All posts by Flextiles

About Flextiles

Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

Sprout 2015

Women of the Cloth are delighted to be returning to Sprout Community Arts in Furzedown for the fourth year.

We’ll be there from 24 November to 7 December, with a private view on Monday 23 November, 6-9pm – everyone welcome.

carol workshop

Carol will have some lovely nuno felted pieces and will be running her ever-popular workshops on mirror embroidery, nuno felting, making felt slippers and a special after-school workshop focusing on tassels and pompoms.

maple dress2

Kim will be showing her latest batch of upcycled hand dyed indigo shibori scarves, along with a new product line of ecoprinted clothing and accessories. Ecoprinting uses real leaves bundled up with fabric and steamed or simmered for a few hours – the prolonged contact with the fabric results in the foliage leaving marks on the fabric.

We’re also delighted to have four guest artists joining us this year. They include:

Gabriela Szulman
scarf by gabriela szulman

Gabriela is an artist and maker who creates prints, greeting cards, jewellery and scarves with images inspired by memory, nostalgia and a love of everything vintage. Gabriela will also be running a decoupage workshop and demonstrating how to upcycle furniture with Carol.

Black Cactus

lovely leaves foiled clutch by Black Cactus London

Anna Jackson of Black Cactus is a textile artist and designer maker specialising in printing. Lush texture, colour and enjoyment of the raw material are all expressed in her pieces.

Felted mask by Mary Jones

AnotherEarthling is the work of Mary Jones, a 3D textile artist from north London. Inspired by a love of the woods, Mary uses the needle felting technique to make a range of animal forms, from tiny creatures that rest in your palm to life-sized animal sculptures, an ethical alternative to traditional taxidermy, and a huge range of animal character masks.

Loren Zeisler

knitted scarf

Loren knits scarves and snoods using one-off combinations of colours and yarns. She also makes jewellery using vintage beads, and sparkling Christmas ornaments.


As mentioned above, we’ll also be running several workshops at Sprout – details below. Prices include all materials. Places are limited, so please book in advance on Eventbrite.

shisha workshopWednesday 25 November, 6.30-9pm
Spend an enjoyable evening learning to stitch on little Indian mirrors to add adornment to your stitching projects, then add rings of different stitches around them using colourful threads and beads.

slipper workshopSaturday 28 November, 10.30am-4pm
Make a pair of handmade felt slippers using soft sheep fleece, soap and water.  Choose any colours you like to suit you and your style.  The beauty of making felt slippers is that you can finish shaping them on your own feet for a perfect fit.  They are warm and breathable, light as a feather and so comfy you’ll hardly know you’re wearing them.  It’s like having your feet hugged (according to one of Carol’s workshop participants!). £55

mary small animal 1000x750Sunday 29 November, 2-5pm
Sculpt with wool! In this workshop you will learn to make an adorable unique needle felted small animal with Mary. All it takes is wool fibre and a barbed needle – fun, easy and very satisfying! £35

boots decoupageTuesday 1 December, 10am-1pm
Transform a pair of boring, plain shoes into something unique and eye-catching using just paper and glue. During this workshop, you will select papers from Gabriela’s extensive collection to transform a pair of shoes into your unique creation through decoupage. Gabriela will guide you through the design process and show you all the tricks involved in applying very thin paper to a flexible surface. Bring an old pair of shoes or sandals made from leather or plastic, with as little embellishment as possible. If in doubt, bring a couple of pairs and we can choose the best one once you’re here. £35 (bring your own shoes – all other materials provided)

decoupage chairTuesday 1 December, 2-5pm
Carol and Gabriela will demonstrate how to upcycle old furniture very economically, using paint effects and decoupage. They will be on hand to answer questions and share tips, and tell you all about their first furniture upcycling workshop next January.

metallic wrist cuffs by Black Cactus LondonWednesday 2 December, 6.30-9pm
Make a unique collection of metallic wrist cuffs with Anna. Design six pieces in the patterns and colours of your choice to create your own fabulous selection of wrist candy. Tools will be on hand for you to ensure they are a custom fit. An original gift idea, if you can part with any of them! £35 

tassel workshopThursday 3 December, 4-6pm
Using colourful yarns, threads and beads we’ll make a selection of tassels and pompoms to make into a charm which you can hang on your bedroom door handle or on the handle of a bag.
£5 per child aged 7 up

nuno wrist warmers

Saturday 5 December, 10.30am-4pm
Nuno felting involves fusing wool and silk fibres onto fabric to create texture and strength, using just soap and water with rubbing and rolling. In this workshop you will create a few small samples with different fabrics, then make a pair of beautiful silk and wool wrist warmers. No more boring gloves! £55

animal maskSunday 6 December, 10.30am-4pm
In this workshop you’ll learn to make a beautiful, unique animal character mask with Mary. These masks are full of life and expression – they can be also be worn on the forehead as a headdress, perfect for festivals, wild nights and masked balls. £55


Places on all these workshops are limited – please book on Eventbrite. If you have any queries, please email


Make a felted bird or bird pod at South London Botanical Institute

We’re very excited to be taking part in the Chelsea Fringe for the first time this year. This alternative garden festival, which grew up around the Chelsea Flower Show, runs from 16 May to 7 June 2015, with events and happenings all over London, not just Chelsea.

