Super San Fransisco workshops and onwards to Michigan ……

Well, I have just spent a fun filled five days with Jamie and Blas exploring the Mission District and facilitating a ‘Felt Accessories’ and a ‘Felt Vessel’ workshop organised through their wonderful Urban Fauna Studio.

A detail of the fabulous wall art from the Clarion Alley Mural Project, North Mission

The two workshops were pretty hectic but I hope that everyone was happy with the results,  I certainly was happy with the creativity evident and the range of beautiful pieces felted!

Anna, Barbara, Jamie, Bonnie, Flo, Rosalind, Natalie and me (from L to R)

During the Saturday workshop participants all worked on individual projects and by the end of the day everybody went home with either a felt bag, nuno wrap, piece of jewellery, iPhone cover or a piece of nuno  felt yardage. Different techniques new to participants included felting around a resist, a simple way of incorporating long cords and including resists between layers of wool at the layout stage which are then cut into in order to expose underlying fabrics once the felt is fulled.  Blas also started a little memory stick cover (thumb drive to you in the US!) in between looking after everyone at the venue and was delighted to finish it at home, repair his memory stick and have a TINY felt pouch perfect to protect this delicate piece of computer equipment!

Blas's felt memory stick cover!

Three people choose to return again today for the vessel workshop and it was very interesting for me to see how some of the wool varieties I am NOT used to working with felt!  Participants used a variety of wools including Corriedale, Romney and two unidentified wool batts and everyone left with a beautiful felted vessel.  Several of the pieces need a little more work fulling over the next day or two although in every case we got a good idea of what the finished piece would be like, the extra fulling is just to make sure that they are strongly felted and hold their shape no matter what.  I would like to post some more about the workshops but I need to finish packing my bags and head off to the airport in two hours so will leave you with some more pictures from the weekend.  Tomorrow morning I am getting picked up by Dawn at Grand Rapids Airport and we are both travelling on to visit and felt with Horst, I can hardly wait to meet them both!!!

Flo's vessel showing the window she created exposing some wonderful colour within

Me, Jamie, Anastasia, Bonnie, Flo and Leslee (from L to R)

Anastasia with her gorgeous bowl incorporating lichen

Bonnie looking stunning in her funky dreadlock necklace!

Natalie's brilliant felt clutch incorporating some of her own hand dyed roving!

Goodbye to old friends, hello San Fransisco!

My wonderful time spent with Sharon, Emma, Mark and Chris in Loomis has finally come to an end.  The Tin Thimble is truly a family run business and everyone who passed through the gates during my visit was friendly, fun and fired up with fibre and fabric fever.  Sharon and I stayed felting until almost 12pm each evening, when you are with someone like minded it is definitely hard to take a break and we both wanted to spend as much time sharing our experiences and having fun while felting together!  I REALLY enjoyed both the complex felt bag and the nuno mosaic workshops, most of the participants actually attended the two courses so by the end of Monday night we were really like one big happy family, all be it a rather tired but happy family!!!  Here is a picture demonstrating how amazing the nuno mosaic scarves turned out, Susan had to fly and catch a plane but hopefully I will have a picture of her gorgeous piece as soon as she gets home and has time to photo it.

MArni, me, Sharon, Jenine and Brenda showing off their beautiful nuno mosaic scarves!

You can also see some of the complex bags although not all were totally finished at the end of the workshop; there is a LOT of work involved in designing and felting a project such as this and Sharon’s is the only fully felted one in this picture, it is GORGEOUS!

Onwards to San Fransisco, amazingly gleaming in the sun when I arrived and the warmest I have ever experienced here to date.  I really need to stop talking for a day or two (my voice is on the blink!) and fully prepare for an action packed weekend at Knit One One in Berkeley and Urban Fauna Studio in the Mission District, SF.  We kick off the weekend with an evening felt jewellery class in Knit One One, if you are thinking of participating please SIGN UP NOW because we need another two people to make the night work and tomorrow is obviously the deadline for sign ups!

World Felt Day will be brilliant, my first return workshop will be taking place in Urban Fauna and I am so excited to be sharing loads of interesting techniques for creating unusual felt accessories, CLICK HERE if you would like to join us.  On Sunday we have another workshop at Urban Fauna, this time felted vessels and the place to SIGN UP IS HERE!

