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).

avent2014avent 2014-2 avent 2014-3

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.