Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Fabulous Felting for Stitch

Here's the thing about felt- it really doesn't matter whether you are prefer free machine embroidery or traditional embroidery, handmade felt is beautiful to sew into and embellish.  

Why?  Well, if you are hand stitching it's really easy to slide a needle through. So it actually feels good to be sewing. And if you're using the machine, it compresses the felt and creates lovely contrast with the unstitched areas.


Either way, the results are sumptuous.  So with wet felting being a very sensory activity, the whole process is ...........well, it's just glorious!!

Our aim in this class is create a series of samples so you can explore different wet felting possibilities,  Each week we will concentrate on a different aspect of wet felting. We will be using class time to make the felt and to talk about stitch possibilities.  The actual stitching can be done in your own time either between classes or after the 5 week program is complete.  Think of all those long winter evenings coming up...

Some of the things we'll be looking at are surface decoration, cords and baubles, holes and lace, nuno and using resists to create pockets, craters and texture.

This class is about exploration, about making discoveries and about exchanging ideas. 

See course info here
And for booking:  Cottenham Village College Adult Learning 

Saturday, 1 September 2018

Screen Printing and Felting Classes- Adut Learning

It's that time of year again ....planning for some great textile classes next term.  Here's list of upcoming adult classes and workshops:

Feltmaking: Fabulous Felting for Stitch
Cottenham Village College
Start date: 19 September 2018
Wednesday 10.00 - 13.00. Runs for 5 weeks
£82 (concession £62) plus materials
Contact details
Tel 01954 288751

Brief description:
Emphasis is on the experimental with this course, which concentrates on the principles of wet felting for textile artists and creative stitchers. Newcomers as well as the more experienced are welcome. Materials extra.

And I am finally teaching an evening class for textile printing:
Small Scale Screen Printing on Textiles
Witchford Village College
Starting Wednesday 3 October for 8 weeks
7.00pm – 9.00pm
£80 / £64 concession

01223 200411 (Monday – Friday, 9.00am to 2.30pm)

Brief Description:
Using tiny screens (up to A5 print size), we will explore a huge range of printing techniques.  Working small can free you up to be very experimental and enables you to try out lots of new ideas quickly.
This is a good course for any beginner who would like to print their own unique textiles, whether it is for clothing, bags, home furnishings, creative embroidery or textile art.
Screen printing is fast, colourful and exciting – so come along with a pile of plain fabrics and create a great stack of printed fabrics by the end of the course.

And while we're on the subject of evening classes -here's some info about long running class that Cary teaches at Ely college:

Life Drawing
Tutor:  Cary Outis
Saturday 17 November
10.00am – 4.00pm
£50 / £43 concession

Contact:  community@elycollege.co.uk
(01353) 664853

Brief Description:
During this workshop, you will explore the techniques and possibilities of drawing or painting from life.  Whether you’re a newcomer or well versed, there’ll be something for you.  Life drawing is one of the richest seams in all Art.
The tutor will cover whatever technical questions you may have, while not losing sight of the creative.  By the end of the day, you should feel a little more sure of the underlying structure of a person and the reasons behind all those artists’ clich├ęs.  The longer poses of a full day will enable you to explore the process more deeply.

Saturday Day Schools

Felt a Beret
Saturday 17 November 2018
Witchford Village College
For more info click: Witchford Sat Workshops

Nuno Felted Scarf
Saturday 24 November 2018
Impington Village College

Impington Saturday Workshops

Screen Printing on Textiles
Saturday 16 March 2019
Witchford Village College
Save the date - booking not open yet

Screen Printing on Textiles  
Saturday 23 March 2019
Cottenham Village College
Save the date - booking not open yet


Thursday, 21 June 2018

CirculART trail

If you’re in Mill road area, please come and see our work in the CirculArt trial (see below)

I say 'our' because this year, I've been involved in CirculArt trail in 2 different projects.

Firstly the Move on Up  'Art in Community' class that I teach in Cambridge have taken part and their wonderful work can be seen at the Children's Society Shop in Mill Rd.  

  All fabrics used were donated to the shop.  If you'd like to own a piece of this, all  the flowers are attached to pins and will be on sale after the exhibition with proceeds going to the Children’s Society.

