Tuesday 26 June 2012

Gill Curwen at Rag Rug Club.

A couple of years ago I decided I would like to try rag-rug making, so I managed to track down a local group that met up once a fortnight.  This group is part of the U3A, (University of the 3rd Age), and is run by a lovely rug maker called Judith Harrison.

I have made 3 or 4 rugs to date now, you can find them on my Opus Moon Facebook page.  I always use the proddy method, having never ventured into any of the other techniques.

About a year ago I was teaching at Higham Hall, and I got talking to another tutor who was also there that weekend.  It was Gill Curwen from Bapple & JoJo.  Gill makes rugs for a living and had a degree in rug making.  We kept in touch via Facebook and I asked her if she would come to our class to give a little talk and show off her work.

She very kindly agreed, and today was that day.

Walking into the room I was met by the most colourful array of gorgeous rugs.  I took a few photos, but I only had my phone with me so they are not the best quality pics.

I am jam packed full of new ideas and inspiration now, can't wait to start and put some of those ideas into action.

You can find more of Gill's work on her Facebook Page.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Needle Felted Birds

I thought I would treat my Mum, Vera, to a class at Higham Hall.

Leafing through the booklet I spotted a Needle Felted Bird class, in conjunction with Woolfest, just a day class which was perfect as Mum doesn't like to leave Dad on his own too long. (She worries)

So at 8.00am Thursday morning we set of for Higham.

The class was being run by Sue Allan from Sewsister.  

Neither of us have ever done felting of any form before, so we were total newbies.  We walked into the room to find a couple of examples, and got immediately excited.  Not sure what we were expecting, but it wasn't quite this!

We started with two pieces of hand-made felt which we cut into a "segment" shape, sewed it around, (leaving a gap) then stuffed.

We then took lumps of "wool tops" and needle punched them into the felt in whatever pattern we chose.  I picked a load of wool tops in a pinky purple colour-way, and punched them in in stripes, adding squares of silver organza ribbon for patches of sparkle, and a twisted strip of blue for a curly wing effect.

Mum decided she was making a cockerel, so chose reds, oranges and browns for her colour-scheme.

Once the bodies were complete, we then went on to make felt beaks, and wired legs before the final assembly.

I have named mine "Burd", the Cockerel is called "Dennis".

We had a fantastic day, the tutor was wonderful and we were both chuffed to bits with our fantasy birds.
One classmate made this magnificent creature.

And a pic of everyones birds together.  What a colourful display.

I wasn't overly happy with the eyes on Burd though, I had taken a selection of beads and sequins with me but none of them seemed to fit.  So when I got home I took off the googly eyes he had and added a button with a bead on top, he seems to like them  :)

Burd now has pride of place on top of the TV.

Monday 11 June 2012

My first marbles.

So, you all know I make beads right?  Glass beads that is, made in my workshop using a dual gas torch (propane and oxygen) and then popped into the kiln overnight.

So, yesterday, I fancied a glass session.

Kiln on, check / tanks on, check / glass chosen & washed, check / cup of tea, check.

I sit down to make some beads and........ no mandrels dipped!!!

Now, for those that do not know, the mandrel is a thin rod of steel (in my case, a cut down welding rod) dipped in bead release, which is a kind of clay slip.  This stops the glass sticking to the metal when you are wrapping the glass around to form the hole in the bead.

You can 'flame-dry' bead release, but 9 times out of 10, in my case, it cracks, so I much prefer it to be air-dried.

So, there I am, torch lit, glass in hand, no mandrels.  Bum.

The Hubster is beside me on his whopping great big man torch.  He doesn't make beads, he makes marbles, as beads are girly.  Basically though a marble is a bead with no hole, right?

"Make a marble", he says.

Make a marble?  Well, I suppose I could try, after all we are both booked in on a marble making class with Jan Ridgen-Clay at the end of the month, and I have NEVER even made the smallest marble.

This is Jan's website...


So, I took some instruction from the Hubster (trust me, this rarely happens) and made my first marble.

Then I sent him away and made another  :)

This morning, the marbles were waiting for me on the bench.

The colours are rubbish, and the shape is rubbish, but they are recognisable as marbles I guess.

More practise needed I think :)

Oh, and if you are interested, the Hubster has just set up his own Marble Gallery Facebook page, you can find it here...