Eco printing highlights from an intensive week of study and experimentation!

Last week was super fun and super intensive, a whole week facilitating eco orinting through discussion, plotting and planning as well as actually spending hands on time in the outdoor printing studio, aka the garage! It all kicked off on Saturday when I picked up friend and fellow fabric enthusiast Caroline from Dublin Airport. We’d met in Portugal while participating in a Joan Morris residential workshop and almost immediately started planning for Caroline to come over here to study one to one, we also wanted to spend some time together experimenting. The main focus of our time together was to achieve clarity of prints and play with different ways in which to achieve good results on cellulose fabrics, the whole week was an absolute blast, many bottles of wine were consumed too!!!

Here are just a few of Caroline’s highlights in pictures………..

Caroline's eucalyptus prints on linen

Caroline's geranium and cranesbill on linen

A big smile from Caroline and a beautiful linen dress!

The shadowing around the neckline of this linen too printed through two layers of paper resist, another wonderful linen top from Caroline!!!

…… and a couple of my own results I’m particularly happy with!

Satin mordanted with Symplocos printed with eucalyptus

Symplocos mordant has helped achieve amazingly copper like tones on satin

Alder leaves and female catkins on satin

Contrasting colours from the same dye pot, don’t they just sing together?

Caroline's eucalyptus printed linen and my cotinus and rosebay willow herb seed pod printed cotton blend

On Tuesday while Caroline worked away bundling in the indoor studio I spent a lovely time with mother and daughter duo Cristina and Morgan, it was their first time eco printing. After a little discussion about what we would be doing we all headed off to gather our vegetation. Unfortunately the weather was not great early. In the day, the fields were really wet so we stuck to the lane and garden instead. Before lunch Cristina and Morgan got 4 satin scarves in the pot and in the afternoon we all made a stack of paper to print. Their results were super and isn’t Morgan a fab model?

Congratulations Cristina and Morgan, great job!

Morgan in front of the rose she used to print this scarf!

Finally for today, congratulations go to Margaret Hennessey who guessed correctly that dock leaves were used to print this experimental felt wrap.
I’m afraid that I forgot to bring it with me to town today Margaret but promise it’ll be in the post on Wednesday so it should be with you by the end of this week.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exciting website news, thanks, ticket giveaway and a brief event update.

It’s controlled mania here preparing for next weekend’s Marlay Fair, the National Crafts & Design Fair which is set up just two days after Marlay ends plus Creative Island at Showcase in January. Everything is coming along nicely thanks to a structured plan, plenty of long but fun working days and lots of help when needed from good buddy George.

Eco printing at Clasheen

She’s great at keeping me on track finishing printed pieces and happy to be a sounding board when I ramble on about all the detritus involved in preparing for a major show.

Eco printed wrap by Nicola Brown

Eucalyptus leaves and bark on a large felt wrap, one of my pieces that is heading to the RDS fair

I’ve several pairs of tickets to giveaway for Thursday 4th and Friday 5th at the RDS, please email me your full name and address ASAP if you would like me to pop some in the post for you, first come, first served!

Eco print on felt by Nicola Brown

Oak leaves on nuno felt, another scarf heading to Dublin

I’m also very busy at the moment collating information for my new selling website, this will be launched in January in advance of Showcase and I’d like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone involved who has helped me get to this stage in my business and is currently helping make this vision a reality.

  • Frances McDonald – excellent craft mentor who has acted as a sounding board all year. Thanks too Frances for your generous mention recently on Craft Words, much appreciated!
  • Emer Ferran, Mary Whelan, Emma McGrath and team, ongoing support and feedback from the DCCoI, especially in relation to Showcase preparation and providing one to one mentoring with Eddie Shannahan
  • Carlow Local Enterprise Office – 1000 thanks for approving my grant application for the web voucher scheme, none of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been approved
  • Eddie Shanahan – retail, branding and marketing guru, clearly saw within minutes of meeting how I could pull the three separate strands of my artistic practice together, a fabulous help and the person who introduced me to Patrick
  • Patrick McHugh – wonderful fashion photographer and super duper website designer, a pleasure to work with
  • Peter Martin – quirky film maker and videographer, can’t wait to have a short video for the website to help communicate my making process
  • Greg Dorney – excellent product photographer

Ok, one final picture before I head back to the printing studio, professional photographers avert your eyes!

Oak leaves eco printed on silk satin by Nicola Brown

My own oak leaves printed on silk satin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wonderful participants and work from week 2 in Portugal!

I had a wonderful time during the second week at Dominio Vale do Mondego in Portugal. Different participants plus other non felting visitors on retreat (with the exception of Naomi who took part both weeks!) gave a different dynamic and it was really interesting to watch a totally different body of felt and natural prints emerge. Here are some images to give you a flavour of what we got up to, I hope that you enjoy them! Bye, bye Portugal, see you at the same time, same place next year, details of our next extravaganza will be posted online within the next week or so!!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

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.

 

Thanks Wollknoll!

Over the past two weeks I've been living in daily anticipation of a large delivery of fibre from Wollknoll in Germany, one of my all time favourite suppliers. This order should have contained the wool and silk to finish my Gaelscoil project, the materials for a new group that I'm just about to start working with, a big amount of wool for Carmen, a good few large blocks of olive oil soap and some more fibre for me to use at upcoming workshops in my studio at Duckett's Grove. I still can't quite work out what happened but finally my suspicions were confirmed yesterday morning that the order had never been received or processed. I've had a couple of sleepless nights but at last everything is sorted, there's light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Sonja Fritz of Wollknoll. I had to reorder the items yesterday afternoon (why oh why did I not keep a written record of them in the first place???), the goods are getting packed today (Saturday) and the order will be dispatched first thing on Monday morning, what a service. Thank you so much Sonja, your help and calmness were very much appreciated! On the positive side of things, it did give me the opportunity to add a bundle of silk fabric and more Kap merino to the order, these will be some of the supplies I'm bringing to my upcoming workshops in Lexington, KY!!!

