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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco printed nuno felt top

It's full steam ahead at Clasheen, felting and eco printing will be on the agenda from now until I head to the U.S. and I'm really trying to restrict answering emails and the bulk my internet time until after well after lunch each day if at all possible. I'm always freshest brain wise in the mornings, if I postpone starting a new project until too late in the day my head is so full of ideas I often find that I just can't actually get started, especially if it's felting.

rose and bramble printed nuno felt top

Yesterday morning I made a nuno felt top, it was actually the first time that I'd used Crepe de Chine 14 as the fabric (combined with merino, silk, bamboo and Firestar) and I like the finished texture very much. This is not a cheap fabric but I'd several ginormous silk scarves 138cm square and actually felt that they were so large it made them difficult to wear.

Large rose leaves give a very definite print

I printed it in the afternoon using rose and bramble leaves, now all it needs is a little stitching up the sides and it's finished.

 

 

Nuno felt and silk scarves, alternative ways of wearing them!

Everyone has their own favourite way of wearing a scarf or wrap. Confident people usually just fling them on and always look fabulous while others need a little help working out the different options before finding a style in which they feel comfortable with. I've started a board on Pinterest titled 'Beautiful scarves and ways to wear them', why not check it out and follow along if you're looking for inspiration? A lot of the styles I'm pinning look wonderful in nuno felt or silk, it's important that the fabric is flexible to achieve the look you're aiming for!

Here's a large crepe de chine scarf that I printed with rose leaves while I demonstrated during last week's retreat, I love the softness of how this heavy silk drapes making it perfect for an impromptu halter neck top.

Rose eco printed silk square worn as halter neck top

Large silk square from behind, two simple ties and it's a beautiful top!

These particular rose leaves printed very softly on silk and with stronger colours on wool, felt or cellulose fabrics, here are a couple of close up images from this particular silk scarf.

Rose leaves on crepe de chine

Lovely strong shape from rose leaves

If you've a favourite way of wearing your scarves or wraps why not share it here by leaving a comment? I'm heading to the studio shortly to felt a lightweight nuno wrap, pictures later in the week as soon as it's felted and printed.
 

 

 

Showcase naturally printed felt wraps and silk scarves are now ready!

So far today I've washed out and ironed seven felt wraps and one wall hanging, four silk scarves still remain to be done. Once they're finished my orders from Showcase will be complete, tonight I'll send the shops and galleries a Pro Forma invoice then have gift boxes, cards etc. prepared ready to dispatch as soon as I hear back from them. Hopefully these first pieces will be on their way first early next week, if it hadn't been for the bad weather and lack of electricity I would have had everything done last Friday.

Here're a few of images of my latest merino, bamboo and Firestar wall hanging. I love the strength of the eucalyptus leaves, these were gathered from a tree that had been pruned, lucky me! The reverse of naturally printed textiles also fascinates me, sometimes appearing strongly printed whilst at other times subtle like an animal pelt, as with this one.

I also included a resist during the laying out phase of this piece, while the finished hanging could be used as a table runner the channel at the top makes it really simple to hang!

 

Two nuno felt wraps, same raw materials but different pots!

Merridee and I had great fun tracking down a big copper pot in California last September. Finally we sourced a lovely one at an antique shop in Auburn, both of us were interested to see how it affected the results of our natural printing and dyeing during the felting retreat we facilitated at Lake Tahoe. The colours of the vegetation appear softer when simmered in the copper so yesterday I borrowed a fantastic antique jam pot from my buddy George, I'll have to source one myself now as we are both very happy with the way this wrap turned out. Here's a close up shot for you to look at, please bear in mind that the wrap needs to be rinsed out and ironed still but you can see the peachy tones and softness of the colours I think.

The second wrap was bundled with the same two varieties of eucalyptus and the same black tea, the only difference was the addition of some onion skins and the fact that the pot was aluminium. Check out how dark this is, it was simmered for exactly the same amount of time, amazing! In both pieces as they dry the bamboo sings out against the wool, I'll take photos of them when they're finished and ironed.


