Val Hughes

A brief biography


Val was born in Essex,

and for as long as she

can remember, she has

always loved all things "art and design". Her passion is history, archaeology and the natural landscape, and this has influenced her work and continues to do so.  


Since graduating with a First Class BA (Hons) in Art, Design and Textiles, and completing her Post Graduate Certificate in Education, she has had the opportunity to develop her skills in felt making, free machine embroidery and mixed media.


As a student, she received sponsorship by various companies including Maderia Threads. This led to lots of opportunities to exhibit her work at major shows including International Craft & Hobby Fairs and Twisted Thread.  


Her love of wool and felt making encouraged an invitation to become a Member of the International Felt Makers Association & in the same year she was awarded Distinction Status by the Society of Designer Craftsmen for her work on Anne Boleyn.


Not much later she was recommended as a tutor and lecturer for the Embroiderers Guild and The Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers, for whom she regularly runs workshops and lectures. As a qualified tutor Val has worked in numerous educational settings across the UK. These include schools, colleges, museums and art galleries. She has also worked on a variety of  community art projects including those for The Woodland Trust, National Trust and Educational Medical Service.


Nationally, her wearable art collections have been exhibited in numerous galleries including those in London, Durham, Shetland and Jersey. Internationally, her work has been represented at the International Textile Forums in Belgium and Turkey, as well as appearing in various publications including Workbox Magazine, Be Creative, Echoes Journal, Felt Matters, Creative Living and Australian Fibres.


Val now lives in a lovely village over looking the Pennine Hills where she continues to develop her work, including varied collections of wearable art, fashion accessories, bridal wear and interior design.


Topsy Turvy Felting with Val Hughes


Thursday October 5th to Thursday October 12th 2017


All materials and felt making equipment will be provided.

Maximum six participants.


Alice in Wonderland is the main theme for this week. However, for those who wish to diversify a little, you could perhaps use Alice simply as a startng point. Val will help you to do this if you wish. For those of you who do wish to pursue the Alice theme in more depth, that is fine too!


Val has, over the last two years or so, been busy with a new collection of work entitled ‘Topsy Turvy’. This work featured in her book Felt and Fibre Art published by Search Press in 2015.


This was the start of Val’s mounting interest in the wonderful stories by Lewis Carroll. Since then, Val’s collection, which includes wearable art, wall hangings and some fashion accessories, has been widely exhibited in Exeter, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and London to name but a few. She has also lectured and run workshops about this body of work throughout the United Kingdom including a tour of Scotland.


During this week’s experience in the beautiful French countryside, our

inspiration will be taken predominately from the magical stories of Alice in Wonderland and also Val’s enthusiasm and her collection.


Day 1 Arrive today and settle in. Meet and greet supper with wine. Val will show some of her Alice in Wonderland Collection and briefly discuss how they came about.


Day 2 Studio day. We will be creating felt inspired by the imagery of the stories of Alice. This could include hearts, flowers, cups and saucers, landscapes. We will learn how to blend colours and use pre felts to retain shapes. A selection of samples will be created and from these, your chosen design will then be developed into creating a bag using a resist method. We learn how to fashion the bag and to make handles and various finishing touches.


Day 3 Back in the studio. Using your ideas and knowledge gained from the previous day we will use cotton muslin and/or chiffon fabric to create a beautiful nuno felted scarf or wrap or wall hanging. Ideas in relation to single layering and double layering of fabrics will be explored including further use of pre felts. We will also learn how to make interesting finished edges for your piece of work.


Day 4 is an outing day to the Puces de la Cité in Limoges looking for

antique lace, doillies and other finds that can be incorporated into our felting. Who knows, we may even find a cup and saucer or two ready for our needle felting day which will be inspired by the Mad Hatters Tea Party. On return you are free to use the studio to continue with your ideas. Val will be on hand to mentor you.


Day 5 Studio day. Today we will learn how to create a hand felted hat using a simple resist method. It can be a very wearable hat or one that is as ‘wacky’ as you like! Again, inspired by Alice, we can incorporate imagery as simple as 2D roses, flowers or hearts. Maybe you would like to include some lace and doillies from yesterday’s market. Or you can go on to develop and decorate your hat with 3D wet or needle felted flowers or perhaps a needle felted bird or a cup and saucer for example. Anything goes!


Day 6 An outing to visit the famous Limoges Porcelain museum and a factory shop or two. This will give us all a chance to see how traditional methods are combined with modern technology to make outstanding and world renowned porcelain. It will also give us the opportunity to purchase a white or decorated cup and saucer for our needle felted, tea party inspired, workshop. The studio will be open on our return for those who wish to continue to develop their projects.


Day 7 Studio day. Today we will return to the studio with our porcelain or antique cups and saucers. Val will show you how you can make a needle felted dormouse to nestle into your cup, perhaps with a lace doilley to keep him warm! After all the stories of Alice wouldn't be the same without a dormouse would they? Today is also a good day to begin to put some finishing touches together from our week's explorative and fun sessions. Beading and hand embroidery techniques can be utilised at this point with Val's support and tuition where necessary.


Day 8 A chance to say our goodbyes and get prepared for your journey home. In the morning there may also be time to tie up any loose ends and spend some time showing and talking about our creations and experiences this week.


So, in a nutshell, during this week Val will guide you through all of the following:

• Wet Felting

• Nuno Felting

• Needle Felting

• Use of Pre-felts

• Use of Blending, Layering and Edging Techniques

• 2D and 3D Felt Making

• Sampling

• Hand Embroidery and Beading

• The Design Process & Developing your own ideas

• Creating Fashion Accessories, Hat Making and Bag Making

• Creating Works of Art such as Panels, Pictures and Wall Hangings.

To reserve a place on this course

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Pendinnis Gardens


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