reason 1 to buy blackdogandgingercat needlefelt kits

So, to celebrate the upcoming blackdogandgingercat birthday, here’s the REASON TO BUY blackdogandgingercat Kits countdown….NUMBER 1

1.jpgOur appreciation, love and support of important charities such as SANE, as seen here in our #blackdog kit.

IMG_5378.jpgAnd in turn, the sales of all of the other kits help to support my other work alongside charities such as ACEarts, MIND, and Somerset Wildlife Trust, as seen in the ongoing FIFTY BEES project.

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So, thank you everyone who’s ever bought one of my kits – you are wonderful.

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Morning coffee

Morning you lovely people.On 20th October, blackdogandgingercat (my Little needlefelt business) celebrates its 4th birthday 🎉🎊 🎁. Hurrah! 

To mark the occasion, I am going to be relaunching my kits and I am hoping they will be ‘THE MOST ETHICAL NEEDLEFELT KITS’ available to you. 

So, today I will begin the TEN REASONS TO BUY blackdogandgingercat countdown.

Watch this space – but in the meantime, coffee????

(Listen to me advising Joy in the use of the splice app last year at Sence of Place, Brean Down 😂🤣🤣😂😂) 

The name: blackdogandgingercat?

Those of you that have been following my work for a while will probably know the origin of my business’ name, ‘blackdogandgingercat’. For those of you that don’t, I’ll explain.

Back at the end of 2012, I went to a needle felt class taught by the very talented Jennifer Barnett – I was in heaven and immediately hooked.

This class took place just weeks before I left my beloved teaching job due to on-going, repetitive, really boring and exasperating clinical depression.

I was devastated – I had been convinced that I’d be teaching until retirement so having to leave was a major blow and certainly didn’t help my mental health improve, at the beginning.

And this is where the ‘black dog’ of the title came from.

As for the ginger cat, well that’s my darling Jack – it’s well know that just by stroking, sitting next to or playing with a pet can help one relax and calm and that was Jack’s role in my improving mental health.

After I left teaching, I continued to needle felt because I found it to be so calming on my brain, but also, I’d really found ‘my thing’ – finally.

Eventually, as I did more and more, family, friends and then even strangers became interested in my work and wanted to learn to needle felt too.

And so began the business, with classes and kits.

One of the kits I make now is the black dog, seen here in the first picture, with 10% of profits going to the charity SANE.

Today, things are still changing. I still use needle felt, it’s still my main thing and I am so grateful that I found it because it’s taken me to places I could never have imagined.

Just lately, though I’ve felt tiny stirrings of the black dog’s attempted return, he’s nipping at my heels.

Because I know the naughty little pup quite well, I can recognise when he’s trying to creep back and why.  Anyone else?

My mum, a very wise woman, says I probably need a little ‘fallow time’, to rest my brain after the adrenaline and creative rush of the last few months. And I think she’s right. This is the card I sent her this week ’cause I thought it was perfect (although I this black dog seems quite lovely).



So, just for now, I’m practicing a little bit of self-care: resting, walking, reading and not much else. What about the rest of you; I know mine is certainly not an uncommon story.

I wonder, what do the rest of you do for self-care?

 

 

Needle felt classes coming up!

Needlefelt Classes……

Well, my dears, it’s about time I got round to listing the needle felt sculpture classes that I have coming up over the next four months – there’s a nice small group.

I tend to stick to two types of class and these are the Bears and Hares classes and the Reindeer classes. And there’s very good reasons for choosing these.

Firstly, both are suitable for complete beginners but I would recommend bears and hares always as a first option because we learn about: solid body shaping, adding shapes, basic facial features and adding colour. It’s such a great session – learning together is such a communal, supportive experience and we do have fun! At the end of the class, I believe everyone is a competent felter – you have the skills to go on and create anything you want.

However, many people like coming along to a second class to extend their understanding and skill set so that’s why I also offer the Reindeer class. 

Now, as I’ve said before, this is suitable for beginners – many people tackle the Reindeer as their first ever make and do so brilliantly, again becoming a competent needle felter. But is also a great ‘extender’ – if you’ve already done a bear or hare, the Reindeer is a great ‘next step’ as we do sculptural legs, use armatures for the antlers, and extend the colour application. 

In the new year I also plan to run a ‘masterclass’ where we will work on a variety of dogs and cats heads so we can really focus down on ears, eyes, hair and full characterisation of our furry friends. Keeps an eye out for this one! 

In the meantime, here’s the classes I have on offer – if these are too far away from you, I will travel to teach you and a group of friends in your own home – get in touch.


1) Needlefelt Hares or Bears sculpture on Saturday 23rd September at For Every Cloud, in Langport, TA10 9PR which is perfect for complete for beginners.  It runs from 10am to 4pm and costs £60 per person so please contact Donna on 01458 251475 or email foreverycloud@icloud.com. 

