It's hard to believe Dianne Blanch had little interest in hobbies or crafts until retiring four years ago.
The former Hunter TAFE teacher would rather a netball court than a bag of fibres.
Dianne played rep netball for Newcastle and Lakeside (Lake Macquarie) for more than 10 years, while at the same time fitting in a game of squash, swimming and basketball, and improving her education.
In her late 30s the former secretary returned to the classroom to study sociology and education through Newcastle University, juggling her lessons managing a family and continuing to work
"I had a 13-year-old son when I started my degree."
Paying tribute to the support of her husband, and encouragement from her former boss at the Grain Handling Authority (Grain Corp), Dianne graduated in 1994 and began her long career as a TAFE teacher.
But, almost immediately, she began studying part-time for a Masters in Education, and an MBA.
Between the ages of 40 and 50 years Dianne managed to cram in three degrees.
More than 20 rewarding years later, and preparing for retirement to Hallidays Point, Dianne became concerned about how she would deal with life following an engaging career and an active time on the sporting arena.
"I had been so busy," she said.
Visiting an arts and craft show in Tuncurry, Dianne was introduced to felting for the first time.
I love the combination of colour and texture.Dianne Blanch
A handful of lessons, and of course Dianne was hooked, and good at it too.
Describing felting as artistic expression on fibre, Dianne said she loved the freedom of the craft.
"I love the combination of colour and texture."
Dianne prefers natural materials; silk, cotton, Merino wool and alpaca fibre.
"Australia produces the finest Merino wool in the world."
Felting uses hot water, soap and agitation to change the raw fibres into a fabric.
An occasional piece is sold to help pay for more fibres, and she also shares her skills casually through workshops.
But, Dianne said felting was never supposed to be a job.
"I wanted it to be an outlet."
However, Dianne's felting skills have has been recognised and acknowledged, winning a prize at this year's Nabiac show, and both the zone and State handicrafts at the 2019 CWA handicrafts competition
Stay ahead with local news by signing up for the Great Lakes Advocate newsletter here.