Addicted to Sheep – the Movie

Just a quick note about this wonderful film which I saw at the weekend (along with a Q and A with the Director).  Well worth a look if you can catch it.  Mark Kermode’s 4 star review is here.

There is a list of the venues where the film is playing on the Addicted to Sheep Website…


A Trilby for the Scotsman – part 1

My attempt to make a handmade felt ‘cone’ and ‘flare’ in time for the second half of this term’s millinery course has been a non-starter.  Seems that it is difficult to think of anything much when the house is covered in scaffolding and you are waiting for your new roof to acquire tiles!!

The ghostly look of my studio under dustsheets (although now it has a skylight in the roof)

The ghostly look of my studio under dust sheets (although now it has a skylight in the roof where the square of masking tape is…)

I did get as far as contacting the lovely people at Baxter Hart and Abraham and ordering the commercial versions in ‘Loden’ which is a rather attractive shade of greeny, browny grey… However, owing to a lack of 1 litre bottles of water based hat stiffener in stock I only received my parcel on Wednesday morning, and had to apply this in the classroom that evening and leave them there to dry till next week.

Our next project is to make a brimmed hat and it occurred to me when I was looking at the selection of wooden crown and brim blocks that it would be a good idea to make a trilby for the Scotsman.  It’s not the sort of thing I have ever made before, but it seems appropriate to have a go at a classic hat design and it will be a challenge to make it to fit someone else.

I have told him that if he hates it or it turns out badly I won’t expect him to wear it!  I am hoping that his head size means I can use one of the really swish custom crown blocks with two dimples in the back as well as the crease on the top.  However I am assured by Karen that if not, she can show us the technique she learned at Freddy Fox for putting the shape into a Trilby even if you don’t have a specific trilby crown block.

Now I just have to be a good student and work hard between classes, so that I give myself enough time to make a second hat in handmade felt before the end of term.

In an Art Nouveau Style

Went to pick up my two glass panels yesterday from the Rainbow Glass Studios as I know there is an open studio for past students on most Monday and Tuesday evenings.  Richard emailed me earlier in the day to say that the greens had turned out as blues – he had mixed the colours for me himself as I was in such a hurry at the end of the Sunday session and had no idea why this had happened! We certainly hadn’t had time to do a test firing.  What did I say about not being able to see the actual colour when you are painting it on….!

Anyway to correct this he had silver stained the back of the leaves to add yelllow and turn them green so was I happy for him re fire?  I was… and by some happy accident as he admitted it had turned out the most beautiful colours and very art nouveauish.  I had used a book of free use Art Nouveau designs as a starting point so it was particularly appropriate.

Here is a link to the Rainbow Studios website where Richard has posted the work finished by myself and other students in the class (no ‘J’ panel as it’s not finished yet, but mine are the ‘T’ and the owl.)

I am thinking….

….of changing the name of this blog to ‘The Occassional BloggeEmbroidery progressr’, or I should be considering how infrequently I have posted recently.  Perhaps the approach of Spring will help.  Or the fact that I am considering purchasing an iPad!

However the embroidery does move on and I even found some time at the weekend to make some felt pieces for the next bit of the design.

These will be appliqued on and embroidered over….in theory they will end up like the drawing. Watch this space!!DSCF6680Embroidery Design Detail 15.11.12

And I was doing so well….

At managing to post regularly……..

At least my first embroidery on felt has been progressing more quickly and I.n trying various new techniques.  Isobel showed me how to raise part of the embroidery by sewing a patch onto the back of the embroidery – backstitching in a shape from my design and then slitting and stuffing from the back before stitching over the top in two colours.  I learnt to do coral stitch for the edges altho I do keep forgetting which way to wind my thread around the needle.

I made the suggestion to use silk and applique the green patch.  I am now happily french knotting all over it – I do love a french knot….DSCF6402


A Little Bit of Eel Pie at the Weekend

The Scotsman and I visited the Open Studios on Eel Pie Island last weekend.  It is a private island in the Thames near Twickenham which can only be reached via a footbridge, and it’s a bit like stepping into another and much more peaceful world.

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I had vague ideas about its history having heard at some point about the Eel Pie Hotel.  The hotel  hosted ballroom dancing during the 1920s and 1930s. jazz sessions in the 1950s and in the 60s rock groups played there – David Bowie, The Rolling Stones and the The Who to name but a few.  Pete Townsend even named his recording studios nearby Eel Pie Studios in its honour…

Nowadays most of it is shut to the public but on the occasional open days if you venture through the (still working) boat yard there are a number of studios – some even made out of old boats.  What a lovely and otherworldly place filled with greenery, sunshine and odd bits of found object sculpture – I was very envious of the artists working in such a lovely place….although I daresay in the depths of winter things might be a little different!!


I like my studio noticeboard – its sort of like a great big three D sketchbook page.

This is what it looks like at the moment….relatively recent additions an Alan Measles badge and some bits that didn’t make it onto the February Hat…