Lake Tahoe, Mendocino and Canada, September/October felting workshop updates and some pics of my latest naturally printed nuno felt scarf!

Whew, sorry about the long title for this blog post, there's a lot to share with you though so here I go with all the details!

One of the confirmed participants for our sold out felting retreat at Lake Tahoe (17th to 22nd September) may not be able to take up their place unexpectedly, as a result Merridee and I are looking for one enthusiastic felter/dyer/fibre artist to join us at the cabin! You can check out all the details on the workshop page, please let either of us know ASAP if you would like to come. This is a super opportunity to have our undivided attention in a wonderful location, click here to email me if you've any questions or would like to book, Keith's cooking and the fabulous location are just the icing on the cake!!!

Who knows but Merridee may even inspire me to try my hand at acid dyeing some of my felt too, I'll never even attempt to paint on silk though, aren't these pictures of her's absolutely amazing?

Mendocino, another absolutely fabulous location, this time on the west coast. Merridee's actually going to be my helper for the fun felting extravaganza I'm facilitating there at the Mendocino Art Center, this takes place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th Sepepetember inclusive. There'll be tonnes of individual attention for everyone each day, class size is small so there'll be loads of felting completed! To a degree, participants will dictate the direction this three day intensive workshop goes but from my perspective I'd like to really help people hone their three dimensional skills (think craters, spikes, jewellery, bags and quirky vessels!) and share how to felt large nuno felt pieces using the tumble dryer method. These are the felting skills that I find most helpful at home, regardless of what project I decide to tackle! You can register online for this felting extravaganza directly with the Mendocino Are Center, here's the link to make things easy.

Moving northwards on to Canada, three individual workshops over the course of a week, Vancouver, Winnepeg then back to Vancouver, I'm still pinching myself to make sure this is happening!!! Here's the schedule first, followed by details of the workshop content below, the scarf in the first picture was felted yesterday morning and dyed twice in the afternoon therefore easily achievable in one day!

Thursday 3rd October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials! 10.30 to 5.30pm at The Loafing Shed Glass Studio, 9060 184th Street Surrey, BC. Please contact Sharon at 604 916 7633 or 778 298-8545 to book your place!

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials! This two day workshop takes place at the Edge Gallery and Urban Art Centre, 611 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba and costs $275 including materials. To book your spot at this two day workshop please contact Margaret ASAP, there also is a dedicated Facebook page for this event!

Thursday 10th October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials!10 to 4pm at the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House (1305 West 70th Ave), Vancouver. The cost of the workshop is $155 and includes the following materials, a silk habotai or gauze scarf, 4oz of merino (19 micron), 1/2 oz silk hankies plus materials for the natural dyeing segment. To book your spot at this workshop please contact Sara asap at 604 781 1724.

Now for the full workshop descriptions……

NATURALLY NUNO During this fun one day workshop participants will create a simple white nuno felt scarf in the morning using the no roll tumble dryer method then print/dye it in the afternoon using a selection of easy to find natural plant materials and rusty metal.

This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body… We’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the scarves, everyone can enjoy the process of laying out the wool knowing that this will be the biggest design decision of the morning!

In the afternoon we’ll transform the scarves by bundling them together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials then they’ll be tied together and either steamed or cooked in plant enriched water for a couple of hours. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how to achieve different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on the method chosen prior to putting the pieces in the dye pot. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the scarves also create different designs in the finished pieces.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!”

NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials!

During this intensive two day workshop participants will have the opportunity to create a beautiful large nuno wrap, table runner or wall hanging using the tumble dryer method of felting. They will then have the opportunity to totally elevate it to another level as we experiment extensively with different methods of natural printing/dyeing using the bundling method.

Day one – using the no roll tumble dryer method of felting each participant will create a large nuno felt wrap, table runner or wall hanging, depending on the complexity of these pieces some people may also have time to felt additional samples to put in the dye pot on day two! This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body. Concentrating on simple shapes with optional ruffles, we’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the lay out. Each fibre will take up the colour from the natural materials differently when put in the dye pot the following day, this leads to stunning wearable art or striking and unique interior accents.

Day two – wonderful results will be achieved by bundling the felt created on day one together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials, tying them up and then either steaming them or cooking the bundles in plant and/or rust enriched water. At the start of the second day Nicola will explain and demonstrate how different results when bundling are influenced by using different pre-treatments, materials, fabrics, dye pot solutions and ways of actually tying up the pieces. There will be plenty of samples for participants to study and before we dye the felt created on day one everyone is encouraged to put some smaller items of felt and fabric in the dye pot to get a feel for this method.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!