And secondly, I have participated in this  project myself - and mine is in the Romsey Mill shop just down the road.

My own work is a dress that I made from old sheets that I dyed and printed (of course).  I was inspired by the sheer amount of bric an brac in the shop -especially tea sets and I wanted make something very bright and quite simple so it would stand out against the very busy Mill Rd.

And as you can see, the shop has saved some very secial tea sets to display with the dress. So they will be on sale at the end of the exhibition.

There's lots of other wonderful artists particpating in this event which is organised by Cambridge Carbon Footprint, a charity who’s aim is to promote sustainability  in Cambridge. And this year, all the charity shops (except one) in Cambridge are taking part.


The trail is live from 7th June until 28th June 2018, you can pick up a CirculART Trail map from participating shops and other select locations around Cambridge.

For an online trail guide:

The CirculART Trail is a celebration of  art and creativity, repurposing and recycling, and highlights the significant role that our charity shops play in reducing waste.

All artists who participate artists use repurposed materials in their art and display their work in the windows of Cambridge’s charity shops. 

Thursday, 17 May 2018

Half Term Huntingdon

Don't forget!   Kite Making Workshop at Hinchingbrook Country Park

Create a Kite- Family workshop

Join artist Ricki Outis to create your very own mini beast themed kite!
This fun family session will include a test flight in the park. Most suitable for ages 5 to 12 with no more than 2 children per adult due to the hands-on nature of the workshop! £6 per child.

  At Hinchingbrook Country Park. Thursday 31st May
10:00am – 12noon & 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Please book in advance
at https://www.ticketsource.co.uk/hcp

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Adult Print Workshop - Deconstructed Screen Printing

Many, many years ago, when I first started to screen print,  I learned this simple mono printing technique:  

First you draw on the screen with oil pastels and then you print through this with a solvent based binder.  

The  pastels would initially resist the ink and then gradually they would dissolve in the binder and print through onto the paper.  Although you got several prints, every print was different.  

I'm pleased to say that nowadays I print on fabrics with water based fabric inks. This makes screen printing so much less vaporous!

I also sometimes like to use thickened dyes. This opens the door to a whole other way of printing- which connects back to the oil pastel thing.  

Enter - the wonderful world of 'deconstructed screen printing'!  

This technique was developed by  Kerr Grabowski   Not only does she make really beautiful fabrics, but she is very generous in teaching her technique. I first learned how to do this through her DVD which I see is sadly out of print. But, the good news is that she is currently developing a download version.  Let's hope that will be available soon.

If you like serendipitous outcomes and textural prints this is a really exciting way to screen print onto cloth.

So, here are some pictures of students  work from the deconstructed screen print workshop we did  last week.  I think they speak for themselves:

 All work is by members of Stitch Wild Creative Embroidery Group and I can't wait to see how they develop these into stitch.

There were so many fab prints that I've amalgamated them into these groups so I can show more of them.

Sunday, 18 March 2018

Workshop Dates

I see that Screen Print Summer School bookings are full. That doesn't mean that it's not worth putting your name down on the waiting list, a place often comes up.  Also, there are other wonderful classes at summer school that are still open.  The link is:  Cottenham Summer School

If you'd like to do some short courses on screen printing on textiles, here are some other dates you can set aside:

Screen Print Studio  
Cottenham Village College
Saturday 12 May 2018 10am - 4.00pm .
A whole day of screen printing on fabric for beginners or continuers.
Although the  detailed info for this course is not up on the site yet, you can still book through community@cvcweb.net

Here is some gorgeous work done by students a the last  Cottenham Saturday Studio Workshop.

Small Scale Screen Printing
Cottenham Village College
Wed 13 June and Wed 20 June 2018  10.00am - 1.00pm   
These 2 Wednesday classes are linked with each other. Even though these are mornings only, you can achieve a lot because it gives you time to design and prepare between the 2 sessions.
Book through: community@cvcweb.net

While we're on the subject of workshops - here are a couple of other workshops coming up this year:

Felting for stitch  - Adult workshop
At Hinchingbrook Country Park
Monday 18th June
10:00am – 16:00pm

And for kids:
Create a Kite- Family workshop
At Hinchingbrook Country Park.
Thursday 31st May
10:00am – 12noon & 1:00pm – 3:00pm

Family Screen Printing
At Hinchingbrook Country Park
October 23  2018 either 10am - 12  or 1.00pm - 3.00pm .  These are T-shirt printing sessions for children accompagnied by an adult.

