Artists in the Making

Today eight of us met at the Murley Hall for a day’s instruction with portraiture artist Tamsin Dearing. Tamsin had promised that she could teach anyone to draw, but I must admit some of us were a bit sceptical!

We started by learning some shading techniques using mechanical pencils, as well as how to use a rubber and other tools of the trade to create different effects.


After selecting a photograph from Tamsin’s collection from which to draw, we got started. The big tip of the day was to draw upside down! That way we drew what was actually there, rather than what our eyes expected to see.

Alison works on a drawing of Stephen Fry.
Alison works on a drawing of Stephen Fry.
Lis is all smiles while working on her bird drawing.
Lis is all smiles while working on her bird drawing.

The results were remarkable! Tamsin stuck all of our drawings up on the wall so we could admire each others’ work.

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But we all agreed that Val P was the star of the day with her amazing Audrey Hepburn drawing.


Cushion-makers hard at work

Lis Davies and her band of Flying Fingers ladies have been hard at work making cushions for the chairs in the Murley Hall.




(Excuse the gin bottle in the background of the photos. Lis tells me it’s vital to the process.)

Anyway, when the cushions are finished later this year, you’ll thank the ladies from the bottom of your … bottoms.

Sushi! Sushi! Sushi!

sushi2If you haven’t yet put your name down for next month’s sushi day, there’s still time!

We’ll meet at the Murley Hall at 10am for some instruction and will then start making our sushi! Once we’ve finished, we’ll all sit down and have a sushi feast.

Don’t worry if you don’t fancy raw fish. Although we will have fish available, there will also be a load of other vegetable fillings on hand for you to use. “Sushi” is really just rolled rice with other fillings, so it needn’t be fish at all.

The cost of the workshop is £10 which includes all equipment and ingredients. It’s a workshop plus a free lunch!

To book your place, contact Lis Davies on (01736) 754146 or by email on


Fabric Fusion with Rosemary!

Colleen Lewis, Val Puddiphatt and Kathy Merrett enjoy their work
Colleen Lewis, Val Puddiphatt and Kathy Merrett enjoy their work

On Friday, some of us learned the basics of fabric fusion with our own very talented Rosemary Gries.

We worked at tables with views into Rosemary’s lovely garden and were supervised by handsome Charlie-the-cat.

Wielding dangerously hot soldering irons, we worked with gossamer-fine strips of organza of every colour of the rainbow. We let our imaginations run free and created our own pictures and designs to take home with us.

Laraine Turner's piece of fused fabric
Laraine Turner’s piece of fused fabric

After lunch in the sunny garden, some remained to embellish their fused pieces further, with embroidery, ribbon and sequins.

Thank you so much to Rosemary for her patient tutelage and to Lis Davies for organising the day and for bringing along her delicious chocolate cake!

To see more photos of our work, click here.


Buttons! Buttons! Buttons!

Today a group of us met to learn the art of making Dorset buttons – with varying degrees of success, I should add!

If you’ve not heard of Dorset buttons, they’re  hand-made buttons which were popular from the early 17th century until they were rendered obsolete by machine-made buttons in the mid-19th century.

To make a button, you begin with a metal ring and some embroidery silk.


From there, it gets a bit complicated as you cover the ring and then create spokes of silk to make a button in the cartwheel pattern.


After a great deal of intense concentration …


Our end results weren’t too bad!


After a lunch break and a lot of laughing, we turned our attention to traditional fabric buttons in the afternoon. Embellished with embroidery and beads, they were really lovely.


A big thank you to Lis who organised today’s workshop, to Gail who hosted and acted as tutor and to Charlotte and Sue Martin who were invaluable in helping us untangle our threads!


See more photos of the button workshop here.

Pretty pretty coat hangers!

Earlier today, a group of Crowlas & Ludgvan WI members had a lovely time making padded coat hangers with expert tuition from Jane Twose.

Sue Badcock, Mary Venn, Val Puddiphatt and Kathy Merrett all concentrating hard on their coat hangers.
Sue Badcock, Mary Venn, Val Puddiphatt and Kathy Merrett all concentrating hard on their coat hangers.

Once we had been shown the techniques we chose our material and started personalising our creations. It was a lovely relaxing day. Thanks so much to Lis Davies for organising it.

The end results - a gorgeous assortment of homemade coat hangers.
The end results – a gorgeous assortment of homemade coat hangers.

(Jane also provided some excellent homemade orange and caramel cake which, appropriately, was cut with a pair of sewing scissors!)

Jane cuts the cake!
Jane cuts the cake!

The holly and the ivy …

This morning, the Murley Hall was nearly buried under a pile of delicious-smelling pine, holly, ivy, rosemary, bay and so much more!

Shirley led us, first by demonstrating her amazing eye for floral arrangements, whipping up a stunning display in a matter of minutes, and then by patiently helping us create our own masterpieces.

Aided by Lis’s endless supply of cake and mince pies, we all worked quietly and companiably, with only the occasional burst of a Christmas carol from ‘the naughty corner.’

Sue, Gail and Kathy

By the end of the day, we went home with gorgeous Christmas wreaths and arrangements, surpassing all of our expectations.


See some more photos of the day, including some of our wreaths, by clicking here.

Felt Flower Workshop

A group of us put our crafty hands to work today and made some gorgeous felt flower brooches.

We started by making poppies for Remembrance Day, but under Lis’s patient tutelage we quickly got the hang of it and branched out into all manner of pink, purple and blue flowers.


Our usual £2 per participant hostess fee was collected and will be donated to the British Legion.

Thanks for a great day, Lis!

Click here to see more photos.


Oil painting with Hazel

Several of our members unleashed their inner Picassos today at an oil-painting workshop led by Hazel Brown.



The talented ladies produced some amazing masterpieces under Hazel’s tutelage (but there are no names signed to the works below, so we don’t know which artist is responsible for which painting!):

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A special thank you goes out to Hazel from Irene, Jane, Mary, Naimh, Pat and Sue, as well as to Lis for arranging the day and for supplying some delicious lemon cake.