Friday, 14 December 2018


As Christmas approaches and the nights draw in I’m thinking back over 
another busy year of feltmaking…  
and one of the highlights of the year came from a very unexpected direction…

I’m really proud to have been involved in the Festival of Flowers at Winchester Cathedral, helping the West Wight Floral Society with their arrangements.

The WWFS had been invited to participate in this magnificent event,
entitled ILLUMINATION, a theme inspired by the Winchester Bible. 
Their arrangements were to represent the colours of the Medieval artist’s palette

The fun and hard work started way back in the spring when the society’s 
vice chair, Chelsea gold medallist and fellow feltmaker Sue Clarke explained 
her plan of incorporating hand-made felt as a backing for NINE large panels 
that would support the floral displays…
I offered my services and was thrilled to help —initially just to demonstrate to
 the team how to layout and felt the coloured fibres that would 
make up the panels…

The main efforts of felting and embellishing the panels was done over many weeks
by the ladies of the society, led by Sue whose vision and 
creative expertise saw it all through… 

The next time I saw the panels was when they were installed in the Cathedral, 
covered with flowers…

What an amazing spectacle, as can be seen by the photos…

The textured quality of the hand-made felt can be seen clearly in these details

Alongside this grand display of ILLUMINATION… 
this year has also seen several of my feltmakers experimenting with
 illuminations of their own!

On a much smaller scale, these felt light shades and lumineries are
incredibly effective…


The soft warmth of the felt (combined with other textures such as lace) 
gives a wonderful glow - 
perfect for warming up those long wintery evenings... 

as does Tash's amazing foxglove lamp!

And the effect of simply placing led candlelights into little felt bowls 
is quite magical!!!

Many thanks to Soosun, Dorothy, Tash and Helen for letting me include these..

But a word of caution...
If you are inspired to make any felt illuminations of your 
own please do not place lit candles or high wattage light bulbs close to felt! 
All the examples shown here use small battery powered led lights 
and low energy saving bulbs to be safe!

Finally - a special THANKS to you for taking time to read my blog.

I'd like to wish you a very peaceful and restful Christmas
where ever you are in the world 
and a happy creative 2019...

And if you are visiting the Isle of Wight maybe I might see you
next year at one of my workshops...  

Wednesday, 14 November 2018

The NUT Bowls...

After our extremely long HOT summer the arrival of autumn comes late this year              with winter following close behind...
Driving through the countryside today the chilly north-easterlies are blowing down the last leaves and the hedgerows are almost stripped bare of their fruits and nuts…I’ve always collected seeds and pods and with the autumn 3-D workshops in mind I wanted to felt a large bowl to hold them. A flat ‘platter’ shape with a curved rim, firm enough to support handles…

The resist I used was approx 14” diameter, covered with 3 thick layers of BFL white and oatmeal, with an extra layer round the rim for strength and decoration… 

Wetted out, rubbed and rolled until the fibres felt tight against the resist I made incisions in the centre with a scalpel - fraying the fibres to achieve a soft edge and keeping the resist in place so as not to cut right through. The opening revealed the white core of the bowl which I decorated with simple nut-shaped prefelts.
I continued the felting process by placing the felt bowl into a similar sized plastic bowl. I was able to use the plastic form to create a gradual curve in the felt rim, at the same time containing the warm soap solution. This is a really efficient way of felting! I wanted the top and bottom layers to fuse together to give a real thickness
Eventually the bowl felted together and the rims strengthened, but only after a considerable amount of hard work! A large surface area and many layers of fibre needed a lot of coaxing…

When the bowl was completely dry I added the simple wood handles,

 pieces of sycamore drilled and attached with leather strips…

 I also made a second bowl  - same method just slightly larger... 

This time I’m going beachcombing to look for some driftwood to make handles 
The bleached wood should work really well with these coloured fibres...

Saturday, 1 September 2018

The Felted Garden AUTUMN WORKSHOPS...

During our glorious long HOT summer I'm sure making FELT was the 
last thing on everyones' minds, including mine... 

Now I can't believe it's the first of September! 
The weather is still very warm but lengthening shadows and 
the early morning dew signal a definite change.  
AUTUMN has to be my most favourite time of year...
 and this new season of workshops takes inspiration from the 
colours and textures changing all around us...

Here are some dates for your notice board...

Saturday 6th October 10am—4pm

This popular workshop is great introduction to wet felting!
 You will learn basic feltmaking techniques and experiment with fibres & textures.
Bring along a favourite photo or sketch as a starting point and create
a flat piece of felt - a picture or design that can be stitched into later.

This workshop is for ALL abilities. Beginners welcome!

Saturday 27th October. 10am - 4pm

Many felted pots have distinctive organic forms and I shall be
 bringing lots of seeds & pods along to this workshop
I will show how to felt in 3-D using a resist and you can create a 
bowl or pod inspired by the shapes and colours of autumn!

This workshop is for ALL abilities. Beginners welcome!.

Saturday 10th November 10am - 4pm

This workshop is for experienced feltmakers..
 It's an opportunity to come along and felt ANY 3-D form - something you've been 
wanting to make for ages but needed the time and space to make it happen! 
Maybe an unusual shaped vessel, bag, hat or even a pair of slippers!

There will be no demonstration at the start of the day, just an
 informal discussion instead so we can share ideas and re-cap on techniques.
 This will leave more time for experimenting & felting during the day.
Don't worry - written instructions will be available and I'll be on hand 
with practical help!  

Saturday 17th November 10am - 4pm

This workshop for ALL abilities. I will be showing how to felt either a lattice scarf 
or a ’nuno’ style scarf and you will go home at the end of the day
 with a unique piece of felt to wear!

There will be a selection of beautiful hand-dyed fibres available to buy on the
day, but if you already have fibres you'd like to use bring them along.

Saturday 24th November 10am—4pm

A NEW workshop for all abilities
3-D felting but on a small scale!!!
Seamless purses and cases for phones, pencils, scissors, specs…


Fun, functional and simple to felt they make perfect gifts!
Lots of designs to choose from, make 2-3 in the day,
and take away all the template shapes to continue felting at home!
More info about this workshop here

Saturday 1st December 10am - 4pm

With Christmas getting closer these fabulous felt birds & animals 
make great gifts and wonderful tree and table decorations!

This workshop is for ALL abilities
Beginners welcome!
£40 for the day which includes
ALL materials, enough to make several birds and animals.

ALL the workshops will be held at The Seely Hall in Brook Village,
 Isle of Wight.. PO30 4ER

The workshops are £35 per person per day,
there's an extra charge for materials or you are welcome to bring your own fibre.

The 'Felt Birds' workshop is £40 per person for the day 
and this includes ALL materials.

For more details or to make a booking please contact Gill 
on 01983 752872.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

SMALL 3-D PROJECTS, embellishing...

As promised an up-date on the ‘Small 3-D Projects’ featured in the last post…
After all the hard work making the felt projects the FUN starts with embellishing!
 It’s a much more thoughtful relaxed process, choosing threads, hand-stitching, beading and adding finishing touches… It’s an opportunity to sort through all the beads, buttons & threads you’ve had for ages and have forgotten about...

I personally love variegated threads—they are perfect for stitching felt. The colours have already been carefully selected and blended or better still hand-dyed. I prefer the cotton perles which come in different thicknesses -there's SO many to chose from...
I try to keep my stitches simple and let the colour in the threads do the work! 
Fern, fly and running stitch are favourites, together with French knots. Small purses don’t need much embellishment, little clusters of beads + buttons help create texture.

Sometimes the blended fibres in the felt are enough and no stitching is needed. 

Special beads and vintage buttons make perfect fastenings. Alternatively the decorative clasps available on-line give a really professional finish...
The success of the 'Small 3-D Projects' workshops means there will definitely be more planned for the autumn, with Christmas in mind! 

Any of these small projects make perfect gifts…
...and this little blackbird purse has flown away to a new home, 
to a dear friend who has a birthday this week...

Monday, 2 April 2018

3-D FELTING on a smaller scale...

Over the years I’ve held many 3-D FELT workshops explaining the techniques of using resists to create all manner of seamless items—bags, bowls, hats, slippers. 
The range and variation of shapes only limited by one’s imagination, 
energy levels and size of the table top!
The “3-D Small Projects” workshop came about when I started to think SMALL and
 realised the scope of felting smaller items, which opened up another 
avenue of endless possibilities.
Using exactly the same techniques the only difference is the scale. 
Fibres are laid out in the same way, but less are needed. The laying out process 
is quicker so several items can be laid out, then rolled and felted altogether, 
saving time and energy!

  These are all small seamless 3-D forms and make perfect cases and covers for almost anything - a case for a mobile phone or pair of scissors, 
a tiny coin purse, an amulet bag which is barely 2"/ 5cm wide…

A quirky glasses case or pencil case in the shape of a fish

A bird shaped purse with a wing flap….
As with all feltmaking everyday kitchen tools are very useful for shaping. 
With these small projects it’s difficult to get your hands inside so wooden spoons are 
perfect for this purpose. They also come in handy to support the felt while it’s drying.

The recent 3-D Small Projects workshop held last week was the first of it’s kind and still experimental, but all my students enjoyed the day and each went away with 2-3 projects plus all the reusable template shapes to continue at home.
All these items are FUNCTIONAL and FUN! They are relatively simple to felt and make wonderful gifts. Easy to personalise and decorate with stitching and beads… 
Everyone will want one!

Now, after completing my samples I have the great pleasure of raiding my stash of threads, beads and buttons and decorating them all. 

I’ve also discovered an amazing range of decorative clasps available on-line that give a professional finishing touch to the little purses. 
I will keep you up to date with my progress...

I've just arranged another "3-D Small Projects" workshop on 
Wednesday 9th May at Seely Hall, Brook, IOW
Click here for more details....

And you can click on any of the photos to enlarge them. 

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