Sue’s fabulous felt purses!!!

Today’s post shares pictures of two beautiful purses felted in Michigan by my friend Sue. I first met Sue last May at one of the Plainwell workshops organised by great buddy Dawn Edwards where she chose to felt her first vessel complete with craters, ever since then we have kept in touch via this blog and through Facebook. When I started offering my new felting kits on Etsy Sue ordered one in a beautiful soft butterscotch shade, don’t forget you can custom request your favourite colours and I’ll oblige you if I can! I also included two buttons, one vintage and the other a lovely shiny kind of bronze colour with a very interesting opening where you sew it on.

Sue's beautiful clutch complete with vintage button

For her purses Sue combined the butterscotch fibre from the kit with some wool and hand dyed locks she already had in her stash, laid out some silk scraps on top for embellishment and added the mohair off cuts and cotton gauze, also from the kit. Once felted she added some machine stitching to both the purses and a long leather shoulder strap to one, aren’t they FABULOUS??? I can’t wait to meet Sue again at the 2012 felting workshops in Plainwell on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May, then I’ll be able to hold the purses and admire them in all their glory!!!

Sue's gorgeous leather and felt shoulder bag

5 hectic days at Clasheen!!!

I’m just catching up from 5 HECTIC days at Clasheen!!! I really can’t write everything down because I still have so much work to plough though this week and not enough time to do it so apologies if you are expecting an email response, it will be another few days before I get my backlog cleared. Suddenly everything seems to be coming together all at once so highlights which will all be blogged about individually as soon as I get a minute include…..

  • exciting news about an AMAZING week long residential felting workshop on a bio-dynamic estate in Portugal this June (tba later this week)
  • the launch of some beautiful new wool products for felters and knitters/crochet artists with Chrissie Day (this will be taking place during the late summer)
  • the development and launch of some pretty amazing felting tools with friend and designer Niki Collier
  • the completion of my neighbour’s house upgrade which I have been working on frantically, this means residential felt and fibrerelated holidays at Clasheen!!!
  • the continued work on our nuno felting book, Chrissie and I are just in the process of getting an ISBN number which means that we will be able to be stocked on Amazon etc.
  • a potential new venue for my fall US workshop trip

Whew, I’m buzzed just sharing the potential of these events with you!!! ‘Till next time…..

A tip to enhance texture in nuno felt and KY and MI workshop details are finally online!

I have managed to get through a lot of the clearing, re-organisation and tidying chores that I blogged about on Monday, not all of them obviously but I have made a dent in the never-ending pile! Thanks for all your encouragement both via comments and through FB, they are definitely much needed to keep me going, I HATE tidying!!!

As promised, the full workshop descriptions for the KY and MI workshops in May are now up on the workshop page and I am hoping that we will have a mix of both experienced and improving felters attend. Beginners are really welcome too so please don’t feel you don’t have enough felting under your belt to book a place, everyone is welcome and it makes for a really fun and creative time if we have groups of mixed experience!

I have also started to transfer some of my felt pouches across from Big Cartel and into my Etsy shop, only time will tell if this has been a wise descision.

Finally for today, Rhonda was wondering how I achieve so much texture in some of my nuno felt pieces. This is something that I will be writing about in the new book with Chrissie but a great tip is to wet out and soap your fibres before you lay out any of your embellishment. Taking this idea a little further for projects such as nuno bags or cushions (items where you have a couple of layers of wool in addition to your fabric), try rubbing the base layer of wool through your bubble wrap to create a ‘skin’ on the surface before laying out your fabric on the top, then wet and soap the fabric lightly and rub again through the bubble wrap. By working like this the wool fibres underneath don’t have as much opportunity to travel through the fabric and this helps to create more texture! You do need to be careful though to rub longer than roll however using this method, otherwise you could try fulling with the tumble dryer, this elliminates both the rubbing and the rollling process!!! I’m going to be discussing my experiences nuno felting using the dryer thoroughly for my section of the new book and I will also be talking about it at the workshops in Lexington and in Plainwell!

Textures in a nuno felt scarf

Another nuno felt bag, a bit of a ramble and working titles for my KY and MI workshops in May!!!

After I returned home from the market in Borris on Friday afternoon I laid out and felted the nuno section of another new bag, this time I worked in mossy greens and various shades of chocolate and olive. I also fulled the piece more than usual as you can see from this picture, note how the green wool has travelled further through the various thicknesses of silk and mesh fabric.

Well fulled nuno felt

Yesterday Alan and I attended the opening of our friend Eileen MacDonagh’s extraordinary exhibition LITHOSPHERES at Visual in Carlow, this is not to be missed if you live in Ireland and are at all interested in art and sculpture, absolutely wonderful!!!

Today is the first day of a new tidier me. Hm, I’m not actually sure if I should even be writing that sentence but if I don’t try to sort myself and the house out I’ll never achieve anything! In order to have some virtual and actual space in which to felt productively I have put 3 days aside in which to…..

  • gut my office once and for all including removing one table, throwing out LOADS of obsolete paperwork and bringing in a futon which has been taking up space elsewhere
  • strip out the hot press and get rid of any clothes I don’t wear regularly or that have shrunk, I’ll be passing these on where possible and not throwing them out. Items gone beyond repair will become cleaning rags!
  • strip out the upstairs bathroom including the wash stand and basin, it is too high and the tap is not actually working now. This is in preparation for my glamorous new double sinks and cabinets which are currently on the kitchen floor but at this stage I’m wondering if they are actually a little big for the upstairs space, oh dear
  • putting spare duvets and pillows into the vacuum storage bags I invested in ages ago, this will also tidy up the vacuum bags!
  • changing the door curtain between the dining room and my office
  • writing up some sample social media related workshop descriptions to present to the VEC and other local adult education organisations
  • check and give feed back re a friend’s blog

From the felting perspective I’ll be…..

