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Featured Artist - Nancy Shafee

Our featured artist for this month is Nancy Shafee from Surrey, who was actually going to be our featured artist for April until we discovered that she was jetting off to Australia to visit her son. So when she returned, we caught up with her to find out more about her and what she’s been up to!

Featured artist - Nancy Shafee

Nancy originally trained at St Martin’s School of Art (now called Central St Martins) where she studied fabric design and children’s fashion, subsequently working in both the UK and Finland. After careers in public relations, marketing and publishing, she has only relatively recently returned to her love of crafting.

Nancy makes and sells personal accessories and decorative items for the home using wool, silk and bamboo. She is proud to have a licence with The Royal British Legion to produce handmade felt poppies in support of the charity - so for the last four years she has been a major buyer at World of Wool, purchasing merino wool in all shades of red!

The amazing possibilities for combining colours first drew Nancy to felting which is probably why she particularly likes to work with merino wools.

Merino felts quickly and is wonderful for teaching. Some of my students can spend almost as long choosing their colours as making something! When I go to schools I am asked just to take black, white and grey, to limit the choosing time!

Nancy uses Blue Faced Leicester when she wants a strong base – for bags or slippers for example, and enjoys making items, particularly flowers, in natural cream wools and then dyeing the finished item to achieve gentle graded colours.

Nancy also makes coiled baskets in upcycled/vintage fabrics, again attracted by the colours. All her work is sold under the trading name of Flights of Fantasy.

Much of her work, both felted and stitched, is on commission - from the smallest flower brooch to a bouquet for a wedding, and baskets can be made from customers’ own fabrics or in their own choice of colours.

Nancy’s felting, weaving and basket-making workshops are run mostly in West Horsley, Surrey and while they are often listed on www.craftcourses.com, she prefers to just agree dates and times with participants to suit her own and their timetables. She also travels to customers’ own homes, workplaces, schools or to clubs and can arrange classes to suit different time constraints and has recently teamed up with Surrey Wildlife Trust to run a workshop in their new facilities.

Not content with all the textile crafting she does for sale, Nancy also works in glass, willow and plaster for her own entertainment!

Nancy is the current Chairman of The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen, and is a member of the International Feltmakers Association and SAOS. Her work is available from The Surrey Guild of Craftsmen Gallery in Milford in Surrey, and from small gift outlets and selected websites including https://www.etsy.com/uk/your/shops/FlightsOfFantasyGB and https://folksy.com/shops/shafeenan

Q&A

What do you enjoy most about your craft?: The colours! There’s just so many of them!

What is your favourite fibre?: It has to be the merino because of the wide range of colours you have available.

What is your favourite breed of sheep?: To look at? Anything with horns! Sentimentally? Dartmoor, because of growing up there. For strength and quick feltability? Blue Faced Leicester

What do you like most about the company?: The fast turn-around on orders and the quality of the merino.

Do you have a top tip for your fellow crafters? You can't' do anything really wrong with felting - if you don't like what you've made you can cut it up and use the pieces to embellish something else! That's the first tip I was given!

Nancy's website is: www.flights-of-fantasy.com

You can view the work created by Nancy in our gallery below, which details the title of her project and the materials she has used from World of Wool to create wonderful textures.

If you would like to see all of our previous featured artists click here.

 

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