Category Archives: Workshops

An Annie Sloan Chalk Paint Workshop

Last Saturday saw me, apron and hairdryer in hand, heading off into Norwich to Stubenhocker for a spot of paint and colour therapy. I have a steadily growing list of pieces of furniture that I want to paint, from flower pots, working through to chairs and culminating with my biggest challenge, the dresser.

I’m a big fan of Annie Sloan, and have one of her books, as well a couple of her gorgeously inspiring Colourist magazines but there’s nothing like playing around paint and brushes in the company of an expert to get the feel of the medium and inspire ideas.

The bonus was the venue, a fabulous shop full of wonderful home accessories and furniture. Much of the furniture show cased examples of the sort of paint effects we were trying to achieve so I, and my other two fellow students were very inspired.

The last time I painted furniture and played around with paint effects I was using emulsion paint and candle wax so I was really impressed with the way the paint is SO quick to dry, and covers practically anything with one coat. Perfect for an impatient person like me who wants to have a piece painted, waxed, in the room with a vase of flowers on it that same day (and very possible a pot of tea and slice of cake too!)

I now have a selection of paints, and lots of ideas.

I’m on a mission now. Planet Penny has been in the doldrums for too long, for reasons which I won’t bore you with. I want to get back to my blogging roots, creating every day and writing about it. It could be painting or gardening, baking or textiles, or hunting out inspiration in workshops, books, websites or magazines that I can share with you, my online friends.

I’m looking forward to it, I do hope you’ll join me…x

Rain, Rain, Go Away!

So currently this is my view from my desk…overlooking the new terrace and the place where the lawn would be if only it would stop raining!  Is it the same where you are?  Are you in hibernation mode too?

This isn’t the only reason I’ve been a bit quiet, I’m nursing a shiny new knee!  It’s also a bit hurty (as my smallest grandchildren would say) so I’ve done rather a lot of nursing it (and bending and stretching and wincing).  But today it’s perfectly comfortable to sit at my desk, ideally positioned to look out at the rain and the mud (and the cowslips which have escaped and taken over the old bit of lawn).

In my last post I was getting set up for two needlefelt workshops at the Forum, Norwich for Makers Month.  These went SO well, and it was lovely to have a workshop full of enthusiastic students and lots of interest from people passing by.  

And the exhibition for Makers Month was amazing too.  Who’d have thought you knit and crochet the Queen?  And that’s ALL of it, including the face and hands…incredible.There was also the most wonderful garden, all made with knitting and crochet…And also…NUDIE KNITS!  (Please don’t look at this if you are of a sensitive nature, there are naked knitted people featured!)

I have another workshop coming up on 26th May in my home village on the Norfolk Broads.  If you are outside the area this is an ideal opportunity to have a long weekend exploring Norfolk, the Broads and the beautiful city of Norwich around a morning’s workshop making your own beautiful needlefelt notebook.

More details to follow, but do get in touch if you are interested in knowing more, I’m happy to chat.

So, the rain is still falling, and don’t think Higgins is going for a walk anytime soon…!We’ll just have to wait it out until the sun comes back…See you soon…x

 

Needlefelt Workshops at the Forum’s Makers’ Month

Needlefelt workshopsThe needlefelt workshops are back!  This spring I will be at The Forum in Norwich running two workshops as part of Makers Month.  If you haven’t been before this is a wonderful opportunity to see and try out lots of different crafts for free, as well as book on to some fabulous workshops to learn a new skill in depth and there are fascinating talks and open exhibitions.

Arts and crafts people from across Norfolk, will be at the Forum to show you how to knit, sew, crochet, spin, weave, print, embroider, quilt, draw, paint, sculpt and even whittle.  Entrance is free, and everyone is welcome.  I’m really looking forward to it!

So if you would like to join me on a Needlefelt Workshop, do get in touch to book.  There’s a choice of two, making a 3D sculpture from unspun fleece, or a decorative panel of fleece worked into wool felt.  Each workshop will give you the skills to take needlefelting in a different creative direction.  Book both for a 10% discount on the price.

I’d love to see you there…x

A Weekend of Dyeing and Weaving with Aviva Leigh

natural dyesLast weekend I went off to reboot my creative vibe, which has been languishing under a layer of brick dust for far too long!  I trotted along to the Norwich studio of Aviva Leigh to spend an inspirational day dyeing with natural dyes to transform a variety of yarns,  followed by a day of mastering a knitter’s loom to create a piece of woven cloth.

We were fortunate that it was a small group, just the three of us in our rubber gloves and pinnies, oohing and aahing as Aviva introduced us to the magic of dyeing with plant leaves, woodchips, pomegranate skins and even crushed beetles! yarn for dyeing - Aviva Leighdye baths - Aviva LeighAviva Leighcrushed beetles - natural dye - cochinealIn my mind natural dyes were soft and subtle, but it’s astonishing how vibrant some of the colours are.dyed wool - Aviva Leigh workshopIt’s also interesting to realise that the building in which  Aviva has her studio is in the heart of the historic textile area of Norwich where the river used to run red with the waste from the dyeing factories.

