Wrapped in felt

This week has had many ups and downs, very poor or no Internet connectivity and heating problems, yet again, have nearly proved to be my mental undoing! I can only apologise to those of you who may be waiting for an email or FB response to a question, sorry, I really hope that the broadband provider can get whatever is the problem sorted by the beginning of next week. The intention had been to upload a bunch of wraps and wall hangings to the new store, post upcoming. Irish workshops online and invoice participants for Dawn's fabulous nuno felt hat workshop, instead it's now half past eight tonight and I still haven't had a long enough connection to do so. C'est la vie! I'm not going to harp on about it any more because I might explode, instead, I'm going to post pictures of a few different ways to wear one of my shortest felt wraps, this one has a ruffle which may be worn either up or down.

 
Eucalyptus leaves from Co. Wicklow, rose leaves from my garden and blackberry leaves from the hedge up the lane!

 

 

Showcase naturally printed felt wraps and silk scarves are now ready!

So far today I've washed out and ironed seven felt wraps and one wall hanging, four silk scarves still remain to be done. Once they're finished my orders from Showcase will be complete, tonight I'll send the shops and galleries a Pro Forma invoice then have gift boxes, cards etc. prepared ready to dispatch as soon as I hear back from them. Hopefully these first pieces will be on their way first early next week, if it hadn't been for the bad weather and lack of electricity I would have had everything done last Friday.

Here're a few of images of my latest merino, bamboo and Firestar wall hanging. I love the strength of the eucalyptus leaves, these were gathered from a tree that had been pruned, lucky me! The reverse of naturally printed textiles also fascinates me, sometimes appearing strongly printed whilst at other times subtle like an animal pelt, as with this one.

I also included a resist during the laying out phase of this piece, while the finished hanging could be used as a table runner the channel at the top makes it really simple to hang!

 

A few natural print images

Yesterday I spent the day printing nuno felt wraps, one silk scarf, a vintage silk skirt and a wall hanging, that is when I wasn't cuting myself with metal or catching the top of one finger in my tongs! I was very happy with the results of the silk scarf (a welcome but unexpected result!), skirt and wall hanging but although the wraps printed well they didn't have as dark colour a base colour as I was looking for so back to the felting table today.

The scarf had been bundled with eucalyptus leaves and wrapped around a copper pipe about a week ago and then I discovered that there just wasn't space to add it to the dye pot at that time. It sat in the studio and the silk got greener and greener (a bit like my hair!), once I took it out of the pot yesterday and opened it up I was thrilled with the speckles, a welcome surprise!

One of the joys of natural printing is the unbundling, although it is possible to predict to a large extent the results when using familiar organic materials, water and pot etc. there's always that unknown element that pops up to surprise on occasion!

Here's a detail from the wall hanging, this will either be heading to a gallery or onto my new online shop, the shop is what I'll be finishing this week as soon as I have the last of my Showcase orders fulfilled.

 

 

Reflections from Clasheen on a wild and windy night!

It's after eight o'clock in the evening now and I'm writing this blog post by candlelight in front of the stove, heavens knows when I'm going be able to upload it! In general Irish weather is notoriously 'soft', no major extremes of temperature, never very hot and not often very cold, plenty of light rain throughout the year and the grass grows pretty much all year round.

Why would Rex need a pillow when he has a block of wood?

Well, these last few weeks we've been having loads of storms with plenty of high winds and lashings of rain, since early this morning I've had no central/underfloor heating (not that it's on very much anyway!), no Internet since mid morning and no power since just after lunchtime. Carmen called over before the winds had got too bad and brought delicious tapas for our lunch, as she was driving home two trees fell across the road behind her and a beautiful large tree had fallen at the top of her lane so she wasn't able to drive right to her house. I was meant to be facilitating a workshop tonight for 17 women in Carlow, luckily the organiser agreed we would reschedule because I discovered mid afternoon that Borris town (en route to Carlow) was practically cut off, fallen trees all over the place! Earlier in the afternoon I felted a small experimental piece, since the light has gone I've been planning some of the submissions I'm planning to make this year, sketching a couple of rough ideas for exhibitions pieces, doing a little organising on the iPad and looking back through some of the photos I've taken recently.

I use the camera on my phone a lot, probably I take at least 20 photos on any given day and more often 40 or more, last Sunday I actually had to back up and delete over 6,700!!! Alan can never understand why I frequently take many pictures of the same thing, for me though it's a way of visually recording what inspires me! This post includes a selection of recent images that excepting the beautiful stone walls would never usually make it here to the blog. Some of them are taken in the fields and the 'garden' at Clasheen and a few are from last Sunday when we did a bit of adjusting to the ropes on our boat at Graiguenamanagh. You'll probably never see a literal translation of these into felt but these are the everyday things that I love to observe, find inspiring and watch changing as the seasons progress. No captions, I'm sure you can work them out for yourselves!

Well I'm finally back online, it's Saturday afternoon at quarter to three so I'm going to post this right away as I'm not sure how long I'll be active for, more stormy weather is forecast so fingers crossed all will be well!!! Speaking of fingers, this morning as I was preparing to do some natural printing I cut the top of one finger in the mechanism of my tongs, stupid or what? There was plenty of blood but not so much pain, SO not what I wanted to do before laying out white wraps to print. Anyway, it's now bandaged, I can work wearing a sterile glove and am able to type with my index finger, all in all not the worst thing to happen!

 

Houston calling and fun felting at Ballymurphy National School!

I'm really happy to confirm that I'll be heading on from a Dallas to teach for two days in Houston, thanks Barbara for inviting me! We're planning a one day felt vessel workshop on Monday 28th April followed by a one day natural printing workshop on Tuesday 29th, finalised details should be posted here tomorrow or the next day. Here're two pictures of a small naturally printed wrap that I felted last week, this time combining eucalyptus leaves with blackberry and rose leaves from my garden.

Now on to my main activity for a lot of last week…..

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I had the pleasure of introducing the 50 pupils at Ballymurphy National School to the joys of working with fibre. This school is actually about ten minutes walk from Clasheen through the fields, obviously though I had to drive because otherwise I'd never have managed to bring all the necessary materials and bubble wrap!

For those of you living in countries with a different junior school system, usually children go to national (primary) school from the ages of 4 to 12, sometimes in small rural schools such as this there might be actuall classes with no pupils, strange but true!

Anyway, as you can see from this series of images a fabulous variety of stunning felt pictures was created. Inspiration was varied but the surrounding mountainous landscape and portraits were two popular themes. I'm going to load all the pictures I took to an album on Facebook later today, this way you can have a look plus all the pupils will have a reminder of what we got up to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s official, Dallas TX here I come!

I'm delighted to announce that Suzanne Morgan and I confirmed last night Saturday 26th of April will be the date for my first ever teaching experience in Dallas, Texas! Because of a prior engagement we're keeping this to a one day natural printing workshop, participants will be asked to bring their own materials to print onto, felt, silk, wool and paper. All the details (including the price!) will be posted shortly, Suzanne is just working the logistics out now but if you're interested in attending please email her ASAP and she'll be able to answer most of your questions. I may also be teaching a workshop in Houston, please email me if you'd like to be kept in the loop for that, more details here and on FB as I get them!

To whet your appetite here's a picture of a wall hanging I felted and printed at the beginning of this week, I love it and have decided to keep it to hang at Clasheen!!! The base is 19.5 micron merino with a generous helping of soy fibre and Firestar, the leaves were eucalyptus and the pot had a big mushy handful of pomegranate skins which had already been used for a couple of print sessions. I deliberately folded it so that I had three uneven panels of leaves, now I just need another 10 hours a day as I really want to make a another piece!

 

 

 

 

 

Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats with Dawn Edwards!!!

I’m thrilled to confirm the 5th April nuno felt hat workshop that Dawn will be teaching at Clasheen (or a nearby location in Borris) this April, click here¬†for all the details!!! Eight places have already been provisionally booked, please shout out loud and email me asap if you’d like to be included in all the fun. As soon as the ten places are filled I’ll start a waiting list and if the numbers stack up we’ll run a second day on the Sunday. I actually forgot on the flyer to include the payment details, a 50% deposit will be required to hold a place and the balance is needed by the beginning of next month. OK, I’m off to unwrap some bundles now, bed early and teaching second and third class at Ballymurphy National School in the morning!

Nuno felt hat with peacock feathers

Nuno felt hat with peacock feathers