Noody-what?

I am often asked what inspires the pieces I make, the truth is inspiration can strike anywhere, sometimes it is the materials themselves, the pattern on a piece of sari silk or the tassels on a charity-shop scarf for example. Nature is another great source, the textures of a patch of lichen or orange-crimson autumnal leaves against a bright blue sky. Memories from holidays or previous careers such as watching cells growing in a petri dish from my days as a “lab rat”.

As some of you may know, I used to SCUBA dive a lot and frequently draw inspiration for my felting from the underwater world, for my new collection I couldn’t resist the gloriously colourful world of nudiranchs (pronounced noo-dee-branks). I confess I have been slightly obsessed with these little sea slugs for more than 20 years but the usual response when I try to describe them to non-divers is, “noody-what?” Their name means naked gills in latin and refers to the fern-like gill structures you can often see sprouting from their backs.

I love them because they are so outrageously colourful  and don’t seem to care who sees them strutting their stuff in the magical aquatic world. I can’t think of a better muse to create a fabulously colourful set of wearable art, deep down, who wouldn’t want to be a nudibranch? 🙂 If you google “nudibranch photos” you will get a taste of their fantastically beautiful world and the colours will be much less washed out than those in my photos.

 

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The Pink Dorid nudibranch was my muse for this hat and gloves set.

Now I just need to find a human who is as exuberant and fun-loving as a nudibranch to wear them…. 😉

Hat Fest

Bridport Hat Festival has crept up on me, I have quite a few hats but, they are like shoes, you can never have too many! So this month I have been spending every spare moment making more stock and trying out some new ideas and developing some old favourites with a new twist…

The pink unicorn:

 

is a variant of the horned viking:

 

Finishing up some hats started in a workshop with Zsofia Marx:

 

Experimenting with wire and other inclusions between the layers of felt:

 

 

Adding flaps to give a new dimension:

Do you think I should leave this one white / cream or dye it? It feels quite anaemic sat next to all the others but maybe it is good to offer some neutral options for sale?

“Haturday” starts at 10 am Saturday 1st September 2018 in Bridport, Hampshire, UK. Check out this link for more information. If you are in the area please pay us a visit, its a free event with lots of live music and entertainment and of course I can be found with the International Feltmakers Association in the Arts Centre behind the main stage. Why not pay us a visit, try on a few hats for fun and have a giggle? 🙂

Hats with Zsofia Marx

Last weekend was spent with the beautiful ladies of IFA region 2 in the New Forest and the delightful and generous Zsofia, Zsofia makes the most gorgeous and stylish hats, do check out her facebook page if you aren’t familiar with her work.

 

She shared some interesting techniques, some of which I confess I found alarming but everyone came away with a stunning hat, so clearly I need to be more open to the alternative ways of making felt. 🙂

If you get the opportunity, I highly recommend taking a workshop with her, she has a natural talent for shaping hats to suit different face shapes that is a true joy to watch.

I take my hat off to you Guildford!

Wow, what a week! Last week saw the second module of my FDAD course at West Deam, it was an incredibly intense 6 days, I was a zombie by Wednesday but made it to the end and I am so glad I did, it was well worth it. I will post about that when I feel a bit more recovered!

I got back from West Dean on Friday afternoon and had to pack the car for an Etsy Local fair in Guildford, at the time I was so exhausted I questioned if I would make it through to the end of the fair but the wonderful people of Guildford carried me through with their fantastic sense of fun and laughter 🙂

A slightly smaller space than the last fair but it still attracted plenty of attention.

The people of Guildford really surprised me, I expected to sell a couple of my more conventional styled hats but it was the really quirky ones that everyone wanted to try on and buy!

The horned hat was very popular…

But the prize for the best reaction had to go to this gent’s youngest son, his delighted laughter when his daddy turned around to face him in the hat was the most endearing and honest response I could have wished for, his wonderful reaction had us all laughing along with him 🙂 And that is how the horned hat found its forever home! I hope to see it out and about around Guildford 🙂

Almost as soon as I put the alien hat on display to fill the spot vacated by the horned hat this lovely lady came along and snapped it up!

Well done Guildford, I was pleasantly surprised by your willingness to embrace the unconventional, I will bring more of my wacky hats next year! 🙂

Everybody was in such good spirits, there were a lot of conversations along the lines:

Friend 1: “Ooooh that’s lovely, I really like that”

Friend 2: “Oh no, that wouldn’t suit you at all!” while nudging me or giving hand signals to say, “could you put it aside, I will be back to buy it just as soon as Friend 1 can’t see me getting it for him/her”.

This was a very successful event and one I would gladly take part in again, the only snag is I have sold about 25% of my stock, I need to get making again! 🙂

Lastly (thank you for reading this far), the new dates for the FFS online classes have been posted on the FFS website, and I will be hosting a new class on making seamless felt bags, from small pouches to rucksacks, please check them out and drop me a line if you have any questions.

 

Hats, Shoes and Hangings

It’s been a busy few weeks and with the holidays just a few weeks away it is only going to get busier! I have so much to share I’m not sure where to start…

There was the great shoe making workshop with Natalya Brahovetskya and the IFA region 12 ladies, led by Mandy Nash, they are such a cheerful and generous group I heartily recommend felting with them if you get the chance. I am also pretty chuffed with the ankle boots I made too, not sure about the blue laces but I have some purple ones on order.

I have already started the next pair of ankle boots and I’m planning a pair of knee high boots but I will save that for a later post…

I have been making some hats in preparation for the Christmas fairs, these were made from sheets of felt I made for other projects and never got round to using, the first is a flat cap

 

This one is reversible and uses some faux fur I found at Thread thanks to Kim of Flextiles for the free tickets 🙂 :

 

I finished a nuno felt collage that was started at a life drawing session at least a month ago, this piece measure approx 2 ft x 1.5 ft:

And of course I am still attending life drawing sessions although playing more with textiles than charcoal, this piece was charcoal and pastel:

I hope you are having fun with whatever textile endeavours you are following?

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