Finally for today, a few pictures from yesterday's felt and natural printing/dyeing efforts, thanks Liz Nicholls for being my happy cohort! I've actually got loads more silk and cotton pieces from today hanging up to dry but until they've been ironed and brought inside I'll stick with images of work already almost finished.

A length of cotton and a silk scarf bundled together. The eucalyptus leaves from Christine didn't actually give any prints in these experiments, they did add a wonderful colour to the dye pot though so thanks Christine, I'll get working on your silk next week!

Eucalyptus pods and cotinus leaves on cotton

Extremely wishy washy prints from loads of eucalyptus leaves, the sycamore leaf was ok and the cotinus gave a strong print. This was one of the scarves that I felted yesterday morning and I was very disappointed with the colours achieved, after over dyeing with onion skins I'm thrilled with the result!

The final picture shows both sides of the scarf.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Langley, BC – change of time and a few bundling pictures to whet your appetite!

Due to many participants travelling in from the islands to participate at the Langley, BC workshop, we have decided to change the class time to start at 10.30 and work through until 17.30. This workshop is almost full now so if you’re interested in joining us do please contact Sharon on 604-916-7633 or 778-298-8545 immediately!

Starting the revealing process!

Starting the revealing process!

Although I haven’t been able to do any felting this past week (booking my flights was fraught with problems and just seemed to take FOREVER!) I was able to do some bundling experiments on cotton and card stock. I picked up a few inexpensive white long sleeved T-shirts in Kilkenny and in addition to these I tied up a well worn and loved over dress (Dawn, it’s OUR dress), another T-shirt and a new throw/tablecloth kind of thing I picked up in Ikea as well as a batch of my cream luggage tags, they’re a heavy card stock.

Unwrapping is always very exciting

Unwrapping is always very exciting

I wanted to see how the different fabrics and card picked up the colour from the various leaves and plant material that I was using. Anyway, the card picked up all the different leaf materials beautifully, the cotton long sleeved Ts picked up the purple from the cotinus leaves and the gold from the onion skins brilliantly (although without very distinct leaf outlines except where the iron water was touching the fabric) without any evidence of the small eucalyptus leaves I used and the throw/tablecloth took the onion skins brilliantly but nothing else very well, interesting!!! It was far too windy to take pictures of the finished pieces today, in fact my mannequin fell over whilst I was trying to get them. Here’re two close up shots though of one of the finished long sleeved T-shirts.

Lovely wavy lines

Lovely wavy lines

Don’t forget that if you are attending the retreat in Lake Tahoe (full) or the workshops in BC (contact Sharon, phone numbers above) and Winnipeg, Canada (please email Margaret) this is something that you can try out in addition to bundling the felt scarves and wraps we make during the classes!!!

Gold tones from the onion skins

Gold tones from the onion skins

Upcoming felting workshops at Lake Tahoe, Mendocino, Canada and more pictures from Portugal!

I'm very excited this morning, it's possible I'll be teaching in Canada at the beginning of October so fingers crossed I'll have details and dates to confirm in a couple of days! In the meanwhile I've updated the workshop page with full details of my September workshops at stunning Lake Tahoe (only one place left) and Mendocino. I've also posted details of classes at Duckett's Grove on July 27th and 28th (also only one place left each day) and I'll have the full info for Portugal 2014 tomorrow or on Thursday. I've just this past weekend got the new outdoor stove I brought home from California firing on all cylinders so before the Food & Craft Market in Borris this Friday I'll sort dates out for my new natural printing and dyeing sessions at Clasheen. These classes will be suitable for all textile and mixed media artists, not just felters!

To whet your appetite here's a picture of a sleeveless jacket that I printed last week using cotinus leaves (from my garden), onion skins and tea leaves. The dye bath had rusty metal and eucalyptus leaves to add extra colour, I love the richness of this piece and the fact that the colours are so deep and intense. I also had great news this week, my large printed wrap titled 'Second Skin' has been selected to be exhibited as part of the Feltmakers Ireland exhibition 'Origins: Felt in the Natiral World' at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. This exhibition will run from 7th to 24th August and should make for a wonderful day out!
Finally for today, I'm just not getting the time I need to upload all the pictures that I intended from the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent in Portugal. I'd meant to post them and a few more from the amazing time we spent with Estela and the residential workshop at Dominio Vale do Mondego, instead I'm going to ask you to check out my Facebook photos, Heather's, Terriea's and Karin's to see what we were up to, thanks! I will leave you with this shot though, it's the prow of a traditional fishing boat indigenous to the Aveiro and Praia de Mira regions, stunningly beautiful and photogenic! Thanks Estela for being such a marvellous host!!!
 