2) Needlefelt Hares or Bears sculpture on Saturday 14th October this time in Yeovil at Livingstone Textiles, BA20 1UN. Again, perfect for complete for beginners, runs from 10am to 4pm and costs £50 per person. Please call 01935 422631 or email via http://www.livingstonetextiles.com/contact/

3) Reindeer sculpture on Saturday 4th November  at For Every Cloud, in Langport, TA10 9PR. This class is suitable for complete for beginners but is also a great advanced project. It runs from 10am to 4pm and costs £60 per person so please contact Donna on 01458 251475 or email foreverycloud@icloud.com. 

4) Needlefelt Reindeer sculpture on Saturday 25th November in Yeovil at Livingstone Textiles, BA20 1UN. Again, perfect for complete for beginners but is also a great advanced project. The workshop runs from 10am to 4pm and costs £50 per person. Please call 01935 422631 or email via http://www.livingstonetextiles.com/contact/

5) Needlefelt Reindeer sculpture on Saturday 2nd December at For Every Cloud, in Langport, TA10 9PR. This class is suitable for complete for beginners but is also a great advanced project. It runs from 10am to 4pm and costs £60 per person so please contact Donna on 01458 251475 or email foreverycloud@icloud.com. 

 

Off to Wells 

Thank you everyone for your lovely responses yesterday to my post about change and ‘giving up the day job’ – they were very moving and uplifting, so many of us appear to be at a crossroads in our lives.

One of the other reasons I had to go back to full time self employment is that I also run a small business selling needle felt kits which, in theory, supports my art making adventures. But it hasn’t of late. There’s been too much plate spinning going on for me to put any time and energy into blackdogandgingercat. So, in another bid to bring about change for the good, I’m refocusing on the business today with a Somerset Etsy Team photo walk round Wells. 

But the first thing I have to focus on this morning is which one of my Etsy products to take with me.

Should it be the Border Terrier Kit with a sample?

Or the Reindeer Kit with a sample?

So, what do you think? 

Change is good

#Change – what do we all think about it? 

It’s been a long time since I’ve introduced myself to you all and seeing as we have a few more of you along for the ride, AND I’m going through a period of change, I thought it was about time. 

So, this is me, Lydia Needle, last month at the private view of #fiftybees. This was a really pivotal event in my life, my first exhibition and a point which marked a massive change in my life, I felt like I was officially being ‘launched’ as an artist (like a big ship 🤣). If you have a look at the stickers I’m wearing, you’ll see the hashtag #beeartist and #queenbee, made by @foreverycloud – I loved wearing those!!!!

It was an event where all of a sudden I thought “Yes! People not only ‘get’ the concept of FIFTY BEES but they also appreciate my art”. It was heavenly.

And, in terms of change, it marked the point when I publicly announced that I planned to take the FIFTY BEES concept to other parts of the country which meant I could not conceivably continue with the day job.

So, yesterday was my last day working at MIND – no more financial safety net of part time work – I HAVE to make this work. 

One of the last session we ran was all about CHANGE – how difficult it can be, how challenging, and as we were discussing it, I came to the realisation that I used to hate it, the instability of it all. But without it, we have no new beginning, no new doors to open.

So, what about you? How do you find change, have you been through any lately or are you planning some. Let me know.

And perhaps you might also sharing a picture of you using the hashtag #changeisgood 

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#artist #beeartist #introduction #fiftybees #fibreartist #exhibition 

Now the party’s over….

….the work is down, returned to the artists or posted off to their new homes so I thought I’d just do a little recap before I let you know what’s coming next.

In the beginning, there was the book by Steven Falk 

and a publication by Friends of the Earth.


Then came masses of planning and administration and emails and social media postings and drawing and talking to fifty + artists. Phew!
And then finally, finally, I started working on the first bee, the Violet Carpenter Bee.

 And then slowly, juggling a business and a job and markets and teaching, bee numbers began to grow.
Sometimes it felt like I would never get them all made but it happened, they started to evolve out of the wool and the containers.


And I can’t tell you how chuffed I was to see them all collected together – it felt like a real achievement.

But in the background, working away in their chosen media with total dedication, fifty artists were creating their own personal responses to ‘their’ bees, becoming experts and advocates for fifty special little insects.

The first proof was emailed to me by Sam Cannon. I can’t begin to express what that felt like, finally seeing evidence that the other artists had ‘got’ the concept of the FIFTY BEES project.

Huge thanks go to Sam and every single one of the artists.

Then before we knew it, it was time to set up the exhibition, my FIRST and we had a blank canvas of a gallery space. So, so exciting – I have no idea how I got to do this in my life – I’m a lucky, lucky woman. But also, I really had no idea how to hang an exhibition – the expert help, guidance and humour from the three ‘Beekeepers’ made it possible.

After the set up, to then host a private view with so many beautiful people turning up to see the amazing work by such talented artists, added to the joy.

Further information

Here’s a link to the Ecologist’s lovely article about the exhibition: http://www.theecologist.org/blogs_and_comments/Blogs/2989106/uk_artists_showcase_the_plight_of_the_disappearing_british_bee.html

A copy of films of the artists talk given at the gallery by Lydia and four of the artists: