Sunday, 23 October 2011

Wool and Willow Festival 2012

Bookings are now being taken to Exhibit and our 2012 Exhibition which will open on Saturday 2nd June 2012 and end on Saturday 30th June 2012.
Please make an initial inquiry with photo's of your work via email.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Workshop bookings for wool and willow

There is still time to book on some of our workshops; a few of you may be disappointed though because a number have been well and truly chokka block for quite some time! These 1 day workshops are incredibly good value in this day and age - in fact I'm not sure we'll be able to hold our prices for next year so.... time to make good on all those New Year resolutions and COME LEARN A NEW SKILL!!!

Excellent course - I enjoyed every minute.  Joanna is friendly, patient and extremely generous with her knowledge.  Wonderful introduction to Rigid Heddle weaving - I can't wait for more! 

Sadly prospective wool spinners and willow sculpturers are out of luck for the Festival (though if you really would like to learn we'll happily pass your details to our tutors for their mailing lists.

There's hope however for potential willow platter weavers, needlefelters, rag ruggers and knitters. So get in touch. But do it quickly there's only 2 weeks left of this fabulous festival and time takes no prisoners! Altogether now:

Meet our Makers: Olwen Veevers

Olwen keeps a flock of coloured sheep on a small farm in South East Wales and sells fine fleeces to hand spinners and felt makers.  She is currently Chairman of the British Coloured Sheep Breeders’ Association, actively promoting the use of naturally coloured wool and is a director of Wonderwool Wales.

As well as selling fleece, Olwen is an enthusiastic felt maker and needle felter.  She enjoys producing models of various animals, especially her donkey Max, and is also developing a line of felt hangings and bags decorated with medieval style lettering.
To contact Olwen, visit her website 
Max, Asleep

Friday, 3 June 2011

Meet our Makers: The Wool and Willow Shop of Hay-on-Wye

When you see that we have 20 stalls there are actually quite a few more craftspeople at Wool and Willow than we let on. How so? Well thanks to the presence of The Wool and Willow Shop of Hay-on-Wye! And what a fabulous collection of makers and materials they have on show!

The Wool and Willow shop in Hay-on-Wye exhibits work by dyers, weavers, knitters, felters and a rag rug maker.  Textile artists who live close to Hay are welcome to apply for a guest appearance. Click here to contact the shop via email.
A sister shop , Y Ddafad Ddu / The Black Sheep opens in Tregaron in June and will stock a range of fabrics from Welsh mills as well as original work by 20 local craftspeople.  
Both shops supply information about residential and day courses and open studios in the area.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Roll up roll up - not many chances left now to book your place Feltmaking courses

Learn to make a purse/wallet/phone holder by turning wool fleece into felt. No sewing! Using soap, water and elbow grease: find out about this most ancient of all constructed textiles. Once you've mastered this technique your imagination is your only barrier to making bags, garments and household products. Your tutor Lorraine has been making felt for 10 years. Tuesday 7th June from 10.30am to 4.30pm, £30 plus £3 materials.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Last minute chance to take the 2 day beginners baskets with Beryl Smith

We've had a cancellation making a space available for Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th Beginner's Baskets course. Fantastic opportunity for someone to spend a weekend doing something (ultimately) useful. Total bargain at £60 plus materials for the whole course. Cost of materials depend how quickly you want to work (or should that be how carried away with enthusiasm for your new found skill?) - £8 per basket.
Go on.... you know you want to!

Monday, 30 May 2011

Space available: the Art of Recycling with Prue Thimbleby

A fantastic opportunity to spend time with Prue Thimbleby to incorporate reclaimed objects into your willow weaving. Prue draws her inspiration from interaction with people, often creating exhibitions including the public. Her work has been exhibited in galleries in London, Oxford, Hertford, Swansea  and outdoors at Rothamsted Research, Harpenden. A very experienced workshop presenter, Prue loves working with groups and is sure to host a very special day of learning.  Friday 3rd June from 10.30am to 4.30pm, maximum number of students is 8.

At just £30 plus £3 for materials this course is incredible value. Suitable for both beginner and intermediate standard.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Part 3: neither wool nor willow or maybe both......

Mixed media, supplies, recycled, sustainable textiles. With wool. With willow. With both. With neither. All join together to make the Festival the exciting and vibrant show that it is. Enjoy!

