Fabulous saree silk from Canada and upcoming felt jewellery workshop at Berkeley Forest House!

Forgive me if I don't post many words over the next two weeks. It's full steam ahead at Clasheen trying to finish the studio re-organisation plus felting new work to bring to the Glucksman Gallery for the craft fair taking place from 8th to 10th November. If you'd like to attend the opening (or indeed any day of the fair) you can download and print your free admission ticket directly from the Glucksman, if you don't it'll cost you €5 on the door! The following weekend I'm facilitating a two day felt jewellery class inspired by the textile collection at beautiful Berkeley Forest House (outside New Ross, Co. Wexford), details about this workshop in my next post but if you're interested in learning more and/or booking a place please email Alexis directly.

Currently I'm making some jewel coloured nuno felt scarves for the festive season. These are inspired by my recent visit to Vancouver and Winnipeg and incorporate some of the stunning saree silk that I brought home. This silk is wonderful to work with, I love how it melts like butter into the merino and unusually for me I love the bling as seen here at the end of one of the scarves!

 

Craft fair and studio scarf display DIY

For a long while I've been mulling over how to display my new printed silk scarves to their best advantage without getting them all wrinkled, up to now I've draped them over props at fairs or arranged them as artistically as possible on the plinths and tables in the studio. In bed the other night I suddenly had a brainwave, why not find a simple but unobtrusive looking shower curtain ring that I could hang on the top bar of my Ikea clothes rails? Result!

I love the fact that I can hang at least 12 scarves on the one rail without the display looking cluttered. Potential customers can easily compare one scarf pattern against the next therefore making decision time easier, I can then cover the scarves and leave them hanging on the rail during the week or if I need to transport them to a show remove the hooks and pack everything up simply and quickly. Here's a trial run of scarves that I assembled together at Duckett's Grove yesterday, now all I need to do is pick up a few more rails when I'm in Ikea then I'm ready in advance for any Christmas retail opportunity that presents itself out of the blue!
 

 

Major studio upgrade, thanks to Carlow Enterprise Board!

I've been having a bad time of it technically since arriving home from California and Canada, the Rayburn is not staying lit so I've no main cooker or ambient heat (we've been having lashing rain) and my new MacBook has unexpected problems so I had to drop it off in Dublin today to sort out a hard drive issue. On the positive side of things I had some excellent news from Carlow Enterprise Board whilst I was away! I spent many hard days work prior to my trip assessing what I actually needed to be put in place to take my felting/natural printing business to the next level, filling out the appropriate paperwork and applying for both a business expansion grant and a capital grant. The board met during September and assessed all the relevant grant applications, I'm really grateful to write that my proposal met with a positive outcome!


Sooooooooo, here's what I got up to today after I dropped my MacBook off at Mactivate in Blanchardstown, I headed to Ikea!!!

This picture shows the first batch of Besta storage units plus see through lidded storage boxes that I'll be installing, there'll be another trip in a week or so to collect what was out of stock today plus four new stainless steel work benches for the garage aka printing area. I also applied to purchase a new washing machine (for all those wet towels, bubble wrap etc. and to spin larger items such as jackets, rugs and wall hangings) plus a tumble dryer (for stress free nuno felting!), those I'll get locally as soon as I have the new storage assembled and the boxes full of all my supplies. Happy days!

 

 

 

Beautiful felt jewellery created

I had a lovely time at the Ennis Creative Arts Centre on Saturday, eight fun ladies met to join me for a full day jewellery making workshop. Over the course of a morning and an afternoon we concentrated on getting to grips with felting four different jewellery components, flowers, spikes, balls and cords (laid out and felted a different way than the spikes!).

The techniques learnt may be applied to all sorts of different felting projects, with jewellery they form the basis for unlimited experimentation and I'm hoping that the participants will have fun creating some more lovely pieces with the fibre they went home with! Here are a few pictures from the workshop for you all to enjoy.

I'm sure you'll see from the smiles that it was a really nice and fun group of ladies, just to assure you, our photographer was smiling too!

 

Felt jewellery workshop at Ennis Creative Arts Centre on Saturday

I've hit the ground running since driving home from Canada late on Monday evening, yesterday I had a full day training to attend on pricing work, taxation etc. (it was excellent, thanks Marian) and today I've been trying to unpack my various bags at the same time as trying to prepare for a full day felt jewellery workshop on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to facilitating this workshop at the Ennis Creative Arts Centre, you may remember that Liga and I spent a great weekend there in the summer attending a two day polymer clay workshop with Ronna Sarvas Weltman, this time it's my turn to teach! The techniques that I'll be sharing include……..

Cords and balls – both may be used as they are or cut to expose the different coloured layers inside as with this ball. If cut these pieces make really interesting embellishments, buttons, beads, jewellery components and the basis for some funky hanging Christmas decorations!
Here's an experimental brooch which comprises of two balls and a cord felted together.
Close up of a ball cut in half……
….. and uncut balls combined with polymer clay in a necklace.
A fun felt flower, these make brilliant decorations and brooches, they're fantastic to add to hats, coats, napkin rings etc. and include in strings of Christmas lights, loads of uses!
Finally for today here's a flower with an integrated ring back, this is a combination of the cord and the flower technique. As of this morning there were just two places left for this class, please email Shirley ASAP if you think that you'd like to join us!

 

Super felt and prints at the second Vancouver workshop!

Thanks a million to Vanitha (Sara Felts) for inviting me to teach a second nuno felt scarf and natural print workshop in Vancouver, I had yet another incredible time! Fabulous hostess and organiser, wonderful workshop participants, beautiful felt followed by stunning prints, it was so fun to meet more online friends in the flesh too and also eat some delicious Indian and Malaysian food!!! I've got to head upstairs and pack for my homeward journey now so no more writing, here's a pictorial review of Thursday's workshop in photos for you to enjoy. I promise to add names and a few descriptions from the calm of Clasheen sometime early next week, there may also be photos snapped by Vinitha and the participants being uploaded to Facebook too!

 

 

Fun and stunning printed wraps in Winnipeg!

I've had a really fun (if necessarily short!) time in Winnipeg, thanks so much Margaret for inviting me and organising the workshop. Thanks too for co-ordinating with Tammy from the Crafts Council and scheduling my evening talk, plus of course Tammy, Dave, Addy and Benny for offering accommodation and sharing your house with me!

Ten creative ladies met on Saturday morning at the Edge Gallery and studio, what a great way to celebrate FeltUnited Day 2013!!! Some were extremely experienced felters while others were having their first exposure to the magic of creating non woven fabric, our goal was large felt wraps which we would then print on the following day. Jackie joined us on Sunday for the printing session (in case you think that I can't count), I'm going to continue this post with pictures because I'm now back at Wnnipeg airport waiting for a flight, Vancouver here I come again!

From left to right – Kathleen, Ann, Lee Anne, Maura, Pat, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Margaret (our intrepid organiser!), Celia and Louise
Pat
Margaret
Kathleen
Maura
Jackie
Celia
Celia's wonderful first felt wrap!
Kathleen and Pat comparing print patterns
Rebecca
Lee Anne
Louise
Ann
Elizabeth
Margaret also printed a piece of up thrift shop blanket
Our great selection of nuno felt wraps, silk yardage and various shirts too
Thanks ladies for a wonderful weekend!

 

Fabulous felted and printed scarves from Vancouver and tomorrow is FeltUnited Day at last!!!

I'm here in Winnipeg now preparing for this weekend's two day felting and natural printing workshop, I'm really excited to be felting here tomorrow in celebration of FeltUnited Day 2014!!! We had a wonderful time yesterday at the one day event in Vancouver so ably organised by Sharon Gerhart, congratulations ladies on all your marvellous creations, you really were a fun group! Here's a pictorial rich review of what we got up to, for the first time ever I think I actually managed to take pictures of everyone unveiling their scarf.

Smiling faces all round as Sharon helps Chelsea open her scarf, this first successful unveiling really sets the tone for the whole group!
Judith bundled her scarf a little differently from everyone else and got a really nice clear design against the natural white background.
Debbie smiling as she shakes out the leaves and madrone bark from her scarf. Who knew until yesterday in that madrone was actually another name for arbutus, a tree I can get my hands on in Ireland??? Not me!
A group photo before Judith, Debbie and Chelsea head for the ferry then the rest of us head back to do some more unbundling!
Intense examination of Hayden's results.
One section of her scarf…..
….. looking good Hayden!
A stunning all over print from Sharon our intrepid organiser.
Bamboo fibre doesn't take the colour so lends a gorgeous tracery of white against some of the Silver Dollar eucalyptus prints.
Seed pods add another whole dimension to the design.
We're all pretty excited as Sheila unrolls her scarf, by this time we know she'll have a great outcome…..
….. and here it is!
Hayden helping Irma.
Super prints on Irma's scarf, Silver Dollar eucalyptus, black tea and onion skins.
Sheila and Sharon intent as they watch Ann unwrap her scarf.
Another nice example showing the bamboo fibre standing out strongly against the printed felt.
A final photo and a lot of happy smiling faces, Irma, me, Sheila, Sharon, Hayden and Ann!

 

 

 

Stunning Mendocino!

Merridee and I had a lovely time in Mendocino, staying and socialising with friends Susan and Dale by night and felting with a lovely group of ladies by day! Working with participants who have different experience levels is always good fun and interesting, a stunning array of purses, jewellery and nuno wraps were created over the course of the three days and I also had time to discuss design ideas more extensively with one of the experienced felters, hi Flo! I really enjoyed myself watching as each project progressed and I think you'll see from this photo rich post how everyone seems to be happy with their felt, not to mention laughing and relaxing while spending creative time felting together. Thanks Merridee for all your expert help and thanks Susan and Dale for your fun and generous hospitality!

Merridee, Flo, Patty, Sasha, Zanna and me
Flo, Sasha and Zanna
Patty and Merridee
Flo
Sasha's lovely felt beads work brilliantly brilliantly with this fused glass bead that she made

Zanna's fabulous first nuno felt wrap includes silk from two saris that her father gave as a gift to her mother

Flo

Flo, Patty, Sasha and Zanna

I love this picture of Patty, Sasha and Zanna hamming it up for the camera! One final shot for today, Merridee and I joined Susan and Dale for a walk after class one evening, what better way to end the day thank watching the sun set than with friends, wine, cheese, olives and beer!!!