I am so excited to be heading back to teach and stay once more with Dawn, Morry and Micah in Plainwell MI, it really does feel like my home away from home!!! Sue, Shirley, Kristi, Peggy, Patty and a few others who’ll remain nameless all know that although I don’t have a sweet tooth I’m OBSESSED by the wonderful Plainwell Ice Cream, Art and Judy watch out, I hope that you have a tonne of butter pean in the making as I write this post. In addition to sorting out loads of FeltUnited stuff and many silk salvaging trips to Goodwill and the Salvation Army store, most importantly Dawn will be hosting my MI workshop ‘Wrapped in Felt’ on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May. This is the first weekend of my upcoming US trip, what a fantastic way to kick off this amazing visit!
Sue and Shirley with their marvellous large felt vessels!
Aren’t these vessels felted by Sue and Shirley at last year’s event just fabulous??? I can’t wait to see what ideas they both come up with this year! I’ve created an event page for the workshops on FB and the full details of what we’ll be covering are on here on the workshop page of the blog. Amongst other things I’ll be sharing a way of felting vessels using an open instead of a closed resist, when I first tried out this method at Dagmar Binder’s 6 day masterclass in Scotland last year it was a totally ‘DUH’ moment for me. It’s revolutionised the way I think of resists now and made it so much easier to create shapes that I was struggling with or could only conceive in my mind before. There’ll also be the opportunity and facilities (for those that want) to make some small natural bundling experiments on silk and felt using leaves, onion skins, tea leaves and rusty metal. This is a wonderful and totally non toxic way of adding another dimension to your textile art, I love having a selection of my own naturally printed fabric to select from when I’m planning a nuno felting frenzy! Speaking of nuno felting, as with last year, participants are free to lay out a large piece of felt, maybe a wrap, wall hanging or yardage for a vest and then I’ll explain the steps that need to be taken so the piece may be felted in the dryer and brought back to class the next day felted, fulled and ready to share with the group! Obviously if anyone wants to felt their piece by hand during the workshop that’s also possible, the tumble dryer method though takes all the hard work out of the process and allows one to enjoy the designing and laying out process so much more!!! There’s a public laundry (is that the correct word in the US?) just up the road from our venue for those people staying overnight. a trip to Plainwell Ice Cream in the evening is also essential for anyone from out of town so I’ll leave you today with a picture showing some of the amazing flavours available for you to enjoy!
Some of the yummy flavours available at Plainwell Ice Cream!
I can't actually write about the internet problems I've been having over the last week and a half for fear I'll jinx things again, if you follow me on FB you'll know what I'm talking about! I'll post a few pics instead and just mention that I WON'T be in the studio at Duckett's Grove on Easter Saturday or Sunday but I will be there on bank holiday Monday. I'll also be the Borris Food and Craft Market on Saturday morning, we won't be open on Good Friday at all. Now for the pics……
Last Saturday Ulrike joined me at Duckett's Grove for her first felting experience, the result, an absolutely gorgeous picture with a very definite underwater feel.
The picture was laid out with the intention of having the green circle at the bottom left hand side, once it was felted however, Ulrike decided that the other way up made the most pleasing composition. I think I have to agree! Last night I felted 6 flowers and today a long nuno felt scarf plus four short nuno felt neck pieces inspired by spring flowering bulb. These are all fully reversible, I like them best worn with a little bit of both sides showing!
A very brief post today…… I'm busy working on my project with the Gaelscoil and unfortunately an essential connection to my modem has broken, NO Internet at home for a few days. Thanks Dawn for putting a message on Facebook saying I was out of cover, I've just logged in for a minute to upload this picture via a hotel's connection, cheeky! This gives a good idea of the scale of the wall hanging I and the pupils are working on, it's huge!!!
After I finished my new inventory list for Duckett's Grove this morning I felted a sample landscape prior to laying out the big wall hanging with the pupils in the Gaelscoil this week. I was a big concerned in case we had worked our prefelt too much, in fact everything came together nicely so I'm confident now that things will work out very well for the children.
This first collage shows both the front and back of my sample prior to felting. The design is very simple (I wanted to work out the shrinkage rate), drawing is definitely not my strong point but I think that the linen, silk and milk protein fibres I embellished it with help to bring the whole piece together. Because the prefelt has already started the fulling (shrinking) process we won't need to lay out the wall hanging much larger than we want the finished piece, it's going to be big enough anyway to roll and turn so any little help is gratefully accepted.
The second collage shows both sides during the felting process.
The final picture shows the front of the landscape after felting. Please keep your fingers crossed for me and the children this week that the big picture will come together as easily!
