Lovely memories from the KSFF!

I'm a bit bogged down with paperwork and emails this week, submissions to complete for both the Glucksman Gallery (done) and Creative Island for the Design & Crafts Council of Ireland (coming along) mean a lot of time spent in front of the computer. It was a welcome surprise to find this lovely picture in my inbox this morning, thanks Roo from Moonwood Farm for your great photography skills. Here are my fabulous students from day two at the Alpaca Fiber Solution stand (generous sponsors of the materials for my Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival workshops) showcasing the gorgeous alpaca clutch bags they felted, lovely memories!!! For those in the know, with the progression of their respective businesses Roo and Elizabeth are now working individually, Roo's yummy fibre is available from her Artfire store and Elizabeth's from her Etsy store!

 

 

A picture rich blog post from Kentucky!

I've been having a wonderful time as usual with Jan, Bruce and Kevin in Lexington, Kentucky! This is going to be another picture rich blog post, there are just not enough hours in any one day to document the fun I'm having both facilitating workshops and spending time with friends. Participants at the wonderful Kentucky Sheep and Fiber festival workshops last weekend felted super flowers, clutch bags and landscapes, all of these were created using gorgeous hand dyed alpaca and amazing embellishing fibres sponsored by Roo and Elizabeth from Alpaca Fiber Solutions. Everyone was really amazed to handle and have the opportunity to sample a new fibre, it's lustrous looking and behaves a little like silk, the components are fibre from rose stems and ground pearl dust from the pearl industry!!! Anyway, here are some photos of what has been happening in this neck of the woods to date, on Friday and Saturday I'll be facilitating my final two day workshop, felting on day one and natural printing on day two.

Thanks Leedra for forwarding on a picture of your dry felt, the button your husband made is perfect with these colours!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Nuno felt scarves!

Today's workshop was great fun but HARD work, nuno felting is always an interesting process involving a gentle touch initially coupled with plenty of rubbing and rolling then finally some aggressive throwing to loosen up tight muscles and encourage the felt to shrink! I'm going to upload a picture rich post today, plenty to see from the lovely colours and work produced, my brain is too tired to write many words though. Drool over the supplies and colours so kindly provided by Alpaca Fiber Solutions and be amazed by the beautiful scarves the ladies all felted!!! I don't have a picture yet of the Nuno samples Chris was working on or Jan's finished scarf, I'll try and take pics of them tomorrow.

Alpaca locks ready at the start of the day
Silk fabric and embellishing fibres
My samples ready to show how some of the fibres look when felted
Carolyn, Nancy and Julie laying out their scarves
Pat's scarf in the foreground, Jan laying a scarf and Chris working on some samples
Chris's first sample underway
Julie's first ever piece of wet felt ready to embellish, it's the top scarf in the following picture!
BEAUTIFUL colours and textures in theses four finished scarves! Alpaca is wonderfully soft but doesn't travel through the silk to the same extent that merino would, this gives a highly textured effect on the reverse side but of course I forgot to take a photo of this, sorry!
Pat, Carolyn, Julie, Jan and Nancy
Pat modelling her stunning scarf!
To end the day some of us headed over to show Roo and Elizabeth what had been felted during the workshop using their beautiful fibre. I'll leave you with a picture of the ladies at the Alpaca Fiber Solutions booth (we say stand at home), the light is not the best but I think you can get the idea. From left to right……… Nancy, Julie, Elizabeth, Roo, Pat and Carolyn, see you tomorrow ladies!!!
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Lexington and the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, here I come!

I've got a little lay over at Chicago Airport on my way to Blue Grass, Lexington so thought I might write a short blog post and upload it later when I have an Internet connection. My wonderful stay with Dawn in Plainwell Michigan is over, our two day felting and printing/dyeing workshop was a blast, I spent such fun time with friends and once again I had a BRILLIANT time, thanks so much Dawn and Morry for having me!!! Now I'm en route to stay with Jan and Bruce, great friends and always a hoot to stay with too, I'm really looking forward to catching up with them later tonight!

This weekend I'm teaching at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival then next weekend it's the workshops that Jan is organising and running. These have always been great fun and Jan is a master at putting on a super lunch too, there are a couple of places left so if you'd like to join us please don't forget to email Jan or pick up the phone!!! Tomorrow we'll head over to the festival grounds and check out the space I've been given to teach in for the festival, last year there was plenty of room but not too many tables so fingers crossed well have enough for the classes. On Saturday I'm teaching nuno felt scarves/neck pieces working with alpaca locks, silk and fabulous embellishments, on Sunday I'll be teaching felt flowers. I'm really looking forward to catching up with both Roo Kline and Elizabeth Taylor tomorrow too, they're sponsoring the fibre and embellishments on Saturday via their business 'Alