Jackie Cardy’s Embroidered Felt Panel Workshop


Wow! What a weekend it was! Jackie Cardy came to Yate!!!! Actually, it was a big thing, Jackie usually teaches fairly local to her home area and this was her first visit south to teach and she combined the Yate workshop with one in Honiton.

The photo above (isn’t the panoramic feature of camera’s great?!) shows one of the rooms we have access to at the centre. Behind me is a door to another slightly smaller room which provides storage space for bags etc plus kitchen facilities for making our many cups of tea and grabbing slices of yummy cake!

The buildings at the Ridgewood are old, it was built in 1830 as The Workhouse, then was used as a hospital during WWII as Yate was on the bombing runs due to the munitions factories in the area. It then became a care home before being handed over to the community. So a place with a lot of history and many interlocking rooms and passageways!

It is now used as a community centre with a preschool, art clubs, dancing clubs, classes for children throughout the day etc and the building reflects this very varied use and this does mean that we have to work with the building and it’s uses. For example, if we use the dedicated art rooms with 2 rooms, kitchen and tiny toilet, we have to be prepared to lug our supplies upstairs – not always ideal when we have heavy sewing machines! Or as in the case of the large rooms we used this weekend, we have the cafe right next door with it’s wonderful smells of bacon or cake wafting through and the nearest toilets are next to the room that often does children’s activities so the toilet is a normal size but the  small sink with  it’s mickey mouse taps (wings on the tap to help children use them)  is a bit lower down than usual as is the low down hand dryer. It’s not perfect, it does mean I do a bit of juggling round with the Centre Manager to find the best rooms for each workshop I run here but, I do like the fact that each workshop I run, adds to the coffers that help the centre keep going.

That community aspect is important to me but so is the history. I come from a small town in the North West and the history of that town is very visible whether you live there or just driving through but the majority of people coming to Yate see the 1960’s housing boom and shopping centre and the history of Yate is hidden. Yate is an old town, there has been a settlement here since 778 AD though historians believe that the late Neolithic and Bronze Age people used the woodland that covered the area for grazing and crops. There has also been recent excavations of  roman buildings plus Yate is mentioned in the Saxon Chronicles as well as the Doomsday Book. So on a personal level I feel it’s important to try and support the local area and keep what is an important building to Yate and it’s history open.

This isn’t meant to be a history lesson! I just wanted to try and explain why I use this community centre with its great parking, fantastic facilities and occasional idiosyncrasies to host the workshops – I hope if you’ve attended or are thinking about attending, you can understand my choice and enjoy this amazing part of history!

Anyhow, I digress! As I started off saying… wow! what a weekend it was! Jackie Cardy came to Yate!!!! Jackie was a fantastic teacher, she explained every stage clearly covering beginner to more experienced tips in one go and was very giving with information and support as the students progressed. Each student worked on 2 pieces both involving wet felting and stitch but each piece had it’s own way of being worked from start to finish but…  I’m not going to give Jackie’s secrets away – you will have to come and do her next workshop to find out more!! Some students used the same inspiration for both pieces and some chose to experiment and try different approaches with each piece.

Didn’t they do fantastic?! I hope everyone remembers to send a photo of their completely finished pieces (stitched and blocked!) for me to put on the blog! Hopefully Jackie will be coming back to teach another workshop, so do keep an eye on the website if you are interested in coming along.

The next workshop is March 10th and 11th with Amanda Hislop. Amanda is teaching her “Developing Sketchbooks as a Rich Resource” workshop – a two day creative workshop working with a sketchbook exploring mark making, abstract images and stitch to create a resource of ideas for future work. If you’d like more information, have a look at the workshop page or contact me to book your place – just 4 spaces left!





I’m back.. at last!!

Summer is over and my boys are back in school – year 11 and year 8 – yikes! Even more yikes! is the fact I now have 2 teenagers!!

We’ve had a good summer with lazy days, cycle rides (the boys not me!), lots of long walks with holiday dog guests (mostly me!), a fun day at Alton Towers plus days out with friends and 2 lovely sunny weeks on the canals aboard narrow boat Fosse. Kind of sad to see summer come to an end and the routine of school and exams taking over again!

But school starting up does mean I have time to sew again so perhaps ! shouldn’t feel too sad?! My new course starts soon so I’ve been busy working on my summer project but, as I started planning this post I realised that I hadn’t pressed the publish button on the post I wrote about my new course so perhaps i better start at the beginning?

At the start of October, I will be starting a new course in Advanced Textiles at the Windsor School of Textile Art. It’s not accredited but more mentor led. I felt that I needed some form of support to help guide me on my next steps. While we wait to start, we don’t get to rest on our laurels but have been given a project to get each of us going. I call it a project but really it is research with a bit of guidance to how to direct your work. We each have to choose a theme – perhaps a theme we’ve used before or something new, it just has to be something that we are interested and dare I say, passionate about. And then we create a workbook about our theme but picking 3-5 words from a given list to guide us in our work.

I didn’t half struggle with this Actually, it wasn’t the theme, it was the words in the list – words such as juxtaposition, decay, man vs nature, shadows that I found hard-going but a chat with a good friend helped me see some of the words in a different light and armed with a dictionary and thesaurus I tackled the word list and tried to figure out how they related to my idea.