 

Lake Tahoe felting retreat plus friends, felt and fun in Portugal part one!

It's finally time to share some wonderful photographic memories from my recent residential felting workshop and holiday with Alan in Portugal. Internet connectivity was not good while I was away (hence the lack of blog posts) and since we arrived home on Tuesday night it's been pretty hectic here too, what's new! I'm also conscious that I haven't updated you yet about the exciting felting retreat that the amazing Merridee Smith and I are hosting at beautiful Lake Tahoe from 17th to 22nd September so I'll give you the bare bones now and promise to totally update the workshop page next week. This update will include a series of Irish workshops this summer, the felting retreat at Lake Tahoe, full details about the three day felting extravaganza at Mendocino Art Center and also all the details about the 2014 residential felting holiday in Portugal, phew!!!

OK……. Lake Tahoe – four and a half days exclusive and intensive felting and dyeing tuition with super attention from me and Merridee (the dyeing queen!), your wish is our command – wonderful lunch daily plus tea, coffee and snacks – optional bed and breakfast accommodation with us on site in a beautiful wooden cabin five minutes walk from the lakeside – spectacular, inspirational scenery, am I whetting your appetite yet???

Welcome drink on the private jetty, all tuition (Wednesday morning through until Snday lunch time), lunch, tea, coffee and snacks for the amazing price of $650, optional bed and breakfast an additional $300, a deposit of $200 will secure your place! Merridee and I would love for both experienced and novice felters to feel that they could participate in this retreat. Lake Tahoe is a magical location and while we'll both be working each day participants are free to explore the area if they'd like to relax, chill out and wander a little! Several places for the retreat are gone already and the number is capped at six so if you're interested in joining us please email Merridee or me ASAP.

Now for the first batch of pictures from Portugal, next time I'll upload some more from the workshop, my weekend class teaching local ladies and the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent with Estela and her family! I will be uploading loads more images to Facebook next week with full descriptions, live tags etc. but for the moment you'll have to elaborate on the captions yourselves. Sorry about the poor quality of some of the pictures (it's hard to teach AND snap at the same time!) but if you head over to Terriea's wonderful blog she's written a great post and filled it full of fabulous photos.

Naomi, Cyndi, Heather, Conchita, Estela, Sandy, Nikki and Terriea with a SMALL selection of their fab creations!
Heather's yummy raw fleece bag
Naomi modelling her wonderful naturally dyed hat and wrap
How's this for a load of eucalyptus? Thanks a million Joacim (sorry if I spelt this name incorrectly)!
This is NOT a glass of wine, it is however a glass of red wine vinegar made with the first batch of grapes harvested from new vines at Dominio Vale do Mondego
From the rear….. Karin (owner of our wonderful venue, check out the new studio space!), Cyndi, Estela, Conchita, Carla, Ana, Vanessa, Heather, Terriea, Naomi, Sandy and Ann
Three generations of the one local family come together for our end of week exhibition! Ana, her daughters Vanessa and Carla (they joined us some days and made some beautiful flowers and naturally printed flat felt pieces!) and Ana's mother
Fun, colourful and quirky work!
Terriea with some of her beautiful felt bags, the hat is by Conchita, the naturally dyed necklace by Cyndi and the gorgeous Bordeleira raw fleece rug by Ann
Manuel modelling Conchita's first felt hat, he's part of the family who own and operate the large woollen mill where our prepared roving came from and I do think he looks rather dashing in this hat. Next post you'll see a picture of his mother with her own amazing first piece of felt!

 

Lake Tahoe felting retreat plus friends, felt and fun in Portugal part one!

It's finally time to share some wonderful photographic memories from my recent residential felting workshop and holiday with Alan in Portugal. Internet connectivity was not good while I was away (hence the lack of blog posts) and since we arrived home on Tuesday night it's been pretty hectic here too, what's new! I'm also conscious that I haven't updated you yet about the exciting felting retreat that the amazing Merridee Smith and I are hosting at beautiful Lake Tahoe from 17th to 22nd September so I'll give you the bare bones now and promise to totally update the workshop page next week. This update will include a series of Irish workshops this summer, the felting retreat at Lake Tahoe, full details about the three day felting extravaganza at Mendocino Art Center and also all the details about the 2014 residential felting holiday in Portugal, phew!!!

OK……. Lake Tahoe – four and a half days exclusive, intensive, felting and dyeing tuition with personalised attention from me and Merridee (the dyeing queen!), your wish is our command – wonderful lunch cooked by chef extrodinaire Keith Smith daily plus tea, coffee and snacks – optional bed and breakfast accommodation with us on site in a beautiful wooden cabin five minutes walk from the lakeside – spectacular, inspirational scenery, am I whetting your appetite yet???

