West Carleton Fibre Guild’s tour of the Puppet exhibit

Although the Ottawa Valley weavers and spinners guild is the largest guild in eastern Ontario, we also have many smaller neighbour guilds. One of the closest neighbours is the West Carleton Fibre Guild who hold their meetings on a Tuesday afternoon in Dunrobin, Ontario (just a bit past the west end of Kanata).  But the September’s meeting was special.

1 door of the museum

Back door of the Almonte Textile Museum


They had a field trip to the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum in Almonte. The trip was planned so they could have a special tour of the Puppet exhibit by Noreen Young.  At present there are 3 exhibits at the museum.  There permanent display of Mill equipment and modern weaving looms, a spectacular quilt exhibit and Noreen Young: a Puppet Retrospective.  With 150 examples of some of her life’s work in puppetry.  She is internationally known and has received the order of Canada for work with producing, writing and puppeteering in many children’s and educational programs.


2 Poster for the exhibit            3 fist puppet in the exhibit

Poster for the exhibit.                                   First puppet in the exhibition (a rod puppet with detachable legs

4 Noreen with her first puppet Noreen with her first puppet

She gave us a tour through the exhibit explaining different puppets and giving anecdotes of her work with them.  She was asked if she had a favorite and told us her Granny character, Mrs. Gertrude Diddle and Gloria Gopher she was particularly fond of.  She took some down from the display and showed us how they moved and what they voice sounded like.  She did the voices for most of her puppets but occasional had to lip sink to a voice actor which was harder.

Almost all her puppets were to be worked with the puppeteer below holding one arm up to operate the mouth and the other hand controls the rods to move the hands. She showed us how it was important to make the puppets bob as they moved or it looked like they were skating along or floating in the air witch just wasn’t right.


Her earliest work was in the 60’s “Hi Diddle Day” 1967 to 1976. These puppets are in a glass display case with a couple more the puppet cast.  Not all the puppets are in display cases though.


Displayed on shelves with monitors showing bits of the program they were used for beneath them were the Puppets for “under the Umbrella tree” which ran on CBC, Disney and Canal Famille from 1987-1997.



She explained about the studio being an old garage and having a lower ceiling than studios usually had.  So the puppeteers had to sit on rolling boxes since they could only raise the live actor up a certain height before the ceiling was a problem.  For most shows she said the puppeteers stood on the floor with the live actors raised on platforms so they could interact with the puppets.  The head bands the puppeteers are wearing holds their mikes.  This insures the mike is always the same distance from their mouth as they switch between looking up at the puppet and down at their scripts.


There were puppets from series I didn’t remember but am now sorry I missed. “Bats” from a 1987 Pilot.


Also “Wacky Palms” from 1994 about a small boutique resort in the Bermuda triangle.  Run by a cow with a theatrical past and with an eclectic staff.  Strange things happen when a time portal opens and havoc is unleashed upon the hotel.


She said that some of her most effective puppets had elements of movement such as the feathers for hair, parts that dangled or the way the fabric moved with the puppet.


Noreen was also known for her Caricatures of real peoples.  Her Prince Charles from 1975, created for “What’s new” a kids news show for CBC, is very recognizable.  She also made a copy of the mayor of Ottawa.



She has made caricatures of may Almonte area people (about 50 on display) who have been used in various puppet shows in the area.  She was the artistic Director for “Puppets up!”; an annual international puppet show from 2005 to 2016. International puppet shows from across the planet performed in the tiny town of Almonte.

There are some puppets that can be interacted with.  It will take 2 people to run them one is the head and hands and a second person runs the feet.

She did puppets for and educational spot about food nutrition.

This is the Granny Bride puppet she made for a friend in 2000.


I didn’t recognize this group of puppets but it looks like an interesting cast.


Her last work was with a puppet opera called “sleeping rough” which was performed in Ottawa 2018 as part of the series music and beyond.  (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVQGUjLM-WU&feature=share )


Most of Her puppets are made by sculptor the head in plasticine then casting it.  She uses the cast to create the flexible, expressive rubber faces she uses in her puppets.

