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Thursday, 28 July 2011

After the Events...

Just winding down now after Open Studios…  It's been a fantastic hectic two weeks. We had 620 people visit us at the Freshwater Parish Hall over a very wet weekend, which may have played in our favour as people lingered in the dry, browsing and enjoying Penny's homemade cakes.



Then we had some lovely sunny days at Quarr where a further 1,001 visitors came through the gallery doors. The Abbey looked very summery & peaceful in the July sunshine, with the gardens full of flowers & fruit trees, swallows roosting in the gallery eaves and I found some wonderful places to photograph the new pots…


Open Studios at Freshwater was where it all started for me last year and it's hard to believe that it's just one year ago that I came away with my visitor's book full of lovely comments and requests for workshops, not really knowing then what to do! 

This year, one year on, I'm looking through a visitor's book full of similar requests so the workshops continue with lots of new people keen to learn to make felt. But there's another aspect to it all - my 'students' came back to show me what they've been working on, still wanting to learn more. So from this feedback I'm putting together a programme for this autumn, with workshops for beginners plus some new ideas for those who wish to continue trying something different.

A very big THANK YOU to everyone who came along to Open Studios and helped to make it such an enjoyable success. It's lovely to have the opportunity to talk to so many enthusiastic people who all seem to share such an interest in felt...  Including the lady who came over from the mainland specifically to find out more about my workshops, the woodturner who wants to incorporate felt into his work and the gentleman who has asked me to repair his favourite Bavarian felt coat, bought over 30 years ago and although badly ripped he hadn't the heart to throw away...  I'm looking forward to the challenge!

And finally I must mention Paulette, who came along to one of my first workshops with her sister Jacqui and has now started to teach felt making to a group of ladies with learning difficulties. Some of these ladies have never been given the opportunity to do anything like felt making before, or to handle the fibres and craft materials that we take for granted in our creative lives. The colours and softness of the wool together with the gentle simplicity of the technique has produced some amazing results and they have really responded to her teaching...

It's such a wonderful story...  and it's just the beginning! 


Monday, 11 July 2011

OPEN STUDIOS 2011...


Start this week! Just a quick post to say that I shall be exhibiting at Freshwater Parish Hall with a group of artists from this Friday. As you can see I've been making badges as well as distributing directories, putting up posters, banners, bunting and signs in between labelling and packing up work for the show ...

Then I'm back at Quarr Abbey from Thursday 21st to Tuesday 26th July in the Exhibition Gallery, as part of the second week of Open Studios. For more details about the artists taking part here follow this link.  

I hope you will be able to come along to see us. I shall have my felt work on display and I'll be making felt throughout both events. If you're interested in the workshops you can come and find out more information about the new programme and dates coming up in Freshwater & Newport during August, September & October.

Most important... There will be refreshments available at both venues!  Penny's fantastic home-made cakes and cream teas at Freshwater, and at the Abbey the newly refurbished Garden Tearooms will be open. Apparently they've got some lovely new baby piglets in the Abbey Farm - so there's lots to see!

Friday, 1 July 2011

Felted iPAD Case...

In between all the June workshops I've been planning to make my sister a felted iPad case for her birthday. With all the quilting & patchwork going on around me at The Patchwork Café I have been experimenting with machine stitching directly onto felt...


I've made some embroidered brooches and small bags with Open Studios in mind, but the planned iPad case would be much larger and rather more ambitious...

Here are the fibres laid out - three layers of Merino plus decoration - about as large as my kitchen table can take...


It made a lovely thick piece of felt - I left it to dry out in the sun. Always a mine of information, KC remarked about servants in the 'olden days' airing laundry over lavender bushes to freshen it and make it smell wonderful... And it does! Fortunately we've had some lovely sunny days so it dried quickly - as ever I was working up against a rather tight deadline...


Next came the fun bit! Not quite free-form embroidery as I'm still using the programmed stitches in the machine, but I'm not following any pre-determined design, just guided by the pattern & colour in the felt…


Then the felt was machine stitched together so the embroidered design flowed across the front of the case, over the back and under the flap, and finally the lining was hand-sewn in place. I thought about a magnetic fastener then decided against it - as it might interfere with the iPad signals (?) I don't really like them anyway and this case seems fine without one.

I was pleased with the finished result. I made it to size so the iPad should fit quite snugly into it's felted jacket...

Happy Birthday Clare!

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