 So, although I'm not doing many open workshops this year, I  do a lot of workshops with schools, various organisations and guilds. If you would like to enquire about these, then do contact me through the 'Post a comment' box below. This box appears when you click "no comments". Please include your contact details. Any comments come directly to my email before I approve them to show on the site. - it's an anti spam setting.  I won't publish them if they are an enquiry, so you don't have to worry that the whole world will see these.

Wednesday, 7 March 2018

Cottenham Summer School 2018


Great news: Cottenham Summer School brochures are out.  This year there are some fab new courses as well as some old favourites.  There's journal making, calligraphy, quilting, sewing of all persuasions and some great cooking courses.


As you know, Screen Printing on Fabric (Spectacular Screen Printing) usually books up really quickly.  There are still  places, but don't leave it too long.....  contact

 There are 3 unique things about Screen Printing at Summer School which which make it really special:

a) We have LOTS of space - We have the use of 2 laboratory classrooms.  So, there are only 6 people in each room and each student gets their own 'studio' space.

b) A whole week!  Yes, a whole week - you can get a lot done in a whole week.

c) It's a really supportive, friendly community of learners.  We have lots of laughter and fun.

You can leave your work out overnight and dive straight back into it the next day - no packing up or having to finish at home.

And this means that you can really focus on developing your work from design through to print.   

So - what can you expect?   Our main focus is on handmade screen stencils in this course - using papers, screen fillers (some unusual fillers)  and found objects.  From there you can take your work in different directions:
-you can develop pictorial or graphic patterns and prints from drawings or reference material 
-you can explore more experimental texture and layering techniques using the screen for mono or multiple printing.

As a tutor, my goal is to help you develop your own style so that each person will come out with something different and personal, whether you are a beginner or have some experience with printing.

You can make fabrics to sew, to hang on the wall, tablecloths, bed linen.  You can print T-shirts, cushion covers, aprons....the world is your oyster.  for more details see the course brochure: Spectacular Screen Printing

And after all that, if you are still uncertain, scroll back through this blog to see some of the truly amazing work done by Summer School students in the past.

Friday, 23 February 2018

Small Scale Screen Printing on fabric

Screen printing on fabric - Just to let you know that I will be teaching a  Saturday workshop for adults at Impington Village College on 3 March 2018

We will be using small screens but you can print large pieces of fabric by repeating motifs and patterns.  

Have a look at  Impington Adult Learning  for prices and materials to bring.

Contact: Tel 01223 200411 to book

And a  little postscript to show some samples of student work made during this workshop:

Well done everyone- it was a really fun day!

Friday, 9 February 2018

More about Printing Banners

VAD nurses in Ely.   A while ago I read  Vera Brittain's 
book about being a Voluntary Nurse in WW1.  It was such a  moving acount, I really wanted to do something which acknowledged the nurses who worked in the auxillary hospital in Ely.

Once again the excellent website  Ely and WW1  provided a wealth of information.  There are some photographs of nurses on the website but unfortunately they were too indistinct for me to be able to work from so I have created a sort of composite image of a nurse for this banner.

The names, however are real.  These women worked at the Ely hospital and by the time it closed in 1919 they had treated 1,117 patients.


I printed a few of these banners just in case one of the layers went wrong.

As I was printing I started saving scraps of stencils and printing them down on a piece of sheeting in a more expressive way.  This is the resulting cloth.  I have called it 'Remnant' because it is made from remnants of design from the very graphic banners and because the list of names we have of the nurses are traces or remnants of the information we have of these women's lives.  


Wednesday, 7 February 2018

Printing Banners WW1

I've been screen printing for almost 30 years and I thought I'd conquered every problem that could ever occur.  But, just as I was getting smug, a whole new problem raised it's head.

Suddenly my printing inks started bleeding beyond their boundaries. And to make things worse, I was getting patchy coverage.

I thought, perhaps, I was  mixing too much pigment into the binder.  So I mixed a very timid charcoal rather than a strong black.  It made no difference. 