The Nuno felt wrap and scarf in the first photo were felted using a selection of ponge silk from Wollknoll, the wrap on the left also incorporates some upcycled printed silk collected on a fun Goodwill expidition with Dawn! The bundled and naturally printed/dyed silk chiffon scarves with rolled edges in the second picture also came from Wollknoll. I like the contrast of the silk chiffon with the hardness of my new polymer clay brooches, soft ochre, gold and chocolate brown makes such a good bedfellow with turquoise!

 

 

 

 

Exciting news – Leiko and I are organising a joint felting retreat at Clasheen!

Now that wonderful Japanese felter Leiko Uchiyama has moved next door we’ve started planning a series of workshops to deliver together designed to compliment our individual strengths. Our first three day felting retreat will take place at Clasheen from Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th November inclusive and this will be the first time in Ireland that Leiko is offering a full workshop to learn her ‘pine needle’ technique! She’ll be teaching this on Tuesday (and Wednesday morning/afternoon for larger projects), I’ll be concentrating on naturally printing/dyeing on Wednesday then felting large nuno wearables and household textiles using the tumble dryer on Thursday, fine felt without fabric or cobweb felt is also an option with this method. The emphasis on all three days will be learning new skills, creating beautifully felted and finished pieces inspired by nature and having fun in a relaxed, peaceful, rural setting. Simple, tasty home cooking will be the order of the day and shared rooms are on site in comfortable farmhouse accommodation! A maximum of 5 residential places are available for the retreat but we will also be able to accommodate a few additional participants for the printing/dyeing day on Wednesday. I’ll post the prices etc. over the next day or two, stupidly I left them at home and I’m now in Duckett’s Grove and felting here for the rest of the day.

I’ll leave you with an image of a simple necklace I made this morning. I liked this tiger wire fitting which I bought last year in CA so now need to research the best place to buy these at a competitive price in Ireland.

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Home, natural dyeing/printing, unexpected presentation taking up my time…..

I’m home safely after a wonderful time in California! It was great to be back at The Tin Thimble catching up with old friends both before, during and after the three days of workshops plus put faces to the friends I’ve previously been in touch with through the blog, FB and various other forms of social media, I’m not going to mention everyone by name but you all know who you are!!! My intention had been to write a long and proper post yesterday about the workshops and my trip with Merridee and Keith to Lake Tahoe, unfortunately I just don’t have the time so apologies in advance to those of you who were expecting all the low down about the exciting work that was created during my three days of teaching. An unexpected opportunity arose while I was away (thanks Paula for getting in touch to alert me!) so yesterday I had to make a presentation in relation to an exciting art project and this morning I got a call asking me to come back in tomorrow and discuss a few of the points raised during this session. Fingers crossed everything will work out, I’ll keep you posted once I know the outcome!

My own naturally printed chiffon with goodies I bought at The Tin Thimble, glass beads by Toni Lutman and beautiful hand dyed merino by Carin Engen and Laurie Simoni

As regards other work since I’ve been home I printed two lengths of silk chiffon on Monday evening then last night I filled two pots with silk and leaves in preparation for a natural printing and dyeing session today. One of the pots contained a tea solution, the other a vinegar and water mix. I’ve now bundled everything up and all the pieces are simmering on the Rayburn, most of the bundles contain a variety of eucalyptus leaves but two I wrapped using Cotinus leaves from my garden. I also sprinkled some of the fabric with tea leaves and wrapped one of the pieces in rusty metal, I LOVE opening these bundles, pictures next time, I promise. During my stay in CA I spent time with Merridee, Sharon and Nika Ivanoff experimenting more with this method of colouring fabric, thanks Nika for the wonderful leaves you brought last Saturday for us all to share not to mention the wine, chocolate and strawberries, we loved them all!!!

Emma and I are just sorting out dates for workshops in The Tin Thimble again next spring, keep an eye out over the next week or so as we hope to have everything sorted by then!

Quick little CA update!

My carry on bag is packed and I’m just waiting for Merridee and Keith to arrive and whisk me off to their cabin at Lake Tahoe. We’ll be hiking, felting, relaxing and possibly doing a little Eco printing/dyeing and kayaking too!!! On Thursday evening we’ll be back home then have a big day planned felting at The Tin Thimble with Sharon, Emma and Lisa on Saturday. More pics from
our three days of workshops now on my personal FB page!

A wonderful collection of eucalyptus!

As part of my own preparation for 7 days of intensive teaching I wanted to have the materials gathered for my personal work during this time. Obviously I’ll be working one to one with Rami but while he’s laying out pieces and generally discovering all the joys of the various felting techniques I’ll get a certain amount if time to do my own thing. At the beginning of the week I’ve attachments to prepare for a large sculptural piece and some Eco printing and dyeing to do then I plan to lay out a large nuno felt garment incorporating some of the silks and prefelts that I’ll already have printed. The workshop proper will run from 10am until late afternoon each day and after we’ve eaten each evening I’ll be back in the studio felting, Rami will be free to join me if he’s not already mentally and physically exhausted, I also have a list of reading material for him to go through so I think I’ll be keeping him on his toes! I’m going to leave you today with a picture I love, me and my god son Jack gathering eucalyptus leaves and bark (from a variety of different trees) in his grandparents garden, thanks Sharon, Jack, Betty and Jack senior for all your help and the gift of the wonderful vegetation!!!

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