Monday, 20 December 2010

The 'Wayzgoose' and New Designs...

Thanks to everyone who came to the 'Wayzgoose' Christmas Sale at the Quayside in Newport last week, where 24 artists set up in the studios and workshop areas of the Jubilee Stores. Our space was dominated by a huge printing press, made over 200 years ago.
It made a marvellous prop to display some of my new felted scarves and sketchbook covers, and it also took me back to my art school days, many
years ago, when I studied printmaking, and etching in particular.

Sharing this studio with me were Jude Allman, with her wonderful range of ceramics; Tim Johnson, basketmaker;  Joy Joliffe of Random Retail & Hilary Thorpe, marine artist, and you can see more of their work by clicking on their names

This was the last event of the year for me, so many thanks again to everyone
who came along. It's always good to see so many familiar faces, even though I can't always remember everyone's name. The last couple of months have been exceptionally busy with all the fairs and workshops, and I'd like to thank everyone for showing so much interest and enthusiasm for the felt work. I shall be
re-stocking my Folksy shop in the New Year with these new designs, and much more... 

Happy Christmas to you all and I look forward to meeting up in the New Year with those of you who are coming along to my workshops.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

'Artisans at Dimbola' : Connections with the Past…

It was touch and go whether we would get to Dimbola for the Artisans Sale, but when Saturday morning arrived the snow had completely disappeared. We set up our tables in the Dining Room, a spacious bright room with tall windows, looking out to Freshwater Bay, Compton and beyond. I knew I had to have the place next to the mantelpiece - in this now bare room, empty of almost all it's original features - the mantelpiece offered a real connection with the past.

Julia Margaret Cameron may not have actually dusted the mantelpiece (she had plenty of servants to take care of such things) but surely she would have placed small treasures here? Ornaments, gifts bought back from foreign travels by her family, possibly a miniature likeness of them or even one of her own photographic prints. She may have arranged these curios in much the same way as I arranged my felt work on this same mantle piece.

I'm mindful of connecting with a past line of women, all going about their work, both domestic and creative, within the walls of a particular building. Their efforts and energy leave a strong presence behind, permeating the fixtures and fittings of rooms, worn down by their dusting and arranging.

Julia's presence is very much in evidence at Dimbola. You can imagine her skirts rustling as she rushed down the wooden staircase to greet her guests in the hall. In this Dining Room, in the 1860s, she would have entertained the celebrities of her time. Tennyson, Thackeray, Darwin, Ruskin and Edward Lear would have all sat around her table.

She was a strong, purposeful woman and her strength of character exerted great force over everyone she encountered, especially if she wanted to photograph them. The famous faces didn't escape, nor did her long-suffering servants. However I have a copy of Gernsheim's book, published in 1948, which tells a different story. It has this inscription written inside : 

If Miss Westlake hadn't been quite so shy she would have been immortalised amongst all those great faces of the day.

As we all packed away, after a wonderful weekend at Dimbola, and left the room bare again, I could imagine and almost hear Julia's chattering guests around her dining table, and the sound of music and dancing in the hall. Dimbola really is an amazing house, full of atmosphere, which brings the past alive.  Many thanks to Shirley and all the volunteers and staff whose enthusiasm and hard work help keep the spirit of the house very much as it must have been. And a very special thanks to everyone who braved the cold to come and see us there.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Felt Making for 2011

I'm really pleased to be able to post this information for workshops planned for the New Year. There has been great demand for more beginners classes, as well as workshops for those who wish to move onto more advanced projects, so here are the details:

"Introduction to Felt Making"
Dates : Sat.15th Jan & Sat. 22nd Jan. These workshops are fully booked.
The content in these two workshops is the same, so you would only need to come to one of the workshops to learn the basic skills.
Simple felt making techniques will be explained, with everyone making one or more pieces of flat felt, experimenting with blending colours & textures. Plenty of ideas & examples of interesting end projects will be on display. Check out previous workshop photos on flickr.

"Soft Pots & Bowls"
Date : Sat. 29th January. This workshop is fully booked.
Felting 3-D shapes using a flat 'resist' and 3-D moulds, creating vessels & bowls, with ideas for incorporating handles and decorating with textures, threads & beads. 

"Design & Felt a Bag"
NEW DATE : Sat. 5th February. An extra date has been added as this workshop has been very popular, places are still available.

Date : Sat. 12th February. ONE place has now become available.
Design and create a shape for your bag, then felt a unique seamless bag in one piece - with ideas for making straps, fastenings & toggles.   

"Felt Jewellery"
Date : Sat. 19th February. This workshop is fully booked.
Creating felt flower brooches, beads & bobbles, buttons & bangles using a variety of simple felting techniques - with lots of ideas for decoration and making jewellery.

With these workshops it will be assumed that you know the basic felting techniques, so to save time on the day, I advise that you will have taken part in my Beginners Workshop before you move onto these stages.

All the workshops now run from 10.30am - 4.00pm and will be held in the WWLP building at Avenue Road, Freshwater. Materials and equipment will be supplied and included in the cost of the day, which will be £25. Numbers will be limited to 8 people.

You will just need to bring a packed lunch (tea & coffee will be available), plus an apron and rubber gloves (if you have sensitive skin). Felt making does involve getting your hands wet & soapy, so an extra towel would also be handy.

I'm really grateful to Pete Fellows, Manager of the West Wight Landscape Partnership, for his continuing support in letting me use the conservatory at Maderia House. This allows me to offer the workshops at such reasonable rates. It's a lovely light space, with lots of room. We have the use of the kitchen and free parking, at the rear of the building, on the day.

If you are interested in taking part in the workshops then please get in touch… 

Making felt is one of the best ways to keep warm if this very cold winter continues…! 

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