Melindwr Textiles

Jenny Barnett
Maria Lalić

Dyed in the Wool with Wild and Woody

Wood Cymru

Part 2: Festival Willow Exhibits

Fabulous array this year. Combined with the Welsh Basketmakers bringing some beautiful pieces from both professional and amateur makers, the Festival is a great place for admirers of willow work to visit. Unfortunately one of our makers had several things conspire against her in travelling to the Festival, but we hope that Prue will be able to make it soon and we'll post images of her work when she does. Best wishes Prue!
Out to Learn Willow

Kibsey Crafts

Beryl Smith
Welsh Basketmakers Association

Great Oak Bookshop of Llanidloes

The Wool and Willow Shop of Hay-on-Wye

Part 1: Festival Wool Exhibits

Olwen Veevers

These next 3 posts are broadly on wool-willow-recycled but being a creative bunch at the Festival needless to say that categorising us all is a bit of a challenge with lots of crossover between all 3 categories.
So, starting with the wool, we have a wonderful array of knitting, felt, weaving and crochet. Here are some images, and there will be more about the unblogged-to-date makers in the next few days.
The Rainbow Room

Esgair Fibres
Wool Gathering
Ruth Packham

Sasha Kagan with new book the Classic Collection

De Mont Studios

Cwmchwefru Farm


Saturday, 28 May 2011

Wool and Willow Festival 2011 Opens

Today the Wool and Willow Festival has opened its doors for four weeks of sustainable craft. Time to seize the opportunity to Look-Learn-Shop at this unique Festival in Mid-Wales. This year we are really pleased to welcome the Welsh Basketmakers Association and The Brecon and Radnor Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers as our guest exhibitors.
Curated by Maggie Shaw, the WBA have provided a stunning exhibit for the window of The Minerva Centre with a beautiful coracle as its focal point, built by Maggie and her husband. The WBA shows a range of work from both professional and amateur basketmakers, and we are so pleased that they have chosen to exhibit their work with us this year. Thank you Maggie!

Meanwhile, this year's Festival is hosting the Brecon and Radnor Guild, and as we have come to expect they have provided a beautiful display of work. We are happy to say that they will be providing demonstrations to visitors each Friday for the duration of the Festival, giving visitors an opportunity to see craft in action and ask questions of the experts.
This is the first of 4 blogs celebrating our opening: information about wool, willow and sustainable crafts to follow soon. It's so exciting to see it all come together.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Workshop Bookings: Early Birds are catching the worms.....

.... or, at least, they're catching the Willow!

The 2 day beginner's basketmaking with Beryl Smith is now fully booked. However, there is a new list building and if there is sufficient interest there will be another 2 day beginner's baskets workshop with Beryl on Monday 13th/Tuesday 14th June. Please get in touch if you would like to put your name down for the second course.

The rag rug workshop with Sue Clow on 20th June is also FULLY BOOKED. Again, however, please get in touch if you would like to go on the reserve list, and names will be passed to Sue in case she is running other workshops or is able to offer a second date.....

For any workshop enquiries please don't hesitate to get in touch: email or see our workshops page for more info.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Meet our Makers: Mel Bastier, Clare Revera, Out to Learn Willow, Willow Frame Basket Workshop on 18th June

Our 18th June Workshop is Willow Frame Baskets presented by Mel Bastier of Out to Learn Willow.
What could be more satisfying than making your own beautiful willow basket. On our workshop participants will be shown how to weave a frame basket with a selection of coloured willow using a variety of traditional weaving techniques.
Participants will have an already prepared frame and ribs to make their baskets but there will also be a practical demonstration on making willow frames for participants to use at a later date.
During the workshop you will be taught about the cultivation and uses of willow, preparation and selection of materials.
The workshop is suitable for complete beginners and all necessary tools are provided.
Out to Learn Willow provides both living willow and dried willow workshops for adults, children and young people within a variety of educational and community settings. The company was set up in 2006 by Clare Revera and Mel Bastier whose enthusiasm in working with the natural and entirely sustainable material of willow had quickly grown into an obsession. They are passionate about reviving the ancient tradition of willow weaving and passing on the traditional skills associated with the craft through quality instruction and empathetic support.  
We foster creativity and care for the environment by encouraging a completely hands-on involvement in our workshops and we passionately believe in the holistic, artistic, creative and therapeutic benefits of working with such a forgiving and flexible material. Our craft workshops provide a fundamental connection with nature and our past.
For more information about living willow workshops or our willow courses visit or contact either Clare or Mel on 01656 880514/881007.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Meet our Makers: Ruth Packham

Another of our new exhibitors this year is Ruth Packham. Here are a few words from Ruth about her work.

I live in Borth on the West coast of Wales. My main love is fabric and have been screen printing my own designs for over 10 years......making clothes, soft furnishing, bags and art work.
I teach screen printing from my studio in Borth and do outreach workshops.

I started felt making 3 years ago and was instantly hooked. While my print making has become more monochrome, my felt making exudes colour. I try and use UK produced wool and create felt wall hangings, transferring my screen printing style into drawing with wool fibres. More recently I have discovered 3d felt making and am making felt vessels. It is early days for me and felt, I have so much to learn but I am loving the process.
Please contact me if you are interested in any aspects of my work.
Email Ruth
Visit Ruth's Etsy shop
See Ruth's Facebook Page 

Friday, 13 May 2011

Meet our Makers: Wild and Woody with Dyed in the Wool

This year we are very happy to be able to welcome a number of new makers to the Festival, helping to keep the event vibrant and relevant! Here are a few words about the first of these: more updates to follow in the next few days.

