Duckett’s Grove official opening a big success!

Dawn and I have had a busy time of it since Chrissie Day and Nigel headed home on Tuesday morning. We’ve taken loads of pictures, I finished a lot of stitching while Dawn caught up with emails and facebook, we delivered my felt to Duckett’s Grove yesterday afternoon, collected mum’s car (because with Danish friend Kirsten arriving we couldn’t all fit in my pick up truck!), got up early again this morning for the official opening of the new craft and gallery shop, felted in the studio for the first time, was interviewed for the paper, filmed and interviewed for today’s RTE News, collected Kirsten from the bus and then headed home to Clasheen in time for an early supper and to watch the slot on the 6 o’clock news!!!

Dawn in front of my vessels at the opening of Duckett's Grove

It really was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Edel Galvin from Carlow County Development Partnership had asked me if I would do a little felting demo in my new studio after the speeches and before I knew what was happening the footage was shot and I had my short moment of fame. The invited guests at the opening really seemed to appreciate the quality of the work displayed and it’s wonderful to finally have a local Co. Carlow venue to sell high-end craft from.

The fact that I have just secured a studio in the complex is really, really exciting. There may well be more workshops available in the future but currently there are 4 local artist makers who will be working from Duckett’s Grove and I feel privileged to say that I am one of them!!! I did think that I would be getting the keys today but there is still a bit of paperwork to complete so although I did get to felt inside the space for the first time today it will be another week or so before it is officially handed over to me! If you’d like to call in and say hello before I head to teach in the US I’ll be there all day on Sunday 6th May and hope to have a workshop schedule prepared for the rest of the summer, there will also be a big craft market in the grounds of Duckett’s Grove and all the studios should be open to the public!

Having fun felting for the first time in my new studio at Duckett's Grove!

Check out Dawn’s facebook page for loads of images of the buildings and the opening, she was snapping away and has some lovely shots.

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Hats, new studio update and the ebook is live to order!

We had a WONDERFUL time having fun and learning new skills from great buddy Dawn Edwards during her ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops at the weekend!!! All the participants started each day oohing and aahing over the gorgeous hats on display, trying them on and discussing with Dawn whether to work from one of her templates of branch out and design one of their own.

The start of the Saturday workshop

Unfortunately I don’t have enough hours in any day at the moment to write a long review of the workshops but suffice to say Dawn’s lovely calm, knowledgeable and fun manner of teaching ensured that everybody learnt or honed their skills and left with a beautiful new creation to enjoy and show off! Both Dawn and I are uploading photos to our facebook pages but as I say time is short for me at the moment and I do want to enjoy myself with Dawn now and welcome Danish friend Kirsten to Clasheen at the weekend so it may be another few days before they all are uploaded and titled.

Sisters Babs and Helena wearing their beautiful flower decorated hats!

Friday is going to be hectic, since Dawn’s arrival I have also been running around and frantically preparing a lot of felt which needs to be delivered to Duckett’s Grove tomorrow (I had the wrong deadline) and amazingly I was in the right place at the right time and have secured a new studio place there as well! There are 4 artist’s studios in the renovated courtyard and one of the artists had to back out at the last minute, enter me!!!

Andrea shaping and fulling, Niki and Dawn near the end of the first workshop

We’ll be measuring it up tomorrow when we deliver the felt to the new retail unit there and then planning what to set up for the official opening with a government minister on Friday morning, Dawn’s been invited to display her hats too so it sounds as if it will be an action packed and fun day!

After a lot of technical issues ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ is now available to order as an ebook for iPhone, iPod and iPad touch. Currently Blurb don’t offer it for other forms of digital readers but hope to do so before too long has elapsed. I did have to make it available in a wrap around hard back too in order to get it online but I’ve priced highly just to ensure nobody orders it by mistake, of course if you do happen to want a hard back copy that’s another thing entirely!

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Fantastic Felt Hats with Dawn Edwards!

