Yesterday I ran my second felt workshop at the lovely venue of Know How You in Beckenham. This time we were making felt corsages. Two of the participants had attended my first workshop for beginners at the same venue, so that was an encouraging sign that I was doing something right!
It was a lovely group, very enthusiastic and creative. After choosing their colours, everyone set to work making a spike and laying out three layers of colour before felting them all together.
Then came the decision about cutting – how many petals and how many edges to finish?
The end result: a very impressive array of exotic felt blooms!
Special mention must go to Amanda’s lemon drizzle and poppyseed cake – it certainly helped the afternoon go with a swing!
Last week was also the deadline for the latest felt swap. The theme this time was “connections”, and my partner was Agnes van der Tier in the Netherlands.
Agnes made me a very clever bracelet, with intertwined cords and pretty hand stitching in lovely shades of blue.
For Agnes I enclosed three small slate paddlestones with felt and joined them together.
Agnes said that her house has a slate roof so it fits in well!
With the short cold days, the indigo vat has gone into hibernation and there are few leaves around, so the emphasis this month has shifted to felt. Here are some of my felty highlights.
I was very proud to be featured in the latest issue of Felt Matters, the quarterly magazine of the International Feltmakers Association (IFA). The theme of the issue was “blue”, so they seemed to think that my work with indigo would fit the bill. 🙂 In fact, there was quite a lot about indigo in the issue, including a piece by one of my indigo heroes Rowland Ricketts and an article about indigo dyeing in Kutch, India.
The IFA is a great organisation, with lots of groups in the UK and round the world who meet up for workshops and exhibitions and do a lot to promote feltmaking. Membership includes annual public liability insurance as well as four issues of the magazine, so it’s a great deal.
Felted soap is a thing…
Who knew? For my Christmas markets I decided on the spur of the moment to make some felted soaps as stocking fillers. At the first market people looked at them but weren’t sure what they were or how they worked, so I got my felted soap elevator pitch down to a fine art:
easy to grip when wet
good for exfoliation
no more yukky mess on the soap dish.
Essentially, all those first world problems with soap solved in one go!
At the next market I added a little notice listing these benefits and they sold out within two hours. Important marketing lesson learnt. 🙂
…and so are felted pots
Anita Thorpe of Diverse, who has a Makerhood showcase of local makers in her shop every Christmas, saw some of my felt pots on Instagram and said she’d be interested in including some in the showcase this year.
And with a selection of succulents they look rather nice and have sold unexpectedly well. Important visual merchandising lesson learnt!
Felt tea cosy
Just thought I’d bung this in because it was a commission from a friend for her aunt.
Finally, the theme of the second felt swap of the year was “A taste of winter”. I sent my felt swap partner, Oliva, a felt icicle that had been dip dyed with indigo (one of the pieces featured in the Felt Matters article above).
Oliva sent me what I thought was a foaming beer mug in front of a wintry window – but it was actually a cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream! I’m sure that says more about me than about her work – thank you Oliva!
When I attended the Violette Amendola workshop in Belgium last year I met a lovely Dutch felter called Henny. We were working on adjacent tables so we got chatting and we had dinner together in the evenings.
Henny is a great lover of British culture – she’s an avid fan of Great British Bakeoff and Masterchef, and has been to felty events such as Wonderwool Wales. She also organises a twice yearly felt swap between a group of British felters and a group of Dutch/Belgian felters. Each person in the group makes something in felt that they send to someone in the other group – the pairings change for every swap.
So I was pleased to be asked to join at the end of last year. Each felt swap has a different theme, and I usually enjoy the challenge of trying to come up with something to fit the brief.
The theme of my first swap, in April, was “rooster”, the current year in the Chinese zodiac. This proved to be more of a challenge than I expected, as making cute felt animals is not really my thing. 🙂
But then at a vintage fair I saw a ceramic egg holder shaped like a chicken – my mother used to have one of these.
As the swap was scheduled for April, when Easter fell, I thought I would make one of these in felt and fill it with chocolate eggs.
Originally I thought I would make the base and the top in one piece, but then I remembered a previous experiment with Russian dolls, and decided to make the base separately, with more robust wool (a Steinschaf and merino blend). The main body of the rooster was all merino.
My swap partner, Françoise, who runs Vrouwolle (where I did the workshop with Violette) took a more abstract approach, which I love.
It also arrived beautifully packaged, in a suitably nest-like box.