Tag Archives: craft

My Journey continues

Well, that was a busy month of workshops. There is now a huge stash of gorgeously coloured fabric in my work room, awaiting transformation into the triptych for the church.

The Lab Youth Group got to try fabric painting. The aim was the same as for the spiral dyeing workshops – using colour to represent ideas and emotions linked to each participant’s ‘Journey’ to and with the group. By working with thickened dye they could also use shapes and mark making to further explore their ideas.

All in one short session so there was time to make (and eat) pancakes too!

 

Young people from Heaton Manor also got to try their skills at fabric painting. Beautiful mark making and very thoughtful comments about how colour could show our moods and emotions. Such a wide variety of images emerging during the afternoon session.

Since the workshops finished I’ve been busy thinking about the writing from all the groups and the colours created in the fabric workshops. Now I’ve got ideas in my sketchbook so its time for me to get creating….

Needle Felting again!

Another introduction to needle felting  – with a bigger group this time! The trick with needle felting is to get the stabbing action correct. Keep the needle straight or else it’s all to easy to snap the shaft. And remember – the foam block is for protection, the needle should only just go into the foam not drive right through it. 

Once again, a beautiful range of brooches emerged after a couple of hours tuition. Some people chose to use the cookie cutters, a great way to quickly build up a shape and protect the fingers! Others took the plunge and went freestyle. That gives greater freedom to design  a unique piece. Details were added with finer gauge needles – check out the dotty welly! 

Ideas and conversation flowed – along with tea and biscuits! Well done everyone. 😄

   
    

Once  again people enjoyed the  workshop and I hope that they will continue to explore the wonderful world of needle felting.

    
  

Needle Felting Workshops

You can vote for me in this years Craft & Design Selected Maker Awards!

Craft & Design Selected Maker 2016

Needle felting is a lovely craft to learn on a cold January evening!

Yesterday brought the first frost of the year to Newcastle but I was warm and cosy working with a lovely bunch of people, introducing them to the fabulous art of needle felting.

We were working with Merino wool fibres in a whole rainbow of colours to make needle felted brooches. It’s a quick project – easy to achieve a good result in a couple of hours. People learn the basic principles of needle felting and go home with a unique brooch!

It’s amazing to think that this craft is relatively new – the needles that we use, either individually or in sets of 3 or 5 in hand tools, were originally used in their hundreds on industrial machines to make sheets of felt. The felt might be for munition cases, piano keys or fuzzy felt!

Its important to learn how to handle the fibres we use as well as the felting needle. Merino is lovely to work with and comes in a whole array of colours. The long strong fibres felt quickly and easily, forming a firm base that can be further embellished with beads, stitches and chiffons.

Felting needles come in different gauges for different tasks, although on this introductory course I tend to stick with size 36s which are sturdy enough to quickly mesh the fibres together and also useful for adding some detail and definition.

For a short beginners’ workshop like this, I like to use cookie cutters, it’s a quick way to get a good shape, speeds up design decisions and saves fingers from (most) of the risk of stab wounds! So I have a good collection of metal cutters hearts, flowers, stars and animals in various sizes. Participants choose the cutter and their colours, so everyone ends up with a unique brooch.

The other essential piece of equipment is a foam block, to protect furniture and limbs from those sharp needles! I use upholstery foam of about 5cm depth cut to size at 15cm square. This makes a good size base for a cookie cutter and a foam block will last through several sessions before it gets too damaged. (I must find a good way of recycling the damaged ones…cut them up for stuffing/ moisture retainers in plant pots??)

So with all the essentials, bags of enthusiasm, hot drinks and delicious biscuits (Thanks Ben!) we had a great time and I think all participants are planning to experiment further with this craft…

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George Weil is a good source of fibres and other felting equipment. I also use Heidi Feathers for needles. Pinterest is a great place to look for ideas and inspiration too!

If you’d like to have a go get in touch! I bring along all the equipment and materials.

Thanks to all who took part and to SW for organising!

Here’s some comments from the evening:

“I very much enjoyed the evening – learning something new in excellent company was lovely! I’m looking forward to doing some more.
Donna is a great teacher.” JD

“Had a super evening and learnt something new. Not often you can learn a new skill and produce something in 2 hours! ” AL

Textile Workshops Coming Soon!

When I’m doing art markets and exhibitions, people are always asking me if I run workshops – well I am and here they are!

Eventbrite - Bespoke Brooches - an introduction to needle felting

We’ll be getting to grips with freestyle machine embroidery- learn how to unleash the potential of your machine;)

   

As we’re Cafe based for these workshops I thought this theme might go down well!

See you in April! 

Bunting for Charity

Its been a week of Tie Dye fun round here! Sometimes I get to escape from my studio and go to work with a great bunch of special people. There’s a fund raising coffee morning coming up in the Summer, so we are busy making crafty things that we can sell.

I make bunting myself, but wanted to find a quick and easy way to make brightly coloured bunting – so here it is!

Fat Quarter dyed with Spiral tie dye

Fat Quarter dyed with Spiral tie dye

First of all we each tie dyed a fat quarter of cotton fabric using the Spiral method – for instructions look here on the  Instructables website!

Once washed and dried the fabric was folded and cut into triangles – one piece made 24 triangles. Each triangle – or pennant – was pinned onto cotton tape. We left about a 1cm gap between each. Then we machine stitched along the whole length, being careful to catch the fabric in the tape. We used two rows of straight stitch but a zig-zag stitch might be quicker and easier!

The finished bunting

The finished bunting

Now we’ve just got another 12 to finish and then its onto papier mache brooches! This is going to be one colourful craft sale!

Hope you like it!