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...

Friday, 8 September 2017


As the long hot summer days continue into September, 
so does my fascination with the rust dyeing…

More rusty objects and interesting shapes have turned up on my doorstep, 
including lots more tools, and even a rusted sculpture... 

 Previously I’d been using vinegar + water to wet cloth, but on-line research
led me to discover alternatives such as teas, fruit drinks and even red wine!  
They are all organic + acidic, but the dyed results are more subtle compared with 
the rich orange/brown tones achieved with vinegar. 

All these liquids not only wet fabric but their mild acidity reacts with iron 
and helps speed up the rusting process.

Salt can also be used as a wetting agent and living a stone’s throw 
from the sea I thought I’d try sea water. 

Up to now I’ve been dyeing fabric so I decided to experiment with paper, 
taking a range of qualities (some thick water colour paper + fine tissue)
down to the Bay to soak in the sea…

Instead of wrapping & binding the rusty pieces I placed them directly 
on top of this damp paper, hoping they would leave impressions…   

Keeping everything damp with sea water these 
dramatic results were produced in a day

In complete contrast 
these soft ‘ghostly’ prints were made in exactly the 
same way but using tea as the wetting agent...

I was curious to see whether the rusted metal sculpture would give up any colour?
It was made by our dear friend & neighbour Eric Geddes
and had been sitting in his studio for many years.

I draped it with damp cloth + tissue paper wetted with vinegar,

 left it for just a day, and this amazing colour developed...

I was careful not to disturb the process, letting 
 the cloth + paper completely dry out

... before slowly peeling them apart…

The rusting not only dyed the cloth with this wonderful patterning 
but it produced a brilliant new patina on the surface of the sculpture 
which I hope will remain...  I think Eric would approve!

At times during these past weeks I could have done 
with a “printers’ devil”...
A term remembered from art school days - used to describe a 
long-suffering friend with clean hands, who manipulated paper for you 
during a print-run when your hands were covered with ink… 
thus avoiding all those inky finger prints!

No such luck here in the shed—hence grubby finger marks everywhere!!!

But now I do have a fantastic collection of rust prints 

both on paper and fabric

to stitch, and make into books and collage...

And how does all of this fit in with my felt making…

Well the next posting will show how, as the rust experiments continue...

PS. Don't forget you can click on the photos for more details 

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