Woo Hoo, felt sample, silk, television and Dawn’s arrival and workshop next week!!!

Woo Hoo, it's almost time to head to the airport and collect the wonderful Dawn Edwards, I can't wait, in the meantime it's all go, go, go!!! Here are a few photos in place of words, don't forget that tonight's the night I'll have a small television slot on Nationwide's feature about Ennis Creative Arts Centre and there are a final few places up for grabs at Dawn's fantastic nuno felt hat workshop next weekend. Please contact me ASAP if you'd like to join us in all the fun. Now for those pics……

Gathering patterned, beaded and sequined silk to utilize for nuno felting, I have to confess that on this particular day Dawn and I spent over fours in the one shop, roll on next week!

A beautiful nuno felt hat that Dawn has just felted incorporating vintage lace, here's the full workshop description for those that might be tempted to felt a hat, the dates are Saturday 5th April or Sunday 6th.

This abstract landscape incorporating alpaca and silk is a sample for my full day workshop at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, I'll post upcoming US workshop updates next week hopefully, basic details are over on the workshop page here.
Finally for today, I just love this picture of Linda modelling one of my shorter naturally printed nuno felt wraps at Borris Food & Craft Market a little earlier! This one was printed with rose and blackberry leaves from my garden plus a selection of eucalyptus leaves from Co. Wicklow. I've just had a call from her and she's coming back in to buy it to wear for her daughter's wedding, do I see a trend appearing?



Television tomorrow

You may remember recently I headed down to the wonderful Ennis Creative Arts Centre the film a short slot for Nationwide, it’s being shown tomorrow night (Friday 28th March) on RTE One at 7pm for those that are interested!

A selection of my felt and beautiful hats from Highbury Designs at Ennis Creative Arts Centre

A selection of my felt beside beautiful hats from Highbury Designs at Ennis Creative Arts Centre

Here’s the blurb direct from the Nationwide website.


Many new businesses were set up during the economic downturn in Ireland and one very colourful and innovative centre in Co. Clare inspired and helped several women from around the country do just that. The ‘Ennis Creative Arts Centre’ is where tutors from overseas and Ireland gather to teach and develop all aspects of Arts, Crafts and Design for those wishing to learn a variety of creative skills for the first time or indeed expand their business in a way that they have unique products and crafts to offer their customers. Áine Lally has the story.

Beautiful first felt pictures and an exciting week!

This past week has been one of great excitment and tonnes of work, I really don't have a minute spare this week either so please forgive me if I'm not online much over the next few days. The main highlights from last week all actually occurred on Thursday! It started off mid morning when I met with Mary Gallagher of the Blue Egg Gallery in Wexford, she has placed an order for naturally printed silk scarves and felt which I'll be delivering this week then as soon as I return from teaching in the US I'll be felting her a selection of colourful nuno mosaic pieces too. The say I'm thrilled is an understatement, Mary's gallery and shop is stunning so it's wonderful to be selected as a maker for there! On my way home I stopped at a garden centre and found a couple of healthy eucalyptus (cider gums) to add to my collection and then, when I was just casually driving along a bit nearer home what did I find??? A HUGE eucalyptus of a variety I'd not seen before had fallen during the recent storms and a few end branches were hanging out over the hedge onto the road. I nicked a few leaves, tried printing with them and discovered that they give a good outline, an interesting soft coffee coloured beige. Amazingly the tree was in the home farm of a sculptor whose brother was actually in the same class as me in national school, a text and phone call later and I'll be collecting ALL the leaves from the tree this week, wow!!!

Anyway, here are a few pictures from yesterday's workshop at Duckett's Grove, didn't Bernadette and Mary create just stunning first felt pictures?

Well done ladies, it think a couple of new fibre fanatics are born!

Detail from Bernadette's picture

Detail from Mary's picture



A serendipitous gift from the dye pot!

The weekend before last I picked up several apron style dresses in gorgeous linen at a blowout sale in Dublin. They were all layered with a lace edged viscose under shift kind of thing, way too frilly and girly for my plain taste! Anyway, most of the dresses had this piece actually attached to them so I had to cut it off, one of them was in a slightly different style and the under shift with this one was more like a cross between a long Tshirt and a petticoat in the brightest white you could possibly imagine. Anyway, yesterday I decided to bundle it up with eucalyptus and tea leaves then popped it in the pot while I was eco printing a couple of organza scarves.

