Category Archives: Events

launching illuminating embroidery luxury retreats

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This year has been as you know an interesting one, to say the least! From nervous break downs to tv shows, it’s been a roller coaster and made me make all sorts of work life balance choices. My main things to readdress was the amount of pressure I was putting myself under with work when also trying to balance the needs of my physical and mental health and the complex needs of my children. You may know by now that I started back into the world of art because of a need to find a calming therapy and a sense of self worth, stitching and creating were central to this and I feel passionately about being able to help others in the same way.

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So this year was all about going back to the beginning. Remembering why I started out and what I and my family needed from this. Well obviously I needed to make a living, got to pay those bills somehow, but how could I do that without the need to make countless time sensitive commissions, exhausting fairs and so much travelling. If I’m in bed ill for weeks how can I still continue to pay those bills, well teaching was the answer. It brings me such joy seeing people beam with pride after they accomplish something they thought they couldn’t. But teaching involves a huge amount of travelling so I have now limited my meet and make workshops to only two or three exclusive venues. I have launched the online workshops which are going very well and people all over the world can now enjoy them and experience some me time. But the newest and most exciting project has been the launch of my brand new Luxury Illuminating Embroidery Retreats.

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These retreats give you a whole huge and wonderful escape and experience a package of complete creative relaxation. They are based in the village where I was born and my parents still live in the heart of the North Yorkshire Moors National Park. Lealholm is a very special village, it is where I first knew that I would be an artist, it’s where all my works stems from, it’s my inspiration and the reason why I have a deep need to make things. I went to school there, I bought my penny sweets from the shop, I played in the river, my dad played dominoes in the pub and white we could play on the green, I went to brownies in the old village hall. It’s full of stunning views, a few tea shops, a little garden centre in someones garden, now even has a few craft shops, its a hive of activity whilst still being a small peaceful little community. Basically is’s a bloody dreamland. So what better place to host these creative art holidays.

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Accommodation is provided by the local pub, The Board Inn, over looking the village green and Esk River, surrounded by decking and fairy lights and in the winter a roaring open fire. The retreat itself is held in the church hall, now this isn’t any usual village hall, this is a bit special. Newly renovated with a large lottery grant it is now and incredible building full of light whilst still holding all the character of the old building set within the grounds go the local church yard. It has it’s own beautiful gardens which we can sit in whist the sun is shinning and enjoy the views over the valley. I have decorated the hall to bring my studio to you, full of overflowing baskets of fabric, thread, and all the materials you could need for creating your masterpieces. Lunch is served here too, a scrumptious selection of treats, as well as all the cake you can eat, to keep those brain cells working to pamper you a little more.

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This retreat is just that. A retreat away from the world and your everyday routine to take time out to rejuvenate your soul so you can go back to your lives with a new sense of hope and excitement, and even a new skill. Everything is taken care of for you, you just need to get there. Three days of nothing to worry about other than getting new creative souls that you can forge new friendships from, gain confidence from. A massage is also included (but of course if it’s not your thing you don’t have to have one, but it is pretty mega so I would recommend it!) Amanda from Be You Holistic Beauty, will be on hand to give you an Indian Head massage, hand massage or even a taster of Reiki, the choice is yours, and you can discuss it with Amanda at length while you’re there. She has such a talent!

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A few weeks ago now I invited some good friends to enjoy a weekend away with me to test out how these retreats would work and get their feed back to see if it was worth pursuing. These are the photos from that wonderful weekend…..

So what are we actually going to make on these retreats?

Well, the main theme is lampshade making. We will have enough time to make our very own 20cm drum embroidered lampshade, I can teach you all the stitches so you really don’t have to have any experience at all, all levels are so welcome! We can look at how I make shades and have lots of clever tips and a huge range of lining choices, as well as help with compositions and all the techniques you will need. But if that’s not something you want to concentrate on you are more than welcome to make a handgun picture, or embellish clothing you might have at home, this is YOUR weekend so although I have lots of projects you can do you might have something in mind that you want my help and input on. Thats okay, there are no rules and I want to remain as flexible as possible.

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Each retreat will have have a small limited amount of places, I want to groups to remain intimate and more personal. I find between 8-10 people a perfect size to chat comfortably and get all the help you need when you need it. I will also only run a few of these retreats a year so they remain special and exclusive, like all treats should be. If you want further details on these creative spa weekends then do click over to the courses website where there are more details.

But in the meantime, I hope you love the photos (taken by Sarah Mason Photography) and this beautiful little film and lose yourself in the calm, peace and birdsong. xxx

contemporary craft festival 2016

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For the last few years I’ve been exhibiting at the Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey In Devon. It’s a beautiful award winning fair exhibiting Britain’s best creative craft talents in all medias, but not only that it has workshops, demonstration stands, family entertainment, live music, gorgeous food, trade stands the list goes on.

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it’s a wonderful family weekend where everyone is catered for and I  always look forward to going. I not only get to see my fellow friends and makers but get to actually meet my customers and have a jolly good chat by jove. I always end up bringing back far tommy goodies that I’ve purchased from my favourite artists too, it’s hard not to!

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This year I will be demonstrating outside, which means I get to show off all my shades that I’ve spent the last year making, you get to see how I work and ask as many questions as you like and if you want you can even buy new work that I’ve been making recently.

I’m really excited about the new originals I’ve been making recently. I feel I’m heading back more and more to my painting roots but using the new medium I am so in love with, thats thread and fabric. Here’s a little taster of some of the work that will be at the show.

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Come join me I’d love to see you and don’t be afraid to introduce yourself I do love to meet the people that follow my blog etc after all I’m not much without you am I?!

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If you can’t join me then my new work will be onside in my madebyhandonline shop for you to purchase. Love ya! xx

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Make! Craft Britain coming soon….

 

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Thought you might be interested to know that very soon there is a fab new programme coming to BBC4. I think it’s going to be very exciting (and yes I’m biased because I’m in it a little bit) but why don’t you be the judge and watch it and let me know what you think!

Here’s a little description of what the programme is about:

A joyful celebration of the power of craft, MAKE! Craft Britain follows ordinary people across the country having a go at a new craft skill instructed by inspirational teachers.  It’s presented by Martha Kearney, herself a would-be crafter.

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Britain is a nation of crafters, and now more than ever we are seeing an explosion in the number of evening classes and craft workshops up and down the country.  People are discovering the simple pleasure of learning a new skill and the enormous sense of pride and well-being as hidden talent and latent creativity is unleashed.

On a quest to understand the power of craft, presenter Martha Kearney begins by asking why her mother’s dexterity with a quilting needle passed her by; ‘Your head was always in a book …’ explains Martha’s mum, but she reassures her daughter that it’s never too late to start making things with your hands.

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This film is a tale of two workshops.  On the edge of the Yorkshire moors Embroiderer, Marna Lunt, welcomes a mixed group of students to her 2-day course making embroidered lampshades.  Ex-copper Tony is a complete beginner while textiles student Catherine has been sewing all her life.  Under Marna’s instruction, they quickly master the basic stitches and learn how to draw inspiration from the colours and sounds of the moors.

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Meanwhile, on a Sunday morning in London six students take up their scalpels for a crash course in Paper-Cutting.  Teacher/practitioner Christine Green, explains the long heritage of this new craft craze, teaches them the basics of designing, cutting and finishing, and gets them going on their 3-D cards.  They are all complete beginners.  Richard and Mark draw inspiration from their local park, Crystal Palace, while newly weds, Eri and Jamie, make cards that celebrate their 1 year ‘Paper’ anniversary.

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In both workshops, the students get completely absorbed by the process and the room falls almost silent in quiet concentration and creative ‘flow’. And both teachers give How To demonstrations that are easy to follow so that viewers at home can try their hand at these crafts too.

Harnessing the breadth of the craft community through social media, and especially BBC’s getcreative page, MAKE! Also features jaw-dropping images of beautiful handmade crafts sent in by viewers.

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I’m immensely proud of taking part of this programme, and was very lucky to have made life long friends in the students I taught. And who I have spent time with since the making of the programme, they have been incredibly supportive and are such lovely genuine people. This is the beauty of teaching, making and taking chances, glorious things can arise.

I have to thank RDF television who were so kind, thoughtful, patient and generous to me. I have had the most wonderul experience working with them. I was very lucky indeed that they stumbled across me and saw that my vision mirrored theirs. I can’t wait to see what the end result is like.

Www.marnalunt.co.uk/blog

illuminating embroidery 2016

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The New Year is upon us, and I’m not sure about you but I have eaten far too much chocolate…. more than I care to mention. This is the time for us to reflect on the past year and look forward to bringing in the New Year, but instead of setting unrealistic resolutions, which are quite simply going to give us all the post-Christmas blues, why not start on exciting new adventure? Don’t ban the chocolate, take up a new challenge and discover a hobby you knew you had!

Now this isn’t a blog filled with a hard sell, quite frankly Marna’s gorgeous work speaks for itself – her passion and contagious creativity is enough to make anyone want to get stitching, but before Marna’s head gets too big, why not set yourself task for 2016 learn something new, meet new people and get creative! SO LET’S GET STITCHING!

 

Sewing for some screams back memories of strict embroidery lessons, perhaps sewing means stitching endless name tags into school uniforms or maybe you have no idea where to even start! But never fear Marna is here to give you tip top advice and give you a wonderful head start so you can release your inner artist.

Illumintaing Embroidery consists of four fabulous online embroidery workshops, each consisting of easy to follow videos hosted by the one and only Marna Lunt (because everyone should have a little bit of Marna to brighten their day!)

Marna works hard to bring you fun and informative video tutorials, where you can learn from the master, discover the tricks of the trade and grow to be an expert embroiderer. The Gentle Art of Slow Stitch 1, 2 & 3 are designed to be watched around your spare moments, you’ll also receive course PDF’s with all the important bits on which are yours to keep forever!

What’s more there’s a fantastic community on the Illuminating Embroidery Facebook group, where you can meet your fellow course mates and showcase your work! They really are a friendly, accommodating bunch that are every welcoming and always supportive!

Whether you’ve been stuck at home all day with the kids, or you’ve had the day from hell in the office, sewing is absolute escapism where you can indulge in gentle and rewarding stitching. Take your embroidery with you on the bus, sit and relax in your lunch hour or get serious in your studio Marna will be your friendly mentor and helpful guide, so you can unleash your creativity for 2016.

Speaking as your average Joe Blogs (no pun intended honest!) I work your boring 9-5 job and stitching (and blogging of course!) is my happy place, a wonderful way to unwind after a stressful day and escape from life! Whether you fancy turning your hand to lampshade making or embroidering your very own wall hanging, there’s no better feeling than sitting back and admiring your hard work where you can think to yourself …. ‘I made that!’

Take a look at embroiderycourses.co.uk and explore the world of Illuminating Embroidery Workshops, set yourself a wonderful resolution for 2016!

NEW COURSES HAVE BEEN ADDED AND THERE IS EVEN A FREE COURSE FOR SUBSCRIBERS.

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Www.marnalunt.co.uk/blog

#studiosnippet highlights

A while back Marna set up a hashtag #studiosnippet inviting embroiderers, textile enthusiasts, designers, makers and craft lovers across Instagram to join in and share a snippet of life inside their studio. And boy, you Instagram addicts didn’t disappoint!

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Instagram is the home of crafty folk, from embroiderers to textile peeps, illustrators to graphic designers; it’s the go-to place for inspiration and networking with creatives. We have now reached the age of the hashtag, instantly connecting us with like-minded hashtaggers across the globe! Networking through social media platforms has never been so easy. So what better way to join in the fun than creating a hashtag that shares the creative mess of maker’s studios! The best part of making, whether you’re up to your elbows in paint, or proud of your giant fabric stash and embroidery thread collection.

I have to say that visiting Marna’s studio is a real treat, not only filled with inspiring collection, jars of buttons, reels upon reels of ribbons and of course a glorious stash of Liberty fabric for good measure! Visiting the Little A Designs studio is serene, peaceful, creative nook it’s difficult not to feel inspired stepping into her studio space! There’s no staged insta shots, Marna’s studio is as scrumptious as it looks in her photos!

The #studiosnippet hashtag has been used dozens upon dozens of times across Instagram by you lovely lot, it’s great to see how you are inspired, what makes you tick and a snippet into your creative processes! Here is a quick glimpse of just a few #studionippets!

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What’s great about #studiosnippet is seeing the vast array of creatives out there, working with totally different mediums. From glasswork by @jfostermpls to talented yarn spinners like @slyjewels, exquisite embroideries by @linenandfredembroidery and the amazing fabric stashes of @oktoberdee, what links everyone together is real thrill of creating and making. Scrumptious colour palettes, endless art materials and boundless enthusiasm!

This is just the beginning of the Studio Snippet journey, with an overwhelming start from fantastic crafty folk it’s the start of something very special! Post pictures of your snippets on to instagram, don’t forget to use the hashtag #StudioSnippet to take part.

A huge thank you to everybody who took part!

Twitter: @marnalunt
Instagram: @marnalunt
Facebook: www.facebook.com/littleadesigns
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Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/marnalunttextileartist

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decorative living chelsea town hall 2015

Paris Rooftops hand stitched lampshade by Marna Lunt

Decorative Living Fairs are organised by the uber talented embroiderer Caroline Zoob, she organises her own workshops as well as teaching throughout the country and then on top of that organises these fairs. The one most known by you will probably be Eridge Park which happens in the Spring, and is the perfect place to hunt down amazing vintage finds, from fabrics to props and homeware. The Chelsea venue has been going for three years now and is always in October. Last year was my first and I so enjoyed it I simply had to go again. And the chance of buying some new perfect goodies sealed the deal. Here’s what they say over on their website:

‘The annual Decorative Living Fair at Eridge Park, a beautiful country estate on the borders of Kent and Sussex, has been run over the past ten years by textile designer Caroline Zoob and antiques dealer Henrietta ‘Hetty’ Purbrick. Over the years they have discovered wonderful dealers selling a wide variety of antique, vintage and decorative contemporary goods.’

