Sunday 31 May 2020

The MAY garden...

The never-ending spring sunshine and clear blue skies over Freshwater Bay
 have been amazing during the past months of lock-down.
Those of us fortunate enough to have gardens have turned towards 
them for occupation and sanctuary…

… for me ‘GARDENING has now become the NEW feltmaking... " 

The steep slope behind our house has always been a challenge and over
 the past 25+ years it has gradually been tamed into a garden!

No fences, just a few well-placed stones mark the boundaries.
We benefit from uninterrupted views across to our neighbour’s woodland 
and really appreciate the shade from the trees.

Just a stone’s throw from the Atlantic, the salty south/westerlies play 
havoc with anything growing too tall… 
BUT unbelievably these echiums have survived - 
a mass of tiny blue flowers and bees.

 Sadly these beautiful bearded iris 'Kent Pride' weren't so fortunate...
Falling foul of the recent gales they ended up in a vase, 
still looking magnificent, but not your usual cut flower!  

Lots of tough wind and drought resistant plants grow
 such as phlomis, teasels and giant salvias
 and my personal gardener’s code is " if it thrives and survives, it stays"

 whether it’s classed a weed—or not!

So the borders of cow parsley and red campion have been 
an absolute delight this spring... 
Nature at her best, and right on trend if you're a Gardener's World follower!

And then other delights appear from nowhere.. 
  the hardy geraniums, ferns and euphorbias self-seed and grow
 just in the right places

However big or small—enjoy your gardens this summer...

Friday 27 March 2020

Unbelievably it's just a couple of weeks since my last post! 
SO much has happened, and all our lives have changed dramatically
because of the coronavirus...

All feltmaking workshops and events are cancelled.
We are all in isolation and lock down. But like everything in life, this will pass,
life will return to some sense of normality.
 and so will the workshops...

Until then keep yourselves safe and well, 
and thank you all for your wonderful support and kind wishes. 

Sunday 1 March 2020

SPRING workshop dates...

After one of the wettest months on record most of us in the UK will be relieved 
to see the back of February, and as we slip into March there is 
at long last, a feel of spring in the air...
The sun is shining again, although the chill wind is blowing the daffodils 
about and reminding us not to
 get ahead of ourselves and be too optimistic!

Many thanks to all of you who came along to my third Felt Open Day 
yesterday, Leap Day, at Seely Hall in Brook. 

What an amazing start to the year! 
It inspired all of us to get back into our feltmaking again, helped along by 
lots of tea, home-made cake AND a glorious sunny day! 

So I'm pleased to be posting up the new spring workshop list here, 
which can be found if you click onto this link...

I hope there is something here to interest you and
 I'll look forward to seeing you at one of the workshops
at Seely Hall over the next months!

Saturday 1 February 2020


It’s the beginning of February, and it's really grey, cold and damp outside... 
Time to look forward to some feltmaking
and what better way to spend the extra day in this leap year
than making FELT with friends...

 Following on from the success of previous FELT Open Days at Brook
 I've arranged one for 2020 on  
Saturday 29th February 10am - 4pm.
 A definite date for your diary if you are interested in FELT and 
would like to find out more about the activities & workshops
taking place at Seely Hall this Spring.

A wonderful creative day is planned! 
FREE admission - open to EVERYONE. 
Feltmakers and visitors are all welcome to come along and 
join in this informal get-together… 

Come and make felt, stitch, embellish, or just socialise, chat and
exchange ideas with fellow feltmakers, 
and hopefully get inspired… 

There will be a limited number of large work tables available on the day 
for wet felting, plus smaller tables for sewing.
If you would like to make use of these let me know and I can reserve a place.

Although there will be no formal tuition on the day I will be on hand to 
give advice and help with any new projects.

There will be feltwork on display from my workshops, 
plus students' work and feltmaking in progress throughout the day, 
so if you are new to the craft 
or just curious to see what FELT is all about then
 this is a perfect opportunity.

All the felt featured in this post is students' work.

I will have details of the NEW Spring programme of workshops 
coming up in March, April & May and will be taking bookings.

Needle felting expert LOREN THORN will be demonstrating 
her work and will have details about her workshops too...

This is a FREE event!
There’s NO charge for the day and everyone is welcome!

Tea coffee + home-made cakes will be available 
with donations for refreshments 
going to the Australian Bushfire Animal charities 
of Kangaroo Island which has been so affected by the fires.

This will be the third FELT DAY I've organised and if it's anything
 like last year it will be an amazing day 
and a perfect start to the feltmaking year!

I’m really looking forward to catching up with 
all my old felting friends and hopefully 
lots of new faces too… 

So please spread the word !

And if you want to contact me for further details
call Gill on 01983 752872

Saturday 21 December 2019


An amazing conclusion to another busy year!

