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New Classes! Colourful Critters + Owls!

I promise I have some new sketches coming up soon, and some photos of springtime happenings around me, but lately I’ve been preparing to teach some workshops in Needle Felting. Please take a look at the fun creations I’m making! And if you live in Northumberland maybe you’d like to take a class?

Make a Colourful Critter of your own or makes a great gift!

Make a Colourful Critter of your own or makes a great gift!

Class 1: Wed. March 23rd 10am – 12:30 pm  £20

Optional Follow-Up Class 2: Wed. 30 March 10am-12:30 pm Only £10!

LOCATION: Alnwick Playhouse, Bondgate Without, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1PQ

Come have fun learning to Needle Felt with over 106 colours of wool to choose from!

In Class 1 you will make one Colourful Critter of your choice and all materials are included in the fee. The optional follow-up Class 2 is Half Price and you just pay for wool you use in class. It’s inexpensive for each little project so you may want to make a bunch! Optional follow-up class 2 is a great opportunity to ask questions, get help on projects you tried at home and gives me the opportunity to make sure you get lots of extra attention! Sign up for one or all classes! Secure your place to learn creative techniques with artist Mary McAndrew. Email me for details and to secure your place.

The class will be held at the Alnwick Playhouse. We’ll work on the balcony that overlooks the Gallery; it’s a great location but still feels cozy! Also the cafe will be open, it’s goodies and drinks available for purchase if you like.

I will also have Needle Felting kits with all tools, some different colored wool and a basic Needle Felting booklet available at class for purchase. I’ll also bring over 106 different colored wools if students would like to purchase any. See additional pictures of Colourful Critters I’ve made below!

The next project I’m offering is OWLS:

Class 1: Wed. 13th April 10am – 12:30 pm  £20

Optional Follow-Up Class 2: Wed. 20 April 10am-12:30 pm Only £10!

LOCATION: Alnwick Playhouse, Bondgate Without, Alnwick, Northumberland, NE66 1PQ

Come have fun learning to Needle Felt with over 106 colours of wool to choose from!

The OWL class will be run just like the COLOURFUL CRITTERS above, Email me for details and to secure your place.

Needle Felting Classes and a Christmas Fair

Hello everyone, I’ve been a busy bee! Working not only on some watercolors while out on my walks, but also putting together some Needle Felting classes! I’ve had so much fun preparing by making lots of snowmen, gnomes, flat felted picture ornaments and floaty soft Fairies and Angels. It really is so much fun to work with all the colors and different types of wool I’ve collected.

Here is the poster we designed for my two classes in December.

snowman + gnome wkshps flyerSnowman Workshop: Monday 7th December, 2 pm-4:30 pm £20

Gnome Workshop: Monday 14th December, 2 pm-4:30 pm £20

Both will be taking place at Nelson’s at the Park cafe in Swarland Village, Northumberland. It’s a great little community cafe with the most excellent desserts and I’ve been hearing such good things about their food from the locals! I’m excited because our class will include a hot coffee or tea and a dessert specially prepared for us! YUM. I already have a few students signed up so please don’t wait to send me an email if you want to join us. When you email (marymcandrew62 at gmail.com) I’ll send you a Paypal invoice and you can pay with paypal or credit card.

We’ll learn about the qualities of different wools and how to work with them. I’ll bring some fun needle felted projects I’ve made to show you what else you can do with wool and spark your creativity. I’ll also bring along a very big selection of all colors of wool for students who want to purchase some to take home.

CHRISTMAS FAIR

21 November at the Gallery 45 Christmas Fair.

21 November at the Gallery 45 Christmas Fair.

On Saturday (Nov.21) I took part in the Christmas Fair at Gallery 45 in Felton, Northumberland. I decided to do it only two days before the event so I kept it simple. I rented a small table just so I could put out some note cards, small prints of my artwork and a good selection of felted peices. It was a lot of fun meeting local people and talking about my work and a great way to talk about my classes coming up in December.

