Busy weekend ahead

Please cross your fingers for good weather this coming weekend, as I’ve got two outdoor events coming up!

On Saturday I’m taking part in the Abbeville Fete, a great mix of street stalls, fancy dress parade, live music, dog show and other entertainment that also raises funds for charity. It will be your first chance to see my new range of upcycled indigo shibori tops, along with ecoprinted tops and my latest batch of scarves – some examples below.

I’ll be sharing a stall with Kes Young of Heart in Art Workshops, who makes wonderful mosaics, so it should be a great combination of colour and texture!

The Abbeville Fete is on Saturday 25 June, 12-6pm.

Then on Sunday I and my fellow felter Carol will be donning our Women of the Cloth hats and running free drop-in felting sessions at the Brixton Windmill Festival. The theme of the festival this year, the 200th anniversary of the windmill, is “trades and professions”, and as well as us felters there will be a furniture maker, blacksmith, bricklayer and of course millers and bakers.


Brixton Windmill Festival is on Sunday 26 June. It starts with a parade from Windrush Square at 1pm, marching up Brixton Hill to Brixton Windmill for the festival in Windmill Gardens, 2-4pm.


Recent acquisitions and upcoming events

I’m just back from a few days in Wales, where we had the most glorious sunny weather (previous visits have usually coincided with rain, rain and more rain!). It was even warm enough to have breakfast in the garden on one day. 🙂

The main reason for the visit was to stock up on fibre goodies at Wonderwool Wales, and I think it’s fair to say I succeeded in this!

wonderwool haul

The range of fleece, batts and tops from different types of sheep was far wider than at the Knitting and Stitching Shows, and there were far fewer irrelevant stalls selling tacky knick knacks. It was also good to meet up again with Ruth Packham, who I met at the Andrea Graham workshop in Amsterdam last year, and discuss how we are using Andrea’s techniques in our work.

The large steamer in the photo above didn’t come from Wonderwool, in case you were wondering! I picked it up in a charity shop – it’s large enough to steam a small turkey! I’m hoping it will come in useful for steaming larger bundles when I’m eco dyeing.

Now I’m getting ready for three major events in May. This Sunday 3 May I’m taking part in the Intrigue Emporium Spring Fair at Shoreditch Town Hall. It’s nice to see my felt kaleidocycle featured on the flyer, though mostly I’ll be selling indigo shibori scarves.


Then the following weekend, 9 and 10 May, it’s Dulwich Artists’ Open House weekend – I’m teaming up with seven other artists and designer-makers in a lovely house in West Dulwich, including Gabriela Szulman, who will also be at the Intrigue Emporium show. There’s a private view on Friday evening – everyone welcome!

dulwich open house 2015

At the end of the month, on Saturday 30 May, Carol and I are running a Women of the Cloth felting workshop at the South London Botanical Institute as part of the Chelsea Fringe. Carol will be teaching people how to make a needle felted bird; I will be showing how to make a wet felted bird pod.

So we were thrilled when Gardens Illustrated magazine included our workshop and a photo of Carol’s needle felted bluetit in its feature on the Chelsea Fringe. 🙂

Christmas sales and pufferfish

Whew! Just catching my breath after a busy weekend at Camberwell Arts Open Studios, followed by setting up for 10 days at Sprout Community Arts with Women of the Cloth. If I attempt to do two back-to-back events next year, just point me back to this post. 🙂

But I had a lovely time in Camberwell. I was in the gorgeous house of Gabriela Szulman with five other designer-makers, two of whom I hadn’t met before. There was a great mix of beautiful items: Gabriela’s nostalgic jewellery and scarves, Archie Mac’s psychedelic cushions and bags, Cecile Jeffrey’s elegant knitwear, Monica Boxley’s funky silver jewellery and bags, and Sarah Hamilton’s mid-century prints, trays and mugs.

just a card
Sarah has just launched her “Just a card” campaign, to encourage people to buy from designers, makers and independent shops and galleries. The name of the campaign comes from a quote from a gallery owner who had recently closed down: “If everyone who’d complimented our beautiful gallery had bought just a card we’d still be open.”

The campaign has the support of Mollie Makes magazine and the Design Trust – you can help spread the word by downloading posters and flyers here, adding a button to your blog or website, and sharing via Facebook and Twitter. So do your bit! 🙂

I also had the lovely experience of meeting in person for the first time someone who has been an internet friend. Hilary writes the Living to Work – Working to Live blog, and she was one of the first people to start reading and commenting on my blog around three years ago. We have been communicating via blog comments ever since, and I’ve followed with interest her experiments in quilting and mixed media.

But this is the first time we’ve met in person, and it was just like meeting an old friend. We sat on the sofa and chatted about textiles, family and mutual friends as if we’d known each other for years. What a wonderful thing is this interweb thingy! 🙂

After packing up on Sunday evening it was repacking on Monday morning to set up at Sprout with Women of the Cloth. With eight guest artists this year, the space felt rather crowded and chaotic when setting up, but it all came together for the private view on Monday evening.

Private view at Sprout
Private view at Sprout

The sale runs until 10 December, 10am-6pm each day, and there are also several workshops.

My felted neckpieces have been surprise sellers. I only made two, as I thought they would be a bit flamboyant and not to everyone’s taste. But they’ve both sold (one at Camberwell, one at Sprout), so I’m going to try to find time to make at least one more to catch the Christmas rush!

