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Batik, Science and the LNF January 5, 2014

Filed under: art,education — mrsthomas2 @ 12:30 pm
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This is a presentation I’ve made looking at how the LNF, particularly the Literacy aspects, can be covered by an artistic science lesson!

The children were inspired by it and it really encouraged speaking and listening skills, including some EAL children trying to describe and understand new words.


Stained Glass December 2, 2012

Filed under: art — fionathomasict @ 4:04 pm

I went back to Craft in the Bay last weekend, this time with Richard for his birthday present – two days of stained glass. Richard has read about this subject and has been meaning to give it a go since I met him 5 years ago. The original window that he wanted to glaze was in his house in Barry, but now there are two arched windows in our back door that he fancies doing. So I saw the course and decided that this might be what was needed to actually get a hands on feel and the confidence to start. Of course what also came was the experienced advice of the instructor, so now we know what Richard is getting for Christmas!
The pictures above show a mixture of his and my first attempts. We were given the template (cartoon) and told to start with cutting a circle. Richard’s was much better than mine! But we were actually pleased with our attempts and carried on choosing the next colour and cutting it to fit some of the various shapes of our cartoon. As the day went on, the cutting got easier and we began to hear the difference between a good cut and the differences between the different colours of glass. We leaded the window up and admired our work and went home pleased with our attempts. The following day we soldered the joints. I found it particularly tricky to control the amount of solder at first and my joints were not as neat as Richard’s. Then we started our next project, which was square based. We decided quickly that more colours were needed and we were quickly busy cutting the shapes. More time was spent now moving the colours around and deciding which to put where. The leading and the soldering were easier this second time round, particularly as the instructor lent us his soldering iron which was temperature controlled. This time I could feel that I was better. Richard, of course was fine and his previous experience showed!
We went home with two small windows each and are planning on integrating them into our door windows. I am getting Richard some equipment for Christmas and hopefully will have some pictures of our door to show in the new year!


leather bags for sale August 24, 2012

Filed under: art — fionathomasict @ 5:02 pm
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small hand sewn leather handbag, natural suede inside with magnetic clasp. 18x13cm £20 SOLD


inside showing suede detail and magnetic clasp SOLD

30x24cm stone button handbag SOLD


Overlapping stone button bag 24x22cm £30


buckle bag with inside pocket 24x29cm £30


inside buckle bag


bag big enough for A4 file, pockets for smaller objects. £30 44x32cm


inside big bag


28x27cm £40  SOLD


strap detail of button/bead bag   SOLD


hearts bag with inside pocket and magnetic clasp £40 26x26cm

Leave a message on the blog or email me at if you would like to buy a bag. At the moment there is just one of each bag available. Each one is individual and handmade. As I said in the previous blog, I don’t use a pattern so they really are one of a kind!


Leather Handbags August 20, 2012

Filed under: art — fionathomasict @ 6:53 pm
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Over this summer holiday, I have been making more leather handbags. I made my first two years ago after seeing one which I liked in a craft shop. I was pleased with how it turned out and it has worn well. I had a few comments and requests, so this summer I thought that I would do some more.

My original handbag

You need special leather sewing machine needles and a sharp cutter. I have also bought leather needles for hand sewing to add some details and some magnetic metal clasps which snap shut. Each bag is different as I don’t use a pattern but make a bag from the leather shapes.

A small shoulder bag with two buttons.

The small shoulder bag has been hand sewn and measures 18x13cm (7×5 inches). Inside it has the natural suede of the leather.

inside showing the suede contrast and the clasp.

The next two bags are similar, both have a heavy stone pendant covering the clasp.

This bag measures 24x22cm (9.5×9 inches)

This one measures 30×24 cm (12×9.5 inches)

Both bags are simple in style with only the natural leather lining and no pockets. The straps are attached with buttons.

Buttons attach the straps to the handbags

I have four more bags half done. Here is a glimpse to see what’s coming. I hope to have them finished by the end of the summer holidays.


Silver pendant design July 28, 2012

Filed under: art — fionathomasict @ 8:04 pm
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Another fun and successful course at Craft in the Bay in Cardiff. This time Janet and I were joined by Liz, Alison, Tanya and my step daughter Zoe. The course was run by Suzie Horan and again we were welcomed warmly. Suzie designs and makes some beautiful rippled silver jewellery and you can see her designs at
We started by being shown some simple techniques of imprinting with stamps, engraving with stencils and cutting with a saw. Suzie then showed us some ways of making the silver matt by rubbing with different coarse papers – like sandpaper.
We went off armed with a piece of copper to experiment.




