Monday, 21 March 2011

Julie Arkell workshop

Until quite recently I thought a Suffolk Puff would probably be served up as part of an East Anglian cream tea.   It took a day with Julie Arkell to put me straight.   Now I'm completely Puffed out.

I was very fortunate to discover that she was taking a workshop at the wonderful Hope & Elvis in Nottinghamshire and got my name and my sister's down early to secure a place.    I can't tell you how excited I was.   Nearly as excited as lovely Louise Presley who arrived to open up the studio on Sunday morning and suddenly realised that she had forgotten to bring something.   Something really important.   Something that would spoil the day if it wasn't fetched at once.   Something called Julie Arkell.   Fortunately Julie was quickly gathered up and the day could start (once we'd all had coffee and cake).  


Julie told us about the quilt made of Puffs that had been displayed at the Quilt Exhibition at the V&A, each puff having a little central tuft of felt or thread, and how this had inspired her to make some brooches and bracelets using a similar technique.  

She did a little demo and then we were invited to raid Louise's suitcases full of fabrics to start making our own.   Most people plumped for making a bracelet and got their heads down to make the 8 or 9 puffs required.   I was a bit slow off the mark chosing some fabric because I was lost in a magnificent reverie just absorbing all the heavenly surroundings.  


Leather suitcases full of fabrics, tins of buttons of every size and hue, secret drawers hiding reel upon reel of thread, poppers, lace, pins and needles all stabbed into delightful pincushions.     Little shelves held old toys and photographs and loveables of all sorts.   And there was space, acres of it, to spread out and cut up fabric with big sharp proper tailor's scissors that went scrunch-crunch through the material.  

As a result of this dreamy admiration, (and a lot of nattering and conspicuous cake consumption), I didn't actually get my bracelet finished before it was time to go home.   So I finished it this morning.  


The one below is the one my sister Rosie made while I ran and fetched her poppers, fabric to be auditioned, and suitable threads (and cake).


I think it has a Japanese flavour, don't you?

Julie also showed us how to make the puffs into bunches of flowers to turn into a brooch

and her wonderful charm bracelets and watches were also on display to inspire us 

and so was Stanley


If you ever are tempted to take part in a workshop and live within striking distance of Nottinghamshire, then don't hesitate to jump at the chance to go to Hope & Elvis.   I thought we had driven a fair distance, 2 hours up the M1, and then I discovered that someone had come down from Dumfries for the day.   I know she won't have regretted it.

Did I mention the cake...?

Stanley went home with Rosie ....


Hope you're having a good week!

Chrissie

17 comments:

Gina said...

What can I say... I'm green with envy! I would love to do a Julie Arkell workshop.

Jane Housham said...

Me too, soooo jealous. I've loved Julie Arkell's stuff for a very long time but had no idea she did workshops. You lucky thing!

Jill said...

These are lovely, full of artless charm.
Definitely a worthwhile workshop.

marigold jam said...

What fun - love all those cases of stuff and the wonderful fabrics. I feel a Suffolk Puff experiment coming on!

Menopausal musing said...

Oh Chrissie, how WONDERFUL! It all looks such fun. I am lusting after Stanley............. Would have thoroughly enjoyed a rummage in those cases and button boxes!

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful, truly inspiring and indulgent day (especially with cake!). Sounds like a day everyone should experience - even those of us who only occasionally dabble. I love the Puffs - I'll have to have a go some time. And how nice to share these lovely memories with your sister .... and us! Thanks Chrissie.
Anne

frayedattheedge said...

That sounds like my kind of day (especially as it involved cake!)

CAROLYN SAXBY said...

Such a wonderful day with you ... I would love to do a day with Julie Arkell too. Your puffs and doll are lovely x

CAROLYN SAXBY said...

I blogged about you today my dear x

Jenny said...

I'd love to spend time with anyone who had beautiful suitcases full of goodies never mind actually create with them. What a lovely lady she is, you must be popping with inspiration.

narkeymarkey said...

sounds (and looks) like a fab day - and with cake too! with so many suitcases and drawers full of lovely goodies to search through, i don't think i would have got anything made!

your suffolk puffs are lovely :)

Diane said...

Ive booked to go on the Hope & Elvis Tweed Bag making day - I can't believe Ive never been before - its only 30mins away from me. What a great day - I can see I am going to become a regular at Louises! You made some great things. xxx

martha brown said...

Oh you are so lucky! I hope to be able to meet Julie Arkell some day......

liniecat said...

I have a pic of a HUGE blanket hanging on a wall, that I saw in exhibition at Doncaster Museum Its an oober huge mans face made entirely out of suffolk punches all made from mens ties! It was so fantastic but I 4got to take the gals name whod made it, so have never felt I should post it on the blog. Am sure youd love it though. Ive never been able to think of s/ps since without sheer admiration for this work!
Would love to have met Juilie and would have been lusting after the suitcases am sure. What fun day it must have been.

bad penny said...

Oh would love to do some workshops . Glad you got a place xx

Ticking stripes said...

Glad you enjoyed the day - I try to do 3 or 4 a year at Louise's place now and always feel inspired...

Hope and Elvis said...

WOW, What a lovely page you have! If you fancy making the drive again I would happily swop you for cake and fabrics for blog advice. Julie Arkell is booked for April next year if you fancy another day out? Oh and Janet Bolton is coming in July .....