Sock Monkey and Angel, both needle felted.

Sock Monkey and Angel, both needle felted.

I thnk the Sock Monkey was trying to serenade the angel when I wasn’t looking, is she throwing her arms up to cover her ears? We’ll never know!

Email me (marymcandrew62 at gmail.com) if you have a small group in Northumberland that would like to learn how to needle felt and we’ll see if we can arrange something. So many fun things to create!

 

Hunting For Acorn Caps

(I wrote this in November. Sorry it’s a bit late, but I thought you’d still enjoy the pictures of my walk!)

A hunting we will go, a hunting we will go…high ho the dairy oh….a hunting we will go!

When you need something for a project and you can’t buy it at the local store, it’s great to know you have it right in your own backyard! I want to make some felted acorns, have you seen any of these? Oh they are so cool; I love the texture and colors of the wool and the real acorn cap is just perfect.

On my property there is a place I call “Oak Lane” because all along it there are huge, ancient oak trees growing and I watch over them the best I can. Well I set out for a short walk, only taking my camera and a plastic bag and glad that I put on my Wellies or barn boots because ‘AY CARUMBA’ it was wet!

Just what I was looking for, Bracket Fungus and Moss!

Just what I was looking for, Bracket Fungus and Moss!

I also had it in mind to collect reference pictures for my illustration projects. I found some excellent bracket fungus and moss for “Miss Mouse’s House”. I made up a sketch (in the new, big studio sketch book!) of her house and I can’t believe when I was walking, I found JUST the thing! I hope to share Miss Mouse with you when I get more sketches done.

What was supposed to be a short walk turned (as usual) into a long ramble, taking pictures every few steps. Seriously, every few steps…”oh look at that color!” “Oh…look how the trees reflect in the water”….glad no one came with me, I was able to wander slowly, drinking it all in and taking lots of pictures for future reference. When you walk slow and pause often, you also can take notice of so many things around you.

(c) P1410476 reflections

Reflections in the water, along Pasture Lane as I walked.

When I made it to Oak Lane, I picked up a small stick with a forked tip and used it for shuffling the wet leaves away. We’re not talking about oak trees in a yard with neatly trimmed grass! No…it was wild and absolutely covered with leaves, and how beautiful. But any caps I did find were mostly covered with mud, so into the bag they went to be studied later.

(c)mysterious pod (1)

Interesting and delicate pod or gall I found under the leaves.

Another neat thing I found, this thing that looks like some kind of a gall? It was on the ground under the leaves and I’m guessing it was on the tree or a small plant before because it had a stem. There’s a hole so whatever grew up inside it came out. It is paper thin and very interesting, so I put it in my bag, hoping it wouldn’t get squished. (see note at end of post)

Can you see anything in all these leaves?

Can you see anything in all these leaves?

The best find of all was when I noticed something move in the leaves, a tiny, tiny movement but I saw it. Then I just stopped and watched, and waited…then saw it again and really had to watch it not to loose it in the leaves again, a tiny Wood Frog!

A beautiful and tiny Wood Frog!

A beautiful and tiny Wood Frog!

Not very big and exciting you say? NO it IS! How many years have I walked on my land and do you think I see them all the time? NO, I hear them but don’t see them. So I snapped as many photos of this frog, that seriously was only as big as my thumbnail, as I could. Then when I was satisfied I had gotten enough, I used my stick to carefully move a blade of grass that was blocking my view of him.

Nice side view showing his mask.

Nice side view showing his mask.

It’s totally ok that it made him hop onto new leaves, I got even better pictures of him! You have to be patient and yes, it gave me a very stiff neck, all that looking down and crouching.

(c)Wood Frog (18)

Here’s a top view of him, you can see the patterns on his back that help him blend in.

I think because it was so cold he was moving slower than normal, a great time to get photos of frogs. Then I heard another Wood Frog across the lane calling and I thought, maybe that’s his mate or in ‘children’s book land’ his friend? It’s wandering through the woods alone when you can let your imagination have play too, and it’s good for you!

