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Thursday, 1 December 2011

Felt Making Workshops for 2012...

I'm delighted to be able to post these workshops dates for the New Year. There is always a demand for more beginners classes as I am continually meeting new people at craft events who are interested in learning to felt. Plus there are workshops for those who wish to move onto more advanced projects - soft pots & bags, slippers & hats, and even teacosys!

NEW DATES for MARCH...!

I've arranged a 'Kindle/I-Pad Case' workshop in March as I've had a number of requests for this, plus an extra 'Painting with Fibres' day so I hope there's something to interest you all. Scroll down for more details...




































Here are the details and there is plenty more photos & information about specific workshops if you follow the links :  

"INTRODUCTION TO FELT MAKING" : Sat. 21st January. 
The 'Painting with Fibres' workshop is very popular and is now fully booked, so I've decided to amalgamate it with this workshop for beginners. On the day you will be shown the basic felt making processes and you can choose to either make a felt picture or you can experiment with blending colours & textures to make pieces of flat felt. There will be plenty of ideas & examples on display.


"PAINTING with FIBRES" : Sat. 28th January. Fully booked!
This workshop is for ALL abilities! Bring along a design or photograph as a starting point and make a felt picture. Basic felt making techniques will be explained, showing you how to create a design or landscape scene from multi-coloured 'pre-felts' and textures. See pictures above and more details here.

"FELT JEWELLERY" : Sat. 4th February. Places still available!
Another workshop for all abilities. Create felt flower corsages, beads & bangles using a variety of simple felting techniques. Make simple brooch designs working around a resist. Plus lots of ideas for decoration using needle felting, beads & embroidery. More details here.

"FELT BAGS & BOWLS"  Sat. 11th February. Places still available!
This workshop is for those that have some felt making experience and wish to complete a 3-D project. You can choose to make either a seamless bag or bowl on the day. Lots of bag & bowl designs will be on display for inspiration, plus ideas for incorporating handles and decorating with textures, threads & beads. More details here.   

"FELT TEA COSY" Sat. 3rd  March. Fully booked!
A new workshop for those who want to learn how to work in 3-D.  Come and make a cosy for a tea (or coffee) pot. These are easy to make, fun to decorate with 'pre-felt' designs and make wonderful presents!

"FELT HATS & SLIPPERS" Sat. 10th March. Places still available!
Come and make either a felt hat for yourself OR a pair of slippers, and make them as sensible or crazy as you dare... And if it's anything like previous workshops it will be a really fun day!!! This workshop is for felt makers with previous experience of 3-D felt making.

*EXTRA DATE  "PAINTING with FIBRES" Sat. 17th March
This workshop is for ALL abilities! Bring along a design or photograph as a starting point and make a felt picture. Basic felt making techniques will be explained, showing you how to create a design or landscape scene from multi-coloured 'pre-felts' and textures. See pictures above and more details here.
*NEW "FELT KINDLE or I-PAD CASE" Sat 24th March
This workshop is for those of you who would like to make a felt case for your Kindle or I-Pad. It's a good first project to learn how to make a seamless shape around a resist. These felt covers make great presents and we will have plenty of time & materials to make a small matching I-Pod or phone case in the same workshop. 

Students' Soft Pots at the end of the workshop... 




































All the workshops are held on Saturdays and will start at the slightly earlier time of 10.00am and run through until 4.00pm. They will be held as before in the West Wight Landscape Partnership conservatory at Maderia House, Avenue Road, Freshwater, PO40 9UU. All materials and equipment will be supplied and included in the cost of the day. This will be £25 for all the workshops, except "Felt Hats & Slippers" & "Tea Cosys" which will be £28 to allow for the extra fibres needed to complete the project.  Numbers will be limited to 8 people. You will just need to bring a packed lunch (tea, coffee & biscuits will be available) plus an apron, extra towel and rubber gloves (if needed).

