Colour your life

Jan's hatJan is bold with colour and teaches us to be brave. She is modest in what she can and has accomplished. She cares passionately about fibre arts and textile skills. Over the years she has influenced this in Adelaide by pursuing her love of style and colour. She loves felting and in our group she tries to show newcomers ways and means of being able to felt something worthwhile and interesting. She works with the Marion Cultural Centre to help develop Gallery M where she has her felted pieces in the shop and she has been part of their exhibitions. This breakthrough in elevating the importance of textile art in Adelaide is thanks to people like Jan. Her work is featured left.  Sonya, our roving reporter, brings you her story: 

Jan’s story

I have been sewing since my primary school days. Mum used to make all our clothes, as folks did in those days. In grade 7 we all made a baby’s dress with smocking, then sewing it up and crocheting around the edging.

I attended Marion High School in its 1st year of opening.  From there I went to work at Toy Wholesales in their office for 7 years. Then for the next 7 years I worked at the Shell Company. That all ended after I got married and had a baby.  I used to do a bit of embroidery at that time. When my son was 5 years old I went back to work in several different offices. I decided I would sooner work in a business of my own than continue working for others.   So I bought a craft shop at Aldgate, called The Spindle House.  It stocked spinning wheels, fleece, lazy Kates and various other things to do with spinning and craft. And that’s when I learned to spin. We also stocked leadlight supplies, so I learned to cut glass and do lead lighting.

Eventually I moved the shop to Brighton Road. I sold commercial wool there, as well. It was a big shop too. But I eventually sold that because I could see that weekend work would be coming in the future and I didn’t want to do that.

Fast forward some years.

When I retired I joined the Embroiderers’ Guild. I then started felting from the Internet but found it difficult to locate the wool I needed for that. Someone told me I could buy it at the Spinners and Weavers Guild. And that’s where I met Hilary and some of the other spinners. They asked me to come to their group and demonstrate how I made felted flowers. It was there that I discovered the Seaford Spinners, joined up and have been a member ever since.

Jan, your work is haute couture standard. Exquisitely crafted and the colours you use are always stunningly beautiful. We are indeed privileged to have you in our midst.

Felted shrugs

We love playing dress ups. We love it when someone makes something we can style and play with so that everyone can see how different something can look because we all play around with the item and can then demonstrate its versatility. This shrug just made us so excited.  Beth is very clever. She got the creamy colour by using bleach. That was an eye opener for most of us. Who’d put wool and bleach together and then come up with such a good colour? This shrug is wool, silk and chiffon and is very soft. The bleach has not made it hard and rough as you might imagine. There are some things which experience teaches which imagining can’t. We wanted Beth to put it on so we could see it and then play around with how it looked. We could see it was reversible and you got quite a different look if you turned it the other way. It’s just lovely and the silver brooches which Beth added just made it look cool. It would take a lot of time to felt the fabric and then put ti together so it drapes properly. This shrug was as fun as it was fantastic.

Alpaca shawl

alpaca shawlAlexis makes wonderful shawls. She has this way of knowing how to make them drape and flatter. When you put this shawl on it lifts the whole look of your form so that you look stylish and special. She actually put on the colourful beanie she had made with it and it made her look very trendy .

commercial alpaca shawlThe shawl  is not just country style . Depending on accessories it can be given a very vampish look. It’s made from commercial alpaca which is natural colour and then dyed colour. It looks like a New Zealand forest on a crisp, sunny day. It provides warmth but it doesn’t interfere as you wear it. It doesn’t slip off an it doesn’t get in the way. It’s just lovely. The trick is the choice of colours and then the patterns used to make it.

Woven winter warmth


woven shrugAlexis was such a good sport. We wanted this photo because we loved her outfit and we loved that woven shrug/jacket. Alexis told us she had had it for a very long time. Living proof that wool is durable and sustainable and, if you know how to care for it, you have a classic garment or item forever.








Stirling ScotlandAlexis  had spun the wool and a lady in Stirling in Scotland had woven it for her. It’s beautiful and perfect for winter because it adds style and warmth. The draped look is very flattering and so you can wear something like this and not look like a Yeti because you are cold.