So definitely pop it in your diary for next year.

Hand stitched Venice lampshade by Marna lunt

As an exhibitor I really enjoy this show because you are so well looked after. Nothing is too much trouble and they really support you, not just with advice but with the all important logistics of doing a fair in central London. Which I have to tell you I have always found so daunting. I worry about the parking, about how I’ll lift all my stock up stairs and the pain and exhaustion it can flare up with me before I even start on the selling bit. But Caroline and Hetty are great and have a team of porters to really help. I was also lucky enough to have Simon, my husband, with me this time to help, we even managed a few days in London as a lovely break afterwards. A much needed and deserved treat for us both.

I have been working hard making some new pieces for this fair, to keep things nice and fresh. This year I haven’t had a huge amount of time for making due to all the writing I’ve been doing for the new Illuminating Embroidery online courses. So to have this fair as an excuse to get down to business was wonderful.

I have a few new floral originals, Amsterdam street scenes, a statement Venice shade and a perfect little glowing Paris Rooftops scene with sparkly windows when lit up. Cushions, prints, brooches, framed and mounted originals, the works. My stitchy fingers were well exercised!! As an artist you’d be amazed but you spend more time on the computer writing, marketing and doing accounts than you often do the actually making bit. Fairs are a way of meeting your customers face to face which is wonderful and meeting other makers which is so very important, it’s a bit like our office party.

This year my favourite find was Leigh Metcalf, who has written the most fabulous book, London Stitch & Knit. I’ll be reviewing the book very soon on the blog. It’s a wonderful source of shops and images to get you fabric addicts going.

Enough with the waffle now, lets get down to some pretty pictures….

 

 

Www.marnalunt.co.uk/blog

handmade Fair with kirstie allsopp at hampton court 2015

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It’s that time of year again when the Handmade Fair by Kirsty Allsopp has come to Hampton Court Palace again. Exciting stuff for all you makers and hobbits out there. It’s jam packed for of demonstrations and workshops with plenty of fantastic supplies to explore and buy.

There are some great people at the event including Emma Bridgewater, Will Taylor (Bright Bazaar), Lisa Comfort, Annie Sloane, Poppy Chancellor, Fiona Cairns, Mr X Stitch, Annie Warburton from the Crafts Council, Zeena Shah, The Biscuiteers, Lauren Child (author of Charlie and Lola!), Etsy, Mollie Makes, Hobbycraft – and Kirstie of course!

Last year I was kindly invited by Mollie Makes to exhibit with them in their area. I sadly couldn’t go because of health issues but this year proves to be even better than last year. Mollie Makes has an amazing area yet again where you can meet the team and find some incredible inspiration. They are also yet again presently the Mollie Makes Mash ups which are brilliant fun. Find out more details here: http://www.molliemakes.com/craft-2/handmade-fair-mollie-makes-mash-ups/

The beauty of this fair is that you have so many amazing opportunities in one space. If you’re itching to learn something new then there are lots of demonstrations that you can book yourself onto on the their website: The Handmade Fair

But not only can you buy supplies you can see some very talented makers and artists there too in the Artisan Market. It’s a great social event to meet those clever people you follow on social media. There’s nothing quite like seeing those sorts of things in ‘real life’ rather than just in photos. If you’re new in the business and need some help and inspiration about where to start, then Kirstie is talking to people like Emma Bridgewater, Lauren Child, Annie Sloan and Will Taylor about the secrets of their success. And AnnaWarburton of the Crafts Council will be a particular star to listen to about craft and design as an industry and education for future generations.

I have to say my favourite thing and thing I am looking forward to most are the Mollie Makes Mash Ups. This is where the clever people of Mollie Makes have collected together a group of very talented professionals to compete against each other on the Super Theatre making things like decorating tote bags, making a wreath & bunting.

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I’m a huge fan of people, as many people as possible, learning to make and create things, anything in fact. I am a trained artist and being creative is essential in my life. Not just because I love it but because it creates a huge amount of mental wellbeing and in this day and age we need this. It’s not a luxury it is an essential part of living now to find time for yourself and keep your sense of individuality. 

I started my business for exactly this reason. I had post natal depression and was asked by my counsellor why I was not using the skills I had learnt at uni to help myself. I didn’t really know how to answer that. Why indeed! The most relaxing and confidence boosting thing I could do was staring me in the face. So I started hand stitching again. After years of doing nothing and frankly being quite depressed and uninspired suddenly a whole new life came to me and I want to show everyone I can how they can do the same things for themselves.