Again, I'm really grateful to Pete Fellows, Manager of WWLP, for his continuing support in letting me use the conservatory at Maderia House for the workshops. 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 any of the workshops please get in touch at gc.felts@freeuk.com

You can also scroll through past posts for more details about specific workshops & check out the Flickr links for more workshop photos plus the Students' Gallery...


Finally, I must mention these wonderful 'Thrummed Mittens' knitted by Sophie, using some of my Merino Tops. So far I've only used the tops for felting, but look at the possibilities... 


Not only do you get the beautiful heart pattern on the outside, but also a fleecy lining inside... How warm is that!


Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Felt Hats, Slippers and more...

It's been a very busy couple of weeks with the last workshops of the year and the start of the Christmas Fairs. I had some more 'Hats' and 'Slippers' days, plus a wonderful 'Painting with Fibres' workshop, which resulted in these stunning pictures...



































All the workshops produced amazing work, as the photos below show and there will be more workshop photos to follow ...



































 
The 'Slippers' workshops continue to be really popular, together with 'Hats'. They are both ambitious projects and take a lot of hard work to complete in the day...



































The 'Hats' workshops were new for this autumn. Not being a hat wearer myself I did have some reservations so I decided to keep things as simple as possible offering two basic shapes - a beret or cloche. Everyone had made either a bag or bowl previously with me, so the process of working around a resist was understood. It was just a question of sizing templates and thinking about the various design aspects of the hat, colour & shape. Perhaps I shouldn't have mentioned that the hats can be reversible… that really did complicated things! 

During the felting process it does help to actually put the hat on to check for fit. The fact that the hats were very wet did not deter my determined feltmakers - plastic bags were worn, hats were massaged in situ and everyone went home with rather flat hair… 

I'm hoping to get some better shots of the finished (DRY) hats and will post them up as soon as I can…

At the moment I'm right in the middle of the Christmas events and I've just had a wonderful weekend at Dimbola's Art & Craft Fair. Thank you to everyone who came along and bought their felt work to show me. It was free entry to the Photographic Museum so lots of people took the opportunity to combine Christmas shopping with seeing the exhibits. I had my usual spot in the Dining Room and was able to display my felt bowls on Julia's mantle piece as last year (see "Connections with the Past...")

This week finds me back at Quarr Abbey and the weather promises to be mild & sunny, so it couldn't be better for some more Christmas shopping...  

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

"TWISTS & TURNS" One Year On...

This weekend saw a complete turn-around for me, participating in a workshop instead of holding one! Tim Johnson a basket maker & artist of international reputation, who is based here on the island, came to our S,W & D Guild meeting on Saturday. Tim began the day with an illustrated talk about his work, his influences & inspirations…



































... and he bought along some wonderful examples from his own collection of basketry from around the world, lots of practical everyday objects, even a woven spoon! The parallels with felt were astonishing - the same functional items appear - slippers, bowls, bags - just made with different materials.



































In the afternoon Tim showed us how to twist, roll and ply natural fibres into strings & rope using soft rush, iris & bullrush. It was an inspiring day, which set me thinking about ways of introducing twisted fibres into felt work as functional handles or pure decoration. Certainly some of the basket shapes from his collection lend themselves to felt, especially the beautiful round basket with the simple wood handle.

Today also marks two special anniversaries…  First, it's our dear friend Eric Geddes' birthday and, as recently we've been experimenting with some new ideas, we decided to put these into practise by making him a bowl…  KC felted it extremely well, making it firm & fuzzy with a wonderful organic feel. We hope he likes it!




































It is also one year to the day since I began this blog. The original intention was purely practical - it seemed a good way to advertise forthcoming workshops & events and to display my work. Considering my intended audience was very specific and local to West Wight I can't believe how it's grown and generated so much interest world-wide! I've had over 11,000 viewings from well over 50 countries.

The felt making workshops continue on a very local level here in Freshwater & Newport, but also slightly further afield in Ventnor in a week's time. I could never have anticipated the 'international' interest in this very localised blog.  

Very many thanks to everyone who has logged on in this past year, whether intentionally seeking information about workshops in Freshwater, or by pure chance in some far away corner of the world…

Thank you for looking!

 

Friday, 21 October 2011

Young Feltmakers…

It's certainly been a week of contrasts! I had my youngest feltmakers on Saturday - 4 year olds - making felt as part of a workshop for children & parents at St Saviours School here in West Wight. I was really surprised at how well they all managed. They had no trouble handling the fibres, loved the colours and were very creative with their patterns & designs…



On Sunday I was invited to display my work for the Jacobs Sheep Society at Kingston Manor. The southern region were meeting on the Island to visit the various flocks, with some members coming from far afield Dorset, Sussex & Kent. It was a beautiful afternoon at the Manor - I set up in the grand Hall. The weather was fantastic, the cakes were incredible and the people were so interesting. The Jacobs were lovely too! You can guess why the ram is called Poirot - he's far left, with the large horns & moustache!  The highlight of the afternoon was the birth of a beautiful calf…

And you can see Boadie wearing the amazing felt hat that she made...


  
Talking of which…  Monday was my first 'Hats' workshop, which has been a long time in the planning stage, but as there will be more workshops to follow in a couple of weeks time I'll write about them in more detail then. Here's a small preview, along with some exciting new bowls and bags!



Each bowl turns out so very different yet the resists are the same size - they reflect the character and personality of each individual maker...

And there's lots more 'Bowls and Bags' workshop photos here...

Saturday, 1 October 2011

Introducing TRIXY FELTS...

I'd been thinking about making a felt doll for a while to use as a mascot for the blog and an image to promote the feltmaking workshops. Ideas kept growing and I put aside various oddments, scraps of fabric, felt & wool, buttons and bits & pieces, and slowly a character started to take shape...



































In the past I had designed wooden spoon puppets and pipe cleaner animals for children's craft books and I liked the idea of a simple wooden structure with a spoon face rather than a floppy felt fabric doll. I also wanted to incorporate more personal aspects into the doll - obviously the felting & knitting - but also clothes like a denim apron, hand-knitted socks, felt gloves (mini versions of a pair given to me when I was a child). I raided my Mum's collection of dress-making fabrics - thankfully she's never been one to throw anything away - and found small scraps left-over from clothes she'd made for us years ago.

















 
KC modified the wooden spoon body with some wood blocks so it could stand up without collapsing at the hips. She has bendy pipe cleaner arms and stiff dowel legs covered with French knitting. I started to work on the clothes, features and accessories...

The name Trixy came much later. It took a while to find a name without too many wider connections. I did have an Auntie Trixy - not a 'real' aunt - but my grandmother's best friend. A very kind lady who was always there with my Gran when we were growing up. It was a perfect name.

Trixy Felts personifies elements of the felting workshops, wearing a felt hat decorated with a felt flower, felt slippers & gloves and a felt bag, with an advert for "Felting Matters" embroidered on her pocket. She has a basket for her knitting AND a cat!


I'm sure as a character she will develop and grow. She already has a new wardrobe of clothes planned... a knitted waistcoat, scarf & beret for the winter. And I think she needs some friends!

In the meantime I will be bringing her along to the Christmas Fairs, and her picture will feature on my new Gift Vouchers and cards available nearer Christmas.

I will be posting more information about Christmas Fairs and events later on this month... 

But the weather's far too good to be thinking about Christmas just yet...

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Painting with Fibres...

When I was first planning this workshop I wanted it to suit all abilities - those who had already made felt and also beginners starting out. Sometimes examples of flat felt just give the impression of random flashes of primary colour, loosely placed on an equally bright background. I wanted to show how pictures and patterns can be planned and executed in a more controlled way to produce a specific design or landscape.


I decided to try and copy a painting myself, and chose these Van Gogh examples as they are so painterly, instantly recognisable and really lend themselves to the 'fibre interpretation'.


'Wheatfield with Crows' 1890 was my first effort followed by 'Starry Night'. I kept the interpretation quite free as I knew I would be able to tighten up some of the shapes and outlines with machine stitching and hand embroidery. I started out by colour matching my fibres as closely as possible to the original artwork, laying out two thick layers as a background and then had fun copying the details with smaller wisps of fibre.

