Armley Mills – Part 1

My local region of the International Feltmakers Association (IFA) is working on a collaboration with Amley Mills, Leeds Industrial Museum. In spring last year we visited the museum and I came away inspired to create a piece which incorporated the processes of a wool mill with use of as many museum resources as possible.

I wanted to follow the wool through washing, spinning, weaving and felting and to record the journey on a camera from the museum archives. My daughter Charlie was inveigled into wielding the cameras. I say cameras because she used both the Kershaw analog ( it was a Leeds company) and a digital camera for the job.

This was only possible because the museum staff were so co-operative. The cameras on show in the museum couldn’t be used for fear of damaging them but one was found in the archives. Charlie was quite excited to be allowed to handle it especially as we’d never before heard of this local brand.

There isn’t room in these few posts to share all the photos that were taken but as a thank you to Charlie for all her work we did buy her a Kershaw King Penguin of her own.





Photography Show

Our daughter Charlotte is studying A level photography, she did very well at GCSE achieving an A so it’s no surprise she wants to coninue pursuing it. Charlotte has found the work of Michael Kenna inspiring and so when Simon discovered he was speaking at the photography show at the NEC last weekend he went ahead and booked tickets.

Sadly, when the day arrived Simon didn’t feel up to it so I stood in as a poor second. It was quite a large show and the technology!!! The technology was a little overwhelming at times and wherever we turned there was someone pointing a lens at us. Cameras on masts, models, glamour shoots, demos,workshops, talks and flying drones – it was all there. The surprise purchase of the day was made by Charlotte who bought a film camera. We have film cameras at home but not as cute, small or light.

Michael Kenna’s talk was absorbing and it’s very interesting that he uses only film cameras (spot the influence?) as he likes the surprise of seeing what comes back on the developed photos. He likes to work in black and white as light levels can be changed in the dark room and he appreciates the flexibility it allows. At the end of the talk Charlotte went up on stage and asked if he would sign a sheet of his photographs for her. Michael was very obliging, not only did he sign, he wished her well with her exams.


A good day.

Parceval Hall

Yesterday dawned with  fabulous blue and sunny skies, too good to waste staying indoors. Unfortunately my daughter has labyrinthitis and a bad knee so walking too far wasn’t an option. We decided to visit our favourite local gardens which is always so tranquil and calming with lovely views across to the hills.

We picked up our cameras and called at the supermarket for picnic supplies. Within minutes of arriving the battery died on one camera (oops, never crossed my mind to check that) a moment later I discovered that the second camera didn’t have a memory card in it. Fortunately the card from the dead battery camera did work in the second so we had one good camera. Shame that it then started to give warnings of a low battery.

Despite our camera troubles (and the flies biting during lunch) here’s my selection of our best photos for your enjoyment.

This was taken by my fourteen year old daughter – stunning isn’t it. I think it’s great that she’s just started her GCSE in photography, it’ll be time well spent.

This is a red-legged shieldbug snapped by my husband but spotted by my daughter.

I took this photo, for me, it sums up the day. Sat on the terrace, enjoying the peacefulness and the view.

Memories and digital cameras

The problem with digital cameras is that you sometimes forget to take the photos off the camera and actually look at them. This seems to have happened to us quite a bit lately but the upside is the delight in re-discovering images and remembering the days on which they were taken.

I love this sandy heart, it was made by our daughter in lieu of an anniversary card.
I think it’s the colours but I just adore the image below.

and this one is pretty nifty too.

This is so making me want to go out with my camera again, if only I had the time.

Our daughter took the photo above and it’s so sharp ypu can see every detail in the wings – exquisite.
You can view the one below and think terrible photo, it’s really blurred or, you can see it as
a wonderful special effect. I plump for the latter.

This one is big, bold and beautiful.

Sometime ago (last year – oops!) we decided to get some photos printed off and put them into an album, sadly they’re still waiting to be stuck in (double oops!). It’s such a shame because we never view them on the computer, tis the downside of digital.

Photography session

What do you do on a wet Sunday afternoon? Well, in this house it was a photography session. Hubby’s friend D was visiting, they’re both keen photographers and I’ve made lots of felt ready for my sale this evening. Wet weather, two photographers, a set of studio lights and some felt, it was a match made in heaven.

Here they are jammed into what felt like a small space in our kitchen. So many legs from tripods, lights, humans and cats that it’s a wonder we didn’t knock anything over. It’s the first time I’ve felt sorry for my felt, it seemed it was under scrutiny from the paparazzi.

Now, they’ve taken some wonderful photos of scarves, bags, cushions, books and brooches but I haven’t had time to sort them yet, so I’m sorry but you’ll have to make do with this poor contribution from me.

It’s my last three hearts made up. I just need to finish my last notebook cover and set up for tonight. I hope to have time tomorrow to show you much more of my latest work.

Ilkley Flower Show

Our daughter has participated in the flower show before and has even won a cup in the children’s entries but my husband and I have been onlookers, until now. We’ve decided this year that we should all be involved this coming Saturday and have chosen a few classes each. The first is an adult class for photography. Hubby and I have entered the ‘winter scene’ class.

These two were taken by my husband and below is my entry taken early one morning.. He’s threatening not to speak to me if I win.

The next category we’ve entered is ‘something red’ and this time the whole family is head to head. First up are my husband’s entries.

The insect on the flower was taken by my daughter and as I just happened to have some hanging around, I took the one of the bunting. I wonder who will win and will we still be speaking. I don’t think mine will win but at least it’s a different subject. Our daughter has also entered a children’s photography class with a picture of her best friend.

This is our youngest cat Pan and the one she adores the most. You should see them cuddled up in bed together watching a DVD – sweet. Pan is the most amenable cat ever, he never minds what you do to him and is just as happy to be upside down as curled up asleep with his brother.

Our final marital head to head category is ‘something new from something old’. A few weeks ago my husband had to build a new fence panel and salvaged the timber from the old one which he has now turned into a striking aysmetrical bird box. In my usual way, I decided to use this opportunity to do a project that’s been in my head for some years and which hadn’t even got started yet and that was to make a cushion. It’s going to be made from parts of jeans which belonged to my daughter and which were trashed beyond the point of being able to be passed on.

I’m sure you’ve all spotted the problem with mine – it’s not finished yet. I’ve one last seam to cover with yarn and then I can begin to make it up. At least putting it in the flower show means it will get finished. I am worried as I know that the judge will be from the WI and will spot all my little mistakes which my daughter won’t notice and wouldn’t care about if she did. Yes, of course this is for my daughter – again.

These aren’t the only categories we’ve entered. My husband has entered the lemon drizzle cake class and I’ve committed to making cheese scones. We think our lemon drizzle recipe is a winner but if you have an award winning recipe for cheese scones now would be a good time to share it with me!

I’ll tell you more about the other categories later – wish us luck.

Good shot

We’ve had some lovely sunny days this week so when she came home from school my daughter was inspired to play with the camera in the garden. Often she takes shots of flowers but this time she really used her imagination and took shots: from different angles, of different materials and looking through items to flowers beyond. Not all of them worked but here for your pleasure are my four favourites.


Photographing felt

My husband Simon has been a great help in photographing my felt items. However, it hasn’t always been plain sailing especially as felt can look fuzzy even when it’s in focus. Simon has written an article on his blog about the approach he takes and the things he feels are important for photographing felt. Please take a look and give some feedback. We hope you find the article useful but please give feedback either way. If Simon can improve the article, he will.