Doggy Textile Taxidermy

Just back from the most fantastic workshop at West Dean.  Dogs and textiles, what more could I want?  OK so the dogs were photos brought along as reference material rather than the real thing but four days spent in the company of seven crazy dog ladies and the lovely and talented Donya Coward as our incredibly hard working tutor, was my idea of Arty Heaven.

The brief was to make a terrier head and as luck would have it I share a house (and often a bed!) with a smooth haired JRT so I had the perfect model on which to base it.  This was not a quick process and some of us were working up to 12 hours a day to get the job done.  However, after months of excited anticipation that I may have found the ideal way in to 3D work to suit both my skills and interests I was not disappointed.

"textile taxidermy first stages"

Day 1: A Gremlin

"Jack Russell Terrier textile taxidermy head"

Day 4: A JRT

She came out a little butcher than I had originally anticipated due to my use of bulky fabrics (recycled felted knitwear) but I am still really pleased with the end result.

"textile taxidermy JRT and her inspiration"

Nelly and her Alter Ego

I can barely wait for my bloodied fingers to heal before I start my next one!

A Tudor Felting Adventure

The lovely Emma Vining posted a flyer on her blog a month or so back advertising a Knitted Tudor Merchant’s Hat workshop at the London College of Fashion run by the Knitting History Forum.  Emma had told me about the forum before and interested to learn more about it and always up for a day of knitting, last Saturday I packed up my 7mm circular needles and set out for the Big Smoke.

The workshop was led by the charismatic Gary Hayton, a man of many talents including lecturing/teaching on sound design and editing, and writing knitting patterns.  The idea for the workshop came from Gary’s involvement with designing and creating knitted accessories for Shakespearean productions by the Brownsea Open Air Theatre and resulted in a fun and relaxing day for a group of knitting enthusiasts recreating their very own Tudor hats whilst learning a little about the latest developments in film and TV sound production!

"Tudor Merchant's Hat: before felting"

Knitted in the round using 3 ends of 2/11nm Shetland wool (JC Rennie Supersoft yarn)


"Tudor Merchant Knitted hat: after felting"

The felted version, modelled by a 21st Century Merchant 

OK so I might not be wearing this out on a regular basis (although the husband seemed quite taken by it as you can see in the photo, probably because it took him back to his days as a child actor!), it might make a good pot holder.  It has also prompted me to revisit the technique of felting knitted fabric to create form ahead of a textile/soft sculpture workshop which I am attending in the very near future (more about this in a week or so).  I have also properly fallen in love with JC Rennie’s yarn!

"Knitted circular lace before felting"

Hand knitted lace before felting


"Knitted circular lace after felting"

The same piece of knitted lace after felting in the washing machine



This little Piggy……

So the focus of last Saturday for me at the Real Art Academy was feet, or more accurately, a foot.  The morning poses weren’t too bad as I was looking at back/side views.

"Charcoal drawing of a foot"

90mins, charcoal on paper

But after lunch toes were introduced and the challenge was really thrown down!

Charcoal drawing of a foot"

Those pesky toes! 120mins charcoal on paper.

It took me some time and numerous attempts to get the proportions on the toes and while it still isn’t quite right (I gave up in the end after two  hours for fear that my proportion measuring squint was starting to be permanent), looking at it a few days later at least it looks like a foot.

And talking of pigs, (a seamless link for these otherwise unrelated events dontcha think?) the original art work for my Grimm themed printed illustrations can be seen (and purchased!) at this exhibition at the Oxmarket Gallery in Chichester this month. Do go along if you are in the area as I am sure it will be an interesting and eclectic mixture of work.

"Oxmarket printmakers exhibition"

Should be well worth a visit if you are in the area


Interviews, Exhibitions and Birthday Roses……

This month’s “Knitting” magazine (issue 126) has a lovely write up of the 2013 Knitted Textile Awards, including interviews with all the winners in both categories (including yours truly). Being a bonus issue it also has lots of tempting Spring/Summer patterns in it (I have just started on my second make!) so definitely worth buying.

 Nicky Barfoot Magazine Interviews Feb 2014"

2013 Knitted Textile Awards in issue 126 of Knitting and Nicky Barfoot interview in issue 96 of Knit Today

Nicky Barfoot is also featured in the “Last Word” interview in the current issue (96) of Knit Today, something that my Dad will find especially entertaining as he has always pointed out that I have a tendency to that particular characteristic!

So now to exhibitions and I am excited to say that my work is featured in “Out of the Blue” at Rum’s Eg Gallery in Romsey this month.  Four of my knitted “paintings” are on display: “Frankie in Blue”, “Frankie in Ink”, “Frankie”, and “Manu Propria”, as well as three of my hand knitted cushions.  As usual the gallery is packed full of beautiful things, all hand crafted by local talent in a welcoming environment with a good coffee shop on the first floor.  If you are local I strongly recommend you pay it a visit.

"Flyer for Rum's Eg Out of the Blue Exhibition"

“Out of the Blue” at Rum’s Eg, Romsey, Hampshire

And finally to birthdays.  I currently have a house full of wonderful sweet smelling flowers as consolation for being another year older.  These roses were from the long suffering husband.  Nothing does red quite so well!


Saturday life drawing, March 2014

This weekend I spent a thoroughly enjoyable Saturday, life drawing at Southampton City Art Gallery.  The usual tutor was unable to be there so we were treated to a day with the lovely and talented Melanie Rose.  A whole spectrum of poses was covered, provided by Jilly our hardworking model, and judging by the atmosphere in the room a very productive day was had by all.



"seated life drawing pose"

45 min pose (unfinished): charcoal on paper 

Putting to use the methods I have been learning at the Real Art Academy, I think I can see a change (hopefully for the better!) in my drawings.

"seated life drawing pose"

60 min pose: pencil on paper

My favourite image from the day has got to be this superimposed set of 90 sec poses of Jilly unfurling from a crouch.  This is destined to become something knitted so watch this space…….

""sequential 90sec life drawing poses"

charcoal on paper