Thursday, 16 June 2011

Crafty at Cowslip

I've been so looking forward to bringing you the rest of my post about my weekend at Cowslip Workshops. Now where were we? Working hard in this studio...

...with this wonderful lady. It was lovely that so many of you left comments and emailed me about your admiration and love of Julie and her work. It is well deserved as you will see.

Julie had a whole wall adorned with her work which she had brought to show us. She started the workshop by talking us through each of the pieces and it was interesting to hear her inspirations.

These brooches are based on one Julie saw at the Imperial War Museum. (You can see it in my blog post here, the woven horseshoe-shaped brooch worn by the little girl.)

Julie likes to use vintage clothing, in particular children's clothing, to display her work which is really charming. She had bought this little boy's suit last year from Linda and Lizzy, two of the vintage dealers who were at Cowslip with their stall again this year. The large bunch of wild flowers is Julie's latest piece which she had recently finished.

Love these watches!

We were all raring to go and get making. We started off with the 1940's style brooch. My weekend was made even better by the fact that Donna was also attending the workshop and we spent a lovely two days nattering and crafting away next to each other. (I was also privileged to inspect Donna's private stash!) Donna has also blogged about her weekend, do go and see.

I had previously had a go at the 1940's brooches myself, with a distinct flowery theme, so I decided to do something a little different and chose a fabulous golly fabric I bought from Donna a while ago.

I also made this Suffolk puff bracelet. I am a massive bracelet fan and I have been wearing it every day since I made it on Sunday. We are inseparable!

The bad thing about the weekend was that it just wasn't long enough! All the pieces were hand sewn which is very time consuming so I managed to make the golly brooch, the Suffolk Puff bracelet and a couple of wild flowers in two days. (Don't forget, there was fabric shopping, nattering and cake munching to be done.)

The inspiration certainly didn't start and end in Launceston though, and I couldn't wait to make a few more things this week once I got home and was safely ensconced once more in my Den.

I bought this gorgeous little Fair Isle jumper in Revival (a great vintage clothing shop) a couple of weeks ago when we went to Totnes. It would no way fit me but I loved it as soon as I saw it hanging in the window and home to the Den it came because I didn't want to wear it, I wanted to use it to display things.

On Sunday afternoon at Cowslip, a very nice lady from the cafe brought us in a plate of scones with jam and clotted cream (of course). Many ladies went ga-ga over the scones, we're pretty addicted to the scone-jam-cream thing here too, so my little creature became "Scones" to remind me of my weekend!

I've used all vintage fabrics, it just seems right somehow, and couldn't wait to get going with the ones I bought from Donna at the weekend as well as my existing stash. Afterwards, the creatures are dyed gently in tea to give them a worn and loved look.

As Julie says, guaranteed to be right twice a day!

I used a piece from a vintage embroidered coaster as the basis for this brooch and added a phrase my sister loves, "Fairer than any rose". Julie confessed to having a huge collection of these old embroidered cloths; a lady after my own heart!

Another cute creature with a vintage brooch (I have a large collection of these too, so it's nice to find a way to use one).

My gorgeous vintage golly (bought for 10p from a stall at my school fair when I was little) has pinched the golly brooch...

However, I am certainly not going short because as I mentioned earlier, after I'd been to the Imperial War Museum myself and with the New Year Hols ahead of me, I made myself a handful of the 1940's style brooches back in January. I painted this cheap frame (from the £1 shop) in this fetching green to which I have become quite addicted, cut a piece of board to size to which I stuck some light foam and then wrapped in lovely vintage fabric, et voila. This hangs in my Den, the perfect bit of wall art, but I do wear the brooches when I fancy.

My beloved Suffolk Puff bracelet...

Finally, I said I had made some wild flowers. Julie had brought some vintage books with her which had been the inspiration for her wild flower brooch. I have the very same book at the cottage! I am a sucker for all those old cheap-as-chips books which have fantastic colour plates inside as well as spot-on information and we have quite a collection about flowers, trees, birds, eggs and their nests and so on. I need to make a poppy but for now, this is my little bunch.

Hope you've enjoyed seeing Julie's work and the things she inspired me to produce. I've been wearing a few of my pieces each day, I've got the bug! She is certainly a lovely as well as very clever lady, I may have been able to reproduce the designs but the ideas are all hers. I'm sure her influence shall endure.

P.S. Just noticed, this is my 350th post!!!


  1. A wonderful inspiring post Hen. You have got my creative juices flowing!!! I so wish I could attend an event like that one day. You have produced some stunning items.x

  2. Thanks so much for showing us your work and Julie's. I especially loved the box of hand made vintage watches...fantastic. I think your weekend combo of crafty stuff + lovely eats - scones & clotted cream in particular - is heaven on earth.

