A New Direction

I have been considering my developmental options since I completed a City and Guilds certificate in felt-making in 2014, very high on my list is a BA degree but it is a big commitment both in time and money. I am very fortunate to live only a few miles from the University of Creative Arts in Farnham so went along to an open day on a reconnaissance mission.

It was quite an eye opener, I hadn’t really considered the need for a portfolio or how my sketchbooks appear to anyone else. I have a tendency to work out my designs and ideas directly in wool, my sketchbooks are primarily used to work out template designs or jot down ideas for future projects, they read more like a technical manual than an artists sketchbook 🙂

That was a couple of weeks ago and I decided to continue with the “stories of the trees” brief that Fiona Duthie set last year, with my main focus being on bark. It is still very early days but my sketchbook is already looking much more colourful!


I treated myself to some inktense blocks (they work on fabric too), these are my first couple of “getting to know you” pieces working with them and already think they are wonderful!


Lest We Forget

I am feeling very chuffed, one of the pieces I submitted to the Weavers, Spinners and Dyers National Exhibiton has been accepted. Fancy that, a feltmaker being accepted to a juried show of weaving and dyeing!

I have been itching to share this piece with you for several weeks but couldn’t in case one of the jurors saw it.

This piece was inspired from a combination of some sketches I made of poppy seed pods from the garden and the realisation that 2014 is the centenary of the start of World War I.

They all cried out a very obvious vase shape to me:

Initially I planned to make this vase using a resist method but then I had a brainwave and thought of a way to interpret my willow weaving skills into felt and after a small test piece, created “Lest We Forget”. The vase shape was woven from cords of white merino and then dyed with acid dyes.

This is the work in progress:

The red and black colours were chosen as the traditional colours of the poppy flower but they also represent the unnecessary blood shed and millions of deaths that occurred not only during WWI but in countless wars since.

If you would like to see this piece in person, it will be on display at “Yarns in the Cathedral” in the Hostry of Norwich Cathedral from 15 May to 1 June 2014.

Linking up to nina-marie

Gestural drawing

For my C&G course we have been asked to explore gestural marks and drawings using Da Vinci’s “Deluge” as inspiration. To be honest I have enjoyed this far more than I thought I would when I first read through the module, at first I was a disappointed to not be making felt of some sort but I found the quick, uninhibited way of making marks on paper quite liberating (in the end).

This is da Vinci’s Deluge that I was instructed to use as a reference.

I have always found working from another artist’s work somewhat daunting, trying to reproduce someone else’s work usually results in disappointment that what I have produced is inferior in some way. I much prefer to take inspiration from other’s work and interpret it in my own way.

So I sat in front of “the Deluge” pondering how to approach it, making a few scribbles and doodles that loosely represented parts of the great work. Then I tried making a charcoal drawing. It wasn’t working.

It was time to go back to basics, I felt I needed to look at some real-life clouds instead of da Vinci’s interpretation and lucky for me I was in the “land of the long white cloud”, and we found ourselves driving towards gathering thunderclouds the next day so I took lots of photos and produced a couple of sketches.

Feeling more confident about cloud shapes and how light and shade create the illusion of lines and shape I took another look at the Deluge and produced this piece surprisingly quickly; less than an hour ignoring the time it took to dry after the wash. I’m really pleased with how it turned out.