Sunday 20 December 2015


As Christmas fast approaches I’m looking back on another very busy year 
of workshops. One very special pleasure I’ve discovered from 
my relatively brief time teaching is the amazing feedback that comes, 
sometimes long after the workshops are over… 

e-mails are sent with attached photos of new feltwork, hand-written letters and
 beautiful hand-made cards arrive from the most unexpected places…

Some days ago I received this wonderful Christmas card from Debbie, 
along with a letter explaining that the “Winter Sunset” printed on 
the card was actually felted by her daughter Rachel. 

Debbie has been to several of my workshops, including the autumn
 ‘Painting with Fibres’ at Northcourt Manor and Rachel was so impressed with the 
results that she wanted to try felting some Christmas presents. 
Debbie went on to explain that Rachel has a speech and language disorder 
which prevents her from doing some things, but her artwork is very important, 
especially ceramics and she has now found another new creative medium 
which she loves… And is obviously enjoying, with amazing results!

I was really touched by Rachel’s card and Debbie’s letter. 
It made me realise that the knowledge that is taught and shared in my classes 
actually has a life of its own and is passed on again and again, 
usually without me ever knowing…

I came to teaching late in my working life, and rather reluctantly… 
Having free-lanced as a designer/illustrator for over 30 years, leading a very
solitary existence and having no teaching experience, the idea was 
somewhat daunting! When I started showing my felt designs at craft events I 
had so many enquiries for workshops that the persuasion was difficult to 
resist and I thought I’d have a go…

Now I’m in my 6th year of teaching workshops, which in itself is unbelievable! 
The pleasures and satisfaction that comes with this ‘new’ job are impossible to explain. There are many creative aspects to it, but it is that personal interaction 
with so many different people that is absolutely priceless.

So the workshops will continue next year and I will post up the new dates 
as soon as they are arranged.

I’m also celebrating the 100th posting on this blog! 
Another milestone, which also comes with the realisation that it is being read 
by so many people all over the world who I will never know…!

To all of you who have been to my workshops
 and to my blog followers wherever you are
 for your interest and support and have a wonderful peaceful Christmas 
with your families and friends.

Wednesday 4 November 2015

AUTUMN : " A Season of Workshops"

Autumn is the season of real dramatic contrasts! 
 The rapid change in the weather is reflected in our gardens and the surrounding 
landscape. Trees change colour and shape, daylight changes...

Morning mists and dew, cobwebs, falling leaves 
and a few fading flowers left amongst the seeds and pods...

Certainly there's been plenty to inspire me while I've been preparing
for these 'FELTED GARDEN' workshops.

I hoped it would be the same for those who came along!

In late September the 'PAINTING with FIBRES' workshop was held
at NORTHCOURT MANOR (celebrating it's 400th centenary this year!)

We were working in the old Music Room... 

making felt rather than music, 
but still soaking up the marvellous atmosphere and creating  
some wonderful pictures.

I was really looking forward to the weekend of workshops at 
VENTNOR BOTANIC GARDEN at the beginning of October.
I hoped the ‘SEEDS & PODS’ theme would produce 
some inspired work... I wasn’t disappointed!

And the autumnal themes carried on into the next 3-D workshop at
QUARR ABBEY, which followed a couple of weeks later. 

Felting small vessels enabled everyone to work so much quicker.
Laying out more than one piece at a time and rolling them together gave more 
time for experimenting with techniques & textures. 

I would like to have taken all of these little pots home
as they show the scope of this workshop perfectly!

Back at QUARR ABBEY last weekend and the FELT FLOWER workshop 
produced some amazing results.
It's always tricky to photograph any felt at the end of the day as it's still wet
but even so the sheer quality and quantity of
 all the flowers here was impressive! 

These 'FELTED GARDEN' workshops have been great fun!
We've all enjoyed the felt making and the warm, very unseasonal, weather has
made visiting the gardens and having lunch outside an extra pleasure... 

Thanks to all of you who have taken part - I learn so much from my students -

And I couldn’t wait to start sewing into this felt piece
inspired by the honesty pods I’d picked some months ago...

There will be a new programme of 'FELTED GARDEN' workshops
coming up in the Spring - all with suitable seasonal themes.

I'll be posting up the details in the New Year

so please keep checking in...

Tuesday 1 September 2015


It’s been a while since my last post…  Internet problems haven’t helped and a very busy summer! Can’t believe it's the first of September...