Imagine my surprise to discover it didn't give even the faintest prints from the eucalyptus leaves or tea at all except on the lace edging (I think that this must be polyester although it didn't say on the label), instead it transformed itself into the softest and most attractive soft shades of gold and apricot, the perfect shift to dress my mannequin! This serendipitous gift will be worth it's weight in gold, I hate a naked mannequin but have always found it really difficult to find a nice neutral outfit for mine against which the naturally printed wraps and scarves stand out, my search is over!!!

Please excuse the quality and composition of these images, the wind was wild and the sun made it difficult to take good pictures but at least you'll get an idea of what why I'm happy.


Felting samples and too many ideas

This afternoon I felted a couple of samples to bring with me on my upcoming trip to the US and it made me realise how funny it is the way things sometimes pan out. Initially I had a total blank in relation to an exhibition vessel I'd been planning for ever and intended starting today, being at my studio in Duckett's grove for the day I knew that I needed to stop over analyzing and begin to make something regardless of what, otherwise I would never get anything done and would finish up feeling cross and totally frustrated. I decided to felt a couple of balls to get a feel for the wool (my hands were cold!), moved on to a tube and suddenly realised I could utilize both the finished tube and balls in a couple of samples I needed to make anyway to bring with me on my travels. Now that these are felted I've had a more realistic idea for the vessel, all is well now and I'll start laying it out on Tuesday. I'm not sure about everyone else but I find that if I'm totally overwhelmed and my brain is swimming with ideas I never get anything done, the act of laying out wool and just starting to felt is one of the only ways I know to get past this hurdle!

I'll leave you this evening with some botanical inspiration, beautiful purple flushed white violets and ferns with penny royal. Both these images of botanical inspiration were photographed whilst walking with Rex (and his visiting companion Penny!) up the lane on Friday, spring may finally be arriving!



The journey and story behind one naturally printed felt wrap!

Last year a call went out to Feltmaker Ireland members inviting submissions for a curated exhibition titled 'Origins: Felt in the Natural World'. Regular readers of this blog may remember that I was delighted to have a large naturally printed nuno felt wrap accepted, the timing was extremely tight but I managed to felt and print it in the week between trips to the US and Portugal! A visitor to Borris a Food & Craft Market saw images of the wrap on display at the National Botanic Gardens and wanted to buy it, between the jigs and the reels we never managed to actually meet up again (she was a one off visitor!) so in November I brought the wrap with me to the Glucksman Gallery Christmas Fair. Enter Kate!

Kate was on holiday from the US visiting her sister who is living in Dublin, her daughter was getting married very shortly and she'd had been searching for months to find a special piece to compliment her mother of the bride dress. As soon as she saw the wrap Kate knew it was the one, love at first sight! It looked amazing on her at the Glucksman and I was so excited that someone would be buying it to wear on such a special occasion. As soon as Kate decided to purchase the wrap her sister stepped in with a lovely surprise, she bought it as a gift for an upcoming 'special' birthday and off the piece went to the States, nice surprise!

Last week I got a lovely email from Kate with stunning pictures as promised from the wedding. I was so touched with her message and asked her if I could share part of the email and some of the pictures. As soon as I saw them I understood exactly why the eucalyptus, black tea and onion skin wrap complimented her silk outfit so beautifully, I think that the colours were divine together.

In Kate's words, 'I wanted you to know that it made me feel so extra special that day! It really looked like it was meant to be with my dress. Everyone loved it and I of course, told them the story. Not only did I love the look, but the feel of the fabric was so soft and comfortable. We had a blizzard the night before the wedding and it was so cold and windy. It just felt so cozy in my wrap!!

Your work is so beautiful and I really appreciate your art. Thank you for making me feel so beautiful on one of the most important days of my life. I know it was heaven sent!!'

Thank you so much Kate for taking the time to write to me, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the day so much and from the wedding pictures it's obvious that everyone else did too!!! I look forward to having you visit Clasheen next time you're in Ireland and sharing the magic and simplicity of natural printing with you.


More Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats with Dawn Edwards!

I’m delighted to announce that Dawn will be teaching a second day of her ‘Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats in April, please click here to view the online class description and email me asap if you’d like to book your place!!! Just to remind you what one of Dawn’s nuno felt hats looks like here’s a picture.

emerald green and black felt cloche

emerald green and black felt cloche

Isn’t this an absolute beauty???

I’ll have a selection of goody bags available to purchase on both days, these will have a selection of stunning beaded, sequinned and printed silk to include in the hats so for those of you not having this in your stash, don’t panic!