Archive for October, 2015

Felting Class with Clare Brewer at Nottingham Women’s Centre

I really enjoyed the 5 week course Cherise and I attended – well, we all did! We started out with maybe a very vague idea how felt was made and now at least 3 of us are going to continue at home and all of us would like the course to continue so we can learn even more 🙂

How did we get from here: DSC_0077   to here: DSC_0089

Clare was very careful to explain there are no mistakes, only learning and to check our strength and mobility – it turned out three of us have fibromyalgia and some other conditions affecting our strength. She was very positive and supportive about troubleshooting – taking breaks, standing up or sitting down, getting help with rolling out the felt and generally thinking round problems. So we all ended up with a towel, bubblewrap, a bamboo blind, some net curtain and a pile of floaty, wafty clouds of colours to wet with warm and bubbly washing up water [clean!] Another stage Cherise particularly liked was carding, where the fluffy bits of wool could be custom colour blended on giant dog brushes 😉 well, those pads with pins anyway…

A second layer of net curtain, a rolling pin and lots of elbow grease reduces the clouds to flat sheets, which can then be embroidered as pictures, made into journal covers, flower brooches and corsages… whatever you like:


I really wanted to make a pot/vessel and one whole class was spent on this – having learnt to make a sheet, we learned how to shape fibres round a template and blend edges and make a smooth pebble that then gets cut open. To decorate it, you need to remember only the base layer and top layer will show, but when you cut the pebble open, there’s a lovely reveal, and if you make the opening big enough, the inside decoration will show a little 🙂 Cherise and I got hooked on this and made different colour effects on our pots, Candy went for dense glowing colour but different textures and Nicole made beautiful landscapey/ abstract patterns on hers, so annoyed l didn’t get a better picture of her vessel:




This pot is now on my windowsill being embroidered and embellished with mother-of-pearl buttons, beads and a tinkly bell, because the curled edges make me think of jester’s hats 🙂



I loved June’s use of colour, her bright green flowers really made me smile 🙂

Playing with colour was really good for cheering up on rainy days and the finished pieces feel really pleasing, so if you get the chance, l would recommend having a go, just bring along someone to ‘roll’ for you if you are a spoonie. I think we were all really pleased with what we made and it’s a shame l don’t have more photos, Candy always left early because of work, and l had quite tired, shaky hands by the end of a session, so my photos were a bit disappointing… Cherise may be able to share some of hers and we will be continuing – we already bought more fibres and some pre-felts to help cut the rolling down for me. What are they? Soft flexible sheets of fibres waiting for top layers – this is how people can afford to sell embellished covers etc, l realise, they have ‘bought time’ by investing in the prepared sheets – aha!

So a big shout out to Nottingham Women’s Centre for holding the course and choosing such an empowering tutor, thanks!


National Poetry Day

Keith Turner made a lovely film of my artwork for Peace Week 2014, so today seems like a good day to give it another airing 😉

wear the green willow

Trying to write about this recent piece of work reminds me exactly why l like making with my hands, from materials less slippery than words!


It started as an idea to make a piece of land art and link it to the 7th anniversary of my husband’s death… but all my confident starts faltered and then extra pain from a slipped collarbone pushed me into a really low space. I’d arranged a lift to a lovely place, Attenborough Water, an area of lakes covering old quarries, and was really looking forward to it simply as a day out. I was at the point of cancelling everything but luckily got a late burst of energy and confidence, took apart many things half done and reassembled them, and finally hit my rhythm again… oh the relief!


So my photos are good for the details as usual, but I didn’t consider just how harmoniously my biggest chain/garland would blend in, so another time I will do things differently 😉


The mandala was drawn by Andy and left unfinished, and it was only on Thursday that I coloured it in – he would have made it more rainbowy, but that is part of what l have lost… l have many wonderful friends and make a life full of creativity and colour, but everyone is unique and that special connection is much missed. He was my first ‘safe person’ [for agoraphobia] and helped me go out in the world again, and l have never laughed so much as in those 7 years we had together… so, he gave me wings and the courage to try new things and the happiness to continue in this life after him, not without him…



so, not green willow weeping after all, but elder, fruitful and comforting, sweetness that stays long after the season…