Fabulous Felted Accessories workshop on 17th and 18th November

On Saturday 17th and Sunday 18th November I’ll be facilitating an exciting ‘Fabulous Felted Accessories’ workshop at Berkeley Forest House, New Ross, Co. Wexford using Ann Bernstorff’s 19th century costume collection to spark the flame of inspiration. During this two-day workshop we will tour the collection then explore and experiment with a variety of wet felting techniques, the weekend goal will be for participants to felt a selection of buttons, belts, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, purses, closures or other small three-dimensional items. The techniques learned may all be translated later into larger three-dimensional felt or clothing projects and this workshop is suitable for both the beginner feltmaker and the more experienced. Found objects and treasured bits and bobs may all be incorporated into the felt so participants are encouraged to bring along a selection of their favourite stash items and we will work together to combine them with wool and create unique, funky, felt accessories. Here’s a picture of one of my first pieces of felt jewellery incorporating found objects, the spiky things are actually old bristles from a yard brush!

Felt beads, found object and sterling silver clasp, an early necklace

Felt beads, found object and sterling silver clasp – photographed by Bernie McCoy

The fee for the weekend is €200 per person (€500 for residential guests arriving on Friday night), this includes all tuition and felting materials, a tour of and access to the 19th century Costume Collection of Ann Bernstorff, tea/coffee during the class and a scrumptious lunch each day! Please contact Alexis for further details or to book a place on 056 7754975, 085 2207706 or email alexisbernstorff@gmail.com.

Beautiful felt jewellery created

I had a lovely time at the Ennis Creative Arts Centre on Saturday, eight fun ladies met to join me for a full day jewellery making workshop. Over the course of a morning and an afternoon we concentrated on getting to grips with felting four different jewellery components, flowers, spikes, balls and cords (laid out and felted a different way than the spikes!).

The techniques learnt may be applied to all sorts of different felting projects, with jewellery they form the basis for unlimited experimentation and I'm hoping that the participants will have fun creating some more lovely pieces with the fibre they went home with! Here are a few pictures from the workshop for you all to enjoy.

I'm sure you'll see from the smiles that it was a really nice and fun group of ladies, just to assure you, our photographer was smiling too!

 

Felt jewellery workshop at Ennis Creative Arts Centre on Saturday

I've hit the ground running since driving home from Canada late on Monday evening, yesterday I had a full day training to attend on pricing work, taxation etc. (it was excellent, thanks Marian) and today I've been trying to unpack my various bags at the same time as trying to prepare for a full day felt jewellery workshop on Saturday. I'm really looking forward to facilitating this workshop at the Ennis Creative Arts Centre, you may remember that Liga and I spent a great weekend there in the summer attending a two day polymer clay workshop with Ronna Sarvas Weltman, this time it's my turn to teach! The techniques that I'll be sharing include……..

Cords and balls – both may be used as they are or cut to expose the different coloured layers inside as with this ball. If cut these pieces make really interesting embellishments, buttons, beads, jewellery components and the basis for some funky hanging Christmas decorations!
Here's an experimental brooch which comprises of two balls and a cord felted together.
Close up of a ball cut in half……
….. and uncut balls combined with polymer clay in a necklace.
A fun felt flower, these make brilliant decorations and brooches, they're fantastic to add to hats, coats, napkin rings etc. and include in strings of Christmas lights, loads of uses!
Finally for today here's a flower with an integrated ring back, this is a combination of the cord and the flower technique. As of this morning there were just two places left for this class, please email Shirley ASAP if you think that you'd like to join us!

 

October felt jewellery class in Ennis Creative Arts Centre!

I’m delighted to be returning to the beautiful Ennis Creative Arts Centre in Tubber, Co. Galway on 19th October where I’ll be facilitating a felt jewellery making workshop, instead of participating in one! Here’s a picture of Liga, Ronna Sarvas Weltman and me outside Shirley Bredin’s gorgeous venue, a beautifully renovated Irish farmhouse that’s been tastefully extended to accommodate a fabulous studio. This picture was taken after the brilliant polymer clay class I attended with Ronna, I loved every minute of the weekend!!!