Off to bed now (aka having a glass of wine with Jamie and Blas before I head off!) so I leave you with some more fabulous photos from the wonderful workshops at Tin Thimble, another update tomorrow.  They may be all over the shop (Irish for all over the page!) but I know you’ll forgive me since the felt is definitely drool worthy!!!

Brenda's silk laid out and ready to cover with two VERY light layers of merino

Modelling the completed nuno mosaic scarf!

Susan including beautiful hand dyed silk in her lay out

Patti and Sharon concentrating on laying out their silk

Jenine throws a pose!

Marni with her amazing first piece of nuno felt!

Fabulous texture from different weights of silk and a gorgeous vintage scarf

The beautiful Sharon from The Tin Thimble with her really amazing wrap

Patti added a romantic ruffle to the edge of her wrap

………?

No title to this post as I am saving all my energy for thinking and organising prior to my departure late on Tuesday night to catch my 6.30am flight out of Dublin on Wednesday morning!  I need to be available to check in a minimum of 4 hours prior to boarding so guess that means a midnight journey, ah well, can’t sleep at all anyway I am so excited!!!

Today I got some more washing done, sorted out my ESTA authorisation, prepared some stuff for packing, bought the new iPhone4 (thanks Alan for my birthday gift!),  planned a little felt cover for it, got some lovely locally grown veg on the range and have a glass of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc at my hand as I wait for Katie Taylor’s World Championship bid on RTE in a couple of minutes!

My favourite felt accessory of the moment, raw materials for US workshops and a picture of my new fibre friend!

If you are a regular follower of this blog you will know how hectic things have been here at Clasheen since my return from ‘Felt Naturally’ in Silkeborg at the beginning of August.  Laying out and felting Sylvia’s large rug took a lot longer in actuality than in planning, partially due to the logistics of scaling up to such a degree (especially without another pair of hands!) and partially due to interruptions with Lady Captain duties at Borris Golf Club.  I did however manage to fit in a few small projects between other committments and one of the pieces that I felted is definitely one of my all time favourite accessories, a real conversation opener whenever I wear it at the moment which to be honest is quite often!  

Green felt boa

Charlotte Buch needs to be credited with the design and was very generous in sharing the technique used with all of us who participated in her long workshop in Denmark.  Because I was totally focused on felting my sea creature it wasn’t until I returned to Clasheen that I actually got to try out this method for myself and I absolutely LOVE the versality of the finished piece!  In the workshop many participants felted this boa starting with a base of prefelt but for mine I decided to start from scratch and use some of the gorgeous hand dyed merino roving I recieved from Holly as part of the New Year Secret Scarf Exchange organised via Ravelry.  The boa may be twisted a couple of times around the neck as a necklace, wrapped around the waist, worn as a scarf, tied around a ponytail and in many other ways which might grab the wearer at any given moment.  This felt accessory just goes to demonstrate how totally versatile and adaptable one simple design may be and if you would like to see some of the other ways which I wear mine have a look through my Flickr  photos.  Another amazing advantage of felting this piece is that my horror of a sewing machine has almost disappeared, honestly!  Charlotte uses either an embellisher or a sewing machine (depending on the end result required) during the early stages of some of her work and to be honest once I saw how simple various of the techniques were and the amazing results on offer I have had a major head change with regard to the use of these frightening pieces of equipment (frightening to me!). 

This brings me on to another point which I feel is well worth making before I head over to the US next week.  Many different raw materials may eventually lead to a similar end result and many different end results may be arrived at by numerous different people all starting from the same point and using the same raw materials!  This is something that I can’t stress enough for anyone considering joining me at one of the exciting workshops that are planned for Loomis, Berkeley, San Fransisco and Kalamazoo over the next 4 weeks.  Please don’t feel that you have to copy exactly what I do or use the same fibres and other raw materials that I choose to use but obviously you are welcome to do so if that is what you so wish!  What I will be providing is an insight into how I work, what I find works best for me (I am ALWAYS learning and discovering new materials and texchniques!), sharing some of my own favourite pieces and bringing along with me as many raw materials and embellishments as possible to examine with all of you thereby providing a felting receipe which you may choose to follow or totally adapt dependent on your own wishes.  What I would like all participants to do is to bring with you as many or as few of your own felting materials,  found items, stash goodies, jewellery findings and equipment as you can comfortably transport (in a bag or in a truck!!!) and then we can look at the ways in which you work and find the direction and materials you are comfortable experimenting with in order to create some fabulous and individual pieces during the course of the various workshops!  Is it obvious HOW EXCITED I am to be finally meeting so many of you in the flesh???