"Wild and Woody" and "Dyed in the Wool " are Llanfyllin based textile and willow workers. 
Rosie Larmour and Sue Dolman make their creations from locally sourced wool and willow. They also use recycled materials to make individual items of clothing, soft toys and furnishings. 
Both women love exploring new uses for their materials and are happy to design individual items. This will be their first time at Minerva, they are open to the connections and ideas this experience will bring them.
I hope you'll all welcome them to the Festival in 2011, and we wish them every luck for the event.

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Meet our Makers: Sasha Kagan Knitwear Designer presenting two workshops

Once again, our wonderful local knitting "celeb" Sasha Kagan will be joining the Wool and Willow Festival. Sasha will be taking time out from her touring exhibition "My Life in Textiles: 4 Decades of Hand Knit Design" to join us with an exhibition and sale of her exclusive knitwear and books, as well as presenting 2 of our workshops. Mounting this exhibit is part of Sasha's ongoing mission to 'elevate knitting to a much higher status and encourage the next generation', and her commitment to the Wool and Willow Festival is further evidence of this.
The first of her Wool and Willow workshops - aimed at beginner knitters - will introduce knitting with big needles and big wool, with participants being able to leave with a hat.
The second - for intermediate and advanced knitters - will be looking at Fairisle and domino knitting techniques with a nod to the skilled use of colour for which Sasha is renowned. Pattern, colour and texture are key to Sasha Kagan’s creative process and her exhibition ‘My Life in Textiles’ reflects the importance of these elements in her work over the last four decades.  Although Sasha trained as a painter and printmaker, she was immersed in the needle arts from an early age as both her mother and grandmother were enthusiastic and proficient knitters and needlewomen.
With a maximum of 8 students in each workshop, you will be sure to get you fair share of attention and advice from Sasha as well as having an opportunity to meet other keen or keen-to-be knitters into the bargain!
Sasha's new book - The Classic Collection - will be publised in May and on sale at the Wool and Willow Festival. A GMC-published pattern book with garments reworked in today's "softer, more luxurious yarns" and essays by a number of Kagan's colleagues and industry professions, including  Kate Buller from Rowan Yarns, Sandy Black of The London College of Fashion and Trisha Malcom from Vogue Knitting Magazine.

If you really (really?!) can't make it to Llanidloes in May/June this year, then don't forget that the Exhibition of Sasha's Life in Textiles will also be on view at these events:
  • Ruthin Craft Centre, Denbighshire 14th  May - 12th June  -
  • The Knitting and Stitching Show, Alexandra Palace, London - 6th-9th October
  • The Knitting and Stitching Show, Dublin, Ireland - 10-13th November
  • The Knitting and Stitching Show, Harrowgate - 24th-27th November 
See for details of The Knitting and Stitching shows

For more information about Sasha Kagan, please visit her website

Monday, 11 April 2011

You find something new....

While at the wonderful Wonderwool event in Builth Wells, I was introduced to the equally marvellous ravelry, an online community for knitters, crocheters and other yarn fiends.
Now, normally I'm quite fast at finding these things and I can only think it passed me by being a feltmaker (with our other contributer being a willow worker).
On the basis that lots of people reading this will be yarn fiends though I thought I'd share the ravelry revelation with you. If you haven't been there you have to go. Soon!
And if you already know all about it, love it and use it, please pity me in my ignorance! It's just I've been sooooo busy.....

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Meet our Makers: Sue Clow, Zalingai Textiles, Rag Rug Making Workshop on 20th June

On 20th June our workshop "Rag rug making" will be presented by Sue Clow. During this workshop you will learn the traditional rag rug making techniques of hooking and prodding using recycled materials. Sue will show you many exciting variations on the traditional rug and give you ideas for small pieces you can complete on the day. From rag rug flower badges to pictures and frames you will be able to take away a few finished peices and lots of ideas to inspire larger rugs and add to your repetoir of textile techniques.

Based in Ceredigion Sue started rag rug making in 1994 as the result of her patchwork and quilting. Rag rug making is a fantastic way of using left over fabric and of recycling old garments that really aren't good enough fabric to be used for anything else. Her hobby turned into the business Zalingai: The Art of Recycling in 1999 creating and selling recycled textiles in galleries and shops around Wales. She makes hats, bags, rag rugs and wallhangings, sells tools and kits and teaches workshops at many varied venues. Zalingai products can be bought at the Centre for Alterative Technology in Machynlleth and Sue teaches at the Welsh Quilt Museum in Lampeter.

The emphasis of Sue's work is recycling and rag rug making is such a brilliant technique for recycling rags that it has become the focus of Sues teaching. Zalingai sells rag rug kits, base fabrics and tools and Sue has experience of many different techniques which she is happy to discuss and share at the workshop.
Zalingai items for sale can be seen at and you can email Sue or phone her on 01974 282530 for further information.