Liga, Ronna and me outside the Ennis Creative Arts Centre

Liga, Ronna and me outside the Ennis Creative Arts Centre

Anyway, a little more info about what I’ll be sharing………….during this intensive one day jewellery making class we’ll be working towards making three specific items of jewellery, a flower ring, a beaded bracelet and a large multi functional flower bolo. No previous felting experience is necessary to attend the workshop but if you are an experienced or improving felter I’ll be able to help you add your own quirky twist to these most popular designs from my studio. Shirley’s set up an event page on facebook for people to check out and I’m posting a more expansive workshop description here so that you may get a greater feel for what the day will offer! Do please consider joining us if you live on the other side of Ireland and have not considered travelling to Duckett’s Grove before. The techniques learnt during this workshop will be ones that you can use in a whole variety of sculptural projects, the cord making one (I learnt it from Anita Larkin many years ago) is particularly useful!!! Here goes….

‘Funky Felt Jewellery”

Wet felted flowers and cords 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 workshop Nicola will share with participants how to create stylish flowers with or without stems using her favourite short fibered merino and a selection of embellishing fibres such as 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 one of my workshops last year at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival!

Gorgeous and colourful felt flowers felted during one of my workshops last year at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival!

For participants who do like to stitch however, Nicola will have a selection of beads and brooch backs with which the flowers may be turned into beautiful, sparkling, pieces of jewellery. We will also learn a simple but very effective way of felting strong, hard cords. During the workshop participants will felt a long cord which may be combined with a felt ring to wear as a stunning multi functional felt bolo. The technique for making these cords may also be used in a variety of other ways including quirky jewellery, spikes for three dimensional felting and strong bag handles.

Blowout sale of felt at Borris Market tomorrow!

I've decided to have a spur of the moment blowout sale at Borris Food and Craft Market tomorrow morning! In my efforts to update stock at the Duckett's Grove design shop and my current ongoing attempt to wrestle my house into some kind of order it's become apparent that I have some lovely smaller items of felt that have either been hidden away unwittingly or haven't sold from the shop or studio for one reason or another. It's tempting to have an extended post mortem as to the reason for this, are they priced incorrectly, is the quality not good enough, did I felt too many of the one item, have they not been displayed well, how did I manage to hide them away in my spare bedroom etc., etc., the questions could go on and on.

Anyway, rather than spend days pondering the answers I've decided to have a blowout sale at Borris Market tomorrow then bring whatever's left to display at my stand for the Creative Carlow pop up shop for the rest of the weekend. This shop is part of the Pan Celtic Festival, so far we've had a variety of local and foreign visitors come to check out our work and I was lucky enough to sell several of my pieces yesterday so I do have enough space on my table to replenish with more stock. The picture above shows two embroidered phone/camera/change purses and three beaded bracelets, I'm letting all of these and many other similar pieces go for the bargain price of €10 each, please come along if you're in Borris tomorrow morning and pass the word on to all your friends!!!

 

Contrasting textures in my first ‘official’ felt and polymer clay necklace

I finally finished my first 'official' felt and polymer clay necklace last night, I'm happy with some of its aspects and less happy with others. On the plus side of things I love the combination of textures, the soft organic shape of the beads, the smoothly burnished large polymer clay bead contrasting with the tactile felt beads, the black rubbery tubing I used to tie everything together with and I'm definitely happiest with the roughly textured polymer clay beads and the matt black spacers.

I think that the finished necklace looks lovely against the textures of my recent nuno felt so I'm happy that I'll be able to create a collection of accessories that will add another dimension to my craft practice. On the negative side of things I'm least happy with how symmetrically I strung everything together, my only excuse is that I had a very limited selection of felt and polymer components to work with, hopefully that'll change as I get more pieces made and build up my stock of raw materials. I'm still waiting for my tissue blades to arrive so I'm a little limited with what I can do, the plus side of that is I have to keep experimenting and looking for ways around my lack of some decent cutting implements.

 

I'd like to recommend Ronna Sarvas Weltman's book 'Ancient Modern' for anyone looking for clear basic instructions and wonderfully inspiring projects in polymer clay and wire jewellery. It's on special offer via the Interweave store up until 15th February at a knockdown price of $6.88 (usual price $22.95). I wish I'd known that before I ordered it elsewhere for the full price but it's wonderful value nonetheless!

 

Decisions, decisions…..

