Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The NUT Bowls...

After our extremely long HOT summer the arrival of autumn comes late this year              with winter following close behind...
Driving through the countryside today the chilly north-easterlies are blowing down the last leaves and the hedgerows are almost stripped bare of their fruits and nuts…I’ve always collected seeds and pods and with the autumn 3-D workshops in mind I wanted to felt a large bowl to hold them. A flat ‘platter’ shape with a curved rim, firm enough to support handles…

The resist I used was approx 14” diameter, covered with 3 thick layers of BFL white and oatmeal, with an extra layer round the rim for strength and decoration… 

Wetted out, rubbed and rolled until the fibres felt tight against the resist I made incisions in the centre with a scalpel - fraying the fibres to achieve a soft edge and keeping the resist in place so as not to cut right through. The opening revealed the white core of the bowl which I decorated with simple nut-shaped prefelts.
I continued the felting process by placing the felt bowl into a similar sized plastic bowl. I was able to use the plastic form to create a gradual curve in the felt rim, at the same time containing the warm soap solution. This is a really efficient way of felting! I wanted the top and bottom layers to fuse together to give a real thickness
Eventually the bowl felted together and the rims strengthened, but only after a considerable amount of hard work! A large surface area and many layers of fibre needed a lot of coaxing…

When the bowl was completely dry I added the simple wood handles,

 pieces of sycamore drilled and attached with leather strips…

 I also made a second bowl  - same method just slightly larger... 

This time I’m going beachcombing to look for some driftwood to make handles 
The bleached wood should work really well with these coloured fibres...

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Felted Garden AUTUMN WORKSHOPS...

During our glorious long HOT summer I'm sure making FELT was the 
last thing on everyones' minds, including mine... 

Now I can't believe it's the first of September! 
The weather is still very warm but lengthening shadows and 
the early morning dew signal a definite change.  
AUTUMN has to be my most favourite time of year...
 and this new season of workshops takes inspiration from the 
colours and textures changing all around us...

Here are some dates for your notice board...

Saturday 6th October 10am—4pm

This popular workshop is great introduction to wet felting!
 You will learn basic feltmaking techniques and experiment with fibres & textures.
Bring along a favourite photo or sketch as a starting point and create
a flat piece of felt - a picture or design that can be stitched into later.

This workshop is for ALL abilities. Beginners welcome!

Saturday 27th October. 10am - 4pm

Many felted pots have distinctive organic forms and I shall be
 bringing lots of seeds & pods along to this workshop
I will show how to felt in 3-D using a resist and you can create a 
bowl or pod inspired by the shapes and colours of autumn!

This workshop is for ALL abilities. Beginners welcome!.

Saturday 10th November 10am - 4pm

This workshop is for experienced feltmakers..
 It's an opportunity to come along and felt ANY 3-D form - something you've been 
wanting to make for ages but needed the time and space to make it happen! 
Maybe an unusual shaped vessel, bag, hat or even a pair of slippers!

There will be no demonstration at the start of the day, just an
 informal discussion instead so we can share ideas and re-cap on techniques.
 This will leave more time for experimenting & felting during the day.
Don't worry - written instructions will be available and I'll be on hand 
with practical help!  

Saturday 17th November 10am - 4pm

This workshop for ALL abilities. I will be showing how to felt either a lattice scarf 
or a ’nuno’ style scarf and you will go home at the end of the day
 with a unique piece of felt to wear!

There will be a selection of beautiful hand-dyed fibres available to buy on the
day, but if you already have fibres you'd like to use bring them along.

Saturday 24th November 10am—4pm

A NEW workshop for all abilities
3-D felting but on a small scale!!!
Seamless purses and cases for phones, pencils, scissors, specs…


Fun, functional and simple to felt they make perfect gifts!
Lots of designs to choose from, make 2-3 in the day,
and take away all the template shapes to continue felting at home!
More info about this workshop here

Saturday 1st December 10am - 4pm

With Christmas getting closer these fabulous felt birds & animals 
make great gifts and wonderful tree and table decorations!

This workshop is for ALL abilities
Beginners welcome!
£40 for the day which includes
ALL materials, enough to make several birds and animals.

