The merit of mistakes

Anyone who’s even been to one of my classes knows that, sometimes, often, I bang on about how mistakes are the only way we learn.

Well, I’ve just proved my own point and I’ll explain why.

Last week, at one of my favourite charity shops, I found some really beautiful vintage crewel wool. (I don’t know what that is, please explain someone?)

I thought it would be perfect for the bees and for the landscape pictures I’m teaching at The Brewhouse Theatre soon.

Today, working on Bee53, I thought I’d use some for the wings. Now, my logical brain knew it wouldn’t work, not THROUGH firmly felted wool – too tough, too dense.

Surprise, surprise, the yarn snapped- d’oh and duuuuh!!!

But look at the result…I love the way the wings are floating in the air.

Will I keep them like this?

Are they finished?

Can I recreate it?

Who knows, but it’ll be fun finding out.

So, children, adults, makers, artists etc – let’s make mistakes. Do share!


A year ago, how time flies

It was a year ago yesterday that myself, Polly, Joy and Donna had a meeting at ACEarts to discuss the FIFTY BEES exhibition. We sat on the sofas, measured walls, talked and talked and decided that these three wonderful women would be called the beekeepers.


Well, with fifty artists to coordinate, it made sense to share out some of the work. Now, I look back at this picture with amazement.

We had no idea how it was going to work, whether the story of the bees would translate into an exhibition, whether anyone would be interested.

But, wow! It was wonderful. The fifty artists made such a wide variety of art, amazing responses to these incredible creatures.

But it wouldn’t have worked without the enthusiasm and keenness of them all as well as Nina and the team at the gallery.

Now, we’re gearing up for the next leg of the journey at Richard Jefferies Museum – can’t wait. Thanks everyone.




#vintagecontainer #bees #fiftybees #artists #somersetartist #opencall #interconnectedness

‘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.

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. 

Watch out – long post from a very full day, fab! 

Yesterday was a day in three amazing parts.

The first part involved doing needlefelt landscape experiments with residents at Wessex House Care home – just love these pieces.

Great British tones in great British Wool.

I’d like to include this as Seam Collective #SeptTextileLove prompt for today which is ‘happy accidents’ because I’m a very keen exponent of the idea of experimentation, play, accidental discovery and making mistakes – this is how we learn.

What’s the expression….”A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new” —- so true.

So let’s play, I say!!!

Then I met up with Donna Vale and we trundled off to Frome’s Black Swan Art to see the exhibitions there but first lunch and surprise meet up with David Smith – much talking and laughing.

Then onto the ‘Hinterland’ exhibition by Gladys Paulus.

It’s pretty hard to get across what an amazing exhibition this is. On a purely craft level, Gladys’ work is second to none – the pieces are truly beautifully made; as a felter, I am always amazed.

But this exhibition is so much more. It is so, so moving – the pieces have a real presence and I know I will HAVE to go back for another look, or two. The pictures don’t do it justice but I’ll share a few more.
Such presence,

So moving,

And resonance.

If you have a chance – get there.

And the final part of my day was at @tmac_taunton with an Arts and Health Speed Networking event!!! Whooohooo!

There I met a whole host of people and ‘networked’, oh yes I did. We talked and learnt about a whole range of arts and health providers and the links that are being made between them.

I also talked FIFTY BEES to a few people too!

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.

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 



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