer…

  This year I’m exhibiting at Shalfleet Village Hall (18th—20th July) 
and also at Quarr Abbey (24th—29th July) so it’s going to be a 
very busy couple of weeks. The new yearbook has all the details 
and can be downloaded here...

I’m planning to have lots of new work on show - new scarf and wrap designs, 
new bag & vessels shapes and embellished felt work 
(like the bag featured in ‘Embellish’ magazine)

I shall be at Quarr Abbey for a week (24th—29th July) and will be re-creating
 a mini ‘pop-up’ studio in a corner of the Gallery.
 In the spirit of Open Studios I shall be making felt each day and
 have plenty of samples and work in progress, as well as a display of new designs,
so there’ll be lots to see...

At the moment I’m looking for new premises to hold my regular workshops here 
on the island - somewhere that offers plenty of space to work. 
Until then workshops will continue at West Wight Alpacas with new summer dates 
coming up soon. There are also plans to return to Spring Farm Alpacas in Sussex 
and again dates will be posted as soon as things are arranged…
Distance is never a problem!

Looking ahead to the autumn...
 I’m holding a very exciting workshop at  a new venue - The Seaview Hotel.
We will begin the day with a walk along the shoreline, beachcombing
 and seeking inspiration for felting pebble weights and scarves, 
and there’s more details here...

So another very busy summer ahead, 
with lots of events and workshops planned...

Watch this space!

Monday, 26 May 2014

It's a WRAP!

Today it’s back to the sewing machine after a break for shows, workshops and some much needed gardening! Just finished the stitching on this felt wrap
- a commission for a lovely lady who’s wearing it to
 a wedding in a couple of weeks time…

 This is the second felted wrap I’ve made and you can 
read more about the first one here...
It was part of my display at Quarr Abbey last week
and it was bought by a visitor from Scotland. 

All the surface threads & textures are felted into the fabric base.
I dyed the natural cotton purple but you can see how the different coloured 
wool fibres have felted through the fabric resulting in some 
interesting blends on the reverse. 

The machined zig-zag stitch is purely decorative and makes a
lovely pattern on both sides...

The wraps are light-weight, cosy and easy to wear especially when
 fastened with a matching felt flower! 

Each one is quite unique and can be worn over a plain dress for a
 special occasion or as an extra layer to take on holiday.

They seem to be really popular and versatile…

I shall definitely be making more!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

After the SHOW...

The Crafty Artists week at Quarr passed very quickly! 
There were lots of visitors about enjoying the wonderful warm weather,
the beautiful abbey buildings and gardens... And our show! 

As I was packing up my boxes I took some photos of 
my lavender birds in their new colours... 
and the felt mice all ready to go!

I have fresh supplies of my childrens' craft books 
so I also gave some of the Safari & Jungle models an outing...

Here's part of my display in the gallery.
I'm trying out some new shelving which seemed to work well 
and will give lots of flexibility for future shows...

We shall be returning to Quarr again in July as part of the
Isle of Wight Open Studios. 

I'll be bringing along some of these old favourites
plus lots of new work, so there's a busy time ahead...

And some of the felt designs are always available to buy on-line
 in my Etsy shop 

Saturday, 3 May 2014


Looking forward to the next Spring Show at Quarr Abbey 
in a couple of weeks...

This time with some of my Crafty Artists friends - 
Gill, Penny, Pauline, Lis & Tim.

Quarr is such a wonderful place to visit and I love being there, 
especially this time of year.
We're in the Art Gallery for a week so hopefully 
you'll find time to come along and see some of our new work
and treat yourself to something tasty in the Garden Tea Rooms!

You can also check here for more Crafty Artists' shows 
throughout the summer on the Island
 at Freshwater Bay & Bembridge... 

PS. I have recently signed up to Facebook so you can always
follow me there too... 

Saturday, 12 April 2014


Just a quick posting today to mention the 'MAKE or BREAK' show that I'm taking part in over Easter. It's on at The Depozitory, 23 Nelson Street, Ryde on Good Friday 18th April & Easter Saturday 19th April, open both days from 10am to 5pm.

This is a wonderful exhibition space, created from a converted chapel.
It's spacious and bright with amazing light and views across the Solent. I shall be sharing it with a number of island artists including Sue Paraskeva, Neil Tregear & Edna Coatsworth. Admission is free, with lots of free activities for all the family. There will be demonstrations & workshops going on throughout the show, plus story-telling with Ed Boxall...

April has to be my favourite month of the year - not only full of the delights of Spring but this year Easter is late and falls on my birthday, so I'm really looking forward to this special weekend...  

And if you are in Ryde over Easter do come along 
I can't promise cake but maybe I can tempt you with some birthday chocs !!  

PS. It was a great show, great venue!
Thanks to everyone who came along, and thanks to everyone 
who persuaded me to sign up for FB at long last...

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