 

Fabulous saree silk from Canada and upcoming felt jewellery workshop at Berkeley Forest House!

Forgive me if I don't post many words over the next two weeks. It's full steam ahead at Clasheen trying to finish the studio re-organisation plus felting new work to bring to the Glucksman Gallery for the craft fair taking place from 8th to 10th November. If you'd like to attend the opening (or indeed any day of the fair) you can download and print your free admission ticket directly from the Glucksman, if you don't it'll cost you €5 on the door! The following weekend I'm facilitating a two day felt jewellery class inspired by the textile collection at beautiful Berkeley Forest House (outside New Ross, Co. Wexford), details about this workshop in my next post but if you're interested in learning more and/or booking a place please email Alexis directly.

Currently I'm making some jewel coloured nuno felt scarves for the festive season. These are inspired by my recent visit to Vancouver and Winnipeg and incorporate some of the stunning saree silk that I brought home. This silk is wonderful to work with, I love how it melts like butter into the merino and unusually for me I love the bling as seen here at the end of one of the scarves!

 

Super felt and prints at the second Vancouver workshop!

Thanks a million to Vanitha (Sara Felts) for inviting me to teach a second nuno felt scarf and natural print workshop in Vancouver, I had yet another incredible time! Fabulous hostess and organiser, wonderful workshop participants, beautiful felt followed by stunning prints, it was so fun to meet more online friends in the flesh too and also eat some delicious Indian and Malaysian food!!! I've got to head upstairs and pack for my homeward journey now so no more writing, here's a pictorial review of Thursday's workshop in photos for you to enjoy. I promise to add names and a few descriptions from the calm of Clasheen sometime early next week, there may also be photos snapped by Vinitha and the participants being uploaded to Facebook too!

 

 

Fun and stunning printed wraps in Winnipeg!

I've had a really fun (if necessarily short!) time in Winnipeg, thanks so much Margaret for inviting me and organising the workshop. Thanks too for co-ordinating with Tammy from the Crafts Council and scheduling my evening talk, plus of course Tammy, Dave, Addy and Benny for offering accommodation and sharing your house with me!

Ten creative ladies met on Saturday morning at the Edge Gallery and studio, what a great way to celebrate FeltUnited Day 2013!!! Some were extremely experienced felters while others were having their first exposure to the magic of creating non woven fabric, our goal was large felt wraps which we would then print on the following day. Jackie joined us on Sunday for the printing session (in case you think that I can't count), I'm going to continue this post with pictures because I'm now back at Wnnipeg airport waiting for a flight, Vancouver here I come again!

From left to right – Kathleen, Ann, Lee Anne, Maura, Pat, Rebecca, Elizabeth, Margaret (our intrepid organiser!), Celia and Louise
Pat
Margaret
Kathleen
Maura
Jackie
Celia
Celia's wonderful first felt wrap!
Kathleen and Pat comparing print patterns
Rebecca
Lee Anne
Louise
Ann
Elizabeth
Margaret also printed a piece of up thrift shop blanket
Our great selection of nuno felt wraps, silk yardage and various shirts too
Thanks ladies for a wonderful weekend!

 

Fabulous felted and printed scarves from Vancouver and tomorrow is FeltUnited Day at last!!!

I'm here in Winnipeg now preparing for this weekend's two day felting and natural printing workshop, I'm really excited to be felting here tomorrow in celebration of FeltUnited Day 2014!!! We had a wonderful time yesterday at the one day event in Vancouver so ably organised by Sharon Gerhart, congratulations ladies on all your marvellous creations, you really were a fun group! Here's a pictorial rich review of what we got up to, for the first time ever I think I actually managed to take pictures of everyone unveiling their scarf.

