‘If I’m Not Back I’m There’

Poor photographers, wonderful exhibition.I’m not usually short for words but I am for this one.

’If I’m Not Back I’m There’ by Edwina Bridgman at ACEarts just had me spellbound, transfixed, enlightened and happy. 

So much to see on one central display, get down and look at it as a child would see it.

Papier-mâché, found materials, card, clay. 

2 and 3-dimensional work exploring found objects and unexpected materials to create a body of work around people and their animals.

I so admire Edwina’s deft handling of her materials – quite jealous of her confidence.

Go, see, enjoy.

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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.

OPENING TODAY – Bees: the interconnectedness of all things at Bruton School for Girls 

The girls worked so beautifully hard and enthusiastically to produce a fabulous collaborative installation.

Three days, 80 plus students and a handful of staff produced a whole host of British bees which are now hanging in the gallery at the Bruton School for Girls.


‘Taught by Lydia Needle, Bruton School for Girls students will sculpt tiny, lifesize British bees in wool, representing just a few of the 260 varieties left in theUK. 

The bees become artworks as part of a whole school installation in the school’s gallery. To follow up this work, the students will research the habitats and ecosystems, the flora and fauna that rely on bees, to create companion artworks. Our objective is to raise awareness of the diversity of bees in Britain and to spread the story – using art as a medium – as far as possible.’ SAW guide 2017. 

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. 

 

Here’s Fluff

She snuck off to find a cosy place to close her eyes and this is where we find her. 

This is Fluff and she’s sleeping soundly inside a vintage metal container and doesn’t she look peaceful; I wish I could sleep so easily and so soundly, don​’t you?

This piece is 7cm circumference and 6cm to the top of the handle. It is made using wool, a vintage container and thread.
https://tictail.com/s/lidfuzz/fluff-sleeping

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: