Saturday, 26 March 2011

"Crafty Artists" at Ventnor...

Real life has a way of overtaking the virtual reality of the blog that is supposed to be recording it… if that makes sense? It's nearly three weeks since my last post, when I gave details of the new workshop dates, and they are almost all fully booked. I've been part of the "Crafty Artists" event at Ventnor Botanic Gardens over the past two weeks, plus I'm now running a craft club and workshops at my local schools in West Wight - it's all been rather a rush to prepare for everything...

The days at VBG have been really great fun, but the highlight of each day for me has been the spectacular drive along the coast road - I never tire of this drive - it's one of the pleasures of living on the Island. The weather has been beautiful, hazy pink mornings with the layers of the distant landscape ahead merging from the mist, just like a Japanese print. I couldn't help but think of the terrible tragedy on the other side of the world, when a sea as calm and benign as this could suddenly be whipped into such a destructive force. We seem safe here, but living so close to the sea one cannot help but think sombre thoughts…

The coast road precariously follows the cliff edge. The sheer chalk cliffs at Freshwater and the vivid blue sky and sea fill the rear view mirror. Passing the Dunsbury sheep grazing so close to the road I can see the dew sparkling on their backs. The tide is going out at Compton. It's the spring equinox, plus the moon is unusually close to the earth at the moment, so the tides are exceptionally low. 

I pass the beautiful Jersey herds at Brook, the alpacas at Chale, their coats steaming in the warmth of the sun and the workers in the vegetable fields, picking cabbages and sprouts. The road veers inland at Niton and follows the Undercliff to St Lawrence. Here bare branches are tinted green with faint Spring growth. There are daffodils everywhere along the verges and cherry blossom in the gardens.

This roller coast road not only twists and turns, but undulates from the constant filling in of surface cracks and potholes over the years, making it quite an exciting drive! There's one-way traffic signals and road works all along the way. The fragility of our island's life is well illustrated by this short drive of barely 16 miles, as coastal erosion will close this road very soon. But driving into the VBG car park the magnificent white and pink magnolia blossom is enough to lighten the mood!  

The days at the Botanic Gardens were a delight. The weather's always good at Ventnor - the camellias bloom weeks ahead of Freshwater.The Echium Room is a wonderful bright exhibition space. Lots of lovely people, both visitors and friends, came through the door and said we were a really interesting mix of crafty artists!!! 

And in the evening back at Freshwater KC & I couldn't resist taking advantage of the really low tides to wade out through the rock pools and explore the caves in the Bay. There won't be tides as low as this for many years to come...

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

NEW Workshop Dates for May & June…

I'm not sure when Spring officially starts, but the sun has actually been out today (and so are the first of my daffodils) and it did seem almost warm and very spring-like… It's as good a day as any to be looking ahead to the next series of workshops coming up in May & June. 

I've got a mixed programme of dates planned, starting with a workshop for beginners, then more felt jewellery, soft pots & bags and two dates for making felt slippers. Here are the details :

2 places are now available due to cancellations
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.

"FELT JEWELLERY" : Saturday 14th. May. This workshop is now fully booked.
Creating felt flower brooches, beads & bangles using a variety of simple felting techniques, with lots of ideas for decoration using needle felting, beads & embroidery.

"DESIGN & FELT A BAG" : Saturday 21st. May. 
2 places are now available due to cancellations.
First design & create a shape for your bag, then felt a unique seamless bag in one piece, with ideas for handles, fastenings & toggles.   

"SOFT POTS & BOWLS" : Saturday 28th. May. This workshop is now fully booked.
Felting 3-D shapes using a flat 'resist' and 3-D moulds, creating vessels & bowls, with ideas for incorporating handles and decoration. 

"FELT SLIPPERS" Saturday 4th. June & Saturday 11th. June.
The workshop on the 11th June is fully booked, there's one place left on the 4th June.
Making a pair of wonderful felt slippers, with instructions on sizing, making and decorating the slippers, and tips on attaching leather soles.

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 previously taken part in my Beginners Workshop before you move onto the more advanced classes.

All the workshops run from 10.30am - 4.00pm and 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 Slippers" 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 is 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 and don't forget to check out more workshop photos on Flickr, plus the Students' Gallery. Also, you can scroll through previous postings on the blog to find out more about specific feltmaking workshops held recently in Freshwater... 

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