Carol and Kim from Women of the Cloth are going to be running a felting workshop at the South London Botanical Institute on Saturday 30 May. Participants will be able to make either a needle felted bird or a wet felted bird pod – all materials provided.

felted birds and pod

The birds are made by needle felting, where you work the fibres together with a barbed needle to make a sculpted shape.

The pods are made using the wet felting technique, where you lay fleece around a resist and felt it by rubbing and rolling with soap and water.

Age 8+. Cost £10 inc materials. Please book in advance by emailing

Appeal for Joan’s daughter

Those of you who have met Joan will be sad to hear that her daughter Keso has had a stroke.

Keso moved to Hong Kong in December 2014 for a new job. After one month of living in Hong Kong, shefell ill with what she thought was just a sinus infection. Her condition worsened and she lost movement and control of her left arm and leg.

It turns out Keso had CVT – cerebral venous thrombosis – a very rare type of stroke.

Her parents flew from London to Hong Kong to be by her side and what followed was a roller coaster ride of chest infection, blood infection, seizures, heart stoppages, and a stay in intensive care, where they celebrated her 26th birthday.

Keso bravely battled through each of these obstacles and began to regain movement in her arm and leg. She was finally discharged and allowed home.


After only 10 days out of hospital, Keso has now had to return after the doctors discovered she has three abscesses in her brain. These infections have to be dealt with and surgery is needed. This involves another six weeks in hospital, MRIs, doctors fees, scans, medications, ICU, and more.

Her family’s friends and supporters have set up an Indiegogo fundraising page to help cover her medical costs. If you would like to donate, the page is here. Thank you!

Mud resist printing in Jaipur

Here’s a (long) account of Kim’s recent mud resist block printing workshop in Jaipur, India.


[Warning – this is a long post with lots of images!]

Brrr! I’m still adjusting to the drop in temperature since returning to the UK after four weeks in India. 🙂

mud ingredients

The last week was spent in Jaipur, on a mud resist block printing and indigo dyeing workshop organised by the Jaipur Virasat Foundation. Along with mud resist, there were also workshops on stitching, miniature painting, mirror mosaics, photography and Indian cookery, so it was an interesting mix.

The tutors for the mud resist workshop were Natalie Gibson, Head of the Fashion Print Course at Central St Martin’s College of Art & Design, and Di Livey, former Senior Lecturer in Textiles & Applied Print at Middlesex University, and visiting lecturer at other institutions. Both were wonderfully colourful characters, both figuratively and literally, with endless supplies of patience and guidance.

Natalie and Di Natalie and Di

The workshop was held about 30km outside Jaipur…

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Felt Passion

We were lucky enough before Christmas to win a competition on Facebook for a book published by Textile-link, a Dutch publisher that specialises in creating books about textiles from information and photos that people upload to their site.

felt passion

The book we chose, Felt Passion, contains inspiring photos of felt created by 95 German artists living (a previous book, Felting for me is…, featured Dutch and Belgian felt artists). Other books focus on general textile arts.

Felt Passion contains fantastic examples of felt that really pushes the boundaries, from needle-felted figures to nuno, from sculptures to stitched felt. Kim has done workshops with three of the featured artists – Maria Friese, Ariane Mariane and Andrea Noeske-Porade – and can testify to their expertise and enthusiasm to share.

If you fancy being featured in the next book, called Worldwide Colours of Felt, due to be published in 2015, you need to register with the site and upload photos of your work. There is space for 200-300 artists in the book. Participation is free, and if your work is selected for the book you can order copies at a discount. More information on the Textile-link website.

Wishing you all a very happy and creative 2015!

Lambeth Open on 4-5 October

We’re delighted to announce that Women of the Cloth will be taking part in Lambeth Open again this year on 4 and 5 October. There are more artists and artisans taking part in Streatham this year, so why not make a day of it and take the opportunity to discover the creative talent on your doorstep?

As a member of Women of the Cloth, this will be Carol’s third Lambeth Open event. She will be showing her latest work in nuno felt, including wearables such as tactile cosy scarves and items of textile jewellery, plus a small flock of her needlefelted birds. As a feltmaker Carol continues to develop her range of skills and methods through experimentation, and to indulge her love of mixing colours and textures using fibre and cloth. Once a year new inspiration and learning comes from attending workshops with world-renowned tutors, most recently Inge Bauer.

Carol will be running a needlefelted birds workshop on the Sunday, 5th October, from 2-5 pm at a cost of £25 including materials and a cuppa.  Needlefelting is relaxing, absorbing, anyone can do it and it’s a bit addictive!