I now run online workshops in how to make your own lampshades, how to embroider and teach lots of projects. They can be found here: Illuminating Embroidery with Marna Lunt

 

I chose to make this site myself as the workshops I teach across the country were becoming booked up so fast and I couldn’t keep up with demand so this way anyone can join in the fun for the comfort of their own home. You have access to the courses for a year and I mainly teach via videos so you really can see up close and personal how to do things, as I always find learning from books really rather tricky, especially all those tiny details that books often take for granted. Teaching really has been one of the most delightful and rewarding things I have ever done and I have luckily built a fantastic community of enthusiastic and positive people on the private group you get to join once you become a member of Illuminating Embroidery.

I have four amazing courses to chose from at the moment but I am adding more all the time. The newest to launch was the The Fiddly Art of Lampshade making which came out in August. Here you learn how to create not only drum shade but the soft shades you stretch yourself. The next course coming very soon is Stitches and Samplers, which shows you forty embroidery stitches and lots of inspiration and history of samplers as well as a lovely pattern to make yourself. Join my mailing list at the bottom of the home page on the website to keep up to date with all the latest.

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Social media details for the Handmade Fair are here:
 
Twitter: @handmadefair
Instagram: @handmadefair
Facebook: www.facebook.com/thehandmadefair
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/thehandmadefair

Social media details for me and my courses are here:

Twitter: @marnalunt
Instagram: @marnalunt
Facebook: www.facebook.com/littleadesigns
                      www.facebook.com/marnalunttextileartist
Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/marnalunttextileartist

Amsterdam 2015 eve photography (143 of 200)
 

Preston Hall Museum & Gardens Workshop June 2015

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Blimey I’ve been doing quite a few workshops recently, whether it be hosting them or visiting them myself, but you know it’s really one of my favourite things to do. I LOVE learning. I love enrolling onto online courses, days courses, anything I can to be honest to fit around work and the kids. My favourite things to learn about is photography, social media or blogging, anything to do with colour and branding and logos but most of all stitching and textiles. What I really need to put on the list more is drawing though, life drawing in particular. But that’ll go on the list for next year hopefully.

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My latest workshop adventure has been my most local. Preston Hall is about ten minutes from me and is a beautiful old house with brilliant park. It holds lovely family events and has recently invested lots of money in making it really quite fab. they have done workshops for a while including ace stuff like blacksmithing, lace making, wood carving and so it was really great to be asked to do one of my workshops there. It was a different set up from what I am used to because I was dealing with a council run project which I hadn’t done before, usually its makers themselves who have workshop spaces that run private workshops in their space not a large house with assorts of departments and people to go through. So it was new and exciting. It’s an incredible place to work in, and the workshop rooms are at the bottom of an old victorian street with old shop fronts and a working blacksmiths and lovely old fashioned tea rooms and a stunning wildlife garden to look out over.

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The places for this booked up incredibly quickly, I had no idea I had so many local supporters, and I was absolutely thrilled to bits to find this out. We were making candle clip lampshades which are small coned shades that clip onto your bulb and best used as wall lights. And like with all my workshops I was surprised and delighted with the results. I am constantly amazed by how everyone is given the same materials and the same talk and instructions and they come up with things that are so very different from my work and each others. I love it. The point of my workshops are not to just copy my work or follow a pattern, I feel that you could just buy a kit and do that at home. If you’re going to come all the way to a workshop and sit their all day then it might as well be to make something totally unique that you can never do at home or would want to do at home.

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This is why I have found that my online courses are not a threat to my ‘meet the maker’ type workshops. To do to a workshop is something for you, totally for you. It is an escape for the day, like going to the spa. It’s a place where you can chat and gossip and eat cake or just be peaceful without screaming children asking for juice, you can’t be tempted to ‘just finish the ironing’ you have to sit and make time for yourself. We all need to do this more for ourselves. Why do we have such a hard time giving ourselves a break. I’m the same, I feel guilty, in fact I go to workshops saying its to help my work, which of course it does, but I don’t say I’m going because I need a break please, I want some quiet, I want to talk to grown ups about sewing and stuff I love.

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So I had the pleasure of teaching, chatting to and hopefully making friends with 28 new ladies. It was hard work because that’s a lot of people, but it flew by and I loved every second. I met four ladies from my online courses this time and it felt like catching up with old friends. I had to shout at them though, they didn’t want to STOP stitching to eat.