ALL the workshops will be held at The Seely Hall in Brook Village,
 Isle of Wight.. PO30 4ER

The workshops are £35 per person per day,
there's an extra charge for materials or you are welcome to bring your own fibre.

The 'Felt Birds' workshop is £40 per person for the day 
and this includes ALL materials.

For more details or to make a booking please contact Gill 
on 01983 752872.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

SMALL 3-D PROJECTS, embellishing...

As promised an up-date on the ‘Small 3-D Projects’ featured in the last post…
After all the hard work making the felt projects the FUN starts with embellishing!
 It’s a much more thoughtful relaxed process, choosing threads, hand-stitching, beading and adding finishing touches… It’s an opportunity to sort through all the beads, buttons & threads you’ve had for ages and have forgotten about...

I personally love variegated threads—they are perfect for stitching felt. The colours have already been carefully selected and blended or better still hand-dyed. I prefer the cotton perles which come in different thicknesses -there's SO many to chose from...
I try to keep my stitches simple and let the colour in the threads do the work! 
Fern, fly and running stitch are favourites, together with French knots. Small purses don’t need much embellishment, little clusters of beads + buttons help create texture.

Sometimes the blended fibres in the felt are enough and no stitching is needed. 

Special beads and vintage buttons make perfect fastenings. Alternatively the decorative clasps available on-line give a really professional finish...
The success of the 'Small 3-D Projects' workshops means there will definitely be more planned for the autumn, with Christmas in mind! 

Any of these small projects make perfect gifts…
...and this little blackbird purse has flown away to a new home, 
to a dear friend who has a birthday this week...

Monday, 2 April 2018

3-D FELTING on a smaller scale...

Over the years I’ve held many 3-D FELT workshops explaining the techniques of using resists to create all manner of seamless items—bags, bowls, hats, slippers. 
The range and variation of shapes only limited by one’s imagination, 
energy levels and size of the table top!
The “3-D Small Projects” workshop came about when I started to think SMALL and
 realised the scope of felting smaller items, which opened up another 
avenue of endless possibilities.
Using exactly the same techniques the only difference is the scale. 
Fibres are laid out in the same way, but less are needed. The laying out process 
is quicker so several items can be laid out, then rolled and felted altogether, 
saving time and energy!

  These are all small seamless 3-D forms and make perfect cases and covers for almost anything - a case for a mobile phone or pair of scissors, 
a tiny coin purse, an amulet bag which is barely 2"/ 5cm wide…

A quirky glasses case or pencil case in the shape of a fish

A bird shaped purse with a wing flap….
As with all feltmaking everyday kitchen tools are very useful for shaping. 
With these small projects it’s difficult to get your hands inside so wooden spoons are 
perfect for this purpose. They also come in handy to support the felt while it’s drying.

The recent 3-D Small Projects workshop held last week was the first of it’s kind and still experimental, but all my students enjoyed the day and each went away with 2-3 projects plus all the reusable template shapes to continue at home.
All these items are FUNCTIONAL and FUN! They are relatively simple to felt and make wonderful gifts. Easy to personalise and decorate with stitching and beads… 
Everyone will want one!

Now, after completing my samples I have the great pleasure of raiding my stash of threads, beads and buttons and decorating them all. 

I’ve also discovered an amazing range of decorative clasps available on-line that give a professional finishing touch to the little purses. 
I will keep you up to date with my progress...

I've just arranged another "3-D Small Projects" workshop on 
Wednesday 9th May at Seely Hall, Brook, IOW
Click here for more details....

And you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them. 

Thursday, 1 February 2018

FELT DAY in February...

In these chilly first few weeks of the year we all need cheering up 
with a bit of creative inspiration… 

Time to look forward to some feltmaking...

And with this in mind I am organising a 
FELT DAY at Seely Hall in Brook Village, Isle of Wight PO30 4ER
on Saturday 24th February from 10am to 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 lovely creative day is planned! 
FREE admission and open to everyone... 
Feltmakers and visitors are all welcome to come along and 
join us for this informal get-together… 

Come and make felt (or stitch and embellish) or just socialise, chat, 
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 activities.
If you would like to make use of these let me know and I can reserve you 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!

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

There will be a ‘Stash’ sales table, so bring along any surplus crafty items.
They may find a new home and you could get some cash back!


