Wednesday, 9 March 2016

Perfect Craft Parties for Creative Kids in South Yorkshire

Cute Owl - dry fibres BEFORE wetting and felting 
 AFTER the wet-felting process
Every year mums (and dads and carers too) want to do their best to make their children’s birthday celebration memorable and extra special. 

It is quite a challenge but if your son or daughter likes making things and being creative then a good start would be to Google, ‘Kids creative birthday party entertainers’, and to make things easier you could then add where you live- like, Sheffield or South Yorkshire. So maybe Google, ‘Children’s Craft Parties Sheffield’.

That’s how so many of my customers seem to find me and often they don’t come directly to my website or Facebook page to very often they find me through Netmums or FreeIndex

Whatever way that they find me, very often the next step is a phone call, e mail or text to chat about dates, when the party will be and most importantly, what the birthday girl or boy is into and would like for their Perfect Crafty Birthday Party

Rainbow- dry fibres BEFORE wetting and felting 
AFTER the wet-felting process
I love working with children- I love their energy and enthusiasm and I also like their honesty; for example if they don’t like something they will soon tell you. 

One of my mottoes is ‘You can’t kid a kid’, and I have to say that in the 9 years since setting up in 2007 I have never had a child say that they haven’t enjoyed one of my creative craft parties. 

Even one of my most skeptical customers; an 8 year old boy at a felted cushion party where he was the only boy and he had had to miss his football practice session for the party-  Even he was thoroughly won over. At the end of the party he was busy munching sandwiches while proudly sitting on the football cushion that he had just made!

A design making use of cut shapes from pre-felt- dry fibres BEFORE wetting and felting 

AFTER the wet-felting process
Often I find that people are a bit puzzled by the idea of wet-felting- I mean, 
How exactly does it work?

Well you 
1. Gently fluff out two or more layers of wool fibres.

2. Gently arrange a final layer into a picture. I describe this as ‘drawing’ with wool.
3. You cover this all in netting 
4.Then you wet the wool with (slightly) warm soapy water 
5. And gently rub to tangle to wool fibres together,

This is the magical wet-felting process. 

Samiah using knitting yarn to write her name - dry fibres BEFORE wetting and felting 

AFTER the wet-felting process
While I am leading a children’s craft party I tend to whizz around the table making sure that every child has all the attention, encouragement and also freedom to work with whatever colours they prefer and also to create a design that is completely unique and their own.

A graphic design in a dramatic colour scheme - dry fibres BEFORE wetting and felting 

AFTER the wet-felting process
Given completely free reign to make a felted picture what would you ‘draw’? 

The photos above show a selection of pictures made by 11 year old girls in one of my creative two hour sessions.
Yes they only had two hours to, not only devise these design ideas, but to also make their very own first piece of handmade felt!

For more craft party options (cushions, bags, mini-beasts and jewellery) and feedback from previous parties visit

and you can also watch a short video of one an AllSensesArt Felted Flower Jewellery Craft Parties. 

Prices start at £105 for 7 children with £15 per additional child.
South Yorkshire UK.

e mail
text or phone 0773 995 9951

Tuesday, 27 January 2015

One-to-One felting sessions. Make what you want with expert tuition

Moira's lovely sunny studio, complete with spring flowers! 
Felting is such a versatile medium and it has given me the opportunity to work with all sorts of people in all sorts of places. Sometimes I am working with large groups in a school, sometimes I am working in amongst the books in a busy library and others (like this really enjoyable Saturday) I was doing a one-to-one session with Moira in her own garden studio.

Moira is actually a Food Technology teacher but she had decided to give herself a creative treat (that didn’t involve food) and so booked me to spend the afternoon with her.

The garden studio was full of fabrics, yarns and beautiful papers as Moira is someone who loves to work with a wide range of materials, making her own soft furnishings to mixed media cards and her daughter, Laura Hallett is a professional illustrator. 

It was a lovely sunny day and Moira had the kettle on and lots of lovely biscuits too; not that we had a lot of time for tea breaks!

In our three hour session I introduced Moira to the basics of wet felting. 

One way that I like to do this is to actually make an item at the same time; usually in a one-to-one session people want to go away at the end with more than just samples so I have devised sessions where we actually make a selection of felted flower brooches.

These flowers are all made using slightly different methods. 

 a selection of felted flower brooches

To summarise, what we cover in a one-to-one session is:

  • Handling the felting wool fibres (usually Merino tops as they are the easiest to work with if you are a beginner).
  • ‘Laying out’ the fibres. 

Laying out two layers of wool fibres 

  • Wetting, soaping and rubbing.
  • Making felt to the pre-felt stage and learning to recognise what stage in the felting process you have reached. 
  • Adding textured and decorative yarns and fabrics and felting them in using the wet-felting technique.

Adding sparkly fabrics and interesting yarns to give surface detail 

  • Shaping the flowers - solid petal version and daisy petal version.
  • Making felted balls 
  • Making felted leaves and tendrils.

Moira's solid petal flower brooch
It was also relaxing for me working with Moira. I have to admit that I am someone who loves to fit as much in a day as possible but when working with Moira it was really lovely to be able to feel that I had shared a bit of my felting knowledge plus at the same time soaked up some of the lovely calming vibes from her studio.

This flower made using the wrapped technique. It requires sewing to keep the petals in place but does look very effective. 
Here I am modelling the red and black felted flower brooch that I made on the afternoon that I worked alongside Moira. 

A great felted flower completely made by Moira ... who had never felted before...with felted in sparkly fabrics

If you would like your own one to one felting session with Kirsty from AllSensesArt then don't hesitate to get in touch either by phoning 0773 995 9951
or e mailing

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Children's art and craft workshops using all sorts of materials and techniques

3 colour lino cut print. Design was inspired by a slapstick circus routine
I’m an artist who enjoys working with a wide range of materials. 
Back at Lichfield College when I had finished my Foundation Course in Art and Design the external examiner commented that because of my abilities in such a wide range of techniques and materials I actually had a choice of artistic directions that I could follow.

As it turns out since graduating from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2006 I have mainly been making mixed-media sculptures (using textiles, found objects and industrial scrap) but more recently I have also made collages and now two short films too. 

In my outreach work I have mainly specialised in wet felt-making. 

This has been for two reasons. Firstly I discovered the therapeutic properties of the wet felt-making process and have found that it is an amazing medium for relaxing participants and I have devised a range of techniques which have made it accessible to people with a wide range of abilities. I am very proud that I have been able to work with people of all ages and abilities and that I have helped to empower them and to raise their self esteem.

The second reason is simply the practical issue of storage space for workshop equipment and materials.

But it is good to remind myself of all the other creative activities that I have led over the years and which I am sure I will continue to do as and when opportunities arise.

Some of these have been workshops led on a voluntary basis and others have been me working as a professional freelance artist.

At Lichfield College I did several years of life drawing which I was quite accomplished at however my heart was always in non figurative work and especially in mixed media. 

Collage of images from magazines on a handprinted base. 
I had a very strong art education a school and we did a lot of drawing. I found that I especially enjoyed dramatic pencil work and also using indian ink for drawing.

Study of butterfly wing- watercolour and indian ink
I was delighted when I was able to include a drawing session in the felted firebird project for Wirksworth Festival  
The children’s bird drawings were so wonderful that I digitally scanned each of them and resized them and then made a digital file which could be printed and assembled into a beautiful little zig-zag book. 

Drawing with non-conventional materials is also great fun. In some of my sessions children  and young people have used pipe-cleaners to ‘draw’ 

Pipe-cleaner 'drawings' made by a young person in Ocean Ward Birmingham Children's Hospital
or in my sessions with Foundation 3D design students we have used wire, springs and straws amongst other things.
3D Drawing made by a Foundation Level student at MMU
Of course these mixed-media materials lead onto sculpture so making vegetable creatures is an obvious creative session. It is especially good as it is enjoyed by children of all ages from the very young upwards.

Vegetable Creatures made by children at John's Lee Wood Family Camp 

Since 2004 I have run several creative workshops for children and families at an annual  family camp John’s Lee Wood in Leicestershire.

We have done glass painting sessions several times. Painting on jam jars which we later used as tea-light holders and also using offcuts of glass supplied by a local glazier. 

A beautiful angel painted by a 10 year old at John's Lee Wood Family Camp
We have made our own paper by making paper pulp from shredded, old maps, paper bags etc.

I enjoy working with recycled materials so I developed a workshop where we made badges by embossing designs on recycled aluminium drinks cans. This was an idea that I developed which was inspired by metal artist, Val Hunt’s, work. 

Making Peg Dollies was a lovely session. Once made, the children used the dollies as puppets and we even had a session where we interviewed the children and asked them all about their dolly; his or her favourite food, hobbies and favourite TV programme etc.

Peg Dollies are always a favourite with all ages of children. I made this one!

On occasions at John’s Lee Wood Family camp I have also assisted in workshops which have been led by other artists - willow weaving workshops and mini hooked rug making sessions are two which I assisted with. 

Chris and Jack doing some willow weaving at John's Lee Wood Family Camp

small patches of hooked rug are really effective addition to this teenage boy's bag

In the last couple of years I have broadened my skills even more and have experimented with Fimo polymer clay. Using a pasta maker to make millefiori patterned beads which are then assembled to make a butterfly brooch is simple when you know how! 

And finally, Card-making is a relaxing activity and even more fun when you do it with a friend for company. 

And I have even had a hand-made card sent to me by a young lady to say thank you for the craft birthday party that I ran for her. 

Tuesday, 8 July 2014

Kirsty’s Craft Birthday Parties: Happy kids and parents from Birmingham to Sheffield and further!

