Category Archives: Textiles

New Dog Commissions

I’ve had a small flurry of requests for custom sausage dog draught excluders in the last month – I guess that’s what happens when people get a bit chilly and start searching for things to keep their house a bit warmer. Also, Christmas is next month; erk!

Sam_Dog

dog2

pinkdogs

pink_dogs

dogs-faces-pink-fabric

pinkdogs

long-dogs

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Filed under craft, Draught excluder, Plush, Sustainability, Textiles, upcycle

Vintage Tweed Sausage!

My latest sausage dog, made from vintage tweed fabric! I think this is my favourite of the dogs I’ve made so far . I haven’t used thick tweed before and it’s lovely to work with, so I’m going to keep my eye out for some more.

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IMG_5500

tweed_dog1

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Filed under Textiles, upcycle

New fish brooches coming soon…

At the moment I’m working on a new set of fish brooches made of old ties and scraps of shiny fabric, with buttons for eyes.

IMG_5514IMG_5516IMG_5517IMG_5518They’re fun to make and I’m enjoying using loads of tiny scraps of nice fabric that I wasn’t sure what to do with.

I also have  little sale on at the moment – check it out here.

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April 11, 2014 · 4:05 pm

Why I up-cycle fabrics…

About three or four years ago I made the decision to avoid buying band new or none-organic clothes and fabric for my textile items  where I could possibly help it. I try to get all my clothes from clothes swaps, charity shops, vintage stores, and ebay. I buy my fabric from the same and scrap stores/the offcuts section in haberdashery shops, and have taken up an evening course in pattern drafting so that eventually I may be able to turn waste fabrics into clothes, thus saving them from landfill. The most challenging items to source are suitable waterproof footwear and sports wear (for example I unfortunately bought a new swimming costume last week as it is as of yet pretty difficult to find an organic costume for less than about £70, which sadly I can’t afford at the moment) and items like bras/underwear, but I hope that I will be able (and be able to afford!) to either make these items myself or invest in products from companies that have examined their environmental footprint and are making efforts to reduce it.

The reasons for this decision become pretty clear when you take a look at some of the statistics associated with fabric waste and pollution during garment production/after care which are illustrated in this piece from http://urbantimes.co – (visit the site to grab the code and share further!)

Life of a T-Shirt infographic

I note that the cost to the environment through shipping fabrics across the world, and the social injustice associated with unethical/unsafe factories haven’t been touched on within this list, so there are plenty of other reasons to consider buying second hand.

I would welcome any further ideas from readers of ways they have been able to save fabric or avoid buying new, and would love to hear of any more sustainable designers that you would recommend, especially those that specialise in shoes and sportswear!

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Filed under Sustainability, Textiles

New draught excluder dogs!

tartan-sausage-dog-draught-excluder-bendy1 tartan-sausage-dog-draught-excluder-long2 tartan-sausage-dog-draught-excluder-head1 tartan-sausage-dog-draught-excluder-head2 sausage-dog-draught-excludersAvailable from www.nicolarbell.co.uk

These dogs are made entirely from up-cycled materials!

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Filed under Plush, Textiles

Handmade Felt Items

orange-felt-bracelet orangefelt green-felt-bracelet blue-felt-bracelet

 

Visit my website for these felt items and more!

www.nicolarbell.co.uk

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Filed under Felt, Textiles

Brooches available now

turquoise-fabric-brooch

retro-fabric-brooch-1

pink-fabric-brooch

orange-fabric-brooch1

grey-green-fabric-brooch

green-tartan-brooch

green-fabric-brooch1

blue-fabric-brooch

 

All of these brooches available to buy at www.nicolarbell.co.uk

Priced at £6 – £7 each

10% discount available to those who’ve liked the facebook page (let me know before you order!)

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Filed under craft, Textiles

January 2013 – The Plan!

I never thought I’d be particularly glad to see January, but I feel like I have endured and survived a mince pie avalanche for the last few months. I’m glad we can start being normal, and eat meals that aren’t 90% sugar or gravy again.

I have a slightly different plan for my design work this year, which is as follows:

I’m going to go to more craft fairs, but I’m not going to get stalls at them…

This is because over the last couple of years I have found that the only fairs I have done well at have been during winter, and even these can be hit and miss. I think too many hours spent sitting in the cold, not daring to leave my stall in case I make a sale have taken their toll, and I would prefer to spend that time working on new designs, talking to people, looking at other’s work that interests me and focusing time and energy on web promotion.

I will look into getting some stock into shops…

I have tried this in the past, but didn’t much energy into it as I could have done. I also don’t think my work was as good, so I think I can make use of a few years experience, come up with some better designs, and see what happens! I would like to send stock to shops outside of Yorkshire, so will do my research!

I will work on some new designs and experiment more…

Not everything I have made in the last couple of years is stuff I really like… I want to use embroidery more in my work and possibly make more sculptural pieces. I have been offered some horsehair  by an ex-upholsterer, which could be an interesting medium!

I will carry on learning on my pattern drafting course…

I’m still learning to make clothes; it’s a slow process but it’s helping me work out how to use fabric in new ways.

I will reflect on what inspires me

The natural world is one of my biggest sources of inspiration and I want to reflect this more in my work. The news a couple of days ago that Japanese cameramen had filmed a giant squid for the first time in its natural habitat was so exciting, and a recent David Attenborough documentary introduced me to the world of trilobites which was equally AMAZING AND COOL:

Trilobite!

I am also excited by so much folk-law and traditional folk art from around the world. The more surreal/uncanny the better….

So that’s the plan! More updates soon….

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Filed under craft, Squid, Textiles

Recent Work

Sausage Dog

Elephant

Owl Experiment

For more updates of what I’m creating you can now follow me on Instagram

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Filed under Plush, Textiles

Making my Home Tweet Home rocket…

The ‘Home Tweet Home’ project was an interactive family art trail in Pudsey Park during October 2012, as part of ‘I Love West Leeds’ festival.

15 identical wooden bird boxes were painted, decorated, pulled apart and played with by artists from near and far. Luckily I was chosen as one of those artists!

I’m not sure when the idea to create a space rocket first hit me, but I really liked the idea of creating some kind of alien or space being for the interior…

I used paper to make a maquette of my space ship before creating it in a shiny charcoal wetsuit-like fabric, and then created a fabric astronaut bird to pilot it!

All materials save the astronaut’s helmet were up-cycled from scraps purchased from SCRAP in Leeds and the lovely metallic fabrics were salvaged from student change over in Hyde Park, Leeds.  (This is a locally famous period of time over the few weeks in June/July when students move from one property to another, and unfortunately cannot be bothered to recycle or charity shop a lot of their unwanted items so simply dump them all in the street.)

 
How I made my Home Tweet Home bird box, in pictures…

I really enjoyed making my bird box, however I think if I was to do a similar project again I would use a lot more colour within the rocket.  Other artists used colour to great affect.

 

Visit the Home Tweet Home page

I Love West Leeds Festival

 

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Filed under Community, Leeds, Textiles