Here are the photos from the day and the results of some very very talented lady stitchers. Thanks girls for a brilliant weekend. xx

Cowslip Workshops June 2015 with me & Janet Bolton

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Last year I was making a cup of tea and  the phone rang. It was a very lovely lady calling about whether I would like to do a workshop at a little place called Cowslip Workshops in Launceston in Cornwall. Now I’m sure you’ve heard of Cowslip, I certainly had and it was a pretty great phone call to receive. I’m still very new to the word of teaching and giving workshops so having such well known venues and businesses asking me to come and host special days has been such a thrill.

So we organised a two day workshop concentrating on making a 20cm drum lampshade of a landscape. I really enjoyed the thought of two whole days working with a group because usually it’s a one day course and that’s never enough time to really make something that I make, the hand embroidery is so time consuming and so the likely hood of going home with anything finished is slim. But I had two days of fun with a great group of ladies.

Cowslip is is heavenly. It’s surrounded by fields of cows and horses and has a beautiful view over the town and the lovely castle. The grounds are idyllic, beautifully kept gardens with lovely spots to sit and stitch whilst enjoying a cup f tea and cake from their cafe. The shop is paradise and I think I spent everything I earnt in there. Jo who’s business it is is the loveliest lady. So hospitable and will do anything for anyone. She’s so generous with her time and has so much energy I found this trip changed me in so many ways. It was the longest time I had been away from my family, ten days in total. I had come straight from the Contemporary Craft Festival on the Sunday night and started teaching on the Monday and Tuesday. I had then coincidently booked myself on the Janet Bolton workshop that was happening on the Wednesday and Thursday.

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But I needed that time to really come to terms with quite a lot of things that I had been struggling with for a long time. Being away from my usual surroundings really helped that. I couldn’t be dragged into the day to day routine, I had just myself to think about and I really needed that. Janet was staying with Jo as well as me and each evening after teaching I got to spend talking to her and Jo and listening to the fruits of their experience. It was the tonic I needed. Janet is a marvellous person, incredibly interesting, fun I’d be very very happy to just listen to her for days, weeks, months. I came away having made a decision to make things in my life a lot simpler. I just can’t carry on as I was I need to calm down.

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Anyway this is not a therapy session. Back to the workshop.

I was great to meet one of my online students at the course and get some lovely feedback and see how much she had learnt first hand which I loved. I had a great laugh with some really exciting and interesting woman. I always come away from workshops with a feeling I have made lots of new friends. The ladies were really very accomplished embroiderers and there imaginations really went wild. I have added loads of photos from the four glorious days I spent there. I do hope you enjoy them and few inspired to visit Cowslip or even dare I say do one of my courses. I am hosting another workshop at Cowslip next year in June, another two day workshop concentrating on 20cm drum shades. But in the meantime relax with a cuppa and have a wee look at the photos. xx

Contemporary Craft Festival 2015

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Last month held one of my very favourite fairs of the year. The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracey in Devon. If you haven’t been before you need to get it in your diary for next year because it is flaming ace. It’s an incredible weekend perfect to take the family to and you get to see some of the best craftsmanship this country has to offer.

This is the second year I have been lucky enough to be selected, and I always feel that with this fair the bar is raised and I have to pinch myself that I’m exhibiting amongst these incredible makers. There is such a wonderful atmosphere amongst the exhibitors too, the support and kindness of my fellow makers always overwhelms me and each year I meet new friends and cement friendships. This year was no exception.

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I was in a marque surrounded by some corkers. My friend Andy from [vinegar & brown paper] won best stand which I was thrilled about because his stand was without doubt the most enticing. He was also my pub partner in crime and made the evenings fly by with copious wine, I have no idea what we talked about now (how much we liked drinking wine probably) but it stopped me from getting too homesick which is always the drawback of travelling so far away from home. The incredible talent that is Julia Jowett was an angel a few stars away and I adore her more than I did before, and that was a lot. It was a huge social event for me and meeting the customers was so much fun too. I had a very emotional meeting with an incredible lady who has done all my online courses. When I’m sat at home typing and looking at my studio walls I really don’t have any idea of how what I do might affect other people but meeting this lovely lady was quite incredible. I still feel quite teary at how lovely she was.

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I must say that this fair would never have happened if I didn’t have such a good friend in Helen Botrill of Kindred Rose. She’s one of the most inspiring ladies to have walked the earth and she gave up her time to help me set up, beak the stand down and even sat at my stand helping me when my pain levels got too much. I don’t know what I do to deserve these ladies in my life but Helen is a bit special. I you don’t know of her then you need to. She runs mentoring, business development and meet ups for creatives. I wish you could clone her, I wish I lived closer to her. I miss her terribly when I’m up here because she’s just a ray of light. Long live Helen.

