Studio de-clutter and de-stash underway, some bargains to be had for the taking!

Business plan done for a grant application, cash flow to finish (before tomorrow night unfortunately!), simple new kraft boxes in various sizes have arrived (no more struggling to make packages in brown paper bags look pretty when under pressure!), abandoned the exhibition application I was working on as I just wasn't happy with my blurb, bit the bullet and ordered a new printer, it's arrived and up and running, I'm now tackling the studio reorganisation once and for all! As a result I'm really making an effort to keep everything that I know I'll actually use in the immediate future, everything else I'm going to declutter and sell off at a really good price. Hopefully I'll then be able to buy more storage boxes or raw materials……… and so the cycle starts all over again!

So, is anybody interested in buying a large woven plastic rug to use instead of bubble wrap when felting larger projects such as rugs? I've 5 or 6 of these to sell at €20 each, they measure 1.4 x 2.3 metres and I imported them from Turkey years ago when I thought that I'd be felting more rugs. Obviously I'm keeping a few for myself but it's unlikely I'll ever be using 8 at the one time! They actually are used outside in warm climates as a sort of patio rug, just saying in case someone might like them for that purpose either, colour ways blue as pictured and wine.

The next items that I'm de-stashing are some fabulous knitting yarns, many of them were picked up several years ago in San Francisco and cost up to $25 per skein or ball. When I started felting I found it really difficult to get interesting yarns locally to add to the surface of my felt. As a result I went a bit mad whenever I discovered something particularly yummy, justification was easy because I took up freestyle knitting for a short while, reality bites now however and I doubt that I'll ever knit up anything with the 7,000 yards of fabulous hand dyed silk yarn I invested in (I won't tell you what that cost), that's not for sale unless I get a really good offer, but the rest of everything is. Here's a picture of a few balls, I've plenty of different colours and different fibres although they do mainly tend towards the golds, greens, reds and purples.

Finally I'm putting together goody bags filled with oddments of fibre and embellishing stuff. At present they're earmarked for a friend @ €3 per 100g but at the rate I'm going I may have extra bags to sell, these are perfect to use for embellishing pictures, flowers etc. and when teaching, loads of small amounts of various fibres (yak, silk, wool, bamboo etc.) in totally random colour ways, basically whatever I lay my hands on that I know I don't need for my current projects.

Please email or ring me if you're interested in anything, I need to get the lot shifted before I head to teach in Lake Tahoe and Mendocino, the rush is on while I'm in the mood for re-organisation!

 

 

Natural printing and dyeing day two…..

It’s been very busy but fun this past week, felting, teaching (two natural printing days, a raw fleece workshop and a flower workshop), working the dye pots, invigilating the Feltmakers Ireland exhibition at the Botanic Gardens, spending time with mum and having my sister and her family down to celebrate her birthday after the market in Borris on Friday! I’ve blanked out the whole of this coming week to work in the studio, please excuse any sketchy internet activity if I appear to be slacking. I need to get a lot more pieces felted before heading to teach in the US and Canada, I do hope though to be online in the evenings, work permitting so no promised!!! I’ll leave you now with three pictures from day two of the natural printing and dyeing days I had at Clasheen.

IMG_8264 IMG_8291 IMG_8286

Natural printing and dyeing, day one…..

Tamara, George and I have just finished our intensive natural printing and dyeing day at Clasheen, we had loads of fun and by the end of the day had a wonderful and varied selection of beautifully printed silk, cotton and card! I need to recharge now and have some down time before repeating the workshop with two more participants tomorrow, here're some pictures from today to whet your appetite.

Tamara laying out her natural materials on a silk scarf
Ready for the dye pot
George's layout looks good enough to eat!
Tying the bundle with thick rubber bands
Interesting prints from small ferns on one of Tamara's scarves
Some wonderful details being revealed on a cotton piece of George's
George and Tamara with two of their beautiful scarves!

 

Brief little update, felting and natural printing

It's been a frustrating weekend at times, the internet connection was deplorable at Duckett's Grove so all the paperwork and online work I planned for Saturday and Sunday went down the Swanee. It's nearly ten past eleven at night now and I'm trying to sort out my materials for two natural printing and dyeing workshops starting tomorrow morning. These will be the first, full day workshops I facilitate at Clasheen solely dedicated to this fascinating technique, I'm looking forward to exciting pieces emerging from the dye pots!

Following on from my last post, the unexpected vacancy for the Lake Tahoe retreat was filled immediately. Merridee and I are sorry one of the first participants has had to pull out due to family reasons but delighted to welcome CA artist Tina Wendon to our group!
 
Finally for today, I love this picture of Jackie outside my studio at Duckett's Grove with her finished clutch bag, this is the very first piece of felt she's made!!!

