Welsh Expedition

I am sure it was wet everywhere in the UK last weekend, but it seemed doubly so in Wales.  Despite the rain obscuring the view, I found myself driving slower and slower just so I could admire the scenery – it was glorious, in fact it was breathtakingly beautiful in places, and just stunning everywhere else.  Obviously I was overcome by the beauty of the scenery because I could not hold my camera level as you can see from the photo below.  (Barmouth Bridge).  It was very windy, and the sun shone just long enough to get out of the car and take this photo.

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So why was I in Wales?  I had been invited back by the Mid Wales Embroiderers to teach them how to make masks. I had been to Llanidloes last year to present my work to them and introduce Friendly Plastic to them in the form of a Bend It Shape It workshop,  and the gluttons for punishment asked me back again!  It seemed to make sense to make the most of the opportunity and combine a visit to Tecstiliau Meirionnydd Textiles Group as well.  TMT wanted a talk and a workshop, so it was a full on few days.  Everyone was so very friendly and welcoming that the trip was great fun and not in the least onerous.  I will give you the low down on the group on Dolgellau in my next post.

You can see from the photos below that the Mid Wales Embroiderers worked really hard and produced some cracking masks that simply needed finishing off with a few stitches and a fabric trim.

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These masks have been worked in Lacework, laminated to fabric and then moulded to the head former.  

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IMG_0265The image above shows a mask in the making in the background (Pat Gibson did such a brilliant job of looking after me that she did not get quite as far as the others during the workshop – thank you Pat), and one that has been  laminated to fabric in the foreground.  Not much Friendly Plastic needs to be used to create stunning effects.  The excess fabric can be cut off, sliced off with a soldering iron, or frayed depending on the effects that are wanted.  The eye sockets are yet to be clearly outlined and have their fabric removed.

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This lovely mask (slightly out of focus I am afraid) cleverly makes use of sequin trim to outline the eyes.  Really striking.

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Chrissie, who made this mask really jumped in at the deep end and proved she could swim like an Olympic champion.  Chrissie had never worked with Friendly Plastic before and she did this class, creating a stunning mask ( you should see it in the flesh to appreciate it) and then she spent the next day listening to me yattering away  about my my creative journey weaving FP into my textile work as I gave my talk to Tecstiliau Meirionnydd Textiles group, and followed it up with a second workshop Bend It Shape It .  That is what I call dedication (or lunacy!)

IMG_0271img_0271JPGThis is another mask that needs final resolution of the eye sockets, but the colours jump out at you and combine so well with the synthetic sheer fabric that it is laminated to.

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This fabulous mask cleverly combined wire within it to add a new dimension for embellishment and also a contrast in materials.  Plans were afoot to add beads and things hanging down.  The fabric to which it was laminated was a narrow chiffon scarf.

IMG_0277Masks in the making, I wish I could show you them all, but this post would go on for ages.  Every one of them  was a gem, and when they are finished off I really do hope all you lovely and talented ladies will send me photos so I can show everyone else your wonderful masks.

As Pat had been doing such a good job of hostessing, she had not quite got as far along with her mask, so I asked her to try on the head piece of my butterfly costume instead.  Pat is really tall and elegant and when she put it on, she towered over the rest of us so we had to get her to sit down so I could fit her in to the picture.

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Thank you so much Mid Wales Embroiderers for another lovely day spent with talented and enthusiastic people who worked so hard to accomplish such beautiful masks.  A huge thank you to Pat and her husband Laurie who found space in their idyllic home for me,  so I did not have to travel down on the day of the class.  Pat, I am still green with envy over your fabulous studio space.

I will fill you in on the details of the second half of my Welsh Adventure in my next post.  I am still dreaming about the breathtaking scenery on my drive from Llanidloes to Dolgellau, and the warmth of my welcome there is still with me as I type this.

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