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


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...

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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