Friday, 27 July 2012

Olympics Hoorah!

On Thursday, the day before the Olympics started, Catherine and I went to the Polish Embassy as their guests and were taken to the Olympic Village to view the Flag Raising ceremony and present some Quilts 4 London pennants to the Polish Ambasssador who was going to pass them on to the Polish Athletes. 

It was such a thrill for us to be there on behalf of the Great British public to extend the hand of friendship and hospitality of the 17,000 people who made a pennant as a personal gift for the visiting athletes.

While we were there we were very proud to meet some of the athletes including some from our very own Team GB! 

Our thanks go to the Polish Ambassador and the Embassy for making us so welcome. It was so exciting to know that the very next day the whole wonderful event would be under way. 

Good Luck team GB!!

Also thanks to Irene from Woolsack for taking the photo. Woolsack are another fabulous textile project for the Olympics whose members have made 4,000 cushions using British Wool and filled with British Wool fibre.  You can read more about their project here:

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Fibre East and arty comfort blankets!

Fibre East! WOW, what a great place for felters!
This newish exhibition, held in Thurleigh in Bedfordshire is only in it's second year and bills itself as 'A celebration of British wool and fibres' Truly it was!

I have never been to Woolfest in Cumbria or Wonderwool in Wales but this was close to home for me and was a great chance to see and find wool fibre produced by British farmers in the most exciting and colourful products. It was also so good to support small makers who were so committed and enthusiastic about their breeds and products. 

I talked to lots of felt artists, spinners, weavers  and dyers. It is amazing to see what you can do with wool.

The display of balls of fibre above was HUGE! the pile was almost as tall as me! The colour blends are beautiful. there were lots of baskets of fibres and pick and mix selections of gorgeous Wensleydale and other scrummy curly fibres which I find so difficult to source. It was good to choose by feeling and looking at the colours which you cant do if you are buying online.

One of the things I absolutely loved were the recycled wool blankets which had been space dyed. I dye these sometimes but it was so nice to pick and mix colours that someone else had chosen because we all make colours in our own  way and sometimes it is nice to step into someone else's colour scheme.

Having said that I picked a lovely teal/lime green that is one of my favourites. I have bought a new sketch book (addicted! can you tell?) and it is short but very wide. It obviously needs a cover of its own!

The dyed blanket is thick, soft and colourful. A lovely arty comfort blanket! I also bought....
to decorate it all with! Isn't it all delicious? There are curly wool fibres, handspun wool rovings, space dyed cotton threads and some rough handspun and dyed yarn that has a great matte tweedy feel to it.

And here is what I did with it all.....My newest sketch book cover!

 I am so pleased with the textures on this front cover. I am going to do something completely different on the back cover but with the same colours and supplies. Of course I am going back to Fibre East next year!

Fibre East and Quilts 4 London

Last Saturday I went with Catherine to Fibre East in Bedfordshire. We were representing Quilts 4 London and we went to present some beautiful Pennants, made by members of the Great British public to some of the Mauritian Olympics team.

It was a grey and soggy day outside but the smiles from the team as they chose their pennants would have brightened the dullest of days. What lovely people! I wish that the makers of the pennants could see how thrilled they were with their gifts.

I managed to get no useful photos of Catherine Hill because I don't know what I'm doing with my new phone, but she and Irene Heathcote are joint project leaders of this wonderful project which inspired the talent of artists of every kind to make over 17,000 pennants to be presented as a personal gift to members of the Olympic and Paralympic teams. There is also a dedicated team of committee members, co ordinators and willing? partners who really have worked tirelessly to make this project succeed.

You can read more about the adventure here:

Many of the makers, aged 2-90+, had not made any kind of textile art before and we were stunned and  thrilled by the array of amazing work which came to us. We really believe from the many stories we have heard, that most of these makers will be textile enthusiasts for life and have discovered skills they never would have tried if it were not for this project.

For us, we have had quite an adventure! We have met some wonderful people and made some really firm friendships along the way. It has been an amazing journey but we will all need a celebration and a good long rest when it is all over.!

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Another Page waiting for me to play.

I have decorated some more pages in my new journal and they are just waiting for me to have time to do something with them. I really enjoy making the pages though so I don't mind waiting. It will be nice to have a whole book of backgrounds to play with one day.

This one is stencilled through a Crafters Workshop Stencil and has had doodles added on top following the design of the stencil. This is one of the first stencils  that I bought from Crafters Workshop. It is a really useful pattern and I have used it so many times on so many surfaces.

This is a detail of the pattern. I often make a whole sheet of the backgrounds and then cut them up to make pieces for Handmade Cards, Artist Trading Cards, and pages for Altered Books.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Just chillin' with a Journal

I had time to make a new journal cover this week with a piece of felt that was left over from a demonstration. 

I love sketchbooks and journals and to have one with a lovely cover makes me feel inspired even before I start to do any art in there. Handmade Felt feels so nice as the cover for a 
book, like a kind of arty comfort blanket! Yes, I know I'm a little bit strange!

I embroidered this one with a seed head in space dyed silk thread in Straight Stitches, Whipped Running Stitch and French Knots. The sheen of the silk looks good against the matt texture of the felt.

I made the first page about new beginnings. It is so nice to start a new book but these new beginnings are also about the plan I have to tidy up my stuff and be more organised! Those of you who know me well will be laughing hysterically by now!

It is great to just chill with a sketchbook or journal. I'm pretty sure that doodling and collaging are good for the soul and it is impossible to be stressed when you are playing with new pens and paints and stuff.

On this page I have stencilled the background with Crafter's Workshop Stencils and then written on top with sketchy letters drawn with Sakura Moonlight pens. Those pens are so yummy! I think I'm in love with them!
As you can see they write on dark surfaces just as well as on light ones.

 I am going to start lots of the pages and leave them ready for when I have some time to chill with my new journal! I will put some of the decorated pages on my blog so pop by to see if you feel inspired to have a go too.