Handmade Handbags

I’ve had great fun designing and creating these bags.  They made using a special ball imported from America.  There are 3 stags involved making the bag. Firstly laying out the design.   I use mostly  mohair, cotton and silk to create the design.  Part of the design is the three layers of wool used to make the bag.   
After I have completed designing the bag, I roll the ball in different directions at least twelve hundred times, followed by a minimum of two thousand bounces.  These actions begin the felting process and encourage the fibres to mix and blend together ready for the fulling process.  The fulling process happens after the ball is removed from the ball and  involves continuing working the fibres so that they continue to merge together and begin to shrink.   This involves rubbing the fibres, followed by rolling and throwing the bag.  The process is completed when the bag  holds it shapes.  Once dry the handle and clasp are added.  

The whole process presently takes me about 8 hours plus and I usually make each bag over two days.  I let it dry naturally.  

These bags will be for sale at the shows I am attending during the autumn and winter 2021 and also at Starlings gift shop, Bexhill.

A flock of Southdown sheep

A New flock of Southdown sheep have arrived at Starlings. Sackville Road  Bexhill East Sussex   I designed and created them to celebrate the now almost forgotten Sussex wool industry.

Historically this British sheep is considered one of the most important breed.  Originally sheep were bred for their wool particularly in the Middle Ages.  Hence  Many of our Sussex public houses are called the the Lamb, the Fleece, The Woolpack, Shepherd and Dog, plus smugglers Inn.    The Southdown Sheep is considered to provide high quality fleeces  that were exported  and during the 100 year war smuggled to France.    Today the sheep are valued for their fleece, meat and improving the livestock of other sheep.   It is the oldest of the Down sheep.  

Soap in flannel

By using soap in a flannel, you are supporting the Campaign for wool, the British sheep farming industry, including those who keep rare breeds, the British wool manufacturing and retail industry, The English soap manufacturing and retail industry and an artisan.  Plus, as the soap is made with sustainable palm oil you are helping to preserve the rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia. Orangutan numbers in Borneo have more than halved between 1999 -2015 as their habitat is destroyed due to the expansion of palm oil plantations.
Wool takes a short time t0 biodegrade in soil, adding nutrients back to the earth, more recent studies have shown that wool also biodegrades in the ocean and water, and so does not impact the planet with microfibre and plastic pollution It takes about five times more energy to produce liquid soap; liquid soap requires more plastic packaging, as it contains water it is heavier to transport than soap bars and therefore has a larger carbon footprint and usually contains petroleum.  Simple soaps also contain less chemicals and preservatives.  As sheep reproduce fleece the wool is renewable.Wool gently exfoliates your skin and the wool around the soap helps prolong the life of the soap. So, it lasts longer! Felted Soap is also a lot easier to hold than a slippery bar of soap and the wool has antibacterial properties.