Life, Kentucky and Michigan updates!

Important events have unavoidably taken over in recent days and weeks so I'm way behind updating things here, many apologies if you've been waiting for a blog post. It's hard to believe but after only three full days at home I'm now sitting at the boarding gate in Dublin Airport awaiting my flight to Portugal. Tomorrow I meet the other participants for a wonderful week of shibori under the tutelage of Joan Morris (my first non working holiday for a long while!) and then next Saturday my own felting and eco printing workshops start at Dominio Vale do Mondego. Please excuse me if I upload a selection of pictures from both the Kentucky and Michigan workshops in the same post, I feel that if I don't I am never, ever going to catch up!!! Thanks a thousand times to great buddies Jan Durham and Dawn Edwards respectively for hosting me once again, it was a pleasure visiting you as always! I also really enjoyed teaching at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival in KY, it was my fourth year on the trot and thanks a million to master dyer Roo Kline of Moonwood Farm for sponsoring the gorgeous fibre we used in class. Now for a selection of pictures………

KSFF

Jan's two day workshop in Lexington
Day one with Dawn in Plainwell MI
Day two in MI, the rain had stopped by then and I was able to take a photo of each participant with a piece of their work. Great job ladies!
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Houston eco printing workshop in pictures and Portugal calling!

Apologies for the delay in posting pictures from Houston TX, my U.S. trip to date has been a whirlwind of activity and I don't want to miss one second of the fun! Thanks Barbara and Ed for another wonderful visit, I really enjoyed myself and loved spending time with four legged friends Maggie and Lucy too.

Our one day intensive eco printing workshop was really productive, a lovely group of ladies and some super results from the printing pot. Below are a selection of pictures of participant's work, it's only a small representation of what was achieved on the day but it's impossible to post everything and when I'm working it's also difficult to take as many shots as I'd like. All the rest of my U.S. workshops are sold out but if you'd like to join me for a fantastic residential week or two of felting and eco printing in Portugal now is the time to contact Karin and grab one of the last remaining places. Non felting partners are welcome too!

Next post, Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival update.

 

 

Lake Tahoe felting, eco printing and dyeing retreat in pictures!

Merride, Keith and I had a busy but wonderful time preparing for and co-hosting our second felting, eco printing and dyeing retreat at Lake Tahoe. Keith was on top form preparing delicious lunches for us yet again and was instrumental in getting everything brought to the cabin and installed before our guests arrived! It was great to spend creative time with returning participants Julie and Tina as well as meet Shelly and Virgina for the first time. Here are some of the highlights in picture form………..

Virginia, Julie and Shelly. having fun and showing off some of their beautiful eco printing!

Virginia, Julie and Shelly. having fun and showing off some of their beautiful eco printing!

Wonderful detail on Virginia's Eco printed wool, we've no idea what this big leaf is but thanks Virginia for bringing it with you!!!

Wonderful detail on Virginia’s Eco printed wool, we’ve no idea what this big leaf is but thanks Virginia for bringing it with you!!!

Tina, Keith and Merridee working the acid dye pot

Meridee relaxing before the off.......

Meridee relaxing before the off…….

I love beautiful Lake Tahoe

Shelly  with her stunning first nuno felt wrap

Shelly with her stunning first nuno felt wrap

Austin TX workshop update in pics!

Internet connectivity is zero here in the cabin at Lake Tahoe so Merridee and I have sneaked in to Tahoe City to catch some wifi, read our emails and catch up with essential online stuff. I arrived here on Monday morning having spent a wonderful week with Barbara and Sam in Austin TX, thanks guys for a really fun visit!

Cyndi, Barbara and Carolyn modelling their gorgeous nuno scarves!

The nuno scarf/wrap and vessel workshops last weekend went very smoothly, I hadn't appreciated that many of the participants had no previous felting experience until I arrived at the venue so was doubly delighted with the beautiful felt everyone created.

Stunning felt vessels and purses

It's always amazing when a group of creative people with access to the same raw materials get together, no two pieces looked alike even though everyone was working with the same instructions and the same basic shapes.