She has given 3 workshops on making puppets during the run of the exhibit and has another lecture to do before the exhibit closes. My husband was lucky enough to get a spot in one of her workshops.  She said he was very well prepared and had amazing focus making his puppet Blacksmith.  He said he had a blast and was very glad he had gone.


Glenn Martin Blacksmith puppet


This exhibit made me smile!  I couldn’t help but feel happy looking at all the puppets many I recognized. I am sure you would enjoy seeing them too.  Keep an eye out for Noreen she says she drops by regularly to the exhibit.


The Exhibit runs to September 22 2018 so if you have a chance jumps in the car and ask the GPS to take you to the Mississippi Textile Museum https://mvtm.ca/?exhibition=noreen-young-retrospective


3 Rosamond Street East, Almonte, Ontario K0A 1A0

Phone: (613) 256-3754
Email: curator@mvtm.ca

Fall/Winter HOURS

  • Tuesday to Friday 10am – 4pm
  • Saturday noon – 4pm
  • Closed Sunday & Monday

Museum Admission: $7.00
Members admitted without charge. Children under 12 are always free.


Posted in Fairs and Shows, Guest Artists, Guest Writer, Mixed Media, Uncategorized, workshops | Tagged , , | 3 Comments

Some Needle Felting

We’ve been needlefelting at the Well-Being Centre. We started last week when there were just a few of us. One of the members liked this painting of ducks that is on the wall:

This was how far she’d got at the start of this week after doing a little of work after taking it home last week:

I think I’ve mentioned it’s a basement room with strange lights and 2 tiny windows, so the light isn’t great. I started an abstract piece using some of the dyed locks we have:

Some of them are commercial dyed BFL from World of Wool. This is a green one:

And, I think this is some dyed locks Lyn donated to us when we were first starting out:

These weren’t done at the centre, but one of the members brought them in. She was a really good sport about us laughing at her first attempt. And we weren’t being mean, we know it’s just at a stage where it looks comical:

She started on a different one, and liked how that progressed so did a little bit more:

I’m looking forward to seeing them finished! She also brought in a nuno sample she made a few weeks ago, at the same time I made mine, this is the blended 18.5 mic Merino side:

This is the front:

And this is a close up of the texture:

I’ll have updates of the needle felting next time 🙂

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Ruffle Scarf Workshop

Last week I taught a Ruffle Neck Scarf workshop. This was the first time teaching it and it went very well. I was worried about the timing but it all worked out. I thought the class at the Mississippi Valley Textile Museum. They have a nice big classroom with lots of light. and water.

As usual, I forgot to take pictures early but here are two of them being laid out

You can see the template they used to get the layout right and keep it even from one end to the other. I drew it with the outline to follow and a line on them to let them know when they had shrunk enough.

Here they are using the plastic under their scarves to make nice edges.

And a shot of the class working.

Here are the results. I really like the ones where you can see the wool that migrated through the silk.

The Class was a lot of fun. I made the written instructions more detailed than normal because I want to make it a kit. If I ever figure out video iI would like to make an online workshop.  If you were to buy a kit for a ruffled scarf would you want it to be a short neck scarf or a long scarf? the only difference really would be the amount of wool included and the length of silk. I was thinking a short scarf but include the sizing to make a longer template too. I am wondering about the template I usually use thick plastic to draw it on. but it is too bulky to fold flat and too big to ship cheaply rolled up. Should I include a template on thinner plastic or just the instructions on how to draw it up on whatever you want to use?






Posted in Design, Nuno Felting, Scarves, Teaching, Uncategorized, workshops | Tagged , , | 13 Comments

Final Surface Design on Felt Online Classes for 2018

Believe it or not, 2018 is coming to a close and the last of my online classes for 2018 begins on October 5, 2018. There are four different modules that are all about experimentation with mixed media techniques creating surface design on felt. Each class is 4 weeks in length with an extra 2 weeks of instructor support at the end of the 4 weeks. The classes are only $45 US with PDF information and videos presented each of the 4 weeks. There is a ton of information packed into the 4 weeks so it’s a great bargain. Anyone from anywhere in the world can take these courses, no need to show up at a certain time (you can even wear your pajamas).