We’re having the most fantastic time here, Dawn’s workshop yesterday was a big success and now she and Chrissie are having breakfast while I try to write this from the bath!!! I’ll try to upload more photos to Facebook throughout the day and post properly tonight or tomorrow night, it’s just too manic now and we need to get on the road again!

Dawn’s first day in Ireland and the new book is published!!!

Well, it’s been an absolutely whirlwind 36 hours. Luckily I checked my emails while I was trying to tidy the house in preparation for Dawn’s arrival only to discover I’d made a mistake with the time she was landing. I had to actually get up at 4am yesterday in order to leave for the airport at 5am and then when I got to Dublin her flight was early, thank goodness I checked or else she could still be wandering around the airport!!!

Dawn and Eileen MacDonagh are dwarfed by Eileen's amazing installation 'Cathedral'! Eileen has over 40 tonnes of stone and amazing other sculptures on exhibition at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow Town, miss it at your peril!!!

I do want to keep everyone up to date with what’s happening here at the moment but honestly it’s just so action packed it’s really difficult to know where to start and there are not enough hours in the day to write everything down, I also want to relax and enjoy the next couple of weeks! Dawn and I will both be taking pictures every day so do check out Dawn’s new FB album and when Chrissie Day arrives on Friday evening I’ll expect we’ll both have no voices left.

Last night Chrissie and I finally put our new book to bed, ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ is now officially available to order in soft back, we’re just sorting out logistics (IBSN numbers etc.) and then it’ll be available in hard back and an eBook version for iPads and iPhones, please bear with us! One set of downloadable templates for 5 of the tops featured in this book are available free to order in a size of their choice for each purchaser of ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown‘, instructions for accessing these are in the book. Starting with the basics, topics covered include adding design to fabrics using deconstructed screenprinting, the use of an electric sander and discovering how to utilise a tumble dryer in order to eliminate the traditional rubbing and rolling stage of the nuno felting process altogether. Here’s the link to preview or order the book, we hope that you like it!

We’re almost there with the book and check out these hats of Dawn’s!

Last night I finally finished as much of the book as was humanly possibly and pushed the button to start uploading the files to Chrissie, pity I didn’t realise that I had previously set the computer to switch off after 5 hours, hmm! Anyway, it’s back on now and hopefully by tonight the book will be ready to publish!!! I’m off for another session of CRAFTed today and then I’ll be shopping and organising in preparation for Dawn’s arrival tomorrow morning, I’m so excited!!! I can’t imagine how difficult her packing must be, check out this picture of the wonderful hats she’ll have at Borris Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday for our two ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops!!!!!

Dawn's amazing hats ready to pack for Ireland!

Taking pictures of nuno felt and an opportunity to help make a difference

OK, it’s not totally blowing up a gale outside but it is pretty difficult to take pictures of completed pieces for the book without everything almost heading over the fence and into the field, nuno felt can be so lightweight, help! I’ve been trying to wrap up so many things today, I’m not finished by a long shot and in fact can’t see much light at the end of the tunnel yet. I have however managed to get some washing done and out in the wind to dry and shortly I’ll be taking a break before returning to the computer in the evening. I feel like I’m tied to the thing at this stage and would love to be in the studio felting instead, not a hope this weekend unfortunately!!!

I'm offering a large collaged nuno wrap in colours of their choice to the winning bidder in the Helping Herd auction. This image is just to illustrate the sort of wrap I'm talking about!

For those of you following me on FB you may have seen that I’m part of the Helping Herd, a group set up to raise funds and help Chris and Christina Silver of Earth Art Cashmere to get back on their feet after a fire devestated their farm in Novia Scotia. An online auction is currently underway (until midnight on April 27th) for some beautiful hand made goods and supplies that have been donated, I’m offering a large collaged wrap which I will felt to order for the winning bidder. Please consider donating something to help this worthwhile cause or placing a bid on one of the items that are already online, I wouldn’t blog about this if I didn’t feel it was important to support other fibre producers and artisans when something as dreadful as a fire has impacted on their livelyhood.

Finally for today I’m heading back outside to try and take some photos again, wish me luck!