If you want to enjoy a craft holiday and learn how to use beautiful naturally dyed fleece to create a needle felted picture, our June craft retreat might be the perfect break. This year we are so pleased to have Karen Price working with us, who is renowned throughout the Highlands of Scotland for her stunning needle felted works of art. We are combining her skills with ours, to create this exciting new craft course. This craft holiday will include two days of natural dyeing fleece and then two days working with the dyed fleece and Karen to create stunning needle felted pictures. If you are interested in learning how to naturally dye fleece or needle felting, this combination of crafts might be the perfect craft retreat. Our craft courses and holidays are carefully put together, so participants can get the most out of the tutors and workshops, but also so there is time to relax and enjoy being away.
Our Fleece to Needle Felt course runs from Monday to Saturday giving participants time to enjoy the whole process from picking Highland dye plants, making natural dyes, dyeing fleece and finally creating stunning needle felted pictures from naturally dyed fleece -giving them that special realistic touch.
Your week of craft…
We pick the group up from Inverness on Monday June 8th at 5pm and drive 40 minutes West of Inverness to the Old Stables in Corrimony, where all our guests stay. On Tuesday morning we will head 10 minutes down the road to Crochail woods, where we will spend the day learning about dye plants, picking and making dyes and dyeing fleece from our small flock of Shetland sheep.
Learn to naturally dye…
We make our natural dyes outdoors, dyeing our fleece and silks over fires the traditional way. We use foraged plants including Gorse flowers, Broom, Bracken and Heather as well as ancient imported dye plants, which have a long history of use in the Scottish Highlands. We usually manage about 5-6 dyes producing about 20 beautiful shades and colours. We spend a day and a half dyeing fleece as well as time learning to card, using both hand carders and a drum carder -ready for needle felting.
On Wednesday afternoon, after a morning of dyeing, we will spend time enjoying the stunning landscapes which surround us here in Strathglass; visiting Glen Affric (known as one of Scotland’s most beautiful Glens) finding inspiration for our final piece -ready for needle felting with Karen.
Learn to Needle Felt a picture…
The last two days are spent with Karen learning pictorial needle felting techniques, using your naturally dyed fleece. Karen uses the fleece like a painter uses paint, but the wonderful thing about working with fleece, is if you make a mistake you can just take it off and start again. Fleece is a very forgiving medium which gives wonderful results with ease.
There will be time to design and create a piece work inspired by the landscapes and wildlife around us. Over the two days Karen will guide you through the steps to create your own picture, teaching participants how to mix the wool to get the colours you want and how to embellish your finished piece using fibres and beads. Participants can take their time and enjoy the process.
The unusual and unique part of this week is the opportunity to follow the whole process through..from dyeing, carding and finally creating a pictorial piece from fleece. The process is very relaxing and satisfying. We run all our courses at an easy pace, giving guests time to enjoy the stunning scenery – there is also always time for a cup of tea! Coming here is a wonderful way to have a holiday and learn something new in a beautiful place.
Guests stay at the Old Stables, which is nestled between farmland, the river and the woods. The large house has a homely feel and guests can choose an ensuite room, a single room or to share a twin room with another guest.
There are many stunning walks just outside the door, Corrimony cairn is just down the track and the RSPB reserve is across the river. A wonderful tranquil place, perfect for cosy evenings of craft.
We love to cook and provide all the meals over the week, we are happy to cater for any dietary needs. We pick all our guests up from Inverness, which can be easily reached by plane, train or bus.
Prices start at £845 (to share a twin), £945 (single), £995 (ensuite).