  3. Hen, thank you so much for showing us all these great close up photos of beautiful creations.

    I would say that you and Ms JA are clearly on similar wavelengths, and she was probably quite inspired by being around you and your fellow workshop mates. Lots and lots of happy creative energy in that room!


  4. Ooooh, what gorgeous things!!

    Des Julie have a blog/book? I'd love to have a go at the wildflowers.

    How did you make your 1940's brooches? I love them!!

    S x
    Note to self: get fairy lights for sewing room

  5. I live only a couple of miles away from Cowslip and its one of my favourite places glad you had a fab day
    Kieren x

  6. Julie has a book, titled "Home", it has lovely photos of her studio and the things she has made (it is not a "how to" book). It is smallish, printed on nice thick paper stock. I bought mine via Loop but it worked out expensive, I think you can now get them from Amazon.

    Treat yourself to one of Julie's courses and she'll teach you how to make the brooch...
    Hen x

  7. Such fun in a lovely setting. Feeling totally inspired now. Another book to add to my list....I think the bunch of wildflowers are my favourite

  8. wow, so inspired by all your yummy things!! Thank you!

  9. You lucky girl. What a lovely post. It is my ambition to go to a Julie Arkell workshop oneday. Thank you for sharing your beautiful pieces. x

  10. What a way to spend a weekend.So many projects so little time.Not sure how anyone is ever bored.x

  11. Congrats on 350! That's real staying power. And you made some beautiful things at the weekend - what a wonderful treat to get some crafty time away like that.

    Pomona x

  12. What gorgeous makes. I love it all but in particular the Suffolk puff bracelet. I might have to have a play at one of those!
    And what a fantastic setting for a course too.

  13. Oh Hen look at how busy you have been!!! I can't believe how much you have made and it's only Thursday!!! Gorgeous things clever girl. I need to make myself a bracelet!

  14. Lovely makes as always, love the little rabbit brooches. Will have to look out for that book shame I live so far away as I would love to undertake one of her courses.

  15. what a dream come true!...she is an amazingly talented lady- i love her art collage and textile pieces!
    what a wonderful talent you have also! such a dreamy time it must have been ;0)x

    i love your textile piece 'scones' x

    thank you for sharing- id love to do something like that workshop one day x

  16. what a fantastic weekend! I adore Julie's work and was lucky to attend an afternoon with her last year, so much fun.

  17. A wonderful inspiring post with lots of lovely ideas and creations to keep you busy. What a fun weekend.

  18. Lovely, pretty things! Glad you had such a great time! Cx

  19. Oh I am so glad you enjoyed the Cowslip Workshop I have written about it numerous times on my blog, it is heavenly there and Jo is so lovely. Once a month on a Friday they have a supper and sometimes a great jazz night if you can ever get to go it is a lovely way to spend a summer's evening. You looked like you had a great time and I love your bracelet!!
    have a great weekend (although it looks rather wet here in Devon!)

  20. What a lovely creative post! Thanks so much for sharing :)xx

  21. Wonderful inspiring post! Glad you had such a great time!

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  22. Aaaaahhhhhh what wonders! What a WONDERFUL weekend you had! I think everyone who does Julie's workshops gets affected by her magic, and it never leaves, she's such an inspiration. Thank you for giving us such a lot of lovely photos Hen, I feel I was a little bit there now, which is the best I can do, as I can't be at any of her workshops. Thank you. Love Vanessa xxx

  23. What a wonderful looking course, in a fab place. The brooches are just too cute. I love your display on the fairisle sweater. My favourite is the little rabbit with the vintage brooch at his neck...just lovely! I came across you by accident and have had a lovely time scrooling down your posts. I am now a follower of your wonderful blog. Have a great weekend, love Linda x

  24. I love how you have displayed your Julie inspired designs. You had a wonderfully happy creative weekend.
    Congratulations on 350 posts and thank you for being so generous and sharing so much with your readers, this is such a lovely place to visit.
    Carol xx

  25. WOW! Inspirational! I love them
    Julie xxxxxxx

  26. This is the perfect crafty post! Beautiful photos and a good read too. I love those oval brooches, but golly wearing his own brooch has to be my favourite photo.

  27. Beautiful things, i'm blown away by the creativity, love the flower bookmark so lovely :)

  28. All absolutely gorgeous as always! Lizzie x

  29. Wow!!!! so much to see... I have just found your delightful blog and am going to follow you.....One of my posts was on Suffolk Puffs. If you would like to have a look them go to


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