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?

 

 

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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. 

 

Bees will be flying off to new homes…..

By the end of day 2 of the FIFTY BEES exhibition, all of these creatures below had found new homes which they will be flying off to at the end of the exhibition.

Now, obviously, not everyone who wants to give a bee a home can get to the gallery.

Therefore, over the next few days I will start listing an occasional bee on my website.

BUT

And it’s a big BUTYou’ll need to purchase via the gallery.

tel:01458 20273008

Cat’s piece – the nomad bee

Second bee companion for sharing, this is by Cat Frampton and has to be seen to believed – the cirl buntings are so, so small but perfectly realised, and the Braille, well, it’s a challenge – can you rise to the challenge? 


It is companioned with Nomada sexfasciata.

This is what Cat says about her piece: 

‘The birds and the bees

My bee is a rare bee. A rare bee with a solitary, thieving life. It depends on another bee to steal from, that bee is also rare. These bees share a crook of land with a bird, a rare bird.

In 1989 the Cirl Bunting lived (in Britain) only at Prawle Point, Devon, 118 pairs, clinging on.

Then conservationists and local farmers stepped in and saved the birds (over 1000 nests now, all along the coast). Did saving the birds save the bees?

Farmers, rare birds and bees combine, for the good of them all.

Can you tell what the Braille says?’ 

Polly’s honey bee piece

As promised, I’m going to start sharing the work of the other artists in the FIFTY BEES exhibition. And I thought I should start with Polly Hughes as she has been working on the honey bee, the most well know of the bees. 


What I absolutely adore about this piece is Polly’s use of patchwork, a very traditional, often overlooked women’s craft, to make us look with fresh eyes on the dance of bee.


She writes: ‘This bee is not only a honey producer but also one of the most important insect pollinators of both crop plants and wild flowers. Today, as never before, the honey-bee faces the danger of careless spraying of insecticides and weedkillers on plants in bloom, as well as disease and adverse weather conditions. 

Bees communicate the finding of food by dancing on the vertical comb. The Waggle Dance is used when the food is more than 100 metres away from the hive. The dancing bee runs in one direction, waggling her body very quickly from side to side. She then turns round and runs in a semi-circle back to the starting point, repeating the performance again and again. The angle of the waggle tells both the sun-compass direction to fly, and how far. 

The silhouette footprints are a recreation of dance step guides. The beaded Waggle Dance is embroidered onto hexagonal patchwork cells.’

And this is my companion piece.

Bees up

I’ve been buzzing around at high speed, making work, organising and curating for months. 

Last nights private view #beesup was A M A Z I N G – around 250 people came. I am absolutely over the moon, blown away and flabbergasted.

Thanks to all at ACEarts and the team of beekeepers @mDonna Vale, Joy Merron and Polly Hughes for all of your hard work and to all of the artists and visitors. 

Today, I find myself exhausted so I’m going to have a little lie down and start sharing the works with you tomorrow. Xxx

The book of the bees

I’ve finally got a little book of the fifty bees in my grubby little paws and I’m so pleased.


It’s an A5 book published to coincided with the exhibition FIFTY BEES: The Interconnectedness of All Things. 
Fifty full colour pages of each of the fifty art pieces created for the exhibition by me, Lydia Needle. 

I’ve only got 25 copies printed so far but more should follow if they prove popular.

What do you think?



http://www.blackdogandgingercat.co.uk/product/fifty-bees-the-booklet-of-the-bees