Conference 2016 – Fabric to Dye For

October 2016 Conference

Guest Speakers - Clare Bullock and Susie Wareham

Morning talk: Clare Bullock

Our first speaker was Clare Bullock, a wet felt maker from Sharnbrook in Bedfordshire. Clare learnt to make felt originally in order to create items for herself and her family but quickly found that her work was saleable.

She showed us a selection of innovative felted items, ranging from chunky handbags to very delicate gorgeously coloured Nuno felting using charity shop scarves.  She uses stitch very effectively to enhance texture in her work.

Clare has her own studio and runs workshops for all ages, starting with birthday party sessions for three year olds. She has run felting classes successfully with young drug addicts.

Clare has also won a contract to provide individually felted burial “urns” for cremated ashes for a company offering a modern version of a round barrow for interment.

Clare is an engaging speaker with a strong sense of fun, which is no doubt a great asset in her teaching. She has had the courage to leap into each opportunity that has come her way.

Morning networking

So much learnt in so little time: not only techniques relating to different textile skills, but also considerations relating to marketing and presentation. Textiles were reinvented in conjunction with origami, geometry and three dimensions (we’ve all no doubt already come to terms with the other two of space and time!). They were altered by collaging, painting and eco-dying, and made as stand-alone pieces or as decorated functional items. Ways of hanging individual work was explored and information exchanged on an enviable co-operative exhibition space. And just as importantly, we got to know each other a little better and have a glimpse into the personal motivation driving our work.

Afternoon talk: Susie Wareham

After lunch Susie Wareham another enthusiast in her field, this time Natural Dyeing.  Susie did her BA at Birmingham City and an MA in Fashion Futures at the London College of Fashion.  Susie really believes in looking after the environment.  Nothing is wasted.  Every natural thing can produce a colour and with Natural mordents (no chemicals) added everything can be used.  She grows many of the plants that she uses in her garden and collects others like wood bark from various people around the area.  Many times when arriving home, she will find a collection of orange skins or a bag of avocado stones on her doorstep.  Susie recently won A Silver Gilt Medal from the RHS BBC Gardeners World show for her garden on natural dyes.  Even when she has finished dying with fruit, vegetables etc, because there are no chemicals in her dyeing pots, it can all go on the compost heap.  Susie runs varied workshops using Indigo and Natural dyes.

The absence of a separate report here gives me the chance to thank, wholeheartedly, Pat Brunsdon for finding us an inspiring replacement speaker at the very last minute.  Tamara Goulding’s account of the whole day tells you more!  Our time was blessed with members in good numbers, good food, and up-to-the-minute speakers.  Thank you everyone.