Summer workshops in south London 2016

Women of the Cloth have teamed up with some local community groups to teach feltmaking workshops during their summer festivals.

First up is Vauxhall City Farm on Saturday 4th June .Vauxhall City Farm

Vauxhall City Farm is the most centrally located farm in London. They specialise in educational, recreational and therapeutic services and activities ranging from school trips, workshops, gardening projects and birthday parties to Riding for the Disabled.

As part of their Spring Spectacular we have been invited to run a day of feltmaking workshops in the new Education Centre, and you can also enjoy spending time with the farm animals and having refreshments in the  Old Dairy Cafe.

flowers & phone case

We’ll be making felt flowers at the morning session, then phone cases using a resist technique in the afternoon.  Sign up for one or both at £12 per session.  Book your places direct with the Farm here.

Next we’ll be at Brixton Windmill on Sunday 26th June.

Windmill with sails

Brixton Windmill turns 200 years old in 2016 and there will a number of celebrations throughout the year.  Although there were probably mills in the area in the Middle Ages, the earliest evidence of a windmill in Lambeth dates from the 16th century. At least 12 sites have existed, though the maximum number of mills at any one time was at the beginning of the 19th century, when there were five working in Lambeth, including Brixton Windmill, which has been lovingly restored.

For the bicentenary celebrations it recently displayed beautiful new sailcloths, designed by local team Eley Kishimoto.

We Women of the Cloth will be running  drop in sessions making felt flowers  during the Brixton Windmill  Festival on 26th June, 2-4pm.


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

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

Avent Gallery 2014 077

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

Felt workshops 2013 106

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.

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!

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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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!

Christmas sale & workshops

1 to 10 December – daily from 10am 

at Sprout Community Arts, 74 Moyser Road, London SW16 6SQ

Private View – Monday 1 December 6-9pm

Join us for our third annual Christmas show at Sprout, a lovely community arts space in Streatham, south London.  Several guest artists will be joining us to create a wonderful display of colourful textile artworks, wearables and all manner of unique handmade gifts.

If you’d like to learn some new craft skills, enrol for one of our workshops in weaving, textile jewellery, feltmaking or embroidery – see the timetable below.

Women of the Cloth

Carol will be showing her latest work in nuno felt, including wearables such as tactile cosy scarves, snoods and arm wear,  felt and stitch collages plus the ever popular winter warmers in handmade felt such as hottie covers and tea cosies . As a feltmaker, Carol continues to indulge her love of mixing colours and textures using fibre and cloth. Join her for a feltmaking or embroidery workshop.

Over the summer Joan has been developing a new line in wrapped and beaded textile jewellery.  She has enjoyed both making and wearing some of the pieces and, having received some very positive feedback and healthy sales at our Lambeth Open event, she is continuing to expand the styles and colours.  She will also be showing her latest woven vessels and wall hangings.  Join Joan for a jewellery-making workshop on Sunday 7 December (see below).

Kim will be there with her latest batch of upcycled hand-dyed indigo shibori pieces, plus a few scarves dyed with rust and other natural dyes.  She continues to develop her sculptural felting techniques, attending workshops with Andrea Graham and Maria Friese, and has a new line of cutwork felted scarves and felted ruffle collars for the festive season. You can keep up with her work on her Flextiles blog.

Guest artists


Sister-duo AfroRetro will be showing their funky handmade jewellery, accessories and clothing inspired by their Ugandan and British heritage. Gorgeous Ugandan fabrics, bark cloth and palm leaves are among the materials which give their work such unique texture and pattern.

Linda Firth is a fine art textile artist working in south London.  The work she will be showing uses handmade felt embellished with collage and stitch.

Weaver Jackie Bennett’s work is driven by the urge to experiment and sample yarns.  She favours plant fibres: cotton, hemp, linen, jute, bamboo, silk and wool.  Another lover of colour and texture, Jackie responds to inspirations both rural and urban, ranging from trees to buildings.  She is also concerned with vision and the loss of sight.


Loren Zeisler is also inspired by beautiful yarns and natural fibres, combining them in different ways so that each of her knitted items  is a one-off.  She loves making things that have a function as well as being decorative, and each project – textiles, jewellery, ornaments – starts with thoughts on colour and evolves from there.


Janet Thompson’s ever popular needlefelted dogs will be with us once more and Janet will run a weekday workshop for those who would like to learn to make their own woolly pooch.  Janet’s dogs are full of character and fun, each with its own unique personality.  Perfect gifts for animal lovers at Christmas.

wolle and hide purses

Making handmade products has enabled Susan of Wolle + Hide to show her passion for wonderful materials using simple shapes that show off the beauty and texture of the cloth and leather with fresh colour combinations.  Her fashion accessories mix rural and urban aesthetics for design conscious women and men.

Helena, Sue and Christabel are all stitchers also contributing smaller handmade Christmas decorations and gift items, including bags for children, pincushions and purses in colourful fabrics to add even more variety to our offerings at Sprout this year.

So come and visit us or email us on to book a workshop place from the list below.


My textiles Autumn 2013 043

Needlefelted dogs with Janet
Tuesday 2 December, 11am-3pm, £35
Learn how to needlefelt a little dog using simply sheep fleece and a special needle.  Once you have learnt the basic techniques, you’ll add characterful details to your new best friend!

Shisha mirror workshop 002Shisha mirrorwork embroidery with Carol
Tuesday 2 December, 6.30-9pm,  £20
Learn how to sew on these small round mirrors, Indian-style, and add them to your handmade Christmas decorations. Play with colourful threads.

images bird 6Hanging decorative bird with Helena
Saturday 6 December, 10.30am-12.30pm,
This workshop will give you the chance to practise your sewing skills and learn new ones while you make an individually crafted textile decoration using sequins, ribbons, bright colours and decorative fabrics.

Felt workshops 2013 106Felting with Carol
Saturday 6 December, 1.30-5.30pm, £20

Make your own felt teacosy or hot water bottle cover using colourful sheep fleece, soap and water.  Fast results with lovely, tactile materials – great makes for Christmas gifts.

Joan Kendall jewellery 1Textile jewellery with Joan
Sunday 7 December, 11am-4pm, £35

Learn contemporary textile jewellery making techniques using colourful fibres, yarns, threads and beads.  Select colours and textures to match your wardrobe or experiment with something new.

Helena's birdStitching and beading with Helena
Sunday 7 December, 2.30-6pm, £35

An extension of Helena’s Saturday class to develop stitch and bead work and explore your own ideas.  The aim is to make one complete bird decoration to hang on your tree or give as a handmade gift.

Afroretro swirl 2Upcycling with Afroretro

Monday 8 December, 18.30-21.00, £15

In this workshop sisters Ann and Lilly will teach you handprinting techniques to upcycle an unloved tee into a statement piece ready for the festive season, embellished with colour, sequins, & lots of fun.