Little felt vessel and Horst’s workshop almost booked out already!

Just a really quick post, I felted a gorgeous small vessel on Friday and Horst’s workshop is almost booked out already!  Pictures of the vessel tomorrow, off now to load the truck and meet the ladies for Borris Active Retirement’s last session today.  Apologies to anyone waiting for a reply to an email, I’ll get you later tonight!!!

Join Horst in Ireland and design, felt and dye your own unique duster or jacket!!!!! We should get time to make a sleeveless top, matching bag or funky wrap too!!!!!!!

Well, at last I have the details ready for Horst’s amazing workshop here in Ireland!  I am so lucky to have had the experience with Dawn last year when we spent time with him at his home in Ohio, I just know that it is going to be amazing for all of us in Ireland that we are the first stop on Horst’s first trip to Europe!!!!!

Horst Couture

I had been wracking my brain trying to cover all eventualities and look at the pricing structure to keep the costs as affordable as possible for all potential participants.  We need space (which I have to hire) if a lot of us are going to be laying out large pieces all at the same time, we need countless kilos of white wool in order for everyone to make a duster or jacket (in addition to a second item!!!), we need good food to keep us all going, we need many metres of resist material, we need washing machines and dryers, we need electricity for the many sanders and we need a simple dying station where Horst will show us how he creates his beautiful colours!

I am thrilled to say that I finally think everything is sorted out and the price for the three day workshop including ALL materials will be 370 Euros, participants also have the option of a wonderful Spanish lunch each day and that will be an extra 10 Euros per person per day if chosen.  Considering that one of Horst’s amazing dusters may cost between $1800 and $2200 if purchased I think 370 Euros is a steal for the opportunity to work with him to create your very own wearable masterpiece!!!  Not only will participants design and felt their own duster (or short jacket if they prefer), using Horst’s methods everyone should also have time to felt either a sleeveless vest or possibly a funky bag or wrap too!!!!! 

The workshops will take place from Friday 17th June to Sunday 19th June and times will be from 10 am until approx 5 pm each day.  We may decide to start earlier for the second and third days but that will be a decision taken collectively once the workshop starts, I don’t want anyone to feel under pressure but I do want everyone to be able to complete at least one absolutely stunning garment!!! 

Vest

Obviously it is an advantage to have felting experience but because of the way Horst works if anyone is just starting out as a felter please don’t hesitate to join us, you will be amazed at what you can create under Horst’s watchful eye!  I now need to email everyone individually who has already expressed an interest in attending, for everyone else spaces are strictly limited so please email me asap if you would like the chance to join us at Clasheen.  One last note, the workshop venue will be near my studio but not actually here at my house.  We need SPACE for this workshop so I have a provisional venue booked close at hand, next week I will be making sure that everything is up to speed, the details will all go on the workshop page then but for now, BOOKING IS UNDERWAY!!!!!

Unexpected meeting so Horst update delayed until tomorrow, apologies

I have just been notified of a really important networking meeting taking place in Carlow early this evening, as a result I have to drop everything I had organised for this afternoon and concentrate on getting myself into town on time.  My intention had been to sort out the details for Horst’s large felt garment workshop, what I can tell you is that the dates are confirmed as Friday 17th – Sunday 19th June, the price and what we will be felting etc. will be ready tomorrow so keep your eyes peeled!

Announcing felt bag workshop at Clasheen and some pictures from Borris Active Retirement!

Not so simple, not so complex, I am delighted to announce that I will be facilitating a ‘felt bag workshop’ here at Clasheen on Saturday 19th March!  This is the perfect opportunity for improving felters to explore the possibilities of designing bags with integrated handles, pockets, flaps and interesting closures.  We will discuss and examine some of my own work and then each participant will design and felt a small or medium sized bag of their own!  Please check out the workshop page for further details and email me asap if you would like to attend this workshop, I have only 3 places left!!!

Mena having a laugh with Dorothy and Mary while working on her first felt beret!

I am a little tired today both mentally and physically, all morning I have been fine tuning several proposals and still haven’t unloaded the truck from yesterday’s session with the Borris Active Retirement Group!  Before I head off to do that now I am going to leave you with a fun picture and if you head over to Flickr you will see some more images of the beautiful work all these ladies are creating!!!

Largest ArtL!nks vessel felted at last!!!!!

Whew, I was beginning to think that I would NEVER get my largest ArtL!nks vessel felted and fulled!!!!!  Over the last week or so I have been giving it a rub and a roll every time I had a spare minute and yesterday afternoon I finally decided enough was enough and decided to declare it finished!

Working any uneven spots on the mohair layer with my felting mouse

I don’t have a lot of time this morning to blog about yesterday (preparing for my session this afternoon with Borris Active Retirement) but thought you might enjoy a couple of photos showing what I was up to at this final stage of shaping the vessel.