Nuno Felted Paper Fabric Lamination, Ruth Lane

The first module is called Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination. You will learn the technique of Paper Fabric Lamination and then how to use these pieces in nuno felting.

As you can see from the examples above, there are many possibilities with this technique. All of the samples above were created by students who have taken the class in the past.  Click here for more information and to register for the class.

The second module is Experimental Screen Printing on Felt.

The samples above were created by former students in the screen printing class. You will also be able to use these techniques to screen print fabric such as silk to use in nuno felting. These same techniques can also be used on cotton fabric to use in fabric collage or quilting. You will learn how to create thickened dye, make your own screens and many ways to use these screens in an experimental approach. Click here for more information about Screen Printing and to register for this class. 

The third module is Printing, Stenciling, and Playing with Thickened Dye on Felt.

(Photos above by a former student.) This one is really fun and experimental. Learn to make stamps, stencils and how to use a variety of objects from around the house to create your own unique surface design on felt. Develop your own style with designs you have created. The techniques you learn in this class can be used for felt, other fabric types and even paper. The stamps and stencils can be re-used over and over and applied in different ways to create exciting patterns. Click here for more information about Print, Stencil, and Play with Thickened Dye on Felt and to register for the class.

The last module in the series is Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt.

In this course, you will learn the basics of free motion machine stitching and how to use this specifically on felted projects. Does the thought of machine stitching seem a bit scary? If so, you should take this course to get a handle on how to use your sewing machine to create wonderful embellishments on felt paintings or other felted items. We’ll start with how to set up the machine and some great practice techniques that will build your skill level until you feel comfortable with your machine. Then you’ll learn about machine lace, thread sketching and how to incorporate machine stitching into felt paintings. Click here for more about Free Motion Machine Stitching on Felt and to register for the class.

I hope you want to expand your fiber art skills. If so, click on any of the links above to read more about the classes, see the supply lists and to register. I look forward to “seeing” you in class!

And don’t forget, if you are a beginner, our online class Wet Felting for Beginners is always available.

This class teaches you all about wet felting. You’ll learn how to make a piece of felt, how shrinkage works and how to calculate it and the basics of felting, fulling and creating felt from wool fiber. Click here for more information and to sign up. 


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Joseph Banks Challenge

This weekend sees the launch of the latest body of work by Lincolnshire based textile group LINQS.  The group, which welcomes any gender and any ability, is now in its fourth year.  The only criteria for becoming a member is that you must reside in the county of Lincolnshire.  Members are given an annual challenge to make a quilt, or quilts, based on a particular famous person, place or theme.  It was being invited to join LINQS in 2014 that first got me started on the path to textile art so I have a lot to thank them for!

Our first challenge was Inspired by David Hockney.  The group had a terrific response from local ladies and secured a national tour with Grosvenor Shows with our quilts being displayed up and down the country.  Our work visited venues from Ardingley in the south to Edinburgh in the north and various places in between.

These are just a tiny number of the quilts in the first exhibition…..

By Wendy Skinner

By Mary Jackson

By Textile Lincs

By Carol Parkinson

Being completely new to this medium I was fired with enthusiasm and produced four quilts.  The first was a small black and white take on the painting “Woldgate Woods”….

My next attempt was based on a photograph taken by the river in Horncastle, keeping with Hockneys recurring theme of “trees”.

The third one was my take on a 1954 mixed Media self-portrait….

By now I was gaining confidence and moved on from making small quilts (30cm x 40cm) to making my fifth quilt which was 30” x 40”…..

The following year it was decided that in future we would make our person, place or thing “Lincolnshire” based and Isaac Newton, being born in the county, was selected.  These are a few of the quilts from that show created by four of the members…..

By Karen Lane

By Mary Jackson

By Jean Proud


By Pat Cave

Our third challenge was to make quilts inspired by the famous Botanist and Explorer Sir Joseph Banks whose family estate was at Revesby.  The first showing of this body of work will be this Friday at “The Village”, Lincolnshire’s only living museum, which is in Skegness.