Super felt vessels and purses

Great job ladies!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Inspirational desert landscape and the new online shop goes live!

At times it felt as if I’d never have everything finished in time for departure but I’m delighted to say that I’ve finally arrived safely Tucson AZ. Thanks so much Karen and Dawn for inviting me, it’s wonderful to be here to share three days of eco printing with you and your friends, the fact that the Sonoran Desert is in bloom is the icing on the cake!!!

 

For each visit and workshop on this six week trip I’ll be setting up an album on my personal facebook page. If you’d like to follow along you can see more images of stunning AZ here!

The night before I left I spent ages in the studio sorting out and labelling scarves for the new shop section of the website, I’m delighted to say that it is now up and running! All orders placed while I’m travelling will be posted out by a friend, to zoom in on the scarves just need to hover your mouse over the images.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Watch out Tucson, eco printing is coming to town!

It's hard to believe looking out the window at Clasheen that in exactly two weeks time I'll be getting ready for the first of three fantastic days eco printing in Tucson AZ. In 2009 I visited this stunning part of the world and totally fell in love with the desert, I'm really hoping that I'll get to see some of the plants in bloom and know that it is going to be spectacular!!!

Felt bundled and ready for the pot

The first two days (17th and 18th April) are devoted to printing on protein fabrics, felt, silk and wool, I've got so much to share and I know that the time will fly! The third day (19th April) is for people who have already taken an eco printing workshop with me (in either 2014 or 2015), this day we'll be printing on cellulose fabrics such as linen or cotton and learning how to get strong, clear prints.

I just got word that unexpectedly a couple of participants have had to pull out of class at almost the last minute, if you'd like to join us please email Karen asap and make sure to put 'Nicola's eco printing class' in the subject line. See you soon!

 

 

Houston calling and felting and eco printing update from Clasheen

I'm delighted to announce that I'll be making a return trip to visit Houston this May! My lovely hostess Barbara and I will be visiting thrift and consignment stores then playing in her studio for a week or so, I'll also be facilitating an intensive one day eco printing workshop on protein fabrics. This will take place on Tuesday 12th May, please email Barbara if you would like to book a place and the workshop description is the same as that for Plainwell MI. You can view it here!

Eucalyptus leaves on felt, tencel embellishment

Those of you following my personal page on Facebook may have seen my recent woes regarding the stolen courier van and problems booking flights to the US, I've tried not to harp on about them too much on the business page for obvious reasons, no one loves a moaner!!! Anyway, as a result of the stolen courier van two of my Showcase trade orders went missing without a trace, the last couple of weeks have been spent trying to print replacement pieces as well as battle it out to try and get insurance compensation.

Oak leaves on lambswool, part of a replacement order

Now that the replacement stock is all finished I've finally time to start felting some vessels for Ross Fine Art Gallery and Craft Boutique in Ramelton, Co. Donegal. These all need to be felted, printed and ready to deliver before I head overseas, I'm hoping to have them completed before my house sitter arrives on 12th April then I can spend a day or so showing her the ropes here.

90% felted and ready for the printing pot

Got to fly, the studio is calling.
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco printing highs and lows, a very mixed week!

It’s been a very mixed week at Clasheen; fantastic strong prints achieved from gifted eucalyptus leaves (thanks Anita!), the Michigan workshop sold out almost as soon as it was advertised but two boxes of eco printed silk and lambswool Showcase orders worth a combined €890 at trade prices gone when the courier’s van was stolen on Wednesday.

Strong and colourful prints from fresh eucalyptus leaves

Strong and colourful prints from fresh eucalyptus leaves

I’m not going to go in to all the ins and outs of the saga here but suffice to say if, and it’s a big if, the insurance does pay out the maximum I’m entitled to is €550. The cash is one thing but the bigger issue is not fulfilling orders when they should have been plus the fact that some of the items were actual Showcase display items as requested by one new customer. Obviously since each of my pieces is unique I will never be able to repeat the exact pattern, I will however be able to use the same materials so expect a lot of printing to happen this week.