I also got to play with Katie Honour of Madebyhandonline who owns and runs a very very high standard website selling makers work. She’s also become a friend and someone who is a fierce supporter of good craft. Plus she’s hilarious and makes my day better at the thought of talking to her.

Here's how my stand turned out this year.
Here’s how my stand turned out this year.

We were lucky to have a scorcher of a weekend and like always the organisation was impeccable from Sarah James. I’m sorry if I’m gushing a bit but honestly it’s hard not to do with this fair. It’s just a joy to be involved with. I found it very inspiring. Here are some of my photos from the weekend and some of the work of other makers who were there so please go and see their work too and say hi from me.

Hope & Elvis Workshops & Me

louise of hope and elvis

A few months ago I taught at the wonderful Hope & Elvis for the first time. It was on the list, you know that list you make of things you would love to do with your work and in your career because it means something very special. I’ve got a big list because I need something to constantly aim for but this was a biggy on that list. If Hope and Elvis liked my work enough to have me as a teacher I knew I was doing something right because you see, they only have really very mega people there and it is by invite only. You can’t just roll up and say I’m ace when do you want me, although I don’t think it would do any harm to try;)

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Hope and Elvis is run by the lovely Louise Priesley and I’ve been lucky enough to attend a few classes in the past but when Louise asked me last year to teach at her fab studio I snapped her hand off. Louise is quite a big inspiration to me, she makes me question my work and asks questions that lead me to make decisions that I hadn’t expected, it was great to spend time with her, we pretty much didn’t come up for breath for two and a half days because of the chat chat chatting. Love it so much. She is quite the mentor, her experience, in inquisitive nature and her knowledge of so many artists and their methods means she gets to the real heart of the matter and is honest and open about her opinions which is invaluable.

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Anyway, I was at the studio based only a few miles away from where I went to school, it was strange to be back thats for sure but exciting. Hope and Elvis is based on the Welbeck Estate, near Worksop in Nottinghamshire. Two packed days of fun with new friends, great to see familiar faces too. We made landscapes and pretty things, we ate amazing food, we laughed, a lot, we got over excited about friction pens. Clever ladies created really great work. All the things you hope for in a lovely class at a workshop. We laughed a great deal and the results were stunning.

Here are the pictures, see for yourself.

I will teaching two workshops at Hope and Elvis next year. One in February based on seasonal landscapes and one in July looking at a summer garden party with florals and prettiness. To show your interest get in touch with Louise at Hope & Elvis and join their mailing list too.

On location in Amsterdam

Amsterdam by eve photograpghy

Illuminating Embroidery whats that then?

As you may all be aware now I’ve started up a new string to my creative business bow. I am now offering online courses to compliment my face to face workshops. They are definitely not a replacement to the ‘meet the maker’ courses because they offer such different things, but these online courses are developing and being tested this year in preparation for a big new launch in January 2016. I have had a huge number of gorgeous students who have tried it and many have become rather addicted to it, and I have to say I am too. I love the interaction I get with the students in our private group and the incredible work that people are producing.

marna Lunt sketching in amsterdam

And Amsterdam?

But what does that have to do with Amsterdam I hear you ask, well the third level of the Gentle Art of Slow Stitch has been filmed in Amsterdam and draws a lot of inspiration from the city. I went with two of my very dearest friends, Kirsty Johnson (of Darling & Green Floral Stylists) and Charlotte Grahame (of Eve Photography) in April this year. We spent three glorious days away being inspired by everything the city had to offer, the colours, the houses, the laid back atmosphere, the amazing kindest of the people and the art galleries. It was quite frankly heaven to me. I had never been away on holiday with friends before, certainly not in the last 15 years, and not when it didn’t involve clubbing, thank the lord, I’m just too old for the loudness. I had a commission to do for a lampshade based on Amsterdam and I had a new course to write for Illuminating Embroidery and I had the amazing skills of my favourite photographer on hand. I’m a bit jammy, I definitely did something right in another life to get so lucky with the whole friend thing.

marna charlotte and kirsty

So we off we went on our travels, I was worried because my Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia were in full force and I was struggling with pain meds but Kirsty and Charlotte really helped me and I got wheeled around the airport by a nice man with a wheel chair, and we paced ourselves. I’m still learning now to listen to my body and do as it tells me. But shopping was waiting for us and I wanted to see the galleries and draw everything I could. And not only did I do my fair share of saving the whole of Europe’s recession with the amount of shopping I did but I saw exhibitions, drew and filmed quite a few videos for the course. I was over joyed.

Marna lunt sketch books

Charlotte took some incredible photos for me to use in the course too and Kirsty was a top notch director. So here are some of the stunning photos that will not only give you an idea of the brilliant trip we had but also of what to expect on the Level three course at www.illuminatingembroidery.co.uk.

