After being inspired by our Quilting Club (next meeting is March 5th), I have been doing quite a lot of sewing. Over Christmas I got out the sewing machine and made about 8 bags, but mainly I've been concentrating on my quilt (see picture above). I've never quilted before (or sewn much really), so am learning as I go, and have been loving it.
This foray into sewing has meant that I've been spending lots of money on material and equipment and reading lots of books and articles. One of my favourite things I've found out is that on February 8th it's Hari-Kuyo festival in Japan. This festival gives people the chance to thank and appreciate the needles they have used in the past year by sticking them in to a big block of tofu! As one of the monks from the temple said in the article I read on the reuters website 'Sometimes there are painful things and secrets that women can't tell men, and they put these secrets into the pins and ask the gods to get rid of them.'
It made me wonder if there are any pins and needles or sewing customs in Wales (and the rest of the UK), does anyone know of any? In Oriel 1 we do have a charm bottle on display which has bent pins in it which is meant to protect the owner of the bottle from witchcraft, and of course, pins would be used with a voodoo doll or a poppet...
I had a look in Steve Roud's book 'The Penguin guide to the Superstitions of Britain and Ireland', and whereas there wasn't much about needles (other than if a needle breaks when you are sewing it will bring good fortune to the wearer of the article sewn) there are quite a few customs to do with pins. Pins used in the making of wedding dress are particularly lucky, you could also stick them into an onion as part of a love divination, but you shouldn't take pins on board a ship.
And back to quilting, and patchwork quilts in particular... 'If a lady completes one of these without assistance, she will never be married.'
Looking at Buildings
Pupils from Raglan VC Primary School took part in my Looking at Buildings session on Monday. Here are some pictures of just a few of the houses they made. I didn't get a chance to take photographs of all the buildings so if anyone at Raglan VC Primary School is reading this, please email me some more as everyone's building was looking so fantastic!
St Dwynwen's day cards
We will be making St Dwynwen's Day cards this saturday (drop in session in Oriel 1 at the usual times of 11 until 1 and 2 until 4). Am still working on the designs for our cards, so far I have tried and been happy with two different pop up cards, one with material, and one with felt. For those who are a bit more adventurous (or possibly the adults!) we will be making felt hearts - you could even add a little pocket to leave a love note!
I've blogged about it before, but we have started a quilting club here in Oriel 1, St Fagans: National History Museum. We meet every two months on a saturday morning between 11 and 12.30, our next meeting is on 5th March. It's a relaxed and informal session with a mixture of complete beginners and people that have been quilting for a while. Samantha Jenkins is there to help out when we make quilting errors and generally to offer hints and tips.
It's been really lovely and I have started making my own quilt too
It looks pretty garish in this photo so I hope it's going to turn out ok! It would be great if the quilters in the group could email me photos of their works in progress too - my email address is email@example.com
December in Oriel 1
The snow and ice has meant that St Fagans:National History Museum has been closed to the public for the last few days and we've had to cancel the Christmas art cart sessions (it happened last year too!).
The plan was to make Christmas decorations, tags, cards and wrapping paper, and these are still things that you could make quite easily at home, and it's lovely and cosy to be inside making things when it's snowy outside!
A really lovely eco friendly decoration is to make strings of popcorn and fresh cranberries - you can put them on the Christmas tree like tinsel, and then in the new year but them outside for the birds! They are super easy to make - take some strong thread (i use embroidery thread), make a knot in the bottom and thread through quite a large needle. All you need to do then is to thread cranberries and popcorn through until you have a long garland - it works best with popcorn that is a little bit stale as this makes it easier to thread.
Paperchains are simple to make and look great too - you can make them out of any kinds of paper, newspaper and magazines look pretty festive. If you wanted to make it a bit fancier, why not paint the newspaper first?
You will need to cut out strips of paper about an inch wide but as long as you would like (the longer the paper the bigger the loop), take one strip and bend it to form a circle and tape or glue it together, with the next strip thread it through your original loop to make a second circle and glue that too - then just carry on until you have made your desired length!
If you want to make your own wrappping paper you could get some brown packing paper and using cookie cutters dipped in paint or carved potatoes, you can print festive shapes!
I've been making paper snowflakes to decorate my house, they look fantastic taped to windows or hanging on a string together. Snowflakes are pretty easy to make but hard to explain so have a look if you can find some instructions on the internet. If you've been to any of the art cart sessions recently, you might be familiar with one of my favourite books The Art of Decorative Paper Stencils , which has really great directions in how to make paper snowflakes and other paper shapes, there is also a second volume out too.
That should keep you busy until the New Year!
The next art club is on the 8th of January at 2pm - please book if you would like to attend - we will be starting a very important project!!
Quilting club is also on the same day at 11am - it's only are second meeting so don't be shy! We would love for some more people to come along (again, please book ahead). Details for both are on our website.
So have a happy and creative holiday and see you all in January
half term art cart
I keep forgetting to take some photos of our quilt designs that the children made over half term! They are looking wonderful in the gallery, so i'll try and remember to get some photos next time i'm there and will blog about it as soon as I can!
Yesterday we had our second toddler session in the gallery. We will be holding the sessions once a month and each month will look at a different theme - this month the theme was Autumn, and the one before looked at farm animals. The sessions are quite informal giving the little ones a chance to play and experience our different activities and to socialise with the other children. Another important part of the session is that it is bilingual, so the staff who are working (Ffion,Iola and myself this month) can speak in Welsh or English to the children, and the songs that Ffion led at the end were also in Welsh. It's a nice way for English speaking parents to begin to learn Welsh with their children.
So, what do we do? yesterday we had an art and craft table where the children could decorate pumpkin shapes or leaves, make leaf rubbings (although I find this is often a bit difficult for the under 3's!) or do some drawing. We also had a sensory tray filled with leaves, plastic bugs, fircones and dried lemon slices; coloured and scented playdough (yellow playdough was vanilla and the orange one cinammon and spices) with different cookie cutter shapes to play with; a sandpit and fircones (the sandpit was going to be our sensory tray and we were going to change it each month, but the children seemed to enjoy playing with the sand so much we didn't have the heart to change it! What I might do though is dye the sand at some point so it will be a little bit more exciting!); soft toys to play with and a quiet area with picture books. The picture books we had yesterday were 'Cwymp y dail' by Sian Lewis which is a Sali Mali book about Autumn, 'Cawl Pwmpen' by Helen Cooper - a nice autumnal book about pumpkin soup, 'Hibernation Station' by Michelle Meadows and Kurt Cyrus - an unbelievably cute story about animals hibernating, although perhaps a little too 'american' for some tastes (not mine!), 'The Tiny Seed' by Eric Carle - i love the illustrations in this, 'I am a Bunny' by Ole Risom and Richard Scarry - an adorable simple book about the seasons, and my find of the month, 'Autumn' by Gerda Muller - this was perfect for a bilingual session as it doesn't have any words (I didn't realise this when I ordered it) and consists of illustrations of the type of things that happen in the autumn - leaves falling off the trees, rainy weather, making leaf rubbings, making jam and hibernating animals. It's a lovely book to look through with a child as it lets them make up the story themselves.
We ended the session with a song about Autumn, and sent them all off with a leaf bag and a leaf spotting sheet in case they wanted to have a walk around the museum.
Next month our theme is buildings
October in Oriel 1
There are lots of things happening in the gallery this month. There's the Keepsakes Project Workshop this saturday, and curator of costumes and textiles, Elen Phillips will also be giving behind the scenes tours of the Museum stores. It is essential that you book in advance for the tours (which will also be held the week after on the 16th too) as spaces are limited.
This months Playtime session for toddlers is now fully booked, so make sure you book early for the next ones!
As usual, the art cart will be in the gallery during October half term. From Saturday 23 until Friday 29 of October we will be making things to do with Keepsakes to tie in with the exhibiton, and then on the 30th and 31st we will be making something spooky for Halloween.
Keepsakes project workshop
We had a lovely time at the workshop on Saturday making rush memory ropes with Prue Thimbleby and little books and labels with Becky Adams. We'll be running it again next saturday, 9 October from 11 until 1 and 2 until 4. No need to book as it's a drop in session.
Keepsakes project workshop
Keepsakes project workshop tomorrow (sat 2nd oct) in Oriel 1, St Fagans: National History Museum. Prue Thimbleby and Becky Adams will be showing you how to make and decorate memory ropes.
It's a drop in work shop and runs between 11 and 1 and then 2 until 4, it is suitable for children and adults. Why not come by and make something beautiful.
We are also starting a quilting club on November 6. Am getting excited already!