IMG_6144

The wonderful moment when I know I’m going to get clear and strong prints!

Eucalyptus prints on lambswool

Eucalyptus prints on lambswool

If you’d been planning on travelling to MI you might like to consider participating in an alternative US workshop here.

Brief update then US felt and eco print workshop details at last!

Phew, it’s been a very paperwork heavy week or so, yesterday I finally had to admit defeat and give up on the big submission I was trying to get together because there are currently just too many exciting things happening at once at Clasheen. I don’t want to drop the ball on the website side of things or postpone preparing for upcoming workshops, I also need to make some work for an imminent fashion photo shoot and finally, my new wood burning central heating system is being installed this week.

Over the next week or so Patrick will be finalising the change over of this blog to the website and the online shop will be going live there too. There will be quite a bit of formatting and editing for me to do re the blog I think, I don’t however want to lose all that I’ve written here since I started in 2008! Please bear with us while the transfer is ongoing.

So, without further ado, here are the details for my April and May workshops in North America, they will also be published on the website some day this week. Apologies if this post is a little word heavy, it’s difficult though not to be wordy when trying to write up workshop descriptions accurately. To say I’m excited is an understatement, I’m so looking forward to this visit!!!

North American workshops with Nicola during April and May 2015

Tuscon AZ – Intensive two day natural printing workshop on 17th and 18th April  email Karen to book your place making sure to put Nicola Brown workshop in the subject box

During this intensive two day workshop participants will explore the fascinating and exciting art of printing on protein based fabric and paper using natural materials from the hedgerow, kitchen and garden!

Using simple, easy to find natural plant materials bundles will be created by tying the organic matter up tightly in various weights of felt, silk, wool and silk/wool blends. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how she achieves different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on fabric pre-treatment, materials used, pot selection and various other determining factors. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the fabric also help to create different designs in the finished pieces. Once wrapped, the bundles will be heated for hours to aid the release of colors from the organic matter, when onion skins or other items are included in the dye pot wonderful lines will be achieved where the string ties act as a resist. NB Where local hedgerow materials are not available we will substitute easily located vegetation from the florist.

Over the course of the two days we will have a selection of pots on the go so participants will have plenty of options and decisions to make. We will also be able to print on paper or card, naturally printed heavy duty manila luggage tags make particularly beautiful gift tags. Participants are encouraged to bring along plenty of silk and wool yardage, scarves, previously completed felt bags, vessels and wall hangings (not just wearables) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk. These may all be included in the dye pot, the more the merrier, space providing! Attention will be paid to the after treatment and care of these naturally printed textiles and participants will learn how Nicola prepares her work for sale or gifting.

NB Nicola likes to restrict printing to cream or white items during a workshop as this avoids commercial dyes running and ruining someone else’s work. If participants are keen to try printing coloured items it’s possible we can put one of the pots aside for this on day two, this will depend on the requirements and best interest of the group as a whole.

NEW for 2015, OPTIONAL ADD ON WORKSHOP on 19th April – only for participants who have already participated in the regular natural printing workshop

– Advanced one day workshop, natural printing on cellulose fabrics

Printing on cellulose fabrics is a much more time consuming process than printing on felt, silk and wool, results can be varied and are often disappointing. During this one day class participants who have previously completed a natural printing workshop with Nicola will be able to learn the different ways that cellulose fabric may be encouraged to hold a print. Nicola’s been having great success with linen and cotton this year achieving many really clear and beautiful leaf imprints. Some of the pre-treatments are very time consuming and possibly may not be to everyone’s taste or even smell, others are quicker and seem to result in good prints and colourfast results. This advanced class will share the tips and tricks that Nicola is finding helpful in her own artistic practice to achieve good prints on linen and cotton.