Banks became the president of the Royal Society in 1777, where he remained until his death in 1820. He was known as a prominent endorser of travelers and scientific men. Many voyages of discovery were approved and carried out under his supervision. He was the first person to introduce the Western world to acacia, mimosa, eucalyptus and Banksia, a genus named after him. About 80 other species of plants were also named after him.

While researching Banks I came across an image of a Banksia Seed Pod which had been charred in a bush fire.  Anyone who knows my preferred colour palette will recognise why this provided the inspiration I needed for my Banks quilt!

I began by making a background using cotton fabric and painted tea bag paper……

Next came the individual “pods” (no idea of the proper technical term for these bits!) which were cut from painted interfacing free machine embroidered and wadded with thick felt…..

The main body of the Seed Pod was wet Felted Norwegian fibres, free motion stitched before adding the “bits” on top.  My finished piece measures 48cm x 30cm.

I can‘t show you anyone else’s work as I don’t have photos as yet but if you are in the Skeggy area this weekend why not drop in and see them for yourself.  For everyone else I will post an update very soon.

Posted in Guest Writer, Mixed Media, Shows | 12 Comments

Uninformative Sample

This is probably going to be the least informative post I’ve ever done, but it has nice pics! A while ago, Cathy sent me some wool and fabric which she’d dyed with natural/plant dyes. I tend to be a little bit ‘messy’ and had misplaced them, but found them last weekend. I took them with me to the well-being centre and made a piece of felt with some English 56’s and lots of the wool and locks Cathy sent. Unfortunately, I forgot to write down what I used and left everything at the centre, so I will edit the post once I get the info! So, this is the finished piece with all the samples:

On a bit of an angle to see the textures more:

Closer along the surface to see the locks:

These grey locks looked really silvery:

This rose coloured wool had a nice rich colour:

I think this was Indigo dyed, I wish I’d used more of this:

I love the colour of these locks, I think they were Turmeric dyed:

How gorgeous are these, with the rich yellow and subtle orange, and gorgeous sheen?

I don’t think these locks had been dyed, I love ones like this, with small, tight crimp, they remind me of crinkle-cut chips!

I think these are the same as the Turmeric dyed ones, but natural:

Sorry, for the complete lack of info! But I hope you enjoyed the pics 🙂 One thing I can tell you is that none of the wools I used lost any colour.

Posted in Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Shibori Shrug Jacket

Heres another throw back post. I thought if I do not remember doing this maybe you won’t either. I hope you like it.

After seeing Ruth’s jacket it reminded me I had made a small one for one of my daughter’s dolls years ago. I thought I should give it another try but life size this time. I thought about doing it seamless but decided that it would make something that is a simple design into something complicated. Although I am not a great sewer I was sure sewing 2 straight seems on my machine should not be beyond me.

There are quite a few pictures so I have put them in a gallery for ease of viewing. If I could figure out how to post pictures side by side or in groups I would but that is beyond my skill level.

First I made a large piece of nuno felt. I used silk gauze and merino wool. After it was finished I put it in a red dye bath. It came out quite nice. It’s hard to tell from the picture because my camera did not like the red at all. The one you see was the best of a bad lot.

The next thing to do was the shibori. I finger pleated the middle of the piece starting at one short end. I very carefully held it flat and tight while I tied it. The first tie is the hardest one. After that you just pleat it up tying every couple of inches. You don’t want to be too neat about it. If the pleats are to perfect you get straight lines. You want your pleats to be tight so some of the material will resist the dye in the second bath. This type of shibori is supposed to make a bark like pattern. I put the tied up piece in a purple dye bath hopping for a nice red purple to appear on my cloth. It came out black. After it was dry the gauze side had more of a purple look but still very dark.

I sewed up my jacket. I made the material far too wide so the jacket ends up long. The short sides overlapped a lot when folded up. I had to have long “lapels” to make it work. It is not a mistake it’s a design feature, just ask me :O) It is still to long for me. I think it may look good one someone who is tall and thin. Two things I am not.

All in all not a bad try. I’ve made another piece of nuno felt to try again, I made it narrower this time. Now I have to find the time to sew it up.

Posted in Dyeing, Experiments, Nuno Felting, Uncategorized, Wet Felting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 22 Comments