Monday 13 December 2010

Even more Felting Fun with Art Nation in Wolverhampton

Here I am back in The Art Shop in the Mander Centre, Wolverhampton.

This Art Nation project is going well and at the end of the first week we have had a good range of people who want to find out more about the arts in the Midlands and also to actually make some art themselves.

Dave is a musician with the Midland Music Network. He usually plays the mandolin but that didn't stop him having a go at feltmaking and making his own unique felted Christmas bauble for his Christmas tree.

Dave came to visit the Art Shop in the Mander centre because he had heard about the previous Art Shop in Sandwell but hadn't been able to get along to it.

Here are some more of the felted angels that were made during the sessions. Using uncombed dip dyed Wensleydale wool tops is a great way to get curly hair for your angel.

I was delighted that Rhii came back to The Art Shop.

She had visited on the first day with her friend Kirsty and had had really enjoyed making her own felted jewellery.

On this visit she made Felted Baubles, a Mini Felted Santa Stocking and a really cool Snake (that she's giving to her brother).

Rhii was really comfortable working with wool fibres.

She remembered what she had learnt on her first felting session and before I knew it she was sharing her knowledge of felting with new visitors to the Art Shop i.e. teaching them!

Rhii with her selection of hand felted Christmas booty.

Andrea's cute little pink felted stocking.

More felted treasure: Christmas baubles, a felted snake and felted flower brooch.

These were made by one of the Art Shop helpers. She is from Kathmandu in Nepal.

I mentioned how the felted items that are on sale on several of the stalls on the German Christmas Market in Birmingham are imported from Nepal but my Art Shop Helper (I can't remember her name!) although coming from Kathmandu had never heard of Felting. I was really happy to teach her!

The Art Shop will be open Tuesday - Sat 10.30am - 5pm and runs until 18th December 2010.

Everyday there will be art activities to get involved in. These include storytelling, mask making, puppet making, printing, animation and even some sound recording.

For more details visit the website

Thursday 9 December 2010

Family Arts and Crafts fun at The Art Shop in Wolverhampton

It has been noticed that we, as a nation, see a trip to the shops as an activity. An activity that many of us seem to enjoy even when we aren't really looking to buy anything. Find Me Swap Me is a project that has been devised to make a trip to the shops even more rewarding.

Various shops in shopping centres are being transformed into temporary art galleries and art workshop spaces. Popping into one of the Art Shops you can have a cup of tea, hot chocolate etc, nibble on some biscuits, view an art exhibition and take part in an art activity.

The Art Shop that I am currently working in is in the Mander Centre in Wolverhampton.

We have only been open a few days but already we have attracted a good range of visitors; Young mums with babies, teenagers with an afternoon off college, couples out doing some midweek shopping and older people too.

We have had visitors who simply wanted a hot drink, others who were interested in viewing the exhibition (especially as it’s a photographic show of local Midlanders and the subject is the sea). Being in the very centre of England people here often yearn for the sea. We do definitely get excited about a trip to the it!

There is also currently an exhibition by the Wolverhampton Society of Artists in another empty shop across the way so we have had other local artists in to visit us too.

Yesterday I chatted to a lady who told me how she has continued to sculpt using air drying clay now that she doesn’t have any access to a kiln. She showed me photos of her work and it was lovely to hear the passion in her voice.

While at the Art Shop I have been showing people how to make various hand felted items. The ancient art of feltmaking using only sheep’s wool, soap and water.

This is Alexander's totally unique Christmas decoration complete with lots of jingly bells!

Gwen was interested especially when I showed her photos of the beautiful felted portraits made by the ladies in the St Chad’s Arts and Crafts group.

I also had a couple of visitors who made a bee line for the Art Shop when they saw our sign saying, “Free Felting Workshops”.

One lady said, “ I’ve wanted to make felt for ages” can anyone do it? The answer.... “Yes!” I was really pleased when she enthusiastically sat down and got started! While she was rubbing the wool fibres a lady called Jean arrived. She is a spinner who is also a felting enthusiast. She had actually attended some of felting workshops in the States.

Gwen's finished flower (she will add beads later). Jean and I both agreed that she should be very proud of herself. This is her very first piece of hand felting!

Gwen enjoys art and craft activities with her twin 14 year old granddaughters and now she has another activity that she can share with them.

I have been felting for 14 years now. I first learnt when my daughter was 2. It’s a wonderful craft especially for parents with young children.

Some projects can be made very quickly so even if you only have 10 minutes to spare you can make a hand felted Christmas bauble.

Kirsty and Rhii had such a lot of fun. Rhii’s earrings and bracelet are the perfect colour scheme matching her headphones perfectly!

We shared lots of stories while making our hand felted Christmas Decorations and Jewellery in The Art Shop.

Only when you make your own handmade jewellery can you make something that is absolutely perfect for you!

On the first day in the Art Shop we made a lovely range of felted Christmas tree and Santa Helper decorations; here are a few of them.

The Art Shop will be open Tuesday - Sat 10.30am - 5pm and runs until 18th December 2010.

Everyday there will be art activities to get involved in. These include storytelling, mask making, puppet making, printing, animation and even some sound recording.

For more details visit the website

If you would like to have a go at feltmaking then I will be back in the Art Shop on Friday 10th December.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Hand Felted Christmas Decorations and Santa Stockings

As Christmas gets closer I am being booked to run more and more Christmas themed felting workshops.

Last week I worked with sixth form Students at The Friary School in Lichfield. They wanted to learn to make felted items to sell at Christmas fairs to raise money for their Young Enterprise Project.

So last week we made:
-Magic Felted Ball Christmas tree baubles,
- Fairies and Santa’s Helper decorations
and also
-Hand Felted Christmas Stockings using the seamless felting resist method.

The day was so full on that I am afraid that I didn’t manage to take any photos of the students work but I do know that they had a successful sales session on the same evening...

Their felted items were barely dry before the Young Enterprise Students’ cash register was ringing!

This week I was at Rolleston on Dove WI group. Again we had a busy ... but definitely fun... two hour felting session.

Every stocking is completely unique. All the above are the fantastic handiwork of the Rolleston on Dove WI 'felting team'.

Thanks to Joan she recommended me to the WI committee. Joan had made a felted stocking with me back in 2008 when I ran a session for the Arthritis Care Together Group in Burton on Trent.

This time Joan brought a spare hand towel; so handy to dry your hands on between laying out and wetting each layer during the resist felting process.

Joan pictured above on the left.

Stripes; a simple but effective choice of decoration.

The beauty of hand made felt using the resist method is that you can make your item with a complimentary or contrasting colour on the inside.

The finishing touch; adding some tinkly bells.

We had lots of fun and Verity who was a self confessed ‘Craft Dunce’ made a really lovely cerise pink stocking which she has decided to give to her mum.

In Verity’s words, “I am giving it to my Mum for Xmas. She is the only one who will appreciate how hard I worked to do this! Especially as she knows how bad I am at practical things!!!”

And as all mums know we love our home made Christmas presents the best!

Presents made by our children are treasured for years to come.

Verity pours the tea. This felting lark is thirsty work!