We used the punch tool to make indentations and as a guide to drilling a hole for the link. We tried different abrasives to see the effect on the copper.



The sawing was tricky as you had to move the metal very slowly to make a curve. If you forced it just a little, you tended to get the saw stuck or it snapped.



When we had tried different techniques and decided what we liked and what worked, we sketched out on paper some of ideas.
Then it was lunch time and the majority of us had ordered food from Kemi’s cafe again and were saved a table upstairs with a great view of the Bay. It was a beautiful day, so we had a quick sit outside after we’d eaten with a cup of tea. Then it was back to the workshop and the piece of silver we were to work with was handed out carefully.
Now we had to decide exactly what we wanted to make! It was actually quite nerve racking in a strange way as we knew that this was it and any mistakes may have to be incorporated into the finished article!
The front of the silver was covered in a protective plastic so that any work we may have wanted to do to the shape, could be completed without accidental scratching. So we began filing or sawing until we had the shape we wanted. We also drilled the hole for the link while the plastic was intact and then it was time to engrave, punch or abrade the surface.
We all started with a similar silver shape but everyone had quite different ideas and it was amazing to see the pendants taking shape.







The following photos show some of the finished pendants. The photos were taken quickly with a phone camera before everyone departed! Everyone wore their pendant home and was pleased with the result!






It was a great day and I would thoroughly recommend it to anyone! No skills needed. Book with friends or individually.


Making felt hats – a course at Craft in the Bay. June 16, 2012

Filed under: art — fionathomasict @ 10:01 pm
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I had a fantastic day at Craft in the Bay, which is situated in an old D shed in Cardiff Bay, making felt hats! I went with a friend Janet and we had fun taking photos as we went along. Craft in the Bay is a building exhibiting and selling various art work from members of The Makers Guild in Wales with a shop attached and cafe, as well as rooms for courses. Craft in the Bay
I have made a few attempts at felt making, mostly self taught from reading books so knew the fundamentals only, while Janet had not made any before so was feeling a bit nervous at the start. It turned out that she was the only one not to have done any felting previously and I was the second least knowledgeable as the other people on the course were taking art at college or school or had attended other courses. However we were made to feel at ease quickly.
Mandy Nash was a great teacher and the session moved quickly into looking at hats that Mandy had made and were for sale in the shop area. We chose the styles we liked and Mandy had a few templates which we could copy or adapt. I wanted a taller shape on the top of my hat for example, which I would be able to twist or bend and attach tassels of some sort later.
We drew around the initial newspaper template and made adaptions as necessary. We cut out our template to use on plastic and make our own plastic template.




Next we chose our wool colours and were shown how to pull the wool gently make fluffy tufts! We had two colours, I chose a dark midnight blue and a brighter, lighter blue. The lighter colour was going inside so I started laying that colour over the plastic template.


We patted that down gently, turned the whole plastic and wool over and repeated the laying down on the second side, tucking in the edges tidily. This was repeated and then we began covering the first colour with our second choice.



This colour was rubbed in gently with a couple of layers on both sides and we could begin to feel the final thickness of the felt. We then added any detail, in varying colours, that we fancied. I selected a few different colours to add on the top of the hat which was beginning to take shape, albeit in 2D at the moment.


Next came the rolling in the bubble wrap. It was suggested that we began gently, but we found out that I was far more heavy handed than Janet and her rolling went on for far longer than mine. The hats were now quite heavy and solid and still flat. We tested the shrinkage by trying the hats on. I wish I had a photo as that was one of the funniest moments of the day!
Now we had to mould our hats to the shape that we desired. Folds, ridges and twists, symmetrical or not. All at once the hats began to change shapes and become rather interesting.





We had a wonderful day and are thrilled with the results. I would certainly recommend the courses here based on this one day. In fact, Janet and I are booked into a silver jewellery course later this year and this time we won’t be alone. Our college friend Liz will be joining us as well as some teacher friends from school and my lovely step daughter. I hope it is as good a day as the felt making and I am definitely looking forward to the fantastically exotic salad lunch from Kemi’s Cafe or shall I have a wrap or baguette this time? And don’t let me start on the cake stand! In fact if you live near Cardiff and haven’t yet been, please try it for yourself. Kemi’s Cafe