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!


We have just returned from an amazing 2 week tour of Rajasthan in north-west India, what an incredible part of the World! If you have not been, it is definitely one for your bucket list.  The people are so beautiful and (especially the ladies) colourful , the food was out of this world (my other half was in his element eating curry for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day!), the wildlife was amazing, the culture, history and melting pot of religions were all real eye-openers. It is rare that I return home feeling a more rounded person for my experiences on a holiday but I can honestly say India had that effect, it was a real adventure for both the mind and soul.

I think the photos speak for themselves….

The wildlife, most of these photos were taken on Jeep Safari in Ranthambore National Park, the main draw to this park is the tigers, we saw plenty of other wildlife and even tiger paw prints but no tigers.

Leopard on the hill above temple Galta Ji
Tiger paw print

The monkeys stole my heart, they are so comical and child-like in their expressions and behaviours, I defy anyone not to love them:

There’s nothing like having a friend to scratch those hard to reach places…

This little chap managed to scale up my leg and then the sleeve of the jacket tied around my waist to make sure he got his share of the food!

And of course all the wonderful, beautiful, friendly people:

The milk-man on his rounds

This chap was feeding dried chillis into a grinder to make chilli power, the air was thick with chilli dust that made me cough and my eyes stream but they guys who worked in the shop seemed to be unaffected:

A wedding party

This chap was throwing pots on a wheel that was set in motion by placing a long stick into an indentation in the wheel’s surface and levering it around, once the wheel was up to speed he threw the ball of clay into the centre and had until the wheel lost its momentum to make his pots – here he is making the third and final pot after setting the wheel in motion. Having thrown pots on a foot-propelled wheel, I can appreciate just how difficult this was but he made it look effortless!

The people and animals on India’s roads were a shock for the uninitiated (me), first of all there really aren’t any rules for the car/bus/truck drivers, it is a bit like being on the road where everyone is a learner driver, the lane markings on the road are just for decoration, no one follows them; if there are markings for 3 lanes, their will be 5-6 lines of traffic crawling along them, with vehicles weaving in and out and the only indication being a honk of the horn, as if to say, “I am right here and you’d better get out of my way”.  Added to that you have all manner of livestock wandering about, pigs, cows and dogs and people driving elephants, goats and camels down the road too. We were surprised not to see any serious accidents or more road kill (there was less than I see on the UK roads).

Huddled for warmth

And finally a few photos of historical monuments, temples and landscapes:

Thank you for making it the bottom of the page and indulging my memories of India, I hope you enjoyed it and I have inspired you to visit this wonderfully diverse country.  I promise the next post will be more textile related!

Art Box Christmas Stockings

I spent a fun but exhausting day last Tuesday with art-centric holiday club, Art Box. Approximately half the children took part in the autumnal themed felt picture making class in October, so already had a little felt-making experience. All the same, I think it was a little ambitious to have 22 children making felt over a resist with only 1.5 teachers (Wendy, who runs Art Box has made a few pieces of felt before but not over a resist). Most of the children did very well but some of the stockings had holes or came out an odd shape (I can only imagine they laid all their layers in the same direction) and some of their decorations came off during fulling. On the whole, I think the children were happy with what they had made but I suspect if I had been working with a smaller group, their stockings would have been better quality, I think it might be prudent to spend a few hours training the assistants before the next session…. we live and learn 🙂

As always the ideas the children had for decorating their stockings were amazing and blew me away!

I’m afraid I only managed to get photos of about 2/3 of them amongst the mad dash to clean up at the end of the day.  The first 2 were made by friends who wanted to have matching stockings… how cute is that?! 🙂

I hope you are having a wonderful day and enjoying the holidays.

Madeleine’s “mad” hat and next class announcement

Madeleine from the last Concertina Hat Class forwarded some photos of her latest creation and it is so amazing I just had to share it with you! Her husband accused her of having “mad hatter virus” so she now has felters from around the world queuing up to catch her “disease”, myself included 🙂

There was such a wave of requests asking when the next class would run that we decided to bring it forward a couple of months. Registration is open now but due to my other commitments will close temporarily on Dec 30th and then reopen on Jan 27th. The course itself will run from the end of February through to the end of March, the specific dates, materials list and sign up form can be found on the Felting and Fiber Studio site:


Ruth has also put together an wonderful gallery of all the student works to date (thank you Ruth!), they really are incredible and worth a look 🙂

Felted Concertina Hat Gallery


Concertina Hat Class – Take 2

I am feeling a little bit sad today, the second iteration of the concertina hat class has come to a close 🙁

It has been a fun 6 weeks with lots of lovely, creative, supportive, kind and talented felt-makers. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching them all progress through the tutorials, injecting their own personalities into each hat (how else do you explain the variety of hats they produced?).  All the hats were amazing (and a few people branched out in vessels and lamp shades too) so I will let their photos speak for themselves. These are the photos from students who were happy to have them shared online, in no particular order….




Who has her own very good felting blog, lincinstitches



“Hippy Gary”

Evelyn Davis of Storytelling Threads:

She has FB and a website where you can see more of her work – www.facebook.com/storytellingthreads/  and www.evelyndavis.co.nz



She also has a FB page where you can follow her work: https://www.facebook.com/emilia.ponomarev?fref=ts



Jifke (better known on the FFS forum as Viltmaaraan):

Jifke also has a website: https://itfryskeskiepke.wordpress.com/


Didn’t they all do fantastically well? I am so proud of you all! 🙂

I was planning to run the next class in Spring 2017 but have just heard there are already more than 15 people on the waiting list so I expect we will run it a little earlier with registration opening  at the end of January and the class running through March and early April. If you would like to receive early-bird updates of the next course dates please drop me line via the contact form on the right and I will add you to the mailing list.

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