By the end of the first day our heads were spinning with information!  So much to take in about the history, the geography and chemistry of natural dyes.  Aviva assured us that the following day would be relaxing and mindful, leaving the steamy atmosphere of the dyeing studio to weave our wool samples into cloth.indigo and pomegranate - natural dyesThere were just two of us the next day and it’s a very small world because we discovered that my fellow student follows Planet Penny – so, Hello Tracy!! We had a wonderful day experimenting with colours and textures and different effects.weaving workshop with Aviva Leigh  So much so that we both headed home having bought our looms, despite both of us saying the last thing we need is yet another craft.  It’s just so addictive.weaving workshop with Aviva LeighAutumn weavingI’m itching to get my loom ready for some more experiments but I will have to wait until I have fewer builders in the house.  Today there are four, it feels a bit like DIY SOS! But we really are on the home straight now, despite the fact that we’ve just discovered the new back door fits the aperture, but won’t actually open…ho hum…

I’ll be back soon…x

 

The Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive

Well I’m home, bright eyed and bushy tailed from a simply stunning weekend at the very first Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

I hopped on a train to York on Friday afternoon and after the taxi driver had negotiated the rush hour traffic I arrived in the peaceful Yorkshire countryside at Deighton Lodge, a converted farmhouse.  Here I was welcomed by Ruby and Kim, of Frank & Olive Crochet.Ruby & Kim - Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveRuby is a fabulous crochet designer as seen in Mollie Makes, Simply Crochet, Inside Crochet and Kirstie’s Handmade Britain.

As the other ‘Happy Hookers’ arrived we were given a very welcome glass of Prosecco to sip while we gazed with wide eyed wonder at the heaps, piles….mountains of gorgeous yarn which surrounded us.  Just yarn heaven!

Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveI really wanted to bring this sheep home! DMC sheep - Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveThere were pattern books galore to inspire us and it wasn’t long before we had all dived in and started new projects and we were a little reluctant to stop to eat.  That is until we saw the gorgeous Greek themed feast which had been prepared, just scrumptious!

And that is how the weekend continued, with fabulous food and drink, more yarn than we could ever use, inspiration, lots of laughter and new friends.  It was exactly what I needed and I’ve come home thoroughly inspired.Marna Lunt - Crochet retreat with Frank & OliveRuby had arranged a workshop with  Marna Lunt the textile artist who is lovely and had us all crocheting, cutting and stitching to make our own creations, I’ve nearly finished mine…Marna Lunt workshop - Crochet Retreat with Frank & OliveThe final luxurious touch was a massage with Nassira, who was fantastic – it just added that extra relaxing element…

So I’ve come home full of enthusiasm and have only been slightly daunted by discovering that our internet is on the blink! So. I might get this published, who knows but hey…I am sooo chilled…

If the Crochet Retreat with Frank & Olive sounds like it might be right up your street you can find out more about it here… and I’ll be back soon to share a few more of my makes…x

Flowers and Needlefelt

What a soggy weekend this has been!  We seem to be alternating between having so much rain that the water butt overflows and the road floods, and then having to run around watering the vegetable garden because it’s so hot and sunny.

My garden is now in it’s July slump, all the prettiness of the Spring flowers are just a distant memory and I’m confronted with all the things which should have been thinned out or consigned to the compost heap back at the end of the Winter.  Does anyone like Golden Rod?  I find it sad and funereal.

The roadsides however have been a delight.  This is a typical sight as you travel round the lanes in Norfolk…

PennygatePoppies020714 copy

I’ll just have to sow more poppies in my garden!

But talking of flowers, I’ve been working on a new needlefelt project having had a request for a different kind of workshop, making covered notebooks.

As you know, I like to use needlefelt as a sculptural medium as I love working in 3D, so flat needlefelt is a new departure for me.  However I have really enjoyed creating a woolly garden of flowers to make up for the ones I am lacking outside!

I started off by just using the fibres like paint…

Needlefelt Flowers…but found that adding in simple embroidery stitches gave it more detail and interest. And it was really fun to do!Needlefelt with embroidery

I’ve been using lovely 100% wool felt squares from Blooming Felt to practice on, I’ve got a gorgeous selection of colours. These are the next two in the collection…

Needlefelt flowers with embroideryEmbroidered needlefelt flowersBut the challenge now is finding sheets large enough to cover a notebook.  In an ideal world of course I would wet felt each piece individually but alas, M.E. has rather put paid to something as energetic as that.

But while that particular project is coming together, the workshops I have had for Beginners Needlefelting have gone really well, both the group session at Arts Desire, and a one-to-one session in my studio.  If you live in the area and would like to know more, follow this link.

The next Needlefelt Workshop at Arts Desire is next weekend, and there’s a place or two left, it would be lovely to see you.

And in case you are wondering whether my crochet hooks are rusting in the corner, no, they’re not!  I’ve just completed a commission, and I’ll be back soon to show you just what else I have been making, so watch this space…

See you soon…x



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