  • adding some new kits (in wonderful colours!) and finished items to Etsy. Now that I’m felting quite a lot of smaller items for Borris Market each week I’ve decided to bite the bullet and go back to selling product as well as supplies on Etsy. I’m not sure that Big Cartel is working for me even though I do like the layout and look of my store, have any of you got any other ideas???
  • continuing with my studio clear out and reorganisation
  • collating all the email addresses of felting friends whose business cards I have collected over the last 4 years. I’m planning to put them in my Gmail address book and then get rid of all the floating cards (I’ll gather them as I tidy), pretty as they may be I can never find them when I actually need them!

Finally over the next 3 days Jan, Dawn and I will be confirming details and prices for the felting workshops I will be facilitating in Lexington KY and Plainwell MI during May, I just can’t wait to be back in both places!!!!! My Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival workshops have also been confirmed (wey, hey!!!) and I hope that they will be available to book online through the festival website sometime later this week too. For the moment please visit the workshop page if you would like to book your places with Jan and Dawn, here is a shortened excerpt of the workshops to give you a sneak preview of what we’ll be covering! (I’ve designed the workshops so that participants will get the maximum amount of benefit from attending both days, in certain circumstances it will be possible just to come for one so don’t panic if you aren’t available on both days, just have a word with Jan or Dawn.)

‘Fantastic Felt Inspired by the Natural and Built Environment’

Let the shapes, forms, colours, patterns, textures and structures of the natural and built environment fire your imagination! During this two-day workshop participants will design and create their own unique and beautiful wearable, functional or decorative pieces of felt using nature and the man-made landscape for inspiration. Some participants may choose to create a purely decorative art piece such as a complex vessel, sculpture or wall hanging while others may decide to design and felt some wearable art or interior accent, possibly a bag, some jewellery, some nuno felt or maybe a framed landscape or table runner.

There will be time to experiment and discover techniques or materials over the two days that you may have never considered using in your felting before. Nicola will be bringing some of her favourite mohair off cuts for everyone to try out and will share with participants how she is currently using free machine embroidery selectively to accentuate design elements in some of her new bags and framed landscapes. She’ll also demonstrate the use of an electric sander during some stages of the felting process and speak about the possibilities of fulling nuno felt using the tumble dryer, Nicola doesn’t use a sander all the time herself but sometimes it can really help with certain tasks and it is definitely useful to know when this might apply. The tumble dryer technique is wonderful for difficult to felt fabrics and to eliminate all the traditional rubbing and rolling, it’s not for everyone but it is fantastic to speed up the process especially if you have a bad back or other health issues so again, another technique it can be handy to know about!

 

U.S. workshop news and a few pictures

I’m working on descriptions for the workshops I’ll be teaching in U.S. this spring and hope to have everything sorted and up on the blog by Monday. Time is tight today so I’m just going to leave you with two images of a clutch I stitched up last night, I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Marble effect vintage button and loads of lovely nuno texture

Large felt clutch

YES, I’ve now got some confirmed dates for 2012 felting workshops in the U.S. to share and a second date for Dawn’s hat workshop in Ireland!!!

What can I say, I’m SO EXCITED to be returning to facilitate felting workshops in U.S. in 2012 and wanted to let you all know my confirmed dates as they stand right this minute!!!  I’m planning 2 trips, one in the spring and one in the fall so if you live anywhere on the U.S. side of the water and would like to discuss me teaching, please just shout out loud NOW!!!  I will be updating my workshop page in the middle of next week with more details and workshop descriptions as they get sorted but for the moment here are the dates and venues that are confirmed as of last night.

  • 11th and 12th May – Lexington, KY workshops organised for the second time by the wonderful Jan Durham, master of the dye pot! Provisions have been made to add an additional date if numbers dictate, one day costs $165 including amazing food, both days $300. Please email Jan and she will answer questions and take your reservations.
  • 18th, 19th and 20th May – Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, a first time experience!
  • 25th and 26th May – Plainwell, MI workshops organised for the third time by international traveller and felter extrodinare Dawn Edwards! Please email Dawn if you have any questions or want to book your place.
  • 29th and 30th September – I’ll be returning for the third time to join the wonderful mother and daughter team Sharon and Emma from The Tin Thimble in Loomis, CA. Please email Emma if you would like to jump on the bandwagon early!
  • October – TBA

Whew, isn’t that all SO EXCITING???

Also, I’m stoked because Dawn’s ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshop on Saturday 21st April is now booked out so I’ve made the commitment to organise a second workshop, the date will be Sunday 22nd. I booked the venue for both days this morning, we will be working in Borris Hall which is right in the centre of Borris town itself and beside a couple of excellent spots to eat, drink, sleep and have what we Irish call ‘the craic’!!! If you have any questions or are interested in attending on Sunday please contact me asap as there isn’t much time to express your interest, several places are taken already and I expect the day to be booked out shortly!

I hope you all have a great weekend and please remember, there are still almost two and a half days left in which you can enter my felt pouch/clutch kit giveaway.