After wet felting I machine stitched into the picture, following the brushstroke textures in the painting. The resulting quilted effect helped to emphasize the contours and the movement. 


This is the felted 'Starry Night' after stitching - I simplified the composition keeping the main interest in the sky, leaving out the village... 


...and had fun with the details of the moon and the stars...




It's great once you get going with the machine stitching, it's knowing when to stop...!

When people first discover felt, especially when they see me demonstrating at craft events, they handle the fibres for the first time and are drawn to the tactile softness and the colours... Then they ask "can I do this?"

Those who would never dream of boldly mixing paint onto a canvas seem to have less inhibitions when it comes to using fibres. They discover the joys of using colour! It's not threatening, it's a very gentle process! Bright colours merge - orange/cerise/purples/magenta - and you use your hands to blend them together...  

This workshop demonstrates that you can create pictures in felt, using fibres and textures as if you were painting a landscape and 'Painting with Fibres' describes the process perfectly.

You can check out some of the 'Painting with Fibres' workshop photos here...

Thursday, 1 September 2011

"SUMMER SHOWCASE..."

August has just flown by... We've had a really busy summer of workshops at OliVen the Patchwork Café. There are more workshops coming up in September through to December, both in Newport & Freshwater, and they are booking up fast. For more information about "Feltmaking in Freshwater" follow the link and for details about the Café workshops scroll down to the end of this post

I thought I'd just showcase some of the amazing achievements of the summer workshops in this series of collages - I'm just going to let the photos speak for themselves…



 ...some beautiful bowls and fabulous felt flowers...





























































...more bowls, bags & "paintings with fibres"...































...and lots of examples of beginners flat felt pieces...




































NEW DATES for AUTUMN & WINTER 2011 :
One-Day Workshops at OliVen the Patchwork Café in Newport High Street.

The following workshops are suitable for beginners:

"PAINTING with FIBRES" : Wed 16th November. 10 - 4pm
A new workshop for beginners with a different slant! Basic felt making techniques will be explained, showing how to create a design or landscape scene from multi-coloured 'pre-felts' and textures. The finished felt piece will be suitable to use as a wall-hanging or cushion cover. Lots more workshop photos here...
'INTRODUCTION to FELTMAKING'  Mon 10th Oct. 10 - 4pm
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 finished projects will be on display.

'FELT JEWELLERY'  Thurs 20th Oct. & Thursday 3rd Nov. 10 - 4pm
Come and make some stunning jewellery to wear at your Christmas parties! Felt flower brooches & corsages - like the examples above - and beads & bangles are all made using a variety of simple felting techniques. Lots of ideas for decoration using needle felting, beads & embroidery.

'FELT for CHRISTMAS'  Mon 7th Nov. & Mon 5th Dec. 10 - 4pm
A new workshop with Christmas in mind... Come and make felt flowers & beads to wear, or to decorate your Christmas table and tree. Lots of decoration ideas, felt cards and lots of Christmas sparkle...!!!


The following workshops are for those that have some felt making experience and wish to complete a 3-D project :

"SOFT POTS & BAGS"  Wed 12th Oct. 10 - 4pm
You can choose to make either a seamless bag or bowl using a resist. There's ideas for incorporating handles and decorating with textures, threads & beads. Lots of bag and bowl designs will be on display for inspiration!

"FELT SLIPPERS" Wed 26th Oct. 10 - 4pm
Make a pair of wonderful cosy felt slippers for the winter, with instructions on sizing and decorating the slippers, and tips on attaching leather soles.

"FELT HAT" Mon 17th Oct. 10 - 4pm
Come and make a felt hat for yourself, and make it as sensible or crazy as you dare... And if it's anything like the Slippers workshops it will be a really fun day!

All the workshops are £20 for the day, plus the cost of materials which are available to buy in the shop. To book your place please contact Wendy on 554 934 or call into the shop and we'll look forward to seeing you...

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