You may recall that I laid out this vessel with the intention to have the mohair layer for the outside, as things progressed, I far preferred the inner layer of white merino as I like the subtle colour variations where the mohair fibres have felted through the white.  Because of the soft and less structural nature of mohair (as opposed to a vessel felted purely from merino or another fibre) I decided to stiffen the mohair then turn the vessel inside out exposing my favourite side.  I think that I will need to leave the vessel dry on the exercise ball for at least a week but hopefully by then the PVA will have dried sufficiently for me to remove the exercise ball and see if this last experiment stiffen has been a success or not!

Sponging on diluted PVA to stiffen prior to turning right side out

CRAFTed news, Michigan workshops open for booking and general workshop information

Laying out merino for the inside of a beret

Friday’s CRAFTed session was chaotic but fun, all the girls are going to have beautiful items to take home with them as a reminder of this transitional year at the school.  Working with 32 inexperienced felters is definitely a challange, I love the enthusiasm with which everyone is attacking their work, it does mean that Mairead (6th class teacher) and I are running all over the art room however during each session and I really hope that I am able to give each girl enough individual attention to ensure the process is an enjoyable one for everyone!  These individual projects will be completed in our last session (they include bags, cell phone covers, vessels, flat felt with/without little pockets, two scarves and one beret!) where we will also work on our collaborative wall hanging, this will be hung in the school when the girls graduate later this summer.  Because of the logistics when working with 32 beginners I am thinking that we will divide the class into three distinct groups next time, each group will rotate and have their turn to finish their individual project, create twisted yarn cords to add to their bags as well as select a square from the group piece which they will then embellish, add a pocket to or otherwise decorate with something of significance which they would like to leave behind as they leave for secondary school and move forward in life.  Not sure if this will work but I am predicting it will be easier and more sensible than having everyone working on the same task at the same time, it will also avoid me running all around the art room all the time, more concentrated effort but less stressful I think for all envolved! 

MICHIGAN WORKSHOPS – I am delighted to say that our Michigan workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May are now open for booking!  Please email the wonderful Dawn if you would like to reserve your place, I am just going to have another go uploading  the full details and descriptions to the workshop page (having problems yet again today!) so in case of further technical issues the Friday workshop is titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’ while Saturday will be dedicated to the fascinating art of ‘Nuno Mosaic’.  One workshop will cost $140 or if both are taken the cost will be $130 per day, for more about what can be covered over two days check out the general workshop information further down this post. 

Wonderful vintage printed silk and chiffon create Marni's gorgeous textured nuno mosaic scarf!

The nuno mosaic technique was taught to me by German felter Sigrid Bannier and is a wonderful way to create memorable wraps, scarves and yardage for incredible one off pieces of clothing.  To refresh your memory (or if you are only visiting this blog for the first time!) here is an image of Marni’s amazing scarf incorporating vintage silk and chiffon from one of the Tin Thimble’s workshops last Fall, this was actually the first time ever that Marni had felted a nuno piece!  If this has not whet your appetite enough there are some more nuno mosaic images from The Tin Thimble workshops here, some from the previous Fall at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco here and a few of my own nuno mosaic skirt and matching wrap here.

GENERAL WORKSHOP INFORMATION – I like to think of my workshops as a place where I share information and provide a recipe for felters to follow or adapt as they see fit!  When I am teaching I always explain that there are many ways possible to reach a similar end result, I will be sharing the methods and tips which I find work best and usually guarantee me a successful outcome, it is up to each individual participant to determine whether they want to follow exactly or adapt the steps to suit themselves.  Although each of my upcoming workshops has a title representing the main technique/techniques covered on that particular day, it will be possible for participants choosing to attend for both days to felt larger more complex projects that may not be specifically mentioned in the titles.  An example would be someone who wanted to felt a complex felt sculpture or bag using several stitched resists, another would be a person wanting to create a reversible nuno felt shrug.  If you have any queries in this respect please don’t hesitate to email me personally, I want to provide all the necessary information in order for people to make an educated descision.  As previous experience has demonstrated most participants at my American workshops are regular felters, it should be noted that all the workshops are open to total beginners so please don’t feel you can’t attend if you are just starting out learning this fascinating craft, I would love to have you come along!!!

Finally, at the risk of sounding pushy, the Kentucky workshops are now provisionally full for Saturday and only have 4 places left on Friday, if anyone is having a little think about things please don’t think for too long!!!

Kentucky workshops now booking and some great CRAFTed felting!

Well, finally I have managed to upload new information, class descriptions etc. on the workshop page about the felting on offer in Kentucky this May but after almost two hours of trying I am almost at my wit’s end!!!  I had hoped to have all the info for both days in KY as well as the two days in Plainwell MI online for you this afternoon but forgive me at this stage, it will be the morning before I have another tangle with the formatting (what on earth was wrong, it just kept going MAD???!!!) so apologies to Dawn and everyone in Michigan, your time will come tomorrow!  Anyway, Kentucky is now open for booking and if you want to reserve your spot please email Jan as soon as possible.

For those of you who might be debating whether you would like to attend a workshop with me I am going to post tomorrow about the sort of experience you can expect!  I will also explain a little bit more about the workshop titles, they are not written in stone but rather indicative so don’t panic if the titles are not exactly what you are looking for, more on that as I say tomorrow.