Happy St. Patrick's Day from a cool and blustery Emerald Isle!
I'm in Duckett's Grove today 'trying' to change stock around and write out some kind of definitive inventory list, it's a very stressful task considering how challenging I find organisational and housekeeping skills at the best of times. I've managed to rig up a kind of pin board from a picture frame, some polystyrene and some organic cotton quilt batting (don't ask!), this now serves as a display prop in the design shop for some of my new polymer clay brooches.
I've taken some of my older stock out of the shop and created a new display concentrating on gold, turquoise, chocolate brown, shades of caramel and natural white. When my order of silk and wool arrives from Wollknoll I'll felt some more wraps in these Arizona/New Mexico inspired shades, I love the addition of a little coral colour too, its always nice to add a shot of contrasting colour.
Excuse the glare and exposure in this second photo, I just wanted to give you an idea of the colours. Now for a bit of light relief, paperwork, then on to sorting out the display area in the studio!
Over the past two weeks I've been living in daily anticipation of a large delivery of fibre from Wollknoll in Germany, one of my all time favourite suppliers. This order should have contained the wool and silk to finish my Gaelscoil project, the materials for a new group that I'm just about to start working with, a big amount of wool for Carmen, a good few large blocks of olive oil soap and some more fibre for me to use at upcoming workshops in my studio at Duckett's Grove. I still can't quite work out what happened but finally my suspicions were confirmed yesterday morning that the order had never been received or processed. I've had a couple of sleepless nights but at last everything is sorted, there's light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Sonja Fritz of Wollknoll. I had to reorder the items yesterday afternoon (why oh why did I not keep a written record of them in the first place???), the goods are getting packed today (Saturday) and the order will be dispatched first thing on Monday morning, what a service. Thank you so much Sonja, your help and calmness were very much appreciated! On the positive side of things, it did give me the opportunity to add a bundle of silk fabric and more Kap merino to the order, these will be some of the supplies I'm bringing to my upcoming workshops in Lexington, KY!!!
The Nuno felt wrap and scarf in the first photo were felted using a selection of ponge silk from Wollknoll, the wrap on the left also incorporates some upcycled printed silk collected on a fun Goodwill expidition with Dawn! The bundled and naturally printed/dyed silk chiffon scarves with rolled edges in the second picture also came from Wollknoll. I like the contrast of the silk chiffon with the hardness of my new polymer clay brooches, soft ochre, gold and chocolate brown makes such a good bedfellow with turquoise!
Although many felters choose to create the most beautiful botanically correct felt flowers personally I like to make mine more organic and less structured, they also take a lot less time to felt! I’ve had several emails and questions asking how I attach my stems and shape the flowers, I’ve not managed to photograph myself doing the full process (I can’t demo and use the camera at the same time by myself!) but thanks to Anne Murphy of Eala Enamels I now have a few pics showing the shaping process so I’m going to share them here. Ill talk about wttacng the stems another time. This is actually a fully felted flower but at least I hope you’ll get the idea!
Make a circle with your thumb and index finger on your non dominant hand
Place the flower inside the circle, if y have a stem obviously it’s facing downwards!
Push your index finger of the opposite hand gently but firmly down in the centre of the flower
Gently roll the folded flower around in your hands opening to check one side is not felting to the other
Continue rolling and opening until you are happy with the finished shape
Gosh, it took me 50 minutes to drive approx 11 miles to my felting class in Myshall last night and over one hour to get myself home, thanks snow! I took a less hilly (but longer) route on the homeward journey, a rear wheel drive pick up truck (without 4 wheel drive) just doesn't cut to the chase in wintery conditions, especially considering our rural hills never get gritted or salted.
Nevertheless, the participants who managed to weather the icy conditions created a beautiful array of sunny looking flowers, well done everyone!
This week has really just flown. I need to finalise a working description today for my upcoming three day felting workshop at the wonderful Tin Thimble, Loomis CA, this takes place from Friday 31st May through to Sunday 2nd June. These classes coincide with the annual Felt Fest organised by The Tin Thimble, I've always wanted to attend this fabulous sounding event so I guess this year I've finally hit the jackpot!!! As a result I've not got much time to write today, instead I'm going to post a few pics here (from the workshops that I've taught this week) and let them do the talking for me.
This first shot is of the beautiful flat felt pictures created by Myshall Art Group on Monday night, for some of the ladies it was their second night felting, for others their first.
Here's a closer shot of some of these pieces…….
and another! The last shot shows Anita with her beautiful first felt bag at Duckett's Grove yesterday. This bag has integrated handles, a flap and an interior pocket, great job Anita!