Austin TX Sponsored by Austin Fiber Arts Association on 24th and 25th April – email Barbara for more information

During the nuno wrap workshop on Saturday 24th Nicola will share with participants the tumble dryer method of wet felting, a stress free way of coercing wool and embellishing fibers into silk to create a rich and colorful piece of wearable art. Because there is almost no rolling or rubbing involved participants are free to enjoy the creative process, it is also ideal for those find regular felting methods too tiring!

Felt vessel printed with eucalyptus leaves

Felt vessel printed with eucalyptus leaves

In the vessel workshop on Sunday 25th, Nicola will share with participants the skills needed to design and felt a simple vessel or coin purse using the resist method of three dimensional felting. Old pieces of silk and lace as well as treasured bits and bobs are often suitable to be incorporated into the felt. Should they wish to,, participants are encouraged to bring along a selection of their favorite stash items and Nicola will help them design one off pieces using these as a starting point.

Lexington KY – Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival – wet felted vessel or coin purse on 16th May and a half day fun felt flower workshop on the morning of 17th May, all materials generously sponsored by Moonwood Farm, bookings open online shortly

16th – During this one day workshop beginners and more experienced felters will have fun learning and experimenting with the fascinating technique of three dimensional wet felting around a resist. The emphasis during the day will be to have fun in a creative and supportive environment, participants may expect to leave with the knowledge and confidence to replicate the techniques learnt successfully at home.

Beginners may expect to lay out and finish a vessel or coin purse during this workshop (with plenty of surface decoration!) while more experienced felters and improvers can discover how to add inclusions such as stones, glass nuggets or other found objects into their felt. Everyone will have the opportunity to experiment with surface design, a gorgeous selection of raw alpaca locks, silk, bamboo, Firestar and other embellishing fibers are included in the cost of this workshop!

17th – Wet felted flowers make wonderful jewellery, scarf closures, hair accessories and colourful accents to brighten any outfit; alternatively they are perfect for adding a decorative element to interior and exterior design schemes!

During this three hour workshop Nicola will share with participants how to create stylish flowers using merino and alpaca plus a selection of embellishing fibres including silk, bamboo and Firestar. Intermediate and more experienced felters will learn the techniques necessary to add multiple stamens, felt ring backs or several layers of petals all at once; each flower will be created totally from wet felting, no need to sew a stitch!

Gorgeous and colourful felt flowers felted during a previous workshop at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival!

Gorgeous and colourful felt flowers felted during a previous workshop at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival!

Lexington KY – Felting and eco printing in the round, simple vessels, purses or iPad covers on 22nd and 23rd May, email Jan to book your place

Day one – using either the open or closed resist method of wet felting participants will learn how to design templates to create different shaped pieces then scale these up in order to cut out their own plastic resists. Nicola will demonstrate how to lay the wool tightly around the resist and by the end of the day everyone will have a beautifully finished simple vessel or purse ready to print on day two, no obvious ridges or seams in sight! Working in white, participants will learn which embellishing fibres work best in the eco printing process, Nicola will bring a selection of these with her for people to share and include in their work.

NB If anyone would prefer to felt a nuno scarf this will also be possible providing Nicola and Jan know in advance!

Day two – Using simple, easy to find natural plant materials our three dimensional felt from day one will be transformed into beautiful and colourful art using the exciting eco printing technique! We will also work with silk scarves and yardage, participants are encouraged to being along a selection of previously felted work, upcycled clothing and undyed wool or silk yardage to get the most from this full day of printing.

Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how she achieves different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on fabric pre-treatment, materials used, pot selection and various other determining factors. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the fabric also help to create different designs in the finished pieces. Once wrapped, the bundles will be heated for hours to aid the release of colors from the organic matter, when onion skins or other items are included in the dye pot wonderful lines will be achieved where the string ties act as a resist.

Felt bag eco printed with a selection of eucalyptus leaves, still damp from the pot

Felt bag eco printed with a selection of eucalyptus leaves, still damp from the pot

Plainwell MI – Intensive one day eco printing workshop on felt, silk and wool on 30th May – FULL

Using simple, natural plant materials learn how to transform felt, silk and wool yardage or clothing into beautiful wearable art using the eco printing technique.

Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how she achieves different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on fabric pre-treatment, materials used, pot selection and various other determining factors. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the fabric also help to create different designs in the finished pieces. Once wrapped, the bundles will be heated for hours to aid the release of colors from the organic matter, when onion skins or other items are included in the dye pot wonderful lines will be achieved where the string ties act as a resist.

Participants are encouraged to being along a selection of previously felted work, upcycled clothing and undyed yardage or scarf blanks to get the most from this full day of printing.

Showcase debrief and Tuscon Arizona, workshop details!

Gosh, apologies for the delay in giving feedback from Showcase, it was a wonderful event but I’ve been in bed with a toxic flu ever since returning home to Clasheen. I’m still not over the worst so please forgive me if I don’t write a very long post today.

IMG_8851   George and I had a busy and successful week, the pared down simplicity of the stand worked very well and I’m delighted to have secured new orders in both Ireland and the UK with companies who I think it will be very easy to work with going forwards. Thanks a million to Patrick McHugh and Peter Martin, both worked really hard to have the website , printed materials and the video ready right at the start of the event, I know it was touch and go but it all came together brilliantly! Here’s a picture of the stand, as you can see it’s simple and natural looking, having information boards about the process on the walls and the video on a loop helped really drive the eco printing message across to the public.

Stand C13 at Showcase

Speaking of eco printing, I very excited that I’ll be making my first trip to teach this fascinating technique in Tuscon, Arizona this April!!! Thanks Karen and Dawn for inviting me, please email Karen Herhold (putting “Nicola Brown class” in subject line or it will be deleted) if you would like to book a place or need some more information. Now for all the details………..

Intensive two day natural printing workshop with Nicola Brown 17th and 18th April

During this intensive two day workshop participants will explore the fascinating and exciting art of printing on protein based fabric and paper using natural materials from the hedgerow, kitchen and garden!

Using simple, easy to find natural plant materials bundles will be created by tying the organic matter up tightly in various weights of felt, silk, wool and silk/wool blends. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how she achieves different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on fabric pre-treatment, materials used, pot selection and various other determining factors. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the fabric also help to create different designs in the finished pieces. Once wrapped, the bundles will be heated for hours to aid the release of colors from the organic matter, when onion skins or other items are included in the dye pot wonderful lines will be achieved where the string ties act as a resist. NB Where local hedgerow materials are not available we will substitute easily located vegetation from the florist.

Over the course of the two days we will have a selection of pots on the go so participants will have plenty of options and decisions to make. We will also be able to print on paper or card, naturally printed heavy duty manila luggage tags make particularly beautiful gift tags. Participants are encouraged to bring along plenty of silk and wool yardage, scarves, previously completed felt bags, vessels and wall hangings (not just wearables) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk. These may all be included in the dye pot, the more the merrier, space providing!

Attention will be paid to the after treatment and care of these naturally printed textiles and participants will learn how Nicola prepares her work for sale or gifting.

NB Nicola likes to restrict printing to cream or white items during a workshop as this avoids commercial dyes running and ruining someone else’s work. If participants are keen to try printing coloured items it’s possible we can put one of the pots aside for this on day two, this will depend on the requirements and best interest of the group as a whole.

OPTIONAL ADD ON WORKSHOP only for participants who have already participated in the regular natural printing workshop 19th April

NEW for 2015 – Advanced one day workshop, natural printing on cellulose fabrics

Printing on cellulose fabrics is a much more time consuming process than printing on felt, silk and wool, results can be varied and are often disappointing. During this one day class participants who have previously completed a natural printing workshop with Nicola will be able to learn the different ways that cellulose fabric may be encouraged to hold a print. Nicola’s been having great success with linen and cotton this year achieving many really clear and beautiful leaf imprints. Some of the pre-treatments are very time consuming and possibly may not be to everyone’s taste or even smell, others are quicker and seem to result in good prints and colourfast results. This advanced class will share the tips and tricks that Nicola is finding helpful in her own artistic practice to achieve good prints on linen and cotton.