Let me tell you about my most amazing trip to France. The residential course I did, studying with Julie Arkell, was probably the best week of my life! The place I studied, Les Seours Anglaises, was just beautiful, a lovely place in which to be and create. The food was magnificent and I learnt everything I hoped to learn and more. What I didn’t expect was to be overwhelmed by all the fabulous women I studied with – I learnt so much from them and made so many friends.
Here’s a photo tour…
Julie Arkell was a wonderful teacher, and I couldn’t get enough of her cute aprons and eccentric, delightful fashion:
On the first day, Julie showed us how to scrunch up newspaper and tape it up with masking tape to create little figures. She told us to make as many as we could before lunch. This was my line up:
After lunch we covered our figures with a layer of newspaper. At the end of the first day, here’s all our creations, drying together in the sun.
The next day we covered our figures with paper from vintage books, and gave them a lick of paint here and there. This is my line up by the end of the second day:
Me, making making making in the workshop:
Here’s other students hard at it:
Julie taught me how to approach knitting garments for any doll, of any size, shape and proportions. Here she’s writing a proposed knitting pattern for my rabbit doll, into my journal:
We took an outting to the local flea market to source treasures to use in our creations. Then we had a picnic, and here’s me sitting next to Julie Arkell:
I snared this original vintage French military jacket at the flea market. It fits me perfectly – normally it’s hard for me to find a jacket wide enough across the shoulders but not enormous at the waist. I like the proportions of these French soldiers! Happy I’ll always have this to remember the trip.
The other students were so skilled and happy to share their talents. When I ran into problems knitting a playsuit for my doll, one of the other students, Torhild, was happy to help. And in fact once she got knitting, everyone was so gobsmacked at her speed and skill that we all gathered around in shock to watch. Better than TV!
My doll had antlers and we weren’t sure we’d be able to get the playsuit onto her once it was knitted. But Torhild had a solution: she proceeded to knit the playsuit ONTO the doll! Much more admiration from everyone in the class.
At the end, we had a show and tell. You can see my figures on the left below:
This is me with my inkle. I have wanted an inkle ever since I saw one in a catalogue of Julie’s work. She was happy to show me out to knit one. I love it.
The other students made wonderful things:
I think my favourite was this hare by Ragnhild:
It nearly killed me to say goodbye to everyone. Usually I love working alone, but suddenly my little studio at home seems rather lonely! It doesn’t matter – I’ve brought home a whole year’s worth of inspiration, so hopefully I’ll be too busy to notice!