The lampshade online course has just started so sign up while you can.

Candle Holders coming at yah!

amsterdam candle holder by marna lun

Hellooooo.

Just a quicky to show you a new product I’m making especially for The Contemporary Craft Festival in Bovey Tracy, Devon this year. It’s very exciting to be chosen again to exhibit with some of the best in the industry. I’m over the moon about it actually and I’m trying to bring some new things and a slightly new approach to the festival this year. I’m planning my stand design, I love doing this bit, it’s like I have a good reason to shop and redecorate. I’ve been searching for some lovely shoe lasts and whilst in Amsterdam last week I got the most fabulous coloured flexes for my lampshades to hang from. I can’t wait to show you. But for now you will have to wait I’m afraid.

amsterdam candle holder by marna lunt

Just wanted to show you a new product that will be appearing at the festival and then on the website soon after. It is a candle holder. Hand stitched as always, houses surrounding from my travels in Amsterdam (those canal houses are too perfect not to influence lots of future work), Liberty fabric inside, little cut out windows with red fabric lining them and they glow when the light is on, with little battery powered tea lights to power them. They are not to be used with actual candles with fire and hot stuff.

So what do you think? Likey likey? Hope so.

amsterdam candle holder by marna lunt

amsterdam candle holder by marna lunt candleholder3.marnalunt

The Red Nose Day Crafternoon Marna Style

nothing like a girls day , tea, cake and making

Friday the 13th is a day people usually avoid but this one was certainly one to get excited about. Red Nose Day 2015 has been embrassed but crafters this year due to the fabulous bookazine in assossiation with Mollie Makes created by Jane Toft and Emma Mitchell. A project I had created for Mollie Makes was kindly chosen o be in the bookazine amoungst many other incredibly talented designer makers. 

Spurred on by this wonderful news I decided to make some money for the charity too by auctioning off some places at a workshop at my house and studio. Four fabulous ladies responded and we had a gorgeous day of making hoops together. My two little ones joined in too, just showing all ages can enjoy creating and being funny for money.

Thank you to everyone who has pledged and raised money this year for the fabulous charities that Red Nose Day support in this country and abroad.

the fabulous Crafternoon bookazine









Thank you so much to Charlotte from Eve Photography for taking the photos and helping so kuch on the day amd Kirsty for making the lunch and generally helping to organise and  the whole day.

The Contemporary Craft Open Exhibition 2014

Unit Twelve Gallery, Tixall Heath Farm, Stafford, ST18 0XX

4th Dec 2014- 28th Feb 2015 , Opening times Thursday-Saturday 10am-4pm

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I’m very excited to show you an exhibition I was selected to be in last year. It’s the Contemporary Craft Open Exhibition at Unit Twelve in Stafford. I had heard about it before from the gorgeous Julia Jowett but missed the deadline and wasn’t very sure I was ready for it, but last year I saw the submission call out at the right time and just thought yeah lets go for it.

” This exhibition showcases the best in contemporary craft, both amateur and professional, selected by Jo Hall, Editor of Embroidery and Surfacestory.com,Louise Hesketh, Arts Officer at The Brindley Arts Centre, and Claire Bates, owner of Landbaby.

Exhibitors also have the chance of winning prizes, which are: An exhibition at Landbaby, £100 voucher to spend on Homecrafts.co.uk, a Craft Showcase exhibition at The Brindley, 2 places on a Jennifer Collier workshop of your choice at Unit Twelve and a pair of tickets to The Great Northern Contemporary Craft Fair.

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You could submit two pieces of work and I had both of mine accepted, my Liberty lampshade and my first ever self portrait. To say I was thrilled was an understatement. I was even more thrilled when I was awarded the Landbaby prize!! Still in a bit of shock if truth be told the standard of exhibitors was exceptional.

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Me and the work I submitted

I went to the private view in December and I met up with a few dear friends and met some new ones, double top banana. Here are the photos…  but to be honest if you get the chance you really need to visit it blooming fabulous and you get to buy stuff which is even more ace. But it’s not just the items exhibited that are fab but the way in which they have been exhibited is wonderfully creative and a joy in itself and a testament to the skills of Jennifer Collier, inventive and simply a joy. I can not recommend this venue enough, it’s just heavenly. It’s still on till the end of February so get yourself down there.

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Jo Harratt from Elf and her felted Mr Fox
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Gorgeous textile birds by Nameless Wonders
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Grace Gatley
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Grace with her work
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Grace Gatley, Viv Swilka, Jo Harratt

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Jennifer beautiful paper & stitched work.
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Me and Julia Jowett
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Jen announcing the prize winners

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Julia Jowetts stunning textile work.
Julia Jowetts stunning textile work.