I changed my stencil paper, I changed my padding, I checked my fabrics were cotton, I prewashed. Nothing seemed to solve the problem.   I wondered if the manufacturers had changed the binder formula..........I wondered if this was the END of screen printing for me! And that would be a very sad state of affairs, indeed.

I kept printing though and all of a sudden I had a thought: 

There was one thing that had changed - I was pre-ironing my fabrics with my new super duper steam iron!  My fabric was wet. I couldn't really tell  it was wet but as soon as I went back to my old iron press and dry ironed the fabrics, the prints came out beautifully crisp and graphic - which is exactly how I wanted them for this project.  Now that I know that, it seems so obvious - why did it take me so long to figure it out???

Here is Herbet James Holiday.  He was an assisitant shepherd working with his father in Stuntney before he joined up. He was killed in action at the age of 19. 



His employer petitioned to have him exempted from service but this was not granted. 

On 30 Dec 1917 the SS Aragon was in the harbour of Alexandria when she was torpedoed by a German submarine. Herbet Holiday was on board the fleet auxillary craft HMS Osmanieh which was searching for survivors. This was hit by a mine and went down with 149 soldiers and nurses.

Here is an fascinating website is where I found Herbet's story and that of many other Ely people who were killed in action: From Fenland farms to Flanders Fields,  Ely and World War 1.

Saturday, 3 February 2018

To End all Wars - Ely Cathedral

Our installation is up!!!
Please come and see it. 

This is a group show by members of   Ouse Life Drawing Group  to commemorate 100 years since the end of World War 1. The artists have painted, drawn, printed (in my case) and stitched into fabric to create 100 banners.

'The war to end all wars' - if only that were true.

Anyway, it's in the South West trancept of Ely cathedral which is the bit on you right when you enter and it's before the desk where you pay, so there's no excuse not to go!


Thursday, 1 February 2018

Mad Hatters - part 2

A quick post to show some of the gorgeous hats made by students on Saturday.....


A couple of them need a little pleating and shaping to finish them off, but I think you'll agree that they are fabulous!

Thursday, 25 January 2018

Mad Hats - Wet Felting Workshop

New year.... well almost the end of January and we have a 'Mad Hats' felting workshop on Saturday. 

I always think of felting as being creativity combined with excercise  - my two most favourite things (after chocolate).  That makes felting an ideal New Year's 'resolutiony' kind of a thing to do.

The 'Mad Hatter'  - In the old days when felt hats were made from rabbit fur, mercury was used in the felting process. And over time, many Hatters did indeed develop a neurological condition from exposure to these mercury fumes. According to Wikipedia  "It is commonly characterized through behavioral changes such as irritability, low self-confidence, depression, apathy, shyness and timidity, and in some extreme cases with prolonged exposure to mercury vapors, delirium, personality changes and memory loss occur as a result"  Hmmmmm - I don't need the mercury , I already have most of these.

Well, I am pleased to say that we no longer use rabbit fur and we no longer use mercury.  In fact, I think that making felt is a highly therapeutic activity. All that soap, warm water, rubbing and rolling- it's all very sensory.

And hats are fun!  Hats can be silly, they can be elegant, they can be a statement of your individuality, they can be cute, or they can be a cosy head warmer for walking the dog.   And on the subject of cosy, if your hat is too mad to wear, just pop it on the teapot.

Thanks to Kate for being a very beautiful teapot!

Anyway,  Saturday 27 Jan at Cottenham Village College - here's the link:    Saturday Schools 
If you scroll down to 'Mad Hatters'  and click on the right hand box it will take you to a pdf with more details.

Or go directly to contact to book a place.

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Alternative Christmas Tree

Call me a grump, but I've never felt comfortable with traditional Christmas trees.  Too Scandinavian, too spikey, too kitsch  - I can't quite put my finger on what it is that I don't like.  So, I was really pleased when Katherine from 20twentyproductions asked me to run a couple of workshops to make a 'Tree of Positivity' with a  group of young people from Cromwell Community College.

I love the idea of a Tree of Positivity because it feels so non denomonational and inclusive.

So we did lots of expressive painting, some random printmaking and then cut and collaged our positive words on labels.  It was fun to do and I think the results are great!


Have a great winter holiday, whatever your beliefs!