 

 

 

 

Brief little update, felting and natural printing

It's been a frustrating weekend at times, the internet connection was deplorable at Duckett's Grove so all the paperwork and online work I planned for Saturday and Sunday went down the Swanee. It's nearly ten past eleven at night now and I'm trying to sort out my materials for two natural printing and dyeing workshops starting tomorrow morning. These will be the first, full day workshops I facilitate at Clasheen solely dedicated to this fascinating technique, I'm looking forward to exciting pieces emerging from the dye pots!

Following on from my last post, the unexpected vacancy for the Lake Tahoe retreat was filled immediately. Merridee and I are sorry one of the first participants has had to pull out due to family reasons but delighted to welcome CA artist Tina Wendon to our group!
Finally for today, I love this picture of Jackie outside my studio at Duckett's Grove with her finished clutch bag, this is the very first piece of felt she's made!!!

 

 

 

 

Lake Tahoe, Mendocino and Canada, September/October felting workshop updates and some pics of my latest naturally printed nuno felt scarf!

Whew, sorry about the long title for this blog post, there's a lot to share with you though so here I go with all the details!

One of the confirmed participants for our sold out felting retreat at Lake Tahoe (17th to 22nd September) may not be able to take up their place unexpectedly, as a result Merridee and I are looking for one enthusiastic felter/dyer/fibre artist to join us at the cabin! You can check out all the details on the workshop page, please let either of us know ASAP if you would like to come. This is a super opportunity to have our undivided attention in a wonderful location, click here to email me if you've any questions or would like to book, Keith's cooking and the fabulous location are just the icing on the cake!!!

Who knows but Merridee may even inspire me to try my hand at acid dyeing some of my felt too, I'll never even attempt to paint on silk though, aren't these pictures of her's absolutely amazing?

Mendocino, another absolutely fabulous location, this time on the west coast. Merridee's actually going to be my helper for the fun felting extravaganza I'm facilitating there at the Mendocino Art Center, this takes place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th Sepepetember inclusive. There'll be tonnes of individual attention for everyone each day, class size is small so there'll be loads of felting completed! To a degree, participants will dictate the direction this three day intensive workshop goes but from my perspective I'd like to really help people hone their three dimensional skills (think craters, spikes, jewellery, bags and quirky vessels!) and share how to felt large nuno felt pieces using the tumble dryer method. These are the felting skills that I find most helpful at home, regardless of what project I decide to tackle! You can register online for this felting extravaganza directly with the Mendocino Are Center, here's the link to make things easy.

Moving northwards on to Canada, three individual workshops over the course of a week, Vancouver, Winnepeg then back to Vancouver, I'm still pinching myself to make sure this is happening!!! Here's the schedule first, followed by details of the workshop content below, the scarf in the first picture was felted yesterday morning and dyed twice in the afternoon therefore easily achievable in one day!

Thursday 3rd October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials! 10.30 to 5.30pm at The Loafing Shed Glass Studio, 9060 184th Street Surrey, BC. Please contact Sharon at 604 916 7633 or 778 298-8545 to book your place!

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials! This two day workshop takes place at the Edge Gallery and Urban Art Centre, 611 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba and costs $275 including materials. To book your spot at this two day workshop please contact Margaret ASAP, there also is a dedicated Facebook page for this event!

Thursday 10th October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials!10 to 4pm at the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House (1305 West 70th Ave), Vancouver. The cost of the workshop is $155 and includes the following materials, a silk habotai or gauze scarf, 4oz of merino (19 micron), 1/2 oz silk hankies plus materials for the natural dyeing segment. To book your spot at this workshop please contact Sara asap at 604 781 1724.

Now for the full workshop descriptions……

NATURALLY NUNO During this fun one day workshop participants will create a simple white nuno felt scarf in the morning using the no roll tumble dryer method then print/dye it in the afternoon using a selection of easy to find natural plant materials and rusty metal.

This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body… We’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the scarves, everyone can enjoy the process of laying out the wool knowing that this will be the biggest design decision of the morning!

In the afternoon we’ll transform the scarves by bundling them together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials then they’ll be tied together and either steamed or cooked in plant enriched water for a couple of hours. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how to achieve different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on the method chosen prior to putting the pieces in the dye pot. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the scarves also create different designs in the finished pieces.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!”

NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials!

During this intensive two day workshop participants will have the opportunity to create a beautiful large nuno wrap, table runner or wall hanging using the tumble dryer method of felting. They will then have the opportunity to totally elevate it to another level as we experiment extensively with different methods of natural printing/dyeing using the bundling method.

Day one – using the no roll tumble dryer method of felting each participant will create a large nuno felt wrap, table runner or wall hanging, depending on the complexity of these pieces some people may also have time to felt additional samples to put in the dye pot on day two! This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body. Concentrating on simple shapes with optional ruffles, we’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the lay out. Each fibre will take up the colour from the natural materials differently when put in the dye pot the following day, this leads to stunning wearable art or striking and unique interior accents.

Day two – wonderful results will be achieved by bundling the felt created on day one together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials, tying them up and then either steaming them or cooking the bundles in plant and/or rust enriched water. At the start of the second day Nicola will explain and demonstrate how different results when bundling are influenced by using different pre-treatments, materials, fabrics, dye pot solutions and ways of actually tying up the pieces. There will be plenty of samples for participants to study and before we dye the felt created on day one everyone is encouraged to put some smaller items of felt and fabric in the dye pot to get a feel for this method.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!

Finally for today, a few pictures from yesterday's felt and natural printing/dyeing efforts, thanks Liz Nicholls for being my happy cohort! I've actually got loads more silk and cotton pieces from today hanging up to dry but until they've been ironed and brought inside I'll stick with images of work already almost finished.

A length of cotton and a silk scarf bundled together. The eucalyptus leaves from Christine didn't actually give any prints in these experiments, they did add a wonderful colour to the dye pot though so thanks Christine, I'll get working on your silk next week!

Eucalyptus pods and cotinus leaves on cotton

Extremely wishy washy prints from loads of eucalyptus leaves, the sycamore leaf was ok and the cotinus gave a strong print. This was one of the scarves that I felted yesterday morning and I was very disappointed with the colours achieved, after over dyeing with onion skins I'm thrilled with the result!

The final picture shows both sides of the scarf.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Naturally printed/dyed nuno felt wrap, advance notice of another Vancouver workshop and a special gift of eucalyptus leaves!

Yesterday my mother, sister Suzanne and I had a lovely time attending the opening of 'Origins: Felt in the Natural World' at the Botanic Gardens in Dublin followed by a delicious late birthday dinner at new restaurant the Hot Stove, Parnell Square. It was lovely to catch up with friends from both Feltmakers Ireland and the Northern Feltmakers, I hope to have more time to chat with them and exhibition visitors when I invigilate on Tursday 22nd. The exhibition was brilliantly organised and curated, congratulations to Gabi McGrath, Sheila Ahern and all the committee for the brilliant job that they did! Thanks too, Christine Maxwell for the wonderful gift of a full truckload of eucalyptus leaves, collected on the way home and soon to be put to good use!!!

Because of the light during the opening and the fact that I was talking so much, photographs did not feature highly on my agenda even though it had been my I intention to take pictures of everything! As a result I'll post two pictures from my original submission (although this piece may be worn in many other ways) plus the written blurb that I had to include. The tumble dryer nuno felting technique followed by natural printing/dyeing that I used to create this wrap is the technique that I'll be teaching at all my Canadian workshops at the beginning of October. I've also added one last day to the Vancouver schedule, Thursday 10th (thanks a million Sara!) and promise more details of all my upcoming workshops over the weekend, I just need to catch breath today and tomorrow then it's back to business as usual on Saturday!

One note, I titled the piece 'Second Skin', after days of thought and chatting through my title choices with a friend. I was horrified to discover only last week that this is also the title of one of India Flint's beautiful books, apologies to India, there must have been some kind of unconscious thought process going on here. Anyway, here's the first photo of the wrap, silk side out…..

fibre side out……
and the submission details…..

TITLE: Second Skin

DESCRIPTION & INSPIRATION: Soft, fluid, sophisticated, envelope yourself in this shimmering naturally dyed reversible nuno felt wrap and dream your way to far away places. My inspiration for this iridescent piece came from the raw materials themselves, merino, bamboo, Firestar and silk to create the felt and eucalyptus leaves, onion skins and tea leaves to impart the bush like colours and subtle eucalyptus scent. I love the way ultra fine merino feels like suede when felted and I wanted to create a luxurious piece which smells wonderful and feels like a second skin when wrapped around the body.

MATERIALS: Felt – Super fine merino, bamboo fibre, Firestar, silk fabric

Mordant and dye bath – Vinegar, rust, eucalyptus leaves, onion skins, tea leaves, copper pipe

TECHNIQUE: Nuno felting and natural printing/dyeing utilising plant materials that give a substantive colour (don’t fade even when used without a chemical mordant)

YEAR MADE 2013 DIMENSIONS: 1940 mm X 440 mm

METHOD OF HANGING: Displayed on a mannequin or draped on a plinth

 

I'll leave you today with two pictures from my meal last night, I know that I don't usually post anything here that's not felt related but they made such petty picture on the plate that I think they could be used for inspiration!

Rabbit in a wonderful light pastry
Chocolate marquise, meringue and fabulous boozy cherry with cherry cream!
 
 

 

 

Some pictures of beautiful felt bags from the north but few words today!

I had a fabulous time in Northern Ireland at the end of last week, staying with good friend Liz and facilitating a complex felt bag workshop in Hillsborough with a wonderful group of ladies! Here are a couple of pictures that I took, I'm hoping that the participants will email me pictures of their finished bags because I just didn't have any more time myself to keep snapping!!! Interestingly, the iPad cover that was such a hit in the states was also a popular choice with the group. Thanks so much to all the Northern Feltmakers for making me feel so welcome, Fiona and Ann for the organisation, Liz for being such a great helper and Dorothy for organising my lunches, I really enjoyed our evening out too and the meal was delicious!