Category Archives: Uncategorized

Basketry workshop with Mary Crabb

Kim and i, as Women of the Cloth, spent the day learning twining for basketry with Mary Crabb recently. Here is Kim’s blogpost about the day.


When I was at West Dean in February there was an exhibition of work by some of the college tutors, including some exquisite woven pods by Mary Crabb. So when a textile friend announced that she had contacted Mary about running a workshop, I jumped at the chance!

Peacock Pod by Mary Crabb Image: Mary Crabb Peacock Pod by Mary Crabb
Image: Mary Crabb,

This friend Barbara, along with dachshund Bertie, hosted the workshop in her beautiful house and garden in Hove. I wasn’t surprised to learn that she regularly opens her garden to the public as part of the National Gardens Scheme – it’s a multi-layered, multi-textured sensory delight, perfect for such a creative workshop.

Mary arrived with boxes of wonderful goodies, particularly paper threads in luscious colours, and books to inspire us all. Along with the mix of fabrics, wool and thread we had brought ourselves, we were certainly spoilt for choice!


We started…

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Carol’s Summer Workshops


If you enjoy getting together with a group of women to make something with your hands, go away with new skills and just generally have a nice time, Carol’s workshops are a great place to spend a day, an evening or a half day learning some different stitching or felting techniques.

See Carol’s Website for full details of the workshops listed below, all taking place in Carol’s Studio in Streatham, south London:-

Shisha mirror workshop 002

Saturday 11th July in the afternoon – Shisha mirrorwork embroidery

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Monday 13th July, all day – Nunofelt (felting onto fabric)

felt necklaces 001

Wednesday 15th July, evening – Felt balls and cords for necklaces and bracelets


Saturday 18th July, all day – Chanin-style reverse applique with stencils


Monday 20th July, evening – Pincushion bling using handmade felt & Indian trimmings

sprout workshop

Saturday 25th July, all day – Feltmaking, learn flat & 3D feltmaking


Saturday 1st August, all day – Japanese Sashiko Embroidery

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Saturday 8th August, morning – 3D Feltmaking

Workshops July 2013 016

Saturday 22nd August, all day – Needlefelting


Saturday 30th August, all day – Embroidery – learn stitches in the morning & get started on a project in the afternoon to take home and finish.

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!

Workshops Galore!

Carol's Creative Workshops

Before getting on to the pressing business of setting dates for my own Spring workshops (see below) I thought some of you might be interested in the feltmaking and embroidery workshops I have attended myself in the past few months.  I’ve had a great time extending existing skills, learning new ones and, of course, getting together with lots of textile enthusiasts from around the world.

Last Autumn I travelled up to Big Cat Textiles in Newburgh, Scotland to take two feltmaking courses with Inge Bauer who set up Wollknoll, a centre for feltmaking in Germany.  During a 5-day period we did LOADS of feltmaking, starting with ultra fine nuno-felt (felting onto fabric) to make neckwear with beautiful draping qualities.  We used hand-dyed silk ponge fabric along with 19-micron merino wool tops, some of which were also hand-dyed by Inge using her own scientifically developed slow heatup/cooldown dyeing techniques.  Using…

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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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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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Mending Books


This is not a blog post about mending books, but a post about some of my favourite books about mending.

tomofholland collection of mending books

A small selection of my mending library

I frequently get questions about where I’ve learnt my mending skills, and what books I would recommend. Most of my skills come from old books, combined with a lot of practice. I favour old books as they tend to go more in-depth, and usually have many repair approaches depending on the fabric and what needs repairing. I’ll discuss a selection of my favourite books, in order of acquisition:

tomofholland's copy of Mend It! by Maureen Goldsworthy

Don’t just think about it, MEND IT!

A call to arms for all my mending comrades, I think Mend It! A Complete Guide to Clothes Repair is a great introduction into mending and repairing clothes. As it states on the cover, it is pretty much complete, and deals with many repair jobs. It has clear instructions with…

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Felting in France

Kim’s blog and pictures of a workshop she attended in Paris recently.


Apologies for the long silence – I had a sudden rush of website work before I headed off to Acheres, just outside Paris, for a five-day felting workshop with Maria Friese and Ariane Mariane. Both these felters are German, living in France, and the students were mostly French, but also included one Swiss, one Belgian, one American (who had lived in Acheres for 20 years) and two Brits – Abigail Thomas of Felt meets Cloth and me.

The five days was split up into two sessions of two days and three days, and students could mix and match, working with one tutor for all the days or spending two days with one and three days with the other. I elected to stay with Maria for all five days, as her work has a really organic feel that appealed to me. As we got talking we discovered other mutual interests…

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The Point of the Needle at Hall Place

Kim’s account of our latest exhibition outing as a group,


It hasn’t been a very creative time for me over the past couple of weeks. Too busy with my day job, earning money towards my next felting workshop – five whole days with Maria Friese and Ariane Mariane just outside Paris in a couple of weeks’ time. ESP is going to wander the streets of Paris (and no doubt stuff himself in fine restaurants at lunchtime) while I enjoy some fibre fun with a group of like-minded enthusiasts. I’m really looking forward to it!

So it was a relief to escape for half a day with my sister Women of the Cloth, Carol and Joan, to go back to Hall Place in Bexley for an exhibition by the New Embroidery Group (their website is currently being redesigned).

hall place1

Contradicting its name, the group was actually established more than 40 years ago. Its president for many years was Constance Howard, famous-…

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