Sunday, May 31, 2009

Creative Workshops

What a wonderful workshop by renowned Dollmaker, Barbara Willis, this weekend at Anne's Glory Box here in Newcastle! Barbara's new book, Cloth Doll Artistry, is full of beautiful and inspiring photos of her exquisite work To see all the samples in real life - up close and personal - was very special. We learnt so much about the finer points of choosing colours, costuming, stuffing doll body parts, tracing patterns and sewing them, as well as a different method for needle sculpting a head. The doll we were attempting is a doll from the new book - Danielle, dressed in dupioni silk, velvet and silk organza. We all had a great time matching fabrics, trims and embellishments. What really made the workshop so special is Barbara's obvious joy in making beautiful dolls, and her positive encouragement of every individual's efforts.

I really loved the flat dolls, which I must admit I hadn't shown much interest in before. I bought the pattern and kit for the MerMaiden , a two sided doll - really two flat dolls back to back... I am looking forward to making this one, too, when I come back from Papua New Guinea.
Below is the information of my next workshop at LamboArt Studio...
Creative Workshops
June 2009

Felted Accessories
Make hand felted beads and a brooch
Additional project - felted wool and silk scarf or belt
Techniques: Wet felt& needle felt basics

Saturday 27 June 2009 10am – 3pm At LamboArt Studio, 53 Government Road Thornton NSW $50 includes
- all tuition and notes
- wool and needle for beads /brooch
- morning tea
Please bring own lunch
Optional Kit a vailable for scarf/belt $20
Bookings now taken
Minimum 5, maximum 8 participants

Enquiries and Bookings for workshops please contact me before 7 June
or after 7 June
LamboArt Studio

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Week of Wool and Winners

We have had a few days of cold, wet and wintry weather, so it seemed just right last week to create with wool. I have been making little free form pieces which I hope to transform into some of my altered bags for some individual orders amd for the Edelweiss gallery which wants more stock coming into the colder months. And, just for me, I have started to knit a pair of socks from Kaffee Fassett wool – quite an extravagance, but I can’t wait to get the lovely wool socks on my feet.

My family, it seems, also love wearing and playing with wool.

I made Kellie this little shrug as the cardigan I made for her last year was too big. Jim's Aunty Maureen now has the cardigan,and loves it and Kellie is much happier with her warm woolly shrug. Kellie's little son , our outdoorsy grandson, William wouldn’t be without his woolly hat in this weather.

My blog friend from South Australia has been sending me lovely parcels of goodies, and in the last one, was a set of wool knitted finger puppets – Dylan, our middle grandson, is having a great time with them this week.

How lucky am I! This week I found out that I am the winner of the Blog giveaway by Dust of Enchantment .
I chose some wearable origami – tiny paper cranes inserted into a tiny glass bottles made into earrings. Thank you very much, Tracy .

This is the second blog giveaway I’ve won this year. The first was the beautiful fabric from Thea and Sami in February.

And that’s not all, a couple of weeks ago, I was very embarrassed that I had double booked - a Rotary fundraising breakfast for Gemma Sisia's School in Tanzania and babysitting William in Maitland. So, I started the morning at the breakfast, gulped down some toast and mushrooms, bought some raffle tickets to support the cause and rushed off even before the guest speaker began and drove to Maitland. I didn’t think again about the raffle tickets, but I found out yesterday that I won a night for two in a hotel with breakfast! Thanks, Rotary Club of Newcastle Sunrise! There is also a different sort of winner in our family. Brandon our oldest grandson is also a winner, but he worked very hard to achieve his prize. He won an award at school for his outstanding literacy skills and mastery of phonics. He only started school this year, and is reading quite well. Congratulations, Brandon.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Whose Shoes?

Last Friday night, I made a pair of shoes ... we had a "fairy shoes" day at Hello Dollies on Saturday. There is a fantastic article in Stitch Magazine, no 50, Dec 2007-Jan 2008 entitled "Fairy Slippers" by Annette Emms. Annette provides beautiful photos, a pattern and advice " Before you begin , spend a little time thinking about who will wear the shoes you're going to make. " The first pairs Annette made were for the fairies in Shakespeare's A MidSummer Night's Dream. I didn't think about the owner of the shoes , so am still wondering who might wear this pair of shoes ? Do you have any suggestions? They are about 9cm long .
My shoes were rather understated compared with the gorgeous shoes created by Doris Dubois, who showed us a wonderful technique of layering felt, vilisoefix , angelina fibres, glitter, assorted bling and organza/chiffon to create a spectacular fabric for the fairy shoes. You can tell Doris loves embellishing with embroidery and beads from these lovely examples...

My friend, Bobbi Oliver from LamboArt, ( who is recovering from an accident, and can't sculpt at the moment, has turned her hand to making fairy shoes, too. These feature both machine and hand embroidery and beading. Looking at Bobbi's shoes, I think it's true.... a pair of shoes will chase away the blues .

Have a great week creating ... shoes or whatever chases away the blues for you .

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Just One More Row

This week I finished knitting a shawl from recycled silk. I just had to have this yarn and the circular pattern which were at the Craft and Quilt Fair in Newcastle last February in Prudence Mapstone's stall . The pattern is called Tapestry Shawl by Jill Vosburg, Just One More Row. . It is a very easy pattern, knitted in short rows with very large gauge needles. As I seem to wear mostly black especially in winter, I thought I needed a bit of colour in my life this year. Jim made me a beautiful Huon Pine button and I sewed it on as a clasp with a piece of carnelian. Carnelian is said to promote peace and harmony, dispel depression, strengthen self confidence, and confer eloquence to a speaker. With this mind, I wore the new shawl with the wood and carnelian button to the Model United Nations Assembly this weekend. I needed all the colour of the recycled silk and the powers of the carnelian as I was the Secretary General in today's session of the simulated General Assembly. It was a great experience.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Crafty Cousins

Each month, the younger women in the Simmons family enjoy a Sunday afternoon get-together, usually without children, husbands and partners. My daughter-in-law Kellie, my daughter Naomi and her cousins Lisa, Melanie and Natalie share their creative skills, produce beauitful handmade things and generally chat, advise and support one another. Last Sunday, they all came to my place and asked me to to get them started on " something different", a creative challenge. Occasionally, the "mothers" are invited to share in the group, but generally, we do not interfere! This time, while Kellie did some scrapbooking, some made beaded art dolls with forms I prepared, and the others went through my button stash and made funky bracelets and necklaces. Naomi also finished another baby blanket, after learning to crochet late last year. It is so wonderfully comforting and reassuring to see such talented strong young women in our family enjoying each other's company. They all lead extremely busy lives with their own families and their work and study commitments and these few hours they have together just once a month must seem like a gentle reprieve from their hectic everyday schedules. What they produce is not important, but their creative spirit is what is needed to ensure "handmade" is valued by future generations.