Filigree Forms

Well what a weekend that was.  I now know where Horncastle is (deepest Lincolnshire, in case you did not know), and I also know just how hard the East Yorkshire Embroidery Society ladies can work.  I was invited to teach their summer school at Horncastle College which is a lovely venue about half an hour beyond Lincoln in the direction of the coast.

Arriving mid afternoon on Friday I discovered a peaceful and delightfully quiet college baking gently under the relentless summer sun.  Friendly staff pointed me in the right direction and I set up for a weekend of Friendly Plastic exploration and experimentation with 16 ladies who relish a challenge.

After a great meal we had a discussion and demonstration about some basic properties of Friendly Plastic and how to go about planning a major project using FP.  More than half of the ladies had not used it before (Virgins), but the others had all been on a day class with me (Veterans) and should have know better than to commit themselves to a whole weekend of working with me!

The heat and the odd glass of wine sent us to our beds in good time to be up and ready for a full day on Saturday.  The college provided us with a full English breakfast in which we all indulged.  By 9.30am we were away; the FP Virgins were taking their first steps into using the medium as we whizzed through some basic techniques.  The Veterans were already planning and sampling their projects.  The basis for the day was Lacework because it is the perfect technique for combining with fabric and stitch.

IMG_0360img_0360JPGPam and Leila (Veterans) planning and sampling and digesting breakfast

Boxes, vases, bowls and bags were the focus for the Veterans, with the Virgins experimenting and sampling until they felt ready to begin their own projects.

IMG_0374img_0374JPGYou can see that Pam (Veteran) really got stuck in and created a beautiful vase which she intends to line with fabric and stitch.  Pam also was working on her own textile project for which she wanted some Friendly Plastic to add excitement.  I can’t wait to see the finished volcano vessel Pam.

IMG_0363img_0363JPGRuth and Anne hard at work.

Ruth (Veteran) created a beautiful lacework tissue box cover and decorated a scarf with Friendly Plastic beads.


Ann(Veteran) made a cufflink box and was well on the way to making a bag as well.  Below is the design  for her bag.


Dorothy (Veteran) created a beautiful bowl and stitched quietly away becoming the first person to complete a project (not that it was a race!)


Heather (Veteran) produced so much that it was hard to fit it all into one photograph.  Heather had her eyes set on making miniature books.


Leila (Veteran) and Caroline (Virgin) created beautiful delicate boxes with exquisite lacework framing fabric panels for the sides.



Diane (Virgin), got the hang of FP really quickly and created an array of wonderful stuff including a mask and a box.


Brenda (Virgin) enjoyed experimenting with the techniques she learnt on Saturday morning, and soon started coming up with her own ideas.


Maureen went to town covering some Presentation Albums using her experiments and the jigsaw cutter


Marion (Virgin) was very busy creating toppers for cards for her craft sale to raise money for MacMillan and Marie Curie charities.


Marjorie (Vetgin –  not quite Virgin, but not a Veteran either – saw my demo when I came to talk to the EYES group a year ago and went straight home to have a go herself) utilised her pieces of lacework that she had already made and included them in a beautiful bowl.


Margaret (Virgin) discovered the joys of making jewellery using Friendly Plastic, no doubt when she got home another ten pairs of earrings were ready for wearing!


Botty AKA Betty (Virgin) was in complete heaven making pieces to use in her card making projects.


Maggie (Virgin despite being a voyeur at the day school!) took on board all the techniques we covered in the first morning and then set about using her pieces in her own unique style – trapping and stitching her shapes using sheer fabrics.


Shirley (Virgin) immediately saw how Friendly Plastic could be made to suit her own way of working and set about creating this lovely little hanging based on landscapes – truly a miniature work of art.


We covered different methods of heating Friendly Plastic using hot water and the heat gun as well as using the soldering iron.  I demonstrated using alcohol inks, foils and other colouring ideas.  Everyone learnt how to create Lacework, Oooze, join things together, make beads on strings, laminate fabric to Friendly Plastic, attach jewellery findings and much, much more.

Despite frequent and delicious breaks for home cooked food supplied so ably by the cooks at Horncastle College, and the odd glass of wine of course, everyone survived the heat and worked incredibly hard until late in the evening on Saturday and started early again on Sunday.  By the time 3 o’clock  came, as you can see, everyone had plenty to show for their weekend’s work: some had finished, or near finished boxes, bowls or vessels, others had a plethora of pieces ready to be used in their own projects; but hopefully everyone had a head full of possibilities and a mind full of happy memories of the weekend.


Thank you Ladies of E.Y.E.S. for a wonderful weekend of hard work, good food, and great company.  Don’t forget to send me photos of your finished pieces and I will add them to the gallery on my website.