Laying out some Fimo against a nuno felt wrap last night to try and select the colours I wanted. Of course I realised as soon as my order of polymer clay arrived that I didn't get half enough blocks of soft subtle colours and I only ordered one white and one translucent block, silly me. The green that I got is much sharper in colour than I expected also so this afternoon I headed into Carlow after teaching to stock up on some more light colours and white. The Fimo is much more expensive there than online but at least I can now work again and do some more experimentation this evening, tomorrow I'll be felting the complimentary pieces in the morning then assembling all the jewellery in the afternoon. At least that's my plan anyway and I'll really try to stick to it!

 

Upcoming workshops at Duckett’s Grove and look what Debbie created incorporating one of my flowers!

I've had a pretty frustrating week computer wise, thanks goodness for the iPad otherwise I might have gone totally mad! Next weekend I have a felt bag workshop happening on Saturday 16th February in Duckett's Grove, the initial process is the same for vessels and other three dimensional objects so if either bags with integrated handles, pockets and flaps or strong, sculptural vessels are your thing please email me asap to book your place. On Saturday 2nd March I have a beginners and improvers flat felting workshop happening, again please email me if you would like to book a place. These will both be intensive hands on classes where you will leave at the end of the day with a beautiful finished piece and the knowledge that you will confidently be able to repeat the process at home by yourself, more details over on the workshop page.

 

Before Christmas I met a lovely South African lady called Lizette at Borris Food and Craft Market. She bought some of my naturally printed and dyed nuno felt to bring home for gifts and also selected a few flowers in nice bright colours, felt and silk are wonderfully lightweight to transport so make perfect presents for anyone heading off in a plane!!! Anyway, Lizette is back here for a visit and called in to say hi again at the market on Friday. With her she brought me a gift of the latest 'Bead Book' magazine sent from her good friend Debbie Rijns, director of education at Precious Metal Clay South Africa.

In the magazine I was thrilled to see that a tutorial for one of Debbie's mixed media necklaces features one of my felt flowers combined with a beautiful PMC leaf, copper wire, beads and cord. Above is a picture of the second page of Debbie's tutorial. Thanks Debbie for creating such a lovely necklce incorporating the flower and I really appreciate the credit and mention in the magazine!

 

 

 

Interesting combination of hard and soft!

I'm really a felter and only a felter! However, I do love the combination of other materials with hand made felt and up to now have always bought my beads, buttons and findings from others who are skilled in the art of making them.

 

I don't have time to write properly today but here're two pics, an experimental Fimo ring and felt/Fimo pendant I've just finished making, I'm thrilled! Finally I think that I've found a medium I can have fun with and that I will be able to use to design unique organic shapes for my own closures and other bits and bobs.

I used a wonderful online tutorial from Ronna Sarvas Weltman (search for it on YouTube) to learn how to create the textured pod shape for the pendant and then fell totally in love with Melanie West's jewellery, often inspired by nudibranches believe it or not! Kathleen Dunstin is another artist to watch, stunning work. Thanks to polymer clay experts and friends Liga and Sharon for your help (Valg Studio and The Bead and Button Emporium respectively on Facebook) and encouragement, I think I'm going to have great fun. The only thing I'll have to be careful of is if I decide to use super glue to attach the centre to another pod, I nearly stuck my hands together but couldn't wait until I had sourced a different glue, I wanted to see the finished piece

 

 

 

 

My Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival workshops 2013

I accidentally deleted the previous post as I was just about to publish so forgive me now if I'm brief.

On Saturday 18th May I'll be facilitating a full day nuno scarf/neckpiece workshop at the KSFF and on Sunday 19th a half day fun felt flower class, two classes if we get enough sign ups over the next couple of months! Roo Kline from Moonwood Farm is sponsoring the yummy hand dyed alpaca and delicious embellishing fibres we'll be using for the nuno felt workshop and I'll be bringing some of my favourite short fibre merino from Ireland as well as a selection of different fabrics for participants to choose from. Thanks to Roo's very generous sponsorship this class will only cost $100 per participant including all fibre, fabric and embellishing materials, thanks Roo!!!.

The short fibre merino I'm bringing with me is also what we'll be working with for the flowers on Sunday, here's a picture of some which were completed during the 2012 classes, so stunning and colourful. The price for the flower workshop is $30 per person plus $10 for the materials, participants can expect to make 3 flowers each during the class!

 

Keep an eye out on the KSFF website as booking for all their great classes should be possible shortly, as soon as I know that it's live there I'll post a link here on my workshop page.