Well, I had the most fantastic time on the "Creative Applique" course down in Dorset. The little B&B I stayed at was absolutely lovely, as was the owner, Dave.
And the course itself couldn't have been run from more beautiful surroundings.
Willimien runs the courses from her studio which is attached to her gorgeous Arts & Crafts house. How I would love to have a studio like hers !! The first section is the office. You then walk through a little door into the utility part of the studio which houses the loo, butlers sinks and irons and ironing boards and then through another little door into the actual studio itself. The studio is painted completely white with lovely wooden floors. There is a giant work table in the centre of the room, lots of shelves full of fabrics, books and magazines and a couple of tables where the sewing machines live. The walls are covered with Willimien's work and the windows overlook the beautiful West Dorset countryside. Heaven !!!!
Anyway - the course itself was fantastic. Willimien is such a lovely lady, as is her daughter who also happened to be on the course, and one other lady, Ruth, who is a friend of Willimien's.
The morning started with Willimien showing us examples of her past work and explaining various techniques. We all then had to write our names onto a piece of fabric (in joined up writing !!) and then embroider over the letters ... freehand !! This was my first taste of freehand embroidery and although I felt extremely nervous, I managed it !! YAY !!
We all then had to sit down and draw a sketch of what it was that we wanted to produce. Willimien's daughter did her garden with the shed, pot plants and the cat walking along the wall, Ruth did the view from one of her windows and I did a hot air balloon floating over the tops of trees. Willimien then showed us the technique we needed to use to transfer the sketch onto a background fabric and we all then got to work dying our background fabrics and choosing complimentary fabrics to use for the applique.
After a delicious lunch which was all made by Willimien using all of her own homegrown spinach, salad, potatoes and rhubarb etc and organic eggs from the farmer at the bottom of the field, we then got back to work and the freehand embroidery began again. By 4pm and the end of the course we each had a piece of work that was virtually finished (in fact Ruth had actually finished hers), to take home and complete at home. I have to say mine wasn't the best out of the three, but hey, practice makes perfect and now I know the various techniques, I just need to practice my freehand embroidery. I came away with so much enthusiasm and inspiration that I just can't wait to finish my hot air balloon and then start on a new project. I have lots of ideas in mind and need to keep jotting them all down for future reference. Once my hot air balloon is finished I shall post a picture here (but it is nowhere near as good as Willimien's pieces !)
Since then I have been catching up with a couple of orders I received through my website, giving my blog a new look - what do you think? and finishing getting ready for the Jimmy's Farm craft fair on Monday. I think I'm just about there with the stock, it's just the packaging I need to finish now. Oh, and I just realised I forgot to go to the Bank and get a load of change .... doh !!!! Oh well, the children's moneyboxes will have to be raided !!
I'll see you again after the Craft Fair !!