Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Wonderwool 2013

Wonderwool Wales is the premier Wool & Natural Fibre Festival in Wales. It was set up in 2006 in order to promote wool and natural fibre production and its use in Wales. The Event was funded by a Leader + grant from the EU and managed by Powys County Council, via Glasu, for the first 3 years until the funding ceased, so now Wonderwool has to evolve to become self-funding.

There are some interesting workshops advertised for this year - I particularly like the one which features a curlew brooch (see photo) with Ruth Packham.  Ruth is an artist who lives and works in Borth on the Welsh coast. Before discovering the joys of felt making Ruth worked mainly with fabric, creating screen printed pictures. Her work is inspired by nature, pattern and colour and especially by birds.  However if you want to book a course with her, you'll have to hurry.  I see her Saturday school is already fully booked, so just Sunday is left.

You'll find more details about the event as a whole at http://www.wonderwoolwales.co.uk/home.html

Monday, 4 March 2013

City & Guilds Centre Charges - what they mean for students

Some "interesting" news to come from City & Guilds this month:

I don't know if this is common knowledge or not, but a few years back City & Guilds decided to impose a minimum yearly spend on their centres.  I know of at least two locally (Cajobah in Birkenhead was one) who cited this as the main reason for giving up their centre status.  If centres are only taking a couple of classes, as specialist embroidery or patchwork centres often are, then they would not be able to take enough attending students to meet the City & Guilds spending requirements.  They can then either give up completely, or try to struggle on by increasing the City & Guilds registration cost to the student to try to scrape something back.  Of course, this is often self-defeating, as students resist the larger than usual registration fee and don't enrol at that centre. 

Since it was originally instigated, the yearly spend has risen each year, but this year we have just had a letter to say it has doubled again this year.  Now for us as a distance centre, that is do-able, but for many local individual providers it won't be, so I think this may be the year we lose even more specialist centres than previously, if possible and I'm sure even some of the smaller colleges will also pull out of centre status.  Sadly this will mean that whereas it has been difficult to find a local centre delivering textile subjects, it will now become almost impossible. Way to go City & Guilds - not!