Smiling faces all round as Sharon helps Chelsea open her scarf, this first successful unveiling really sets the tone for the whole group!
Judith bundled her scarf a little differently from everyone else and got a really nice clear design against the natural white background.
Debbie smiling as she shakes out the leaves and madrone bark from her scarf. Who knew until yesterday in that madrone was actually another name for arbutus, a tree I can get my hands on in Ireland??? Not me!
A group photo before Judith, Debbie and Chelsea head for the ferry then the rest of us head back to do some more unbundling!
Intense examination of Hayden's results.
One section of her scarf…..
….. looking good Hayden!
A stunning all over print from Sharon our intrepid organiser.
Bamboo fibre doesn't take the colour so lends a gorgeous tracery of white against some of the Silver Dollar eucalyptus prints.
Seed pods add another whole dimension to the design.
We're all pretty excited as Sheila unrolls her scarf, by this time we know she'll have a great outcome…..
….. and here it is!
Hayden helping Irma.
Super prints on Irma's scarf, Silver Dollar eucalyptus, black tea and onion skins.
Sheila and Sharon intent as they watch Ann unwrap her scarf.
Another nice example showing the bamboo fibre standing out strongly against the printed felt.
A final photo and a lot of happy smiling faces, Irma, me, Sheila, Sharon, Hayden and Ann!

 

 

 

Naturally printed/dyed nuno felt wrap, advance notice of another Vancouver workshop and a special gift of eucalyptus leaves!

Yesterday my mother, sister Suzanne and I had a lovely time attending the opening of 'Origins: Felt in the Natural World' at the Botanic Gardens in Dublin followed by a delicious late birthday dinner at new restaurant the Hot Stove, Parnell Square. It was lovely to catch up with friends from both Feltmakers Ireland and the Northern Feltmakers, I hope to have more time to chat with them and exhibition visitors when I invigilate on Tursday 22nd. The exhibition was brilliantly organised and curated, congratulations to Gabi McGrath, Sheila Ahern and all the committee for the brilliant job that they did! Thanks too, Christine Maxwell for the wonderful gift of a full truckload of eucalyptus leaves, collected on the way home and soon to be put to good use!!!

Because of the light during the opening and the fact that I was talking so much, photographs did not feature highly on my agenda even though it had been my I intention to take pictures of everything! As a result I'll post two pictures from my original submission (although this piece may be worn in many other ways) plus the written blurb that I had to include. The tumble dryer nuno felting technique followed by natural printing/dyeing that I used to create this wrap is the technique that I'll be teaching at all my Canadian workshops at the beginning of October. I've also added one last day to the Vancouver schedule, Thursday 10th (thanks a million Sara!) and promise more details of all my upcoming workshops over the weekend, I just need to catch breath today and tomorrow then it's back to business as usual on Saturday!

One note, I titled the piece 'Second Skin', after days of thought and chatting through my title choices with a friend. I was horrified to discover only last week that this is also the title of one of India Flint's beautiful books, apologies to India, there must have been some kind of unconscious thought process going on here. Anyway, here's the first photo of the wrap, silk side out…..

fibre side out……
and the submission details…..

TITLE: Second Skin

DESCRIPTION & INSPIRATION: Soft, fluid, sophisticated, envelope yourself in this shimmering naturally dyed reversible nuno felt wrap and dream your way to far away places. My inspiration for this iridescent piece came from the raw materials themselves, merino, bamboo, Firestar and silk to create the felt and eucalyptus leaves, onion skins and tea leaves to impart the bush like colours and subtle eucalyptus scent. I love the way ultra fine merino feels like suede when felted and I wanted to create a luxurious piece which smells wonderful and feels like a second skin when wrapped around the body.

MATERIALS: Felt – Super fine merino, bamboo fibre, Firestar, silk fabric

Mordant and dye bath – Vinegar, rust, eucalyptus leaves, onion skins, tea leaves, copper pipe

TECHNIQUE: Nuno felting and natural printing/dyeing utilising plant materials that give a substantive colour (don’t fade even when used without a chemical mordant)

YEAR MADE 2013 DIMENSIONS: 1940 mm X 440 mm

METHOD OF HANGING: Displayed on a mannequin or draped on a plinth

 

I'll leave you today with two pictures from my meal last night, I know that I don't usually post anything here that's not felt related but they made such petty picture on the plate that I think they could be used for inspiration!

Rabbit in a wonderful light pastry
Chocolate marquise, meringue and fabulous boozy cherry with cherry cream!