... and AUTUMN arrives early to ‘The Felted Garden’ with much preparation 
for the new season of workshops ahead, all with autumnal themes.

I’ve always had a great fascination for seed pods. Not only do I enjoy harvesting 
them from our garden but I also collect interesting pods, 
and love having them around. 

This year they are taking on even greater significance as all these natural shapes
will become perfect inspiration for the workshops.

In our steep garden here at Freshwater Bay, we battle against the salty winds 
and grow tough drought & wind resistant plants.
 If anything survives here I let it  - even if they are really considered weeds! 
These magnificent teasels have to be among my favourites...
 all grown from seed…

And the wonderful phlomis seed stems almost rival their flowers...

 Sea holly thrives with echinops, sedums, crocosmia, phormiums, euphorbias...
all the tough guys! 

And I’ve already started gathering seed heads…

 Closer to the shelter of the house growbags are bursting with 
ornamental gourds, including this amazing Turks Turban..

 Many felted pots have distinctive organic forms - it doesn’t take much 
shaping to create pod-like structures and vessels. 
This is what we will be exploring in the “Seeds & Pods” workshops at 
Ventnor Botanic Gardens on the 10th & 11th October. 

We will be designing and creating 3-D forms using a resist and looking at 
seeds and pods for ideas. You will be free to wander round the gardens
 sketching and photographing plants and I will have my seed collection
displayed in the Garden Studio.
There will be plenty to see and inspire... It promises to be a great weekend!

For more details about the Ventnor Seeds & Pods days and other 
workshops follow this link…

Hopefully I may catchup with you at one of the autumn workshops. 

This really is a most inspirational time of year, so where ever you are  - in your garden
or out walking in the counrtryside - think FELT!

Wednesday 10 June 2015

FABULOUS Felt Flowers...

I’ve recently been felting flowers in preparation for ‘The Felted Garden’ flower workshops - the aim was to create flowers with different petal formations that can all be felted and shaped using the same method of laying out fibres… 

So with a little artistic licence here are my flowers -
pansies, clematis, poppies and lilies…

Felting flowers is a perfect class for beginners as it introduces the basic 
techniques of felting and gets everyone used to handling the fibres, 
but when first timers come into the class and see the samples they always 
shy away and worry that they’ll never be able to do this…

Well... after a couple of hours things change! 
As you can see by these workshop photos, contagious enthusiasm takes hold 
and by the end of the day everyone goes home with several beautiful flowers, 
leaves and stems, and a desire to continue making more…

Now I'm busy getting ready for the Isle of Wight Open Studios which takes 
place in July, and 'The Felted Garden' workshops will continue in September 
at some great garden venues, with suitably autumnal themes..

I will be holding a "Painting with Fibres" workshop at Northcourt Manor, Shorwell 
and there will be plenty of inspiration to be found in the extensive gardens 
surrounding this 400 year old manor house.

And I shall be back at Ventnor Botanic Gardens in October
 for a ‘Seeds & Pods’ workshop.which should be great fun!

These workshop dates will be posted as soon as dates and details 
are finalised!

Sunday 10 May 2015

Introducing "THE FELTED GARDEN"...

A NEW name for my felt making business...!

It seems like a natural step to combine two great passions of mine -
a love of plants, gardens and the wider environment together with felt making - 
and “THE FELTED GARDEN” says it all perfectly!

No obvious changes, the workshops will continue much as 
before with all the popular classes like ’Painting with Fibres’ and making
3-D forms vessels, bags and flowers... 
But the emphasis will be very much about seeking inspiration 
from the natural world around us.

I plan to hold workshops at different garden venues across the island
and this is already happening with the recent ’Painting with Fibres’ day
 at Wayside Herbs in Yafford, hosted by Joy Verrinder. 

Not only did we enjoy the wonderful setting 
but Joy shared her enthusiasm and knowledge of herbs, explaining their history, 
cultivation and practical benefits. The plants provided perfect inspiration 
and gave an extra dimension to the felt making day!

There are two more workshops coming up in the next few weeks…

 Participants will be free to wander round the gardens & greenhouses, 
sketching or photographing the flowering plants before bringing their 
ideas back to the studio where I will show how to 
create 3-D flower and leaf forms in felt.

 A ’FELT JEWELLERY' workshop will be held at BRADING ROMAN VILLA 
on Sunday 7th June. This time the focus will be creating flower jewellery. 
More details about both workshops and booking details can be found here...

Felting is a completely natural process and
"THE FELTED GARDEN" describes every aspect of my work
as I've always looked to the natural world for inspiration.. .

Flowers, plants, seed pods and the wider landscape 
all lend themselves to felting and painting with fibres... 

Teasing wool into shape by hand, moulding and shaping vessels 
naturally result in very organic forms...

I've been experimenting recently with hand and machine stitching
 and I'm continuing with this, making plenty of fresh 
new work for Open Studios in July.
Although I've made felt for many years now it seems incredible 
that this event will mark five years in business...!!

This year has found us spending more time in our garden.at Freshwater Bay.
It's a very challenging site and a real uphill struggle! 
Half an acre on a very steep slope, 
relentless salty winds and heavy clay which bakes in the summer heat...

 But we do have our own underground springs which give a constant 
supply of icy water - great for rinsing felt! 
It’s a perfect spot for growing lavender which I cut and dry,
 and use in many of my designs!

So these are exciting times, with lots of plans ahead… 

and “THE FELTED GARDEN” seems a perfect way to describe this step forward...

Monday 6 April 2015

Felting FLOWERS...

With this wonderful weather over the Easter break I guess many of you 
are enjoying your gardens, visiting garden centres and maybe venturing 
further afield into the glorious countryside… 

Here on the Isle of Wight we have an exceptionally mild climate and the camellias, magnolias and cherry blossom are spectacular this year, vivid purple aubretia clings to almost every wall and primroses, daffodils, tulips are everywhere you look. But April can be a cruel month, tricking us into thinking that spring is finally here… Frost is never far away and can easily destroy any early planting out so we can’t afford to be too optimistic!

I have some workshops coming up which connect beautifully with this flowery
 theme and feature felt flowers, plants and Island gardens... 

The first is a ‘PAINTING with FIBRES' workshop on Saturday 11th April at 
WAYSIDE HERBS in Yafford at the home of Joy Verrinder. 
Here you will find plenty of inspiration for your felt pictures in 
Joy’s amazing herb garden and the countryside surrounding her home. 

I’m also delighted to announce another new venue...
I’ve been invited to hold a FELTING FLOWERS workshop at 
Ventnor Botanic Garden on 30th May which is exciting news!

 In this workshop you will be taking inspiration from the flowers in their 
famous gardens and greenhouses and you will have the opportunity to 
sketch and photograph the wonderful flowers growing at their best! 

Then back in the studio I will show you how to create 3-dimensional 
flower shapes, organic leaf forms and stems from felt… 

 There is also a FABULOUS FELT JEWELLERY day on the 7th June 
at Brading Roman Villa which continues the flower theme!
I will show how to make some fantastic felt flowers, which can be turned into 
unique wearable works of art… Fabulous felt flowers brooches and fascinators! 
Perfect to wear to all those summer parties. 

I hope this might inspire you to come along to one of the workshops!  

You will find more information about all the workshops and booking 
details click here 

And I'm sure just the thought of flowers and warm summery days
 ahead will get us all out into our gardens
 over the coming weeks...

Thursday 1 January 2015

Happy New Year...

The lull between the Christmas holiday and the New Year is a good time
 to reflect and look back over the past year. 
We've been enjoying some wonderful wintery sunshine here and I took some felt 
down to the Bay to photograph in this amazing light... 

It's just a couple of minutes from the house 
and on days like this it's hard to believe 
that we do actually live in such a perfect place...

KC bought me a tablet for Christmas with the plan that a portable 
archive could be created for ALL my photographs... 

This has spurred me into sorting through thousands and thousands of photos 
which certainly have mounted up over the last few years...
BUT it's been a great opportunity to look back over this past year
so here's a snapshot of 2014...

Workshops at Spring Farm Alpacas in Sussex
with my Alpaca Hat winning 2nd prize in the National Show...

Lots of very colourful scarves and wraps...

New developments with hand stitching & beading...

Open Studios 2014 at Shalfleet & Quarr Abbey...

Outdoor experiments with natural dyes...

and scarf workshops at Quarr.

It's been another busy year and 2015 promises to be just as exciting
with lots more workshops planned here on the island and 
further afield in Sussex & London. 
Dates will be posted as soon as they are confirmed.

A very happy New Year to you all !!!

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