A fab collection of hand-felted cushions made at Aimee's 11th birthday party. Brilliantly creative kids!
I know it sounds like blowing my own trumpet but I just can’t help having a warm glow inside myself when I have just finished one of my AllSensesArt felting parties; it is such a rewarding feeling to know that not only is the birthday girl or boy happy and satisfied but their friends and mum, and dad and even their grandma is excited and happy too. 

My felting parties seem to be even better than expected!

“Couldn’t think of any negatives as everything went even better than planned!”
Sarah Brindley, Cannock, West Midlands May 2014

When people book me to do a felting party for their child they will usually have Googled something like ‘Craft Parties’. They might also have Googled ‘Craft Parties Midlands’, ‘Craft Parties Staffordshire’, ‘Craft Parties Derbyshire’ and more but actually I have travelled all over the UK to deliver AllSensesArt felting parties. Fife in Scotland, way over in the East of the East Midlands and up to Sheffield in South Yorkshire too. 

Parents who like my parties like something a bit different.  They know their child and know what they and their friends like. They know that their child likes making things and loves to create and usually has friends who are into making and crafts too and a felting party is usually a completely new experience for everyone. 

When I describe an AllSensesArt kids felting birthday party I always say that they are lively and full-on. Not mayhem but simply buzzing with creative energy. And what we achieve in two hours of craft activity always amazes people. 

Me, Kirsty E Smith, having fun with Sienna's friends at her felted bag party 
“Just wanted to say a huge Thank you for  the fabulous workshop you carried out for Laura’s party yesterday.

All the girls had a wonderful time and I  had some lovely texts last night from their moms thanking me and saying how the girls were still buzzing and hadn’t  stop talking about it all evening!!!!

They are all so proud  of their cushions and the parents were amazed to see what they had produced when they collected them.” 
Jaki Hingley, Stourbridge, West Midlands 

Happy and proud children at various AllSensesArt craft birthday parties
It is such a nice surprise to start with just fluffy sheep’s wool fibres and use just soap and water to make, not only make a piece of hand-made felt, but to actually make an item such as 
-a cushion
-a bag
-a piece of jewellery
-a picture
-a mini-beast creature.
there are so many many gorgeous colours to choose from 
The children have an exciting time working with materials that they usually haven’t handled before. 
And everyone always loves the soapy water rubbing part of the process of making hand made-felt. Felting is a very sensory process. 

The various stages during an AllSensesArt kids craft party are:

-First choosing colours

-Then learning how to break the wool fibres into short tufts and lay-out a bed of fluffy fibres.

-Designing a picture or pattern is a favourite part of the process for children who enjoy designing,and planning.
In an AllSensesArt party you learn how to ‘draw’ with wool.

-Next wetting the wool, adding some lovely mild soap and rubbing to felt the fibres together. This is such a relaxing process and totally different from other craft processes. 

At yesterday’s cushion making party Aimee and her friends burst into song while they were felting; this is not the first time that I have had a merry band of felters who enjoy it so much that they start to sing!

-And then before their very eyes the fluffy wool fibres have transformed into a piece of hand made felt.

When making a felted bag we wrap up a rock to begin with. 
Well that’s an unusual craft party idea! 
And we make a felted bag with no sewing at all.... okay we do sew on the button at the end.

a rock wrapped up in sheep's wool fibres. All ready to be transformed into a cute and colourful bag 
Detail of Sienna's felted bag. It was her 8th birthday party. 
"It was lovely to meet you and be introduced to a new skill. The flow of the party worked really well, the only downside it went far to quickly! You engage well with the children and adults making us all at ease and encouraging us to just enjoy it which we all did. There were some proud girls (and one Grandma) at the end of the party. They make a wonderful substitute for the standard party bag and could be used to put a few goodies in!  Oooh and my hands felt so smooth with the use of Olive oil soap!
Sarah Brindley, Cannock, West Midlands May 2014

Sienna's craft party for her 8th birthday
At a felted cushion making birthday party the children first make their piece of hand-made felt, then they cut a matching shaped piece from some shop-bought felt. Next they sew the front and back together using running stitch and then they stuff their cushion and sew up the gap.

Build-a-Bear is nothing compared to an AllSensesArt Felted Cushion Making party!

Stuffing the cushion with some super soft filling
Sewing up the last gap to complete the cushion
For more craft party options and more feedback from previous parties visit

and you can also watch a short video of one an AllSensesArt Felted Flower Jewellery Craft Parties. 

Prices start at £105 for 7 children with £15 per additional child.

I travel all over the country to lead kids creative craft parties - most are in The Midlands, Derbyshire and South Yorkshire but don’t hesitate to contact me even if you live further afield as travel costs can be discussed. 

e mail Kirsty Smith
phone 0773 995 9951

If you want an extra-special, very unusual and memorable Craft Party for your child then an AllSensesArt felting party is the perfect choice!