Saturday, 5 July 2014

Learning Something New ~ Needle Felting

Today I went off and learned something new. I found it quite exciting to be having a go at something I had never done before, and I really enjoyed it.

I don’t know if you have seen this little chap before, I introduced him way back here

He was made from needle felting by the very talented Jenny Barnett (Website, blog, or facebook), and I absolutely loved him. I had said in that previous post that Jenny also runs workshops, and that I had wanted to look out for one. Well, each of us had been busy with our own things – I had been travelling and then moving house, Jenny had been moving her houseboat and putting her book together – but then she advertised some workshops, and I immediately booked for the hare workshop!

It was a fairly long drive for me to Northwich for the workshop, and on my way I passed lots of Tour de France decorations. I was very lucky that the roads I needed were being closed tomorrow (Sunday 6th July) rather than today! I didn’t have time on the way there to get any photos of the decorations, but on the way back I was able to stop in a few places to get photos. Lots of places there was nowhere to stop though, so I missed some shots of lovely bunting made like mini Tour de France jerseys, or yellow bikes mounted up on the walls of pubs and things. I did manage to get these shots though:

On the journey there I was telling myself not to get too excited about what I would come away with. I really love Jenny’s stylised interpretations of the animals she makes – I mean, she does amazing pet portraits in needle felting too, but I do love how she characterises the hares and foxes in particular with their lovely features. I didn’t want to be too upset when I couldn’t manage to recreate that style for my own hare, and when I ended with some crazy mess of semi-felted wool!

I didn’t take any photos during the workshop as I was the last to arrive and I forgot to ask, but I couldn’t have taken many anyway – once we started I was far too engrossed in the process, as was everyone else. We began with a cuppa, and then got straight down to business. Everything was provided, the needles, wool and sponge for the felting, and the threaded needle, beads, and other bits and bobs for all the details. The bags these came in and some pieces of card etc used were all recycled. I know that this makes sense from a business point of view to keep costs down, but I also really appreciated it from an environmental point of view.

Our work table - you can see Jenny's own hares as models on the table to help us out

Jenny was a wonderful, relaxed and patient teacher, and throughout the workshop she was on hand to assist with any difficulties, give detailed demonstrations of the techniques she was teaching, and was really approachable if you had any questions or problems. She even made the tea for everyone, which is a huge bonus in my book ;)

Our group was lovely and friendly, but the task at hand was so engrossing that there wasn’t lots and lots of chatting. Everyone was really enjoying the craft and the time just flew by. All too soon it was getting time to finish up, and with one person needing to leave promptly we had a bit of a photoshoot of all our creations:

The rest of us then carried on felting our creations for a little while longer before having to eventually leave. Before leaving, I picked up one of Jenny’s needle felted badgers that I had requested. I had a fox, was making a hare, and I felt a badger would be a lovely addition to a little collection of British wildlife I could bring with me to Australia.

I also looked through Jenny’s book. I wanted to buy it there and then, but I didn’t have quite enough money with me for that. Luckily I can order it online though – yay!! My plan is to use some guidance while I learn techniques and practice the sculpting, then I can move onto some designs of my own; I’m thinking koalas, kangaroos, wombats – to celebrate the move to Aus :)

Enough waffle though, my hare wants to be introduced to you! I had spent the whole drive to the workshop trying to manage my expectations, but in the end I was so pleased with how she turned out!! I still can't quite believe that I made her, especially as she is my first ever attempt at needle felting. Very chuffed!

Harriet Hare

Her legs are a little chunky at the front there, but a bit more needling should hopefully help tighten them up. In the meantime, she's enjoying hanging out with her friends...

The end :)

No comments:

Post a Comment