Bridport Hat Festival

Saturday was spent in Bridport with the Region 2 IFA (International Feltmakers Association) ladies at the annual hat festival. We had a shared table in the town hall and had a lot of fun encouraging passers-by to model our hats. It was a long day and the weather wasn’t on our side, autumn arrived with gusto at lunchtime at the crowds rapidly thinned out but it was worth the trip just to see all the happy, laughing people trying on our hats. The snail hat definitely drew the most attention and giggles as people tried it on, however it was far too big for almost everyone, I really need to make some smaller versions of the snail! 🙂

This was our table – a very small space for 5 felt-makers to share but we made great use of every last inch!

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These two ladies were great sports, between them they must have tried on every hat on the table, and had a whale of a time doing so! 🙂

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A few of the team sporting our own creations, you can’t turn up to hat festival without a hat, that would be like walking down the high street naked!

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Clare, me and Liz
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Vivienne trying on the snail hat and Clare

Sunday was a felt-making day, and what else could I make after spending all day surrounded by so many gorgeous hats, but another hat! This one is a departure from my usual style and incorporates a wide brim. It is still damp, so the silk isn’t shiny yet but I really like the shape, somehow it makes me think of Guy Fawkes.

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Weyfest 2016

What a weekend! I have attended Weyfest with the West Surrey Guild of Spinners Weavers and Dyers for the last 3 years and it is always a very special event, a wonderfully eclectic mix of people, children and dogs with music provided by bands that I grew up listening to (Boomtown Rats, Big Country, Bad Manners…). It is located on the site of the Rural Life Museum in Tilford and normally I demonstrate / teach spinning with a drop spindle, while I am very happy teaching, watching complete novices learn to spin I have to confess I’m not much of a spinner 😉

This year we did something a little bit different, I was let loose on the unsuspecting public with my felting equipment and I was in my element 🙂 The first question was what could a beginner make in a short space of time? I considered flowers but decided that would require a fairly skilled layout…. What about a small picture / a coaster? Then I thought of pods, but would they be too difficult for a beginner?

She didn’t know it but Paula was my guinea pig, she had never made any felt before but did an amazing job, I was so impressed with what she made I took the plunge and made pods with everyone.IMG_1720

My next visitors were Phoebe and Jemima with 2 more fabulous pods…IMG_1721

There were a couple more visitors on Saturday, including a young lady of only 4 years, who made a felt coaster but I’m afraid I didn’t get photos.

After a good night’s sleep (I slept like a log) we did it all again on Sunday…

First up were 2 mother and daughter teams, Donna and Olivia, Ava and Helen. It’s hard to believe but Ava is only 6 and made a fabulous heart shaped pod. Didn’t she do well?

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In the afternoon we had Fiona, Vanessa and Sue pictured below and Sandetti and Niamh (who were under 18 and did not have a parent who I could ask permission to post their photos). Again, 5 more amazing pods and very happy customers!IMG_1724

What did I learn? Several people commented on how glad they were to make something functional, and I was surprised at how forgiving felt pods are too make, a couple of the youngsters had a very thick layout but the finished pods were fine, just very sturdy!

I hope we can do something similar next year, perhaps offering a phone / glasses case for some of the sessions as an alternative to the pods.

Finally, a couple of photos from my brief excursions to see the rest of the festival between teaching sessions:

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Up-cycling for the home office

My new job is going very well, the people are lovely and the company ethos seems to be very people-oriented, in fact the head office facilities are so nice, I’m tempted to make the 4 hour commute more often than I need to! I expect to be working from an office at home most days and making the hideous commute around the infamous M25 (dubbed Britain’s largest carpark) to head office every 2-3 weeks.

With that in mind, this weekend’s project was focused on prettying up the space where I will be spending many of my waking hours. I found this very tired, slightly damaged pin board on freecycle a few months ago and it has been patiently waiting in my to-do pile. The poor thing did look very sad, with chunks of board peeling away where it had been pinned in the same spot, over and over again. PVA glue and some felt to the rescue!

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I set about making a simple but colourful sunset scene for the felt and glued and stapled it over the repaired notice board. The white dots down the right had side are push-pins waiting to be used.

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It does a good job of brightening up an otherwise dull corner of my home office, it just seems a shame to cover it with scribbled hand-written notes to myself now…

Floral Beret

I start a new job tomorrow so expect this will be my last post for a few days, I’m excited to be working for a company so well known for making new and effective cancer treatments and catching up with friends who I previously worked with at other companies but I am nervous about being the “new girl” again and trying to find my way through a raft of new acronyms and company procedures… wish me luck!

I don’t often make berets but I am not sure why, they are relatively simple to create and make a great foil for all manner of decorative techniques. This one was inspired by the riot of flowering plants currently exploding into colour all over my garden and was made with a series of resists, 7 for the flowers and 1 for the beret.

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Adding Dimension

This quarter, the FFS challenge is to add dimension to our felt, on the face of it I should find this challenge easy, almost everything I make is 3D in nature but that rather seems to defeat the purpose, after all, surely a challenge should be just that! 🙂

Last weekend I had a mini epiphany; I really like the effect of shibori felt like the brooch below but using the “tie in a stone/button/marble technique” is not very practical when you are creating a 3D object over a resist as you need extra felt to stretch over the inclusions and it invariably makes the surrounding felt uneven too. I woke up on Sunday morning and my first thought was to create these cup shapes separately and then attach them to the main piece of felt. Is it really sad that I am now dreaming about felt?

This was the piece made with the separate resists. It was very slow work making these 7 little cups and I’m not sure I will use this method a lot but it was interesting to try and I’m happy with the result.

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This box is quite large, just shy of a foot square and 5 inches tall.

I wanted to make a small bowl inspired by this pine cone, it started out as a bowl but I clearly wasn’t concentrating while laying out the flaps and spikes so it became a pod instead… 🙂

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Finally, I started working on a new vest top that I have been thinking about since attending a dress-making course with Cristina Pacciani at the beginning of July, it still needs some shaping in the back and around the collar but you can already see all the texture from the silk and felt ropes laid under the silk. Originally I was going to make this in royal blue chiffon but then decided white habouti would better showcase the different textures.

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What are you planning for the 3rd quarter challenge?

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