June 2016 !
Lunar Festival - Felt making workshops !
On the 5-7th June I taught my felt making workshops at Lunar Festival, on the Umberslade Estate, Tamworth In Arden. The festival was a wonderful weekend with a great vibe, some excellent music, and so much creation everywhere with the artworks, costumes and design work. It was easy to be inspired in this beautiful landscape and there were plenty of creative workshops to get involved in. It was rather windy on Saturday for felt making so everyone had to hold down their wool, but it was a perfect sunny day on Sunday with only a few wispy clouds. Unlike last year, there was absolutely no mud anywhere ! Well done to everyone for their lovely designs! Some delightful designs were made of tropical fish, foxes, toadstools, butterflies, owls, bats and rainbows, and the Lunar Crow as a design which was just brilliant! There were cats ears, a wonderful creature mask, flowers and just some wonderful swirls and splashes of bright colours and fluffy bits of wool everywhere.
It was lovely being there with all the tipis and yurts in the Pink Moon Meadow. Working and sharing my skills at this festival was just brilliant. It was lovely to chat to people as they teased out their wool, and find out where they had travelled from, and their festival experiences, which bands they had seen and what wonders they had encountered. I hope you've spotted your felted souvenir amongst the pictures! I can 't wait until next year already !
For all the visual treats of this fabulous weekend see www.lunarfestival.co.uk
See my page on their website at http://lunarfestival.co.uk/activities/felting-ursula-westwood/
I'm getting ready for the annual Warwickshire Open Studios event, which is really exciting. I have lots of work to show, and I'm planning to do some workshops in the garden. I will add details of this in the next couple of days.
Scholarship success !
I found out recently that Mimi one of my tutees has been accepted at her new school as an Art scholar so I am thrilled for her ! I helped her develop her sketchbook work and produce a felted wall hanging based on her holiday in Italy. It's my second successful tutee to gain an Art scholarship !
My work from the Warwickshire open Studios exhibition was exhibited in Coventry at the Walsgrave University Hospital at the start of the year, and I'm hoping to do some workshops there in felt making with the patients soon. I had an e-mail from some out patients at the hospital to say how much my work cheered them up on their visit, so I am thrilled about that. There will be more collaboration with the Arts organisation with workshops soon.
I hope you enjoy looking at my work and do get in touch if you would like to commission anything or do a workshop in felt making.
From May 2015. How to capture time. On slower days....
I don't get worried by the weather at all. I don't like still, gloomy days but even then you can get something out of them by doing some drawing, painting or working through them in a colourful way. Sometimes you need an excuse to stay at home and potter around, and weather can be that excuse. Wearing your comfy clothes and cosy socks, with a cup of tea on the go, finding ways of making things, putting fabric together, doing a collage, taking photos, just capturing that time. It's so relaxing. This does of course mean the house is in a state of untidiness more so on these days, but that is all part of it ! We have great waves of untidiness at home, and then it is all gone after a day of sorting. I have to remember that it's all part of being an artist. I make felt because it is a relaxing and gradual process in which you can re-gain your time in your method and flow. Every day seems to be so hectic, with constant lists of stuff to remember and sometimes it can make you feel really stressed out. So my felt making helps me to relax, in that I manage to capture time and that feels really satisfying, seeing as time goes faster these days, and I don't have much. Maybe I will have more in the future, but right now the days are whizzing by!
I actually feel like the days of pottering at home with my children are too few and far between. That chance to get lost in making stuff at home, whatever it is, making dens, cardboard catapults or a wooden brick zoo with animals, is a great way to feel connected to your resourceful, creative self. I constantly feel like I am rushing around here there and everywhere all the time, but should be doing more things at home with my children, because it's what I did when I was young and I loved it. You just have to have a free afternoon and potter creatively together, and you will feel like you've captured time. Your children will gradually become adept at playing with cardboard boxes rather than wanting new toys, or looking for the next big day out. So enjoy your time together at home, painting feet or making an aquarium from a shoe box. I think it's really important. It's what I aspire to do- give them my time and play with them whilst I can, whilst they are still young, right now I'm worried about time going too fast and them growing up !
Ursula Westwood BA Hons, Fine Art Sculpture, PGCE Art & Design
I am a felt artist, and have been making felt since 2002. I am fascinated by the history of felt making and love drawing with the vibrant colours of the wool to create my designs. Felt making for me is highly satisfying and makes me very happy! I started my business in 2002, designing a range of bags and cushions that featured hand felted designs in London. I supplied orders to shops after exhibiting at Top Drawer and East London Design Show, and having editorial coverage in Time Out magazine for Christmas stockings. I also had some commissioned designs for the National Gallery, and St Paul's Cathedral shop in London, and a boutique in Milan. All of my designs can be seen on my previous website here and are available to order.
I now sell my range of felted items directly to the customer, where I create bespoke commissions. I also really enjoy inspiring others with teaching the felt making process at workshops and going in to schools as a visiting artist.
My designs are fun and quirky, using bright fresh colours and simple forms. Some designs are impressions of nature from fruits, flowers and butterflies, other designs are spots or stripes of colour, and fire bursts of several colours. Popular themes include pets, favourite foods, and personalised Christmas stockings. These latter designs are known as 'Pop Felts'.
I have always had a love of textiles, and producing sculpture work on my degree mainly involved using a sewing machine, with creating fun costumes for performance work and installations. The ideas for my degree show developed into the notion of producing artwork about the self, and so my whole degree show was based on that. 'Narcissistic Greenhouse' featured in The Guardian, and was part of a group exhibition in Paris in 1999.
After my degree, I worked as a props buyer and set dresser for small productions, including 'Teletubbies' for the BBC. I worked for Tate Britain, and enjoyed walking past a Picasso every morning! At the same time, I developed my passion for teaching art and textiles. I also paint murals and create props for parties and themed events.
Current and future work
I am interested in working on a larger scale with making more felted wall hangings for interiors and experimenting also with incorporating other textile techniques to create a new range of designs. I have developed some screen print designs based on the theme of 'Journeys', and would like to work on these further.