Welcome drink on the private jetty, all tuition (Wednesday morning through until Sunday lunch time), lunch, tea, coffee and snacks for the amazing price of $650, optional bed and breakfast an additional $300, a deposit of $200 will secure your place! Merridee and I would love for both experienced and novice felters to feel that they could participate in this retreat. Lake Tahoe is a magical location and while we'll both be working each day participants are free to explore the area if they'd like to relax, chill out and wander a little! Several places for the retreat are gone already and the number is capped at six so if you're interested in joining us please email Merridee or me ASAP.

Now for the first batch of pictures from Portugal, next time I'll upload some more from the workshop, my weekend class teaching local ladies and the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent with Estela and her family! I will be uploading loads more images to Facebook next week with full descriptions, live tags etc. but for the moment you'll have to elaborate on the captions yourselves. Sorry about the poor quality of some of the pictures (it's hard to teach AND snap at the same time!) but if you head over to Terriea's wonderful blog she's written a great post and filled it full of fabulous photos.

Naomi, Cyndi, Heather, Conchita, Estela, Sandy, Nikki and Terriea with a SMALL selection of their fab creations!
Heather's yummy raw fleece bag
Naomi modelling her wonderful naturally dyed hat and wrap
How's this for a load of eucalyptus? Thanks a million Joacim (sorry if I spelt this name incorrectly)!
This is NOT a glass of wine, it is however a glass of red wine vinegar made with the first batch of grapes harvested from new vines at Dominio Vale do Mondego
From the rear….. Karin (owner of our wonderful venue, check out the new studio space!), Cyndi, Estela, Conchita, Carla, Ana, Vanessa, Heather, Terriea, Naomi, Sandy and Ann
Three generations of the one local family come together for our end of week exhibition! Ana, her daughters Vanessa and Carla (they joined us some days and made some beautiful flowers and naturally printed flat felt pieces!) and Ana's mother
Fun, colourful and quirky work!
Terriea with some of her beautiful felt bags, the hat is by Conchita, the naturally dyed necklace by Cyndi and the gorgeous Bordeleira raw fleece rug by Ann
Manuel modelling Conchita's first felt hat, he's part of the family who own and operate the large woollen mill where our prepared roving came from and I do think he looks rather dashing in this hat. Next post you'll see a picture of his mother with her own amazing first piece of felt!

 

Short note and Autumn workshop at Mendocino Art Center – early notice!

I'm having a fabulous time here in Portugal, first during the workshop at Dominio Vale do Mondego and now travelling with Alan and having a holiday. Sorry about the total lack of Internet activity, I had no coverage at all in my Quinta during the course of the workshop so I'm grabbing the opportunity now to write a quick note whilst staying at Estela's marvellous old town house in Eixa. Estela and I first met via facebook then at the week residential last year, this year she was a returning participant and now Alan and I are having a brilliant time seeing a little of the real Portugal!!! I'm going to blog properly and post plenty of pictures of both the workshop and the holiday as soon as I get home next week, for now I leave you with a link to an exciting three day workshop that I'm facilitating at the Mendocino Art Centre in California at the end of September. I'll also be posting full details of the felting retreat that Merridee and I are facilitating together at stunning Lake Tahoe during mid September, it's an exciting time to look forward to!

http://www.mendocinoartcenter.org/Fall13/Brown.html

Pictures from The Tin Thimble and I’m on my way to Portugal!

I've been promising for the last week that I'll blog about my three amazing days teaching at The Tin Thimble, this year my workshops were part of their wonderful Felt Fest, an event not to be missed next year if you live anywhere within shouting distance! It was a totally inspiring experience to be part of this annual festival, each day up to 7 tutors strut their stuff, the participants were such fun and I loved meeting up with all my usual friends as well as meeting new fibre addicts that previously I've only known online.

Unfortunately I really don't have time to write about each day individually (I'm at the airport waiting for my flight to Portugal!) but I am going to share some pictures and let you see for yourselves how much fun we had and some of the beautiful felt created during my classes. I'll also upload other pics to my facebook page, hopefully before we board the plane but if not sometime over the next few days. Thanks to all my students, you were WONDERFUL as always, thanks Sharon, Emma, Mark, Lisa and Robert for making me feel as if I'd arrived home one more!

PS I'm not sure how good the Internet reception will be for our felting extravaganza at Dominio Vale do Mondego, I'll blog and upload pics to Facebook whenever I can but please bear with me if I can't do so every day, last year the connection was sketchy to say the least.