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  1. January is a strange month.  I'm generally so wiped out from the madness of the Christmas season that I feel like I'm unable to hold a reasonable conversation unless it involves some form of wool.  Normality doesn't really apply, and it takes me at least until the end of the month to achieve anything resembling a proper conversation.  

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    Despite the general felting fatigue, I've managed to produce some new designs, and set up a new inspiration wall in my lovely felting room, with the help of a roll of lining paper and a few joyful afternoons with some magazines, a sketch book, scissors and glue.  I've also managed to get back into my yarn stash and sucessfully produce two and a half cardigans for my kids.

    I am a maker. I have been occupied by creating with my hands since I was a young child. I found, then and still to this day, high value in the focus, patience, and dexterous control involved in manipulating physical materials.  Ever since my mother taught me to knit at a young age, I have loved working with wool.

    I becagan felting seven years ago.  In 2009, an unexpected wave of redundancies in the company where I was employed gave me the opportunity to spend time with my children. A friend offered me some sheep fleeces and after I worked out how to process them, I began to look at ways to put them to use.  Wet felting has become my daily passion. I continue to study various types of sheep's wool and the wonderful fiber that these varieties produce.  

    Felting is a fabulous contemporary art form that has many practical and modern applications. Whilst it is quite simple to learn, mastering the medium can become a wonderful journey. I obsess about new techniques and processes.  

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    I gain inspiration from the beautiful rural setting I live in and the natural world that surrounds me. I love colour and texture.  My inspiration comes from the raw organic materials I use and the traditional processes themselves. 

    It is wonderful to pass this skill on through my teaching and workshops. I am also interested in the possibility of simplifying the process and using alternative equipment to make the process more accessible, such as foot rolling, using a sander or a tumble dryer for example.  I'm looking forward to running more workshops in the coming year.

    I'm currently embroiled in exploring the contrast between the lightness of the muslin I use as a scarf base, and the deeper, heavier texture of the wool I felt into it.  I am planning a series of panels which use this attribute in such a way that the finished panel can be hung over a window.  I love to take a medium which is traditionally thought of as indelicate and stiff, and produce delicate pieces which play with the light.

  2. Proper Woolly, Holsworthy, Devon:  "We want to demonstrate the full cycle of natural fibres, from sheep to jumper and all the many wonderful stages in between. There will be plenty to see and do, with demonstrations, workshops and various fibre animals for you to come and meet, plus exhibitors covering every element of fibre crafts. Whether your interest is spinning, weaving, dyeing, knitting, crochet, felting or indeed anything fibre based, there will be plenty for you at Proper Woolly"

     

    After struggling to pack the car with both stock and camping equipment, it limped up the county and deposited us safely in Devon without breaking.  We braved the weather and camped for the weekend.  Our tent is amazing.  We bought it from Halfords as part of a large camping kit a few years ago and it has managed to withstand the most terrible weather the West Country has ever thrown at us, all without leaking. 

     

    We found the Cattle Market in Holsworthy without too much difficulty, and happily located my own personal cattle pen.

     

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    This picture shows my little girl modelling a giant felt flower hair clip and one of my felty waistcoats.  She stole it on the first day and refused to relinquish it for the whole weekend.  I'm going to have to make another one to replace it in my stock because I don't think she's going to give it back.

     

    It was lovely to discuss both felting and knitting techniques with so many lovely and interested people.  I met a large number of sheep and some beautiful angora rabbits.  I did spend an inordinate amount of time wandering around and grinning at the sheer quanitiy of gorgeous yarns and fibres on display. I managed to restrain myself and only brought home a little bit of fibre.

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    I can't wait to play with these beautiful locks, I have so many ideas for them.

     

    One of the highlights of the show was the knitted house, which travels from festival to festival.  

     

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    Now I'm back home and looking forward to getting started again with lots of new ideas for jewellery and clothing.