Minchinhampton W.I. - March 2016

The seating for our February meeting was a surprise for our members, but especially appropriate for getting a good view of the demonstration that was the meeting’s focus. We were there to learn more about the contemporary craft of needle felting. Facing us was an enchanting array of lifelike animals, some 3D examples – a sleepy fox, and inquisitive badger -- and one 2D example – beautiful butterflies with intricate markings.

Our guest speaker, Sophie Bukley from Mother Goose craft shop in Nailsworth, explained the origins of the craft based on the industrial process of making flat felt but using just one hooked needle. She showed us the many materials used: sheep’s wool, silk waste, and even dog hair, and the varied colours obtained from plant dyes. Then, having encouraged three volunteers to try their hand, Sophie talked them through the process, prodding the needle into a ball of fibres, this way and that, until eventually we saw the formation of the body, head and front leg of a badger. It is a lengthy process not without its hazards (one finger injury sustained) but we could see how our volunteers were not far off the finished article. It was an inspiring session and several ladies acquired kits to have a go themselves at home. An intriguing craft, but also useful –apparently ideal for filling a hole in a jumper.

We were a large gathering today but there is always room for more. Do come and join us at our March meeting on Wednesday 2 March at Minchinhampton Library, School Road, GL6 9BP, when Dr Simon Trapnell from Twigworth ‘Nature in Art’ will be our guest.

Ros Jennings