Finally, I just have to post this – a video of a pufferfish making what looks like a karamatsu shibori pattern in the sand to attract a mate. I’ll never complain about stitching again! 😉

Jeannie Avent set up and private view

Phew! It’s been a tiring couple of days setting up the Women of the Cloth show in the Jeannie Avent Gallery in East Dulwich. Last year we had four artists; this year we have seven (though two don’t take up much space).

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Most of the setting up was done yesterday, but two of the artists brought their work in today. I was minding the gallery today and then we had the private view in the evening, so it’s been a long day!

Here are some pics of the work on show and the private view. We were very excited when Sarah Campbell tweeted that she’d like to come – and she bought one of Carol’s felt bags!

The exhibition continues until 15 April – open every day 10am-5pm. Details of workshops here.

Lambeth Open 2013

lambeth openWoohoo! I’m currently a featured artist on the home page of Lambeth Open!

This annual event, where artisans across Lambeth open their studios and workspaces to the public, is on 5 and 6 October.

I’m going to be exhibiting with Women of the Cloth at Carol’s lovely house in Streatham.  As well as selling her felt, Carol will be running workshops, including needlefelting.

And we’ll have some guest artists exhibiting with us, including Zuzana Lalik, who specialises in geometric embroidery, upholsterer Virginia Tuck, and needlefelted dogs from Janet Thompson.

Women of the Cloth will be at 27 Mount Ephraim Lane, Streatham, London SW16 1JE on 5 and 6 October, 10am-6pm.

Women of the Cloth in East Dulwich

Phew! I’m just recovering from the two wonderful weeks of exhibiting as part of Women of the Cloth at the Jeannie Avent Gallery in East Dulwich.

It was a hectic two weeks, partly because I was offered some editorial work during that period that I couldn’t turn down. Plus the first Saturday of the exhibition coincided with Making Uncovered, where I was demonstrating wet felting – so I spent a lot of time trying to ensure I had adequate stock and supplies for both events, packing and repacking my large wheelie suitcase and generally feeling a bit stressed out.

Making Uncovered was a great event, with lots of people coming to watch demonstrations by 16 different artisans, ask questions and have a go themselves. Many said that they had thought felt making wouldn’t be very exciting, but turned out to be entranced by the colours and textures. I guess they were thinking about the squares of acrylic felt you get in craft shops – so it was good to help them learn about the real thing.

And it was lovely that so many friends and customers dropped in to say hello as well, especially as I have been rather neglectful of them in such a busy period. 🙂

making uncovered

So after that it was a relief to escape to the gallery, to sit with other Women of the Cloth, to weave, stitch and felt in an atmosphere of quiet creativity. It was particularly interesting to watch Joan Kendall weaving magical colours and textures, and see Carol Grantham’s workshop participants revel in their delight at producing their first piece of felt.

avent kristina weaving

I sold a fair amount and met some interesting people at the same time, including a visitor who came back to show us some gorgeous rag rugs she had made. She may be getting an invitation to take part in our next exhibition/sale!

avent rag rug front
Gorgeous rag rug…
avent rag rug back
…where the back is as interesting as the front!

So huge thanks to Carol, Joan and Larna for making this past fortnight such a welcoming shared experience. I hope we get the chance to work together again in the future.

Setting up exhibition in Jeannie Avent Gallery

I’ve just spent a very pleasant day setting up the Women of the Cloth exhibition at the Jeannie Avent Gallery in East Dulwich.

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Four female textile artists (and one helpful nephew) working together in quiet harmony turned a plain white space into an oasis of warmth, colour and texture.

Apparently some big ceremonial event was causing chaos in central London, but it didn’t affect our little corner of south-east London at all.

The private view is tomorrow at 6.30pm and the exhibition is open every day, 9am-6pm (8.30pm on Thursdays) until 30 April.

The Jeannie Avent Gallery is at 14 North Cross Road, London SE22 9EU.

Forthcoming events

April looks like being a busy month for me, with two big events.

women of the cloth

First, I’ve been invited by a group of textile artists, Women of the Cloth, to join them in an exhibition they’re putting on at the Jeannie Avent Gallery in East Dulwich, from 18 April to 1 May. The group consists of feltmaker and embroiderer Carol Grantham, weaver Joan Eytle Kendall and machine embroiderer Chrissie Messenger.

I met Carol when I was setting up Makerhood Norwood and we connected instantly (fellow feltmakers have so much to talk about 😉 ), so I was delighted when she asked if I would like to take part in the exhibition as a guest artist. She’s also invited another Makerhoodie Larna Smith, who makes lovely sculptural textiles.

As Carol will be exhibiting mostly felt, I will focus on indigo and shibori. I’ll post more details closer to the time. Somewhat surprisingly, the gallery doesn’t have a website, but the address is 14 North Cross Rd, Dulwich, London SE22 9EU.

MU_flyer_front_2MU_flyer_back_2 Second, volunteers at Makerhood Brixton have organised a day of demonstrations and workshops by 17 different makers, followed by a party in the evening. The event is called Making Uncovered and is being held in the beautiful Brixton East gallery.

I’ll be demonstrating wet felting, making purses, pots and bird pods – other makers will be covering everything from willow weaving and woodworking to screenprinting and aboriginal art.

Entry to the event is free, and so are the demonstrations; there are also some workshops that must be booked and paid for in advance. So if you’re in the area, do drop in – it should be a great day of celebrating creativity!