In a previous post I mentioned my how my journey through life had various sidesteps due to invisible illness or disability (not that I consider myself ill or disabled!) and how I wanted to use my art to get the message about various invisible conditions and how they can affect you across. I had been looking at ribs and trying to show the invisible pain that can be caused by costochondritis and Fibromyalgia but for my course I wanted to start afresh yet continue the invisible theme. So my ribs have been put aside for a while and I have chosen to focus on Deafness, how it is often an invisible condition/disability and how being deaf can make you be a step away from the hearing world. This led to the thoughts that perhaps people with an invisible condition are sometimes in the shadows, hidden by “putting on a face”, a facade, that is, pretending all is well when perhaps in reality they are struggling (to hear, to understand, to cope with fatigue from trying to keep up and being part of the conversation) and hence from the list given I have chosen the words




I have to keep reminding myself that the project is not about creating a finished piece – well, not yet! It is about bringing together ideas, sketches and samples all relating to my theme so once class starts, I can start pulling it all together. Just a hint of some of my samples below:

Workshop news!

October’s workshop with Jackie Cardy is fully booked. There are spaces on Amanda Hislop’s workshop next March, if you would like to spend time on learning how to develop your sketchbooks as a resource for your art then please do sign up!

I also have news on future workshops – Julia Triston is going to be teaching in June and Christine Chester will be teaching in March 2019! Check the website for more details – all information should be up this week. Can I take this opportunity to point out that places are limited so do not leave it to the last minute to book – this may also result in a workshop being cancelled. I am also able to take payment in instalments so again, please check the website for details.

Quietly pottering…

Just wanted to drop in and say hello! I’m still here, just pottering away quietly.

We are halfway through the school summer holidays and I’ve been busy with my boys, our holiday dog guest and family. I will be back soon with a proper post!

Hope you are all enjoying summer and not getting too wet in the rain!

Rebecca’s finished Daisy Book-Wrap!

Rebecca, who attended Angie’s workshop last week has kindly sent photos of her finished book-wrap. Unfortunately Rebecca’s day at the workshop didn’t run smoothly – when she came to set her sewing machine up, she found she had forgotten to pick up the foot and cable – argh! The majority of the finishing off had to wait until Rebecca got home but… hasn’t she done a fantastic job??!

I love the purple running round the edge as well as using sequins to add more interest!

“Daisy Book-Wrap” Workshop with Angie Hughes

Wednesday was a great day to be doing a workshop – sunny with beautiful blue skies but also high temperatures of 28ºC – just setting up was sweltering work!

We had a different set of rooms this time, no stairs and right next to the cafe – great for getting lunch but the smell of crispy bacon kept everyone feeling hungry! The bigger of the two rooms was our workroom  (the other used to hold the ironing board, bags and also had kitchenette facilities for tea, coffee and cake – yum!). It was perfectly placed for parking in the central courtyard with almost direct access so ideal for moving all our bags and boxes in and out to and fro. As with the art rooms, we could hear an almost constant refrain of children’s voices – not surprising when the centre houses a daycare facility, a playgroup, after school care AND various other children’s activities! It’s really nice though to see the centre so well used by all ages and right from early morning to late evening.

As the organiser, I feel I’m very much learning on the job – I don’t mean that I’ve made a bad job – not at all! – but each time, I figure out something else that will make the next workshop flow better still and it is all stuff you probably wouldn’t think about unless you were running some form of workshop or event! This time I came home and drew out table plans – no trying to figure it out on the day, I now know exactly where each table / person will go and future workshops will ensure every attendee has an entire table to themselves (workshops I’ve attended elsewhere have varied from half a table to a table and interestingly often those that you needed space for, were the ones that you only had a half table space).

Anyway, on to the workshop! Angie was teaching us her Daisy Book-Wrap workshop and the aim was by the end of the day, we would each have a small book with decorated book wrap plus a head full of inspiration and tips for taking a basic design onward.

We started off by making the wrap – adding textures, stitch and pretty shapes before putting our work outside to dry in the sun – it was so hot, that paint, pva and gesso were drying within minutes!

We then moved on to adding colour using Angie’s techniques of adding layers and depth plus then adding shine with transfer foils.

Now we needed to put the book together – adding the inside layer to the wrap, stitch, cord and finally pages.

Some of the finished books – don’t they look fab?


A good day was had by all and it was really inspiring to hear people saying “next time I’ll do..” or “that technique has given me a really good idea on how to take a current project onwards” – even I was going “ooh plasterers scrim would make a good texture in reference to an audiogram”! Yeah, don’t worry, I got that funny look you’ve just made from several people but it makes sense  when you look at my current work for my #invisible theme! Angie was a fantastic teacher – patient, helpful and full of tips and suggestions. I hope she will come and teach for us again!

Future workshops – Jackie Cardy’s Embroidered Felt Panel workshop is the next and that is in October, there are just a couple of spaces left so sign up quick if interested! Then in March 2018, Amanda Hislop is teaching her Sketchbooks as a Rich Resource workshop. Plus, I’ve just signed up Christine Chester to teach her Paper Lamination workshop in March 2019,  more information to come soon!