Beautifully felted journal cover

Now I am just going to suggest a little visual journey over at Flickr, this morning I had my third session with the girls who are participating in our CRAFTed project and managed to take some great photos of the work they have all done to date.  I was blown away by their wonderful first pieces of flat felt, during the week their teacher Mairead helped them embellish these further (if they wanted to) and now each girl has a beautifully decorated journal in which to record our progress!  Please do leave them some comments if you like their work as much as me, photos of today’s session working on three dimensional pieces should be uploaded over the weekend!!!

US workshop details getting fine tuned, Downeville info and large vessel is HEAVY!

My upcoming workshops at Urban Fauna Studio SF, Plainwell MI and Lexington KY are in the last stages of finalising, I hope to have all the details about the various workshops ready by the end of this week!!!  I keep forgetting how difficult it is to write workshop descriptions accurately and provide enough information without overloading anyone.  I try to be flexible when I am teaching so one title often doesn’t quite do justice to the various techniques that will be shared during the workshop so if anyone has questions once the info is uploaded please shout and I will do my best to answer!

The Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat at Downeville is booking up nicely, Emma (joint owner of The Tin thimble with her mother Sharon) has written a blog post with some links to photos of previous retreats so if you are interested in more information check this out.

As I write this post my current large ArtL!nks vessel is spinning in the washing machine.  Today I have been rubbing, rolling and throwing it on top of my kitchen table, it is uncomfortably heavy to handle when wet hence the quick spin to remove some of the excess water!  Hopefully it will have shrunk some more by the end of the afternoon, I am really wanting enough shrinkage to make inserting the exercise ball necessary to stretch it into shape before a lot more fulling and finishing.  Wish me luck!

Largest ArtL!nks vessel underway and pictures of my stash from Avoca!

My largest ArtL!nks vessel is now underway and I thought I would share this picture with you all, it’s not got the best colour contrast but it does give an idea of the size involved when you see the template beside my washing up bowl and sprinkler! 

Putting the vessel size in perspective

Eventually I decided to lay merino on the inside and mohair waste on the outside for this experiment.  I do really want to have a large vessel with the chocolate and orange design but for the first one this will be a less costly experiment if anything does go wrong!  More pictures of the vessel in progress are going up on Flickr but I don’t know how many I will have time to upload before I have to pack the truck for my session with Borris Active Retirement this afternoon.

I also promised you a couple of pictures of the goodies I scored at Avoca on Saturday, well here they are, one more to follow tomorrow!!! 

My Valentine's Day jacket from Alan

Gorgeous tweed and new stash of buttons!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!!!  XXX

Avoca Handweavers – a wonderful sale yesterday!

Yesterday Alan came with me for a drive to the beautifully sited Avoca Handweavers in the picturesque village of Avoca, Co. Wicklow, the small country village where the popular television series Ballykissangel was filmed.  Once a year Avoca Handweavers have a monsterous sale of buttons, handwoven fabric, odd cones of yarn and a selection of odds and ends of scarves and rugs. 

Avoca Handweavers

For some reason WordPress is playing up this afternoon and won’t allow me to insert Avoca as a live hyperlink but if you want to check out about the business the website is www.avoca.ie/ and the information about the woolen mill that I actually visited can be found when you click on the section about the history of the company.  Basically this is the location where most of the weaving is done (as opposed their main retail outlets dotted all over Ireland) so in addition to the working section some outbuildings have been transformed into a shop to showcase their finished products and there is also a super restaurant/coffee shop filled with the most yummy savoury foods and cookies.  The materials, findings and yarn are only on sale to the public once a year and the prices are AMAZING!!!!!  I scored the most incredible pure wool tweed in a fantastic check colour scheme, incredible value so I obviously just HAD to buy whatever was left on the bolt, 6 1/2 metres @ 5 Euro per metre!  There was also about 3/4 metre which had been damaged in a couple of spots and I was able to get that for 1 Euro, the width is so great that I will have plenty to play around with for felting or use to line a bag, I suspect it will melt into fibre like butter if felted.  My intention is to make (or have made if I could afford to!) curtains, cushions and a bed spread for my main guest room, I think the modern design of the tweed will really update and show off the traditional style of my farmhouse!  I also bought 3 metres of a stunning printed fabric which we thought was a very fine silk chiffon, 141 big funky buttons in various styles (10 cent each), a handfull of colourful zips (in case I ever get into the swing of sewing!) and 26 D rings which I hope to use for some new felt belts as well as an adjustable shoulder strap for a new style of bag I am planning.   I also met up with some of the ‘Wicklow Knitters’ group on Ravelry, hi girls, how brilliant the internet is for bringing like minded people together, amazing!  All in all it was an brilliant day, Alan bought me a gorgeous cream jacket for Valentine’s Day (and I might have bought him something but that is a secret until tomorrow night), it’s too dark now to take any pictures but providing the weather is good in the morning I will be out with the camera and give you a taste of the style Avoca has to offer.