Friday, 26 August 2011

Following Rupert (Part 2)...

A couple of weeks before the Followers of Rupert Annual we continued with the production of all the printed items that help to make the event so unique (and you can check out 'Part 1' of this process by following this link...)

By now Tony Griffin, the Annual Organiser & Membership Secretary has most of the bookings confirmed and can give us an idea of numbers. It's quite an undertaking…  How many for lunch, how many have ordered a signed Rupert Annual and who are attending the Gala Dinner?

We design all the printouts, adapting the artwork to suit the purpose. A4 place mats, price tags for the Followers stand, A6 vouchers & tickets (some have to be numbered) and the committee & guest badges, dealer signs & dinner place cards all have hand-written names. We also produce the button badges, an edition of 300 this year, all hand-numbered. And we've made a little Rupert scarf stand to support the laminated name cards...

This year's Annual event is the 28th in the Followers' history. Many years ago I remember going to the 5th Annual, held in an upstairs hotel room somewhere along Brighton sea front, in the days when the Followers were a very small band of enthusiasts. Almost 25 years later this event has changed beyond recognition thanks mainly to the efforts and imagination of one individual - Tony Griffin (and his very supportive family) - who's passion for Rupert and attention to every small detail in organising this event has taken it to such heights of excellence and originality…

It really is a marvellous occasion, celebrating Rupert the nation's favourite Bear! There's live entertainment, theatre, and sales area, making it a haven for collectors and an opportunity to meet like-minded friends. The event culminates in the Saturday night Gala dinner.

KC & I are delighted to play a small part in it's overall success and we hope everyone has a marvellous weekend - especially Tony as Saturday the 27th August also happens to be his birthday!  

Monday, 8 August 2011

Feltmaking in Freshwater... NEW dates for Autumn


Since posting these workshop dates at the beginning of August the weather here has been dreadful ! There's been lots of very wet holiday makers around and the mornings feel almost autumnal. The take-up for the workshops has been great, with one 'Felt Hats' day in November fully booked, but there are still plenty of places left for beginners...

I'd planned the new programme of workshops around all the feedback I gathered from talking to those of you who came along to the Open Studios venues. There's classes for beginners, then more felt jewellery, soft pots, bags  & slippers workshops, plus some new ideas for those who wish to try something different. Scroll down for details :  

"INTRODUCTION TO FELT MAKING" : Sat. 3rd & Sat. 17th September. 
Two dates for beginners. Simple felt making techniques will be explained with everyone making one or more pieces of flat felt, experimenting with blending colours & textures. Plenty of examples & project ideas will be on display.

"FELT JEWELLERY" : Saturday 10th September
This workshop is 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.

"PAINTING with FIBRES" : Saturday 1st October.
A new workshop for beginners with a different slant! Basic felt making techniques will be explained, showing how to create patterns, designs or a landscape scene from multi-coloured 'pre-felts' and textures. The finished felt will be suitable to use as a wall-hanging, cushion cover or a book jacket.

"FELT BAGS & BOWLS"  Sat. 24th Sept. & Sat. 22nd October
Sat. 22nd October now fully booked.
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 and lots of bag and bowl designs will be on display for inspiration! Plus ideas for incorporating handles and decorating with textures, threads & beads.

"FELT HATS" Sat. 15th October places still available. 
Sat. 5th November now fully booked
Another new workshop! 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!!! NB. Just added an extra date here as it's proving to be really popular!

"FELT SLIPPERS" Sat. 8th Oct & Sat. 12th November.
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. The Hats & Slippers workshops are for those who have previous felt making experience.

All the workshops are 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" & "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 plus an apron, extra towel and rubber gloves (if needed). Tea, coffee & biscuits will be available.

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 by phone or email gc.felts@freeuk.com   

All the photos featured here were taken at recent workshops. You can also scroll through past posts for more details about specific workshops & check out the Flickr links for more workshop photos and the Students' Gallery ...

Monday, 1 August 2011

Lavender Harvest...

I try to leave cutting the lavender for as long as I dare! It always seems a shame to cut it when the flowers still look so wonderful, but it needs to be done before they 'go over' so they retain the oils & fragrance. I have a late flowering variety 'Imperial Gem' which can be left until late July, but it also depends on the weather and how busy we are with other things.  Fortunately we've just had some dry days so the time was right..

We have about 30 bushes, which produce plenty of lavender. It's cut in the evening after a warm dry day, tied into bunches with elastic bands and hung up to dry. As I work along the rows I'm battling with the bees who get quite cross as their flowers slowly disappear...

KC assembles temporary bamboo cane racks in the garage, which are perfect for hanging the bunches and well spaced to allow for the air to circulate.  Old sheets are suspended underneath to catch the dried flowers. The drying process may take a couple of weeks depending on the weather conditions.

Our sloping garden, with it's chalky soil, is perfect for growing lavender and 'Imperial Gem' is a great variety, producing lots of deep purple flowers. The dried lavender has a very strong long-lasting fragrance and natural insect-repellent qualities.

I use lavender around the house to help keep moths & bugs away from my precious wools and felt fabrics. I fill bags, pincushions and felt lavender birds, and I've even been known to make lavender scones! It's a wonderful versatile plant with so many applications and it's a great pleasure to grow & harvest it and to be able to use it in so many ways... 

I shall be bringing along some of this year's harvest to 'Art at Turf Walk' on Saturday 27th August, plus plenty of bags of dried lavender and many of my felt products.

Let's hope the weather stays dry...

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