(c)'raisin' fungus 1

This was an unusual fungus I saw more than once, it looked liked someone squished raisins on the branch!

On the way back then it started to rain, then it hailed on my head! It was ok, the clouds were magnificent and the the cold breezes blowing, making my cheeks glow, it was wonderful to be there at that moment and really take it in.

Such beauty in a much overlooked wildflower, Chicory.

Such beauty in a much overlooked wildflower, Chicory.

I found two Chicory plants with beautiful blue blossoms on them still, hanging on to any sun they can get now.

And one little Aster in the middle of the ‘Maze’, an overgrown field with paths I cut years ago. The white Aster looked up at me with it’s tiny little face, and asked if winter was coming soon? I told it to prepare and go to sleep before the snow falls. It was sad but missed it’s friends, as they had all gone, so it nodded it’s head and drooped a little in it’s tiny stem.

Though I see interesting and beautiful things, walking alone on my land, I’m sometimes like the little Aster. It focuses my thoughts as I walk in quiet and when I see the beauty I want to turn to my sweetheart to share it with him, and he’s not there. And the discoveries I make I want to share with my Dad…and then I miss him again and again, not being able to talk to him. I’m sure many of you know what I mean, but instead of focusing on who isn’t there, I try to share my experiences with those I can.

The wild rose hips and their leaves were just beautiful, magical colors!

The wild rose hips and their leaves were just beautiful, magical colors!

I can show Gary pictures and talk to him on Skype until we can walk together. And my dad, I thank him for encouraging my love of nature and my creative endeavors as I quietly promise to follow through on my children’s stories. And to all of you, so glad you stop by to read my ramblings and see what I’m up to!

Have you gotten outside to take a slow walk lately? Noticing the change of seasons?

Maple leaf I made by wet felting wool.

Maple leaf I made by wet felting wool.

I made this leaf out of wool by wet felting it, isn’t it cool? I can keep it forever and it won’t lose it’s color. Here’s a picture with two leaves I made.

Two Maple leaves I made into felt from wool.

Two Maple leaves I made into felt from wool.

Now here are those felted acorns I made! Aren’t they cool?

Colorful wool needle felted acorns, caps from two different oak trees.

Colorful wool needle felted acorns, caps from two different oak trees.

I have since added pretty beads to the strings and made them into ornaments.

* My online friend Ed has kindly sent me a link to a page about the mysterious empty gall I found. It’s from an Oak Apple Gall Wasp, please read about it here, it’s fascinating! And here’s a page all about galls and the ‘critters’ that form them. Thanks Ed!

Because I FELT Like It!

I thought I’d post a few pictures that have to do with my little creative sidetrack, felting! I found a little local shop that teaches all different techniques in many crafts, but one I’ve always wanted to learn is felt making. I love wool, I love the color and texture of handmade wool felt, I love sculpture, I love sewing. I think all these things are going to come together as I learn, and I can see where it takes me. I’m not leaving my painting behind but this has been a HUGE creative boost lately, when I’m stressed about moving.

Merino + Romney/Corriedale mix wools

Merino + Romney/Corriedale mix wools

This is my first stash of wool roving. Look at the colors! The Merino wool on the left is so soft, I love putting my hands in there to pick up the balls.

Needle Felting

Needle Felting

This piece (above) is first starting with a wet felted rectangle that I made, while trying to imitate the colors in my painting “Moonlight Sentinels”. What I love about the wet felting is you can’t control how it’s going to come out too much, well I can’t too much as a beginner! But I didn’t do too bad hitting the colors and subtle changes in my background. Next is “needle felting” the tree and crows on using blacks etc. and adding the moon and stars. I did this much in one sitting but haven’t been back to finish it!

Binder with felt square experiments.

Binder with felt square experiments.

I don’t feel I have time to dive into big projects right now, so as a beginner felter I’m creating lots of these little squares of felt and keeping notes. It’s a great way to be creative and experimental without wasting materials. I staple or pin them onto stiff card stock and put the notes underneath.

Wet Felting Experiment

Wet Felting Experiment

This is one of my first squares where I ran out to the garden, grabbed the well worn piece of cheesecloth off my broccoli plant and brought it inside. I shook it off, cut some small squares and then put wool roving on front and back. I added some non-wool yarns to experiment with how they would felt and I love the results! This is technically “nuno” felting, sandwiching a fabric between the layers of wool roving or attaching the wool to fabric by felting. You can see the white edges of the cheesecloth showing in my squares above.

My sister and I spread the fleece out on a tarp, it was huge!

My sister and I spread the fleece out on a tarp, it was huge!

 Then I went to a “Fiber Group” meeting in East Aurora NY, what a great bunch of ladies I met! All of them loved sewing, knitting, felting, dyeing etc…just anything to do with fiber. They were forewarned that I was coming as a new ‘felter’ and would they please bring some examples of what they did. How kind! They did, and one woman had a huge black garbage bag that contained one very dirty, raw Cotswold fleece. She said she had another (very smelly) fleece at home and her husband really wanted her to do something with it, so she gave it to me for free! There it is above, my sister Betty helped me spread it out so we could decide what the heck to do with it.

Washing a raw Cotswold fleece, it was filthy!

Washing a raw Cotswold fleece, it was filthy!

 So I get to learn about cleaning fleece now, see above picture. We looked up some info online and I tried cleaning one chunk of fleece. Wow how dirty it was! The next time I washed some of the fleece I did it outside, then I could just dump the water out. But I learned doing too much in the container at once isn’t good, it didn’t wash as well.

sq 5-3 finished  (2) (375x500)

Cotswold fleece- top- unbrushed, middle- brushed lock, bottom felted square.

 Above you can see some of the Cotswold fiber…and the square I made using just Cotswold. It is soooo cool! It has a look of lace but I think it would be too scratchy to wear next to the skin, like for a scarf. Anyone have experience with this wool?

Square #10 - Cotswold + Romney Corriedale wools.

Square #10 – Cotswold + Romney Corriedale wools.

In the square above I put Cotswold fiber on the outside layers, with Romney Corriedale mixed wool in the middle. I tried laying locks on to see if they would stay; pretty cool huh?

I just LOVE this edge!

I just LOVE this edge!

I love this, the waviness of the Cotswold fleece just had to pop at the edge. Some of these loops popped up in the felt fabric too. (see below) I would love a scarf looking like this, but just not sure how it would feel yet. (scratchy? itchy?)

Test #11- Cotswold + Romney Corriedale + Merino, love the waviness.

Test #11- Cotswold + Romney Corriedale + Merino, love the waviness.

The picture above shows the whole piece, showing the side I put the Romney Corriedale mix on. You can see it’s a very hairy piece of wool! I love it!

Here's how long the scarf is, just right for one loop around.

My first Nuno scarf! This shows how long it is.

This week I thought I was going to have a stressful melt down on Tuesday, I just felt so uptight and unsettled. I arranged to go to Creative Essence the next day for a Nuno felting lesson and already ‘felt’ better. This is my first nuno felted scarf, it used silk chiffon as a base and you felt the wool to it. The chiffon was painted a light blue color first. You can’t see how light and airy the scarf is here, but it is!

This shows the pointy ends and how the length is perfect.

This shows the pointy ends and how the length is perfect for one wrap around.

I tried to show the neat pointy ends, which I later trimmed a bit to round them off. There is also sparkles of Angelina fibers in the wool that I don’t think you can see. Not a great photo, I’ll have to get a better one to show off the great colors!

So there is some of the fiber fun I’ve been having lately; a little at a time. The great thing about all this is I needed a sketchbook to start putting ideas in and my new “Studio Sketch Book” has been born! I’m very excited about it because it’s given me some more freedom to be creative with my MANY ideas and projects! I’ll post about that next time! If any of my readers out there are into fiber art then please leave a comment about what you do!