Have you ever tried hand felting before? When contemporary textile artist, Christine Waygood got in touch with the story of her craft, we were astounded by how many items you could make from wool. Here's Christine to tell you more about her journey with this addictive craft of felting and textiles and where it all started...
I have been teaching for over 35 years. After leaving college I worked as a weave designer in the Scottish borders, then set up my own knitwear business in Edinburgh.
Later, I taught constructed textile design in several universities, including Loughborough, Goldsmiths and John Moores University in Liverpool.
I have always enjoyed teaching and when my children were young, I needed to be more flexible, so started teaching from my own studio, as well as on many community arts projects in the Peak District.
Q2. Tell us about your workshop space/ surroundings.
We moved down to the Forest of Dean in 2010, I now inspire small groups with textile design from my studio in Blakeney. I am lucky enough to have a beautiful space built for me by my husband.
Q3. Tell us about the variety of courses on offer?
I offer a wide variety of felt making workshops, many focusing on making useable items such as hats, slippers, and bags. The thing that I love, and has kept me fascinated for so many years, is that wool is so versatile, you are able to make anything from tents, (yurts), to the finest gossamer fine nuno fabrics, to sculpting little animals, flowers, and jewellery.
‘The only limit is your imagination- almost anything you can think of can be recreated in felt.’
The Covid-19 restrictions have had some positive benefits, now I only run face to face courses for much smaller groups, 2 people maximum, which means each course can be specifically tailored to suit the individuals and can run on any date we choose.
Q4. Tell us about your team.
It’s just ME.
Q5. Describe a typical month as a maker/tutor.
I only work part time now, I spend two or three hours a day in the studio, making a real variety of things. I used to exhibit my works a lot, but I don’t do as much of this now, but I still take commissions on request. Just this month I have made a machine-knitted cardigan for a client, a man’s knitted/felt applique hat, a felt crown (hat), a decorative felt Christmas wreath, and a jumper for myself. These were all such fun to create! I ran three full-day workshops, one making slippers, one creating hats and one making decorations.
A real pleasure I get from working part time, is being able to spend more time with my grandchildren. I love spending time with them, but I also love making things with and for them, they enjoy it too.
I am a trustee for Artspace, a community arts project here in the Forest, and I’m the chair of Faropen, our local open studios trail, so I’m kept busy.
(This doesn’t sound like part-time to us Christine- busy lady!)
Q6. Do you also craft in you spare time, are there other crafts that you enjoy?
What spare time?!! I do a lot of gardening.
Q7. What advice would you give to other people looking to teach their skill?
Do it and enjoy it!
The people that attend your courses come to learn something new, to take away something they’ve made by the end of the day, and to relax and have fun!! It is such a special thing to be part of their whole experience.
Q8. Who or what is your biggest source of inspiration professionally?
I started out as a weave designer, so am drawn to handwoven cloth from India, Tibet, and Peru. The works of Anni Albers, Bernat Klein, Peter Collingwood, and Kaffe Fassett were all early influences for me.
Today, all sorts of things in the natural world inspire my work.
Q9. What is the funniest thing to ever happen on one of your courses?
I have brilliant memories from all my workshops, but one of my happiest memories is from a group that wanted to make sombreros to fit over their riding hats. They had an equestrian event coming up, which had a Mexican theme.
They were making their whole outfit, working out the music, and choreographing it as well, they were amazing!!
Are you inspired to try your hand at felting with wool?
Thank you Christine, for sharing your story with us. If you are inspired by Christine's story and would like to book one of her popular workshops in the Forest of Dean, please find out more information here.>