The indigo felt pods and pebbles, whose production and progress has been well documented here over the summer months, have found their way onto a plinth, 
as part of this OPEN exhibition at Quay Arts, Newport, Isle of Wight 

A Life in Nature draws together a diverse range of paintings, ceramics,
textiles, prints and video, reflecting personal responses and 
connections to the natural world. 

In many cases the artists' statements accompanying the artworks 
are as thought provoking as the work. 

Music from one of the exhibits provides a haunting soundtrack, 
filling the gallery space as you walk around...

Displayed amongst the artworks are historical specimens and artefacts 
linked to recording nature, from the IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society celebrating its centenary this year.

It really is an amazing show and I'm thrilled that the felt pods 
are a part of it all...  

Come and find some precious moments of peace and sanctuary here! 

it's a perfect opportunity to escape the madness of the High Street,
especially during this run up to Christmas, 

but if you have more time in the New Year 
the exhibition runs until the 1st February 2020

Happy Christmas everyone!

Saturday 30 November 2019

Experiments with NUNO...

 I’d been thinking about holding a NUNO workshop for a while… 

Although I have done a fair amount of nuno felting over the years I wanted to 
return to the beginning and refresh my own knowledge.

 This was the perfect opportunity to play around with different fabrics, 
and also experiment with fabric dyes for the first time.
NUNO is the Japanese word for fabric…
And nuno felting is a relatively recent felting phenomenon, which came about
 when textile designers started to experiment with wet felting in new ways.

In the 1990’s an Australian designer Polly Stirling incorporated light-weight
fabrics, such as silk, with traditional wet felting fibres and discovered that the wet 
wool fibres were receptive to the woven fabrics. A ‘felted fabric’ resulted 
with quite different characteristics to traditional felt 
and was given the term nuno felt. 

NUNO felting is relatively simple!
It’s using the basic traditional wet felting methods and adding fabric…
But it does take time to perfect, and to persuade the wool fibres to penetrate the
 fabrics to achieve the wonderful textures associated with nuno…

The aim of this nuno workshop was to felt small sample pieces,
using different fabrics and fibres. To see what worked and what didn’t 
and to gain knowledge and experience before embarking on 
more ambitious projects!

My preparations included dyeing quantities of cotton muslin and silk to use on the day.
 I bought a Procion MX dye starter kit which had six colours plus all the
necessary additives + fixers. The instructions were good and I was pleased with
the colour range and the fast-ness of the dye throughout the final rinsing 
and felting processes.

I also used some Pebeo Setasilk fabric paints on silk and achieved good results. 
In this case the colours were made fast by ironing and remained fixed and vibrant throughout the felting process, as you can see here,
and click on any of the photos to see more detail...

 My students also bought along stacks of fabrics and fibres! 
Sharing and trying out different materials, and having fun was very 
much the spirit of the day... 

Wet felt is not easy to photograph well especially late on a wet afternoon, 
so here's just a small selection of finished pieces 
showing the amazing range of effects and textures achieved...

Finally, the RULES of NUNO…

There are NO rules—there are too many variables!
But there are some guidelines, such as choice of fabric. Those with a loose 
visible weave will make it easier for fibres to penetrate and felt in.

 Natural fabrics and fibres are easier to use. Wool fibres attach more
 readily to other organic fabrics such as silk, cotton and wool
but in my experience synthetics like polyester mixes also produce fantastic results!

Use a cool soap solution in the early stages - if the soap is too warm it may cause 
fibres to felt too quickly before penetrating through the fabric!

Take it slowly, some fabrics will take much longer to attach to fibres than others
especially if you are using a mix of textures in the same piece.

The best advice is to keep an open mind and enjoy experimenting,
and there will be further opportunities next year when more NUNO workshops 
will feature in the 2020 programme.

Tuesday 29 October 2019

FELT PATH : Autumn 2019

Autumn has to be my most favourite time of year!
It’s the season of dramatic change, most noticeably the shortening of daylight hours 
and the fall in temperature, which in turn causes shifts in the 
colours, textures and natural landscape around us.

The FELT PATH continues the themes of the summer, 
combining natural shapes with felt fabric and stitch. 
This time with an autumnal feel.

The fold-out book seemed a good device to contain the natural finds

constructed from paper layers. 
textured with water colour pencils  

The found objects, all gathered within a stone’s throw of home,
are stitched, woven and threaded into the felt strip

Now is the perfect time to collect seed pods, fruits and leaves 
as Nature sheds them all.

It’s a nostalgic reminder of past times, 
when we collected for the nature table at school, 
where all our treasures were carefully 
displayed and neatly labelled...

To identify and study these finds closely gives a greater appreciation 
of their form and functionality

showing Nature, the ultimate designer, at her very best!

And to see more detail click on any of the photos...

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