Email us at to book a place.

This summer Joan has been lucky enough to spend two months in France.  Taking a rest from weaving and sitting on the terrace with a cold glass of wine in her hand, looking at the riot of colour in the garden,  she was inspired to have a go at making textile jewellery.  She has enjoyed both making and wearing some of the pieces and, having received some very positive feedback, she is continuing to expand the styles and colours into an autumn range.

Kim has spent the summer experimenting with rust and natural dyes, which has been fascinating and occasionally frustrating! (You can read more about this on her Flextiles blog.) She has also continued to develop her sculptural felting techniques, attending workshops with Andrea Graham and Maria Friese, and has a new line of cutwork felted scarves for the autumn/winter season, alongside her best-selling upcycled hand-dyed indigo shibori pieces.

Guest artist duo AfroRetro will also be showing their funky handmade jewellery, accessories and clothing inspired by their Ugandan and British heritage.  They will be running a series of mini-make workshops on Saturday 4th October during which you can try your hand at making a lavender bag, a bookmark, an oyster card holder, a card or various other small items using colourful african fabrics, palm leaves and bark cloth and simple stitching techniques.  These mini workshops are £5 each including materials.  Email us at

Lambeth Open takes place on 4 and 5 October, 10am-6pm. Women of the Cloth will be at 27 Mount Ephraim Lane, Streatham, SW16 1JE. We hope to see you there!

Making Colour at the National Gallery

If you haven’t been to this exhibition at the National Gallery, I highly recommend it!


This exhibition opened in June, but I’ve only just got round to seeing it. Although it focuses on painting rather than textiles, it’s definitely worth a visit.

It begins with a brief introduction to the concepts of primary colours and the colour wheel, and how painters over the years exploited the combinations of complementary colours (those which are opposite each other on the colour wheel, such as purple and yellow, or green and red) to create striking visual impressions.

colour wheel

This is followed by sections on each of the main colours – blue, green, yellow, red and purple, plus gold and silver.

The earliest pigments were mostly from ground-up minerals. Lapis lazuli, or natural ultramarine, used for blue, was at one time more expensive than gold, so became popular for painting the robes of the Virgin Mary, as a sign of devotion. Red vermilion (cinnabar) was a mercury ore, green came from…

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British Folk Art at Tate Britain

Highly recommended exhibition at Tate Britain includes lots of textiles!


It’s official – I am an artist! 😉 Earlier this week I applied to join South London Women Artists, and I just heard that I’ve been accepted.

There are those who high-mindedly maintain that an artist is someone who paints, draws or (occasionally) sculpts. I don’t do any of these, but Joan, my sister Woman of the Cloth, who is a weaver and already a member of SLWA, encouraged me to apply.

Fortified by this acknowledgement of my status, I hot-footed it off to Tate Britain to see the British Folk Art exhibition. Now, the Tate is not exactly overflowing with textile art – the last time I saw this many textile works in a show was at the Alghiero Boetti exhibition at Tate Modern.

This “art vs craft” distinction has been around a long time, of course. When the Royal Academy was established in 1769, it explicitly…

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Shibori rust dyeing pt 2


To give you a break from yet another eco printing experiment, I thought I’d share another shibori rust-dyed scarf with you.

rust onion scarf6

This scarf is made of a double layer of heavier silk (it’s actually a man’s evening scarf), so I thought it would be more robust than the very lightweight silk ponge scarf that I used last time.

I bound it with rusty screws, slightly more loosely than last time. Because the silk was thicker and double layered, the rust colour didn’t spread as far or as fast as last time. By the time I had finished binding the screws on the silk ponge, the scarf was already a rusty colour all over, whereas with this scarf there were only faint traces of colour.

I was also concerned that although there would be good colour on the side of the silk that touched the screws, the other side of the…

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Textile heaven in East Dulwich with Women of the Cloth

Carol's Creative Workshops

Avent Gallery 2014 009Avent Gallery 2014 077Avent Gallery 2014 021

Well, we’ve come to the end of another enjoyable textile event – our second Spring show at the Jeannie Avent Gallery in London SE22.   It was a riot of colour, chatter & textile activity with lots of new visitors as well as old friends who had visited us here last year. Workshops were well attended & people went home with an amazing array of gorgeous tactile textiles, made with skills they didn’t know they had! Shibori scarf by Flextiles

Kim’s beautiful shibori tied, indigo dyed scarves flew out of the gallery, destined to be gifts for friends, mothers, daughters & aunts.

Janet’s beloved needlefelted dogs were gathered up by those who just can’t resist their imploring little faces and quirky characters, to be cherished by dog-lovers everywhere.

Needle felted dogs by Janet ThompsonWe said goodbye to our favourite of Dianne’s colourful rag-rugs made with recycled t-shirts, which was bought for someone’s toddler daughter to step out onto when she…

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