There’s NO charge for the day and everyone is welcome!

Hot drinks, tea, coffee + home-made cakes will be available and I will 
suggest a small contribution for refreshments with ALL donations 
going to the Seely Hall Fund.

This is the first FELT DAY I've organised! 

There hasn't been this kind of event at Brook before 
so 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

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

EXPERIMENTS with RUST #4 Conclusions...

With the end of November approaching fast it’s time to bring the rust dyeing
 experiments to a conclusion. This final piece of work sums up the past 
months of experimentation...

I would like to dedicate it to our very dear friend and neighbour 
Eric Geddes, 
who died last year on this day.

Eric was a sculptor and artist who for many decades, 
made the beaches of West Wight his studio.
He worked with materials found on the shoreline, 
constructing huge monumental structures from driftwood 
and smaller forms 
from clays, seaweed and stone.

COMPTON BAY : 1982 - 83

FORT VICTORIA : 1993 - 1998

ISHIGOROKO : mind of the stone
Compton Bay 1993 

Eric has been a great inspiration, especially over these past months, when I've 
been following a new experimental path that finally led
to me taking the feltwork and fabrics back to the beach to be photographed.

'ISHIGOROKO' was the inspiration behind my final piece.
Wrapping a stone with the rust-stained fabric, 
dyed from contact with Eric's welded metal sculpture, 
then placing it back in the sea at Freshwater Bay.

Hoping Eric would approve?

In memory of 
1st November 1928 - 28th November 2016

All EG images reproduced with kind permission of June Geddes 2017

Sunday, 29 October 2017


After the rust dyeing experiments of the past weeks I was really curious to see 
how the techniques could be applied to felt, especially working in 3D...

Rust dyes react well to natural fibres. 
It seemed like a natural progression of ideas to combine the two organic processes….
 1) with moisture, friction + warmth wool WILL FELT 
and 2) with moisture + time iron metal WILL RUST

Like ALL natural processes, once all the right conditions are set in place, 
they are inevitable, unstoppable and irreversible . 
So combining these two should produce some interesting results?

I felted simple bowls using pure white merino and natural BFL. 
The surface of the merino bowl was covered with patches of wire wool, 
kept in place with crepe bandage and soaked with a water/vinegar solution. 
After a couple of days a rich rust stain had developed...

The stronger BFL bowl was deliberately made thicker to support nuts + bolts, 
pierced through the felt, and rusted washers sewn onto the surface. 

This bowl was taken down to the Bay and soaked in seawater to act as
 the wetting agent and help accelerate the rusting process.

I also wanted to repeat the previous fabric dyeing experiments using felt. 
This time I wrapped the rusted shapes with strips of pre-felt 
using similar shibori-style techniques - 
stitching, wrapping and pleating the felt around the pieces….

 then wetting with sea water and leaving to dry for several 
days before unwrapping …

Some pieces were easier to unwrap than others!
 In places the nuts + bolts and safety pin fasteners had completely 
rusted and were impossible to undo….

And amazingly... with the more tightly bound bundles the fine wool fibres 
had actually ‘felted’ into the rusting metal. 
Fused together the metal + fibre were almost impossible to prise apart!

Where I could unravel the strips the rust stains had left some 
wonderful fuzzy impressions, more characteristic of felt and totally different
 to the previous woven fabric experiments—as might be expected!

I’m so fortunate to live by the sea, and like all coastal locations when you 
start to look closely you notice rust everywhere, permanently staining 
stone defences and eating away metal stairs and handrails!

 Evidence of man’s constant battle against the elements—but providing
some brilliant backdrops for the rust dyeing when the pieces 
were bought back to the Bay to photograph….

The pure white Merino bowl developed the mottled rich rusty colour 
from the wire wool in a couple of days.
The rust stains from the nuts + bolts on the BFL bowl took longer
to develop over a couple of weeks, but the dramatic effect was worth the wait!

 I’ve got more ideas for 3-D feltwork incorporating metal shapes and 
I hope these will come together soon...

Meantime some more photos taken on a beautiful late October 
afternoon at Freshwater Bay which you can click on to enlarge

And you can catch-up on my summer of rust dyeing 
Experiments #1 and Experiments #2 by following these links
or scrolling down to the previous posts...

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