Lastly, here is a picture I took of a fibre friend from La Gomera and I have now installed her as my desktop background because I think she is just gorgeous!!! 

My fibre friend from La Gomera!

Back at the ranch!

I got a wonderful greeting from Rex when I arrived back at Clasheen yesterday evening and he was just thrilled today when I let him out of his shed this morning and headed off for a walk before breakfast!  Amazingly enough, although the weather was very cloudy and damp here in Ireland when we landed yesterday afternoon and again today the temperature is actually approx 20 C so it hasn’t been too much of a contrast acclimatizing after the wonderful week we have had in La Gomera. 

Today I am trying to unpack, download some of my photos (over 500 of them!), get some washing done, catch up with emails (not going to get this one finally sorted ’till tomorrow so don’t panic if you are waiting for a reply), collect post from the post office, shop for basic food supplies, call over to Carmen (she is cooking lunch and we will be felting for the afternoon), start to assemble supplies that I need to take to America with me (trying to sort out the most interesting, unusual and relevant materials that I like to work with and share with others!), organise things for a workshop tomorrow morning and generally catch up with all those little things that don’t seem much by themselves but add up to a LOT of work to get done by nightfall!

Three point turns necessary to negotiate the bends!

As promised here is a photo showing the kind of roads and terrain we were travelling  on and traversing across although I have to confess this was just one road too far, we walked the final mile or so down to the little hermitage.  Three point turns on every corner with an horrendous fall if you went over the edge were just not my idea of fun so we parked where we found a spot and shank’s mare was the way to travel for the last stretch of this road!!!

OH NO, for some reason I have just lost a LOAD of writing and images when I uploaded this post for the first time so apologies for the lack of writing now (I’ve run out of time!) but here are a couple of images showing texture and patterns which I am saving in a special folder to spark inspiration for felting work in the future. 

Colours and textures from an old door in El Cercado

Old roof tiles, again in El Cercado

Announcing evening felting workshop for Berkeley and American trip update!

I am SO excited to be finalising the plans for my wonderful Fall trip to the United States! Meeting blog readers and strengthening online friendships will definitely be one of the highlights of the visit. I can quite understand how online dating works because I really feel that I ‘know’ many of you already from all our correspondence back and forth across the waters and I am sure the reality will actually surpass the virtual world that using the internet fosters!!! I would also like to say that before any of you start to panic Rex, (and the house), will be very well looked after by my mother, Alan and a selection of friends while I am away on my travels. I am also going to be getting some work done in the garden while I am away in preparation for a FANTASTIC vegtable garden next year.

Now I would like to update you all about how the workshops are panning out and announce an additional date and venue to add to the schedual, how exciting is that?

Firstly I will be flying from Dublin to San Fransisco on Wednesday 22nd September and travelling on to The Tin Thimble in Loomis CA for the start of my American felting adventures! On Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th I will be facilitating a Complex Felt Bag workshop and on Monday 27th the workshop will be exploring the beauty of Mosaic Nuno Felt, click here to link through if you would like to book a workshop at The Tin Thimble.

Arriving back in San Fransisco from Loomis I will be catching up with Jamie and Blas from Urban Fauna Studio and nuno felting friend Nancy Schwab prior to my first workshop at Knit One One in Berkeley. This exciting addition to my workshop schedual is a four hour Jewelery Making Workshop taking place between 6 and 10pm on Friday 1st October, this should be FUN so please click here if you would like to join us on the night!

World Felt Day on Saturday 2nd October sees me returning to a venue organised by Urban Fauna Studio where we will be discussing and creating all sorts of funky Felted Accessories (I have so much to share re.the felted accessories it will be difficult to know where to start!) and on Sunday 3rd Felted Vessels will be the topic. I am really looking forward to returning to Urban Fauna because last year’s Nuno Mosaic workshop was an absolute blast and the scarves created were absolutely amazing, click here if you would like to book a workshop in San Fransisco!

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Kalamazoo, MI is the final venue of my trip and we kick off there with a Complex Felt Bag workshop on Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th October, this class is now totally booked out. If however, you live within striking distance of Kalamazoo and would like to participate in my final workshop I think there is still a place left in the Felted Accessories workshop on Monday 11th October but click here to book asap as I don’t expect this to be available for much longer!

I am sure that you can all see why I am so excited about this trip, I LOVE teaching and meeting fellow fibre enthuastics so I just know that we are all going to have an amazing time at the workshops!!! For some reason I seem to be having problems blogging this morning, text jumping around the place etc. so I am just going to upload this now and hopefully add some pictures to tempt you tomorrow or later this evening. ‘Till then …..

San Fransisco workshops now open for bookings!

I am thrilled to be making a return visit to San Fransisco this Fall and Jamie and Blas of Urban Fauna Studio and Mary Jane’s Attic fame have put together two wonderful day workshops, Felt Accessories on Saturday 2nd and Felt Vessels on Sunday 3rd October!  The 2nd is actually World Felt Day so how much fun is it that we will be felting together and creating fibre magic in such a stylish part of the world? 

Funky vessel felted from Norwegian C1 and Herdwick

I know that you have seen a picture of this felt vessel before but I am pretty excited to reveal that it has just been selected by a top UK trend  forecaster to be featured as one of the images on their ‘Hunter/Gather’ mood board for Autumn/Winter 2011/2012!  If you would like to learn how to make a fun vessel like this why not join me in San Fransisco???

Rug update – I was in the middle of ironing the rug yet again this afternoon prior to a final rolling but all the steam caused my bandage to loosen and then I knocked my finger, loads of blood all over again, so annoying.  Between tomorrow and Friday I will roll a little and spot full anywhere I am not entirely happy with, hope Sylvia likes the result when I deliver it on Monday!

Booking open for my felting workshops in Michigan this October!

Booking is now open for my ‘Complex Felt Bag’ and ‘Felted Accessories’ workshops at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan on 9th, 10th and 11th October!  I am so excited to be finally getting everything together for my American trip and this is just another milestone towards a totally fantastic fibre filled adventure!!!  Yesterday I booked all my international and internal flights (Dublin to San Fransisco, San Fransisco to Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids to Philadelphia and New York back to Dublin) and it is just going to be so exciting to meet as many of my blogging felting friends as possible during the 4 weeks which I will be spending on the road.  Dawn Edwards (of the wonderful hats fame!) has been brilliant setting up the Michigan leg of things and I am so looking forward to spending time with her both at the workshops and during a planned visit to felt with Horst of Horst Couture, I am almost expiring with excitment as he is one of my all time felting idols!!!  Anyway, I thought that for today I would just let you know what is planned for Kalamazoo so that if you are interested in joining us you can book to be sure of your place, below are the details taken directly from the Institute of Arts website. 

Complex Felt Bags – Functional Wearable Art (557)

Nicola Brown
Saturday and Sunday, October 9 & 10, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sustaining Members: $143, Members: $147,
Note: Community registration begins August 11.
Community: $155
Studio 6, Limit 10
Materials fee to be paid on date of workshop. A $30 (approximately) materials fee will need to be paid on date of workshop. Participants will begin by creating a small piece of jewelry imbedding glass nuggets or stones within our felt and using natural or artificial fabric for surface decoration and texture. There will be discussion of the various options for felting bags with integrated handles, multiple pockets, flaps, attachments and shapes and looking at the various ways the bags may be adapted to be used as handbags, shoulder bags or backpacks. Participants will learn how to either stitch or stick resist materials together to create the templates and then make a sample piece using layers of merino and C1 wool or similar coarse wool. Continuation of felting and finishing the bags will complete the workshop. Bring a sack lunch, materials list available on the web.

 

Felted Accessories (558)

Nicola Brown
Monday, October 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sustaining Members: $68, Members: $72
Note: Community registration begins August 11.
Community: $80
Studio 6, Limit 10
Materials fee to be paid on date of workshop. A $27 (approximately) materials fee will need to be paid on date of workshop. This workshop will allow participants to experiment incorporating found objects, glass nuggets, stones, fabric, leather, fish skin and any other kind of inclusion in make unique wearable accessories. Each person will create a combination of rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, scarves, simple belts, purses, neck wraps, sleeveless mittens, or flowers. Nicola will bring a selection of unusual fabrics with her from Ireland including metallic meshes and sequin or glitter studded polyester, for participants to use. Bring a sack lunch; materials list available on the web.

To book either or both workshops please scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the relevant link!