Unleash your creativity through Feltmaking

When I’m in the midst of running a feltmaking workshop I am always amazed at the wide variety of colour schemes emerging on the table.  I always have a full range of colours to choose from, as well as some beautiful silks and yarns for embellishment – it’s like an adventure playground of colour!  I love it every time.

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Feltmaking allows us to explore our creativity with freedom and does not require particular skills in the way that drawing or painting do.  So,  those familiar feelings of uncertainty, anxiety & lack of confidence are replaced by curiosity about the process, enjoyment of the colourful materials and a general feeling of wellbeing.

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It’s fun and expressive – everybody goes home with one or two pieces of beautiful material, made with three simple ingredients – dyed sheeps fleece, olive oil soap and water – oh, and a bit of rubbing and rolling!

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We start with flat pieces of felt, which make lovely table mats or even framed artworks.

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Then we move on to learn 3D feltmaking processes using resist templates.  Start by making a decorative bowl, a beret, a hotwater bottle or tablet cover, a tea cosy.  Whatever you fancy.  Again the fascination is in the process and the creativity in the choice of fibre/colour/shape & form.

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One of my most popular feltmaking workshops involves making a pair of slippers which hug your feet.  This is achieved by putting the slippers on when they are almost finished, and rubbing them into the actual shape of your own feet.  A workshop in the summer saw 8 pairs of slippers made in a day, and this picture is a good illustration of what I mean when I say I’m amazed at the range of colourschemes people choose!

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So, come on, unleash YOUR creativity in 2014 by learning feltmaking – a wonderfully expressive, tactile medium which is so versatile you can keep on learning new things forever!

If you don’t see the workshop you want in my listings, do email or ring me and I’ll see if I can set a date either at a weekend or during the week.

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The year starts with a Wedding!

An exciting start to 2014 in my household is eldest daughter’s wedding!  Needless to say the planning and making involved in this has replaced quite a lot of my own textile making time over the Christmas hols, but for a good cause.  We have all been busy making garlands and bunting with paper hearts cut out of old books, searching for fabrics for wedding outfit, going out suit shopping with the men, thinking about champagne.  Great fun!

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It’s a winter wedding, so we’ll all have to wrap up warm in cosy cardis and gloves – champagne and canapes on a Routemaster bus picking us up from Brixton registry office – Virginia spent her teens coming home from nights out on the 159 night bus, which was a Routemaster at the time, so it’ll be very familiar.

routemaster bus

Over Christmas I did manage to make one needlefelted Woodpecker, who matches the colours in this picture.  Maybe he should be attached to the bus in some way!!  New workshop dates to be added very soon for Spring 2014.

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HAPPY NEW YEAR  to all my loyal workshop participants, and welcome to new ones.

Feltmaking, stitching, weaving, needlefelting – workshops galore

What a busy workshop season it’s been this Autumn!  I’ve just finished a two-week residency at Sprout Community Arts in the thriving community of Furzedown in Streatham, London SW16 with my fellow textilers Women of the Cloth

Our workshops proved very popular this year and we had the pleasure of teaching new craft skills to many newcomers, all of whom went home with gorgeous colourful items to adorn their homes or to give as gifts to friends and family.  Slipper workshops are always a sellout.  I just love all the different designs and colourschemes people come up with

My textiles Autumn 2013 033           New this year was our Needlefelted dogs workshop, run by Janet Thompson.  She had envisaged that everyone would make a little Jack Russell as a first piece, but participants had other ideas and whole array of little dogs trotted out at the end of the workshop!

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My favourite newcomer was 12 year-old Tatum who wanted to learn Indian Shisha mirror embroidery so that she could add a Bindi to the forehead of a beautiful portrait she is stitching for a competition.  Sadly, I didn’t get a picture of the piece she is working on, but here are her mirrors at the first stage of stitching.  She picked it up in no time and came back to show me the completed Bindi and learn some additional stitches.  Great stuff.  If you see this post Tatum, let me know when the whole embroidery is finished – I’d love to see it.

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I had 6 round the table for an abstract feltmaking day – a bit of a squeeze at Sprout’s table, but some beautiful designs were created by beginners and some who’d been to previous workshops of mine.

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The next day we had Joan showing people her very popular figure weaving techniques – the colourful, happy figures make great tree decorations.

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No sooner had I finished at Sprout, than it was Crafty Pint Christmas workshop time, at The Railway pub!  We had 40 keen crafters doing a mix of Felt Baubles, Willow Woven stars, wreaths & Christmas trees plus lino cutting and printing a set of cotton napkins.  What a feast of activities to delve into.  It was great fun – mulled wine a welcome addition thanks to The Railway.

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One more workshop to go before Christmas – Felt baubles, stars & hearts for the tree at Serendipity Tea Rooms on Monday night, 16th December – 6.15-9.00 pm £25.00 including tea and CAKE!! 

Do come and join in.

Workshops dates for 2014 being added slowly but surely … see the sidebar to the right of the page.

Autumn/Winter Textile Workshops

Winter workshops will take place at Sprout Community Arts in Streatham, as part of my two-week residency with Women of the Cloth from 27th November.  Workshop dates are contained in the following WOTC newsletter

 

Christmas Sale and Workshops

Sprout Community Arts

74 Moyser Road, London SW16 6SQ

27 November to 10 December 2013
9.00am to 6.00pm daily
Late openings until 9.00 pm
PRIVATE VIEW Wednesday 27 November 6.30-9.00 pm

We are all busy making gorgeous tactile textile items for our second pre-Christmas sale at Sprout.  Come & join us and our guests for a cuppa/glass of wine and boost your Christmas shopping with some unique, locally handmade gifts including Loren’s handknit scarves & sparkly snowflakes

Carol and Joan will be running workshops as always, but this time we’ll be joined by guest needlefelting tutor Janet Thompson!
Workshops most days £20 to £40 for half or full day  incl  materials – see below for dates

WORKSHOPS
Thursday 28th November  –  Felt Slippers 09.30-3.30
Friday 29th November – Indian Applique  6.00-9.00 pm
Saturday 30th November  –  Shisha Mirrorwork Embroidery 2.00-4.30
Sunday 1st December  –  Loom Weaving Workshop 10.30-4.00
Monday 2nd December  –  Needlefelted Dogs with Janet 11.00 – 4.00
Wednesday 4th December –  Felt Christmas decorations 6.00-9.00pm
Thursday 5th December  – Crochet Workshop 10.30-4.00
Saturday 7th December  –  Figure weaving with Joan am or pm
Sunday 8th December – Feltmaking day with Carol 10.30-4.00
Mon 9th Dec – Felt/stitch/weave Xmas decorations 6.00-9.00pm

Louise Jackson

We’re delighted to be joined by guest Louise, whose textile work includes techniques such as batik and screen printing whilst hand and machine embroidery are a particular passion for her. She paints and draws in inks and gouache, adding touches of metallic. She has recently been exploring the early photographic technique of cyanotypes both on fabric and paper to great effect and loves all things connected to nature. She is currently working her way through Cassells Book of Birds as inspiration for the latest pieces.

Joan & Carol

Artist Georgia O’Keefe said “I found I could say things with colours and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way – things I found I had no words for”.  Joan and Carol would wholeheartedly agree!  Making things with our hands is essential to our wellbeing and we aim to pass on that feelgood factor to all who join our workshops through working with colour and texture – feltmaking, weaving, stitching, crocheting. These techniques allow everyone to enjoy the creative process, even those who feel they have little practical or artistic ability.

Janet Thompson

Janet creates these lovely dogs using simply sheeps’ fleece and a needlefelting needle.  For Christmas she will also have angels to hang on  your tree and other quirky woollen creatures for sale.  We are very pleased to announce that Janet will be running a daytime needlefelting workshop at Sprout on Monday, 2nd December.  If you’d like to make your own needlefelted creature, book early to avoid disappointment!

Kim Winter

Kim has extended her range of scarves to include upcycled wool, linen, silk and cashmere. She says, “I love finding something that is no longer wanted and turning it into a unique, desirable object. It’s more interesting for me to work with a range of materials and colours, and it keeps my prices reasonable. These are perfect Christmas gifts that are stylish and sustainable!”  Kim’s scarves sell like hot cakes, so don’t delay … She will also have a few felted and knitted surprises.

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It’s been a busy few weeks for workshops, and great fun as always.  At the end of September I was in Brighton with some of the wonderful women I met in Jan 2011 at Anokhi in Jaipur, Rajasthan.  We have kept in touch, as textile enthusiasts tend to, and they all wanted to learn to make felt slippers.   It was a glorious day of colour and laughter, and delicious food too …

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After choosing colours (not easy) we all layered up our fibres around slipper-shaped templates and began wetting them through and adding soap before beginning the agitating and rolling processes.  A delicious pot luck lunch half way through gave everyone the energy for a last burst of effort before removing the templates and beginning to rub the slippers into shape on their own feet, so that they fit perfectly.  When dry we will stitch on leather soles and hey presto – feet-hugging slippers in a range of beautiful colours!

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Next slipper-making workshops:

Saturday 26th October in my studio,  and Thursday 5th December at Sprout Community Arts

Then, during the first weekend of October I opened my house to the visiting public for Lambeth Open weekend where I was joined by fellow Women of the Cloth Joan, Kim, Janet and Virginia for two energising days of showing our work, talking textiles, sitting making things and YES more workshops!  Wetfelting on Saturday morning, needlefelting Saturday afternoon and embroidery on Sunday.

workshops October 2013 028Shisha mirrorwork embroidery is proving very popular, with some finding that once they start they can’t stop!!  The possiblities for doodling with thread around your mirrors is endless, so it’s very easy to just carry on, and on, and on …

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If you enjoy stitching with colour my next two workshops at Serendipity Tea Rooms in Streatham will suit you perfectly.

On Monday evening, 14th October from 6.15 to 8.45 pm we’ll be making embellished pincushions using some of my handmade felt pieces and blingy trimmings brought back from India.  Simple stitching is used to make the pincushions, but if you want to get fancy why not add some of your own embroidery too?!

Then on Monday 28th October at the same time at Serendipity, we’ll be stitching some gorgeous colourful flowers using Indian Applique techniques.  Make yours into a needlecase, a small picture, or sew it onto a skirt, shirt or dress pocket.

Beautiful colours

Beautiful colours

Pincushions made with felt & Indian trimmings

Pincushions made with felt & Indian trimmings

A summer of Workshop Fun!

This summer has been full of workshops – Indian embroidery, in my home studio and at Serendipity Tea Rooms , always sets people a challenge.  We have concluded that it takes an average of three tries before the technique of sewing on a shisha mirror actually sinks in, then the fun can begin.  Embellishing with beads, coloured threads, buttons and sequins – it’s all very absorbing.  Time flies …

Choosing colours & eating biscuits!

Choosing colours & eating biscuits!

Then there was a felt fish workshop at Streatham Festival’s Make your own Fete at the Railway Pub, with Crafty Pint and Flaming Nora  organising such a brilliantly creative day for what seemed like millions of local kids on a hot sunny day!

Kids' felt fish drying in the trees, Make yr own Fete @TheRailwaySW16

Kids’ felt fish drying in the trees, Make yr own Fete @TheRailwaySW16

Needlefelted garden birds is always a popular workshop and this summer has been no exception with workshops at the Railway Pub and another two coming up NEXT WEEK at Serendipity Tea Rooms on 22nd August and then with Makerhood at the Southbank Centre’s Village Fair on 24th Aug

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A flock of happy needlefelters and their birds

I even got to take part in a workshop myself learning Willow Weaving with Crafty Pint tutor Geraldine.  I absolutely loved it and took home four different finished items, all set to experiment with incorporating willow weaving into my feltmaking or vice-versa.  Can’t wait to have some time to do that- I think my needlefelted birds are going to like the willow bird feeder!

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Willow bird feeder

In between workshops, Kim Winter of WordPress blog Flextiles and I joined forces as Women of the Cloth for the Lambeth Garden Museum Summer Tumblr, which was a treat of a day spend in the knot garden in brilliant sunshine with lots of other artists/makers demonstrating our crafts and selling our wares.  What a relaxing day we had in a beautiful place chatting with like-minded souls and interested visitors.

Women of the Cloth, Kim & Carol, @GardenMuseumLDN Summer Tumblr

Women of the Cloth, Kim & Carol, @GardenMuseumLDN Summer Tumblr

When the summer of workshop fun is over, we Women of the Cloth will be taking part in the Lambeth Open studios weekend on 5th’6th October when we’ll be joined by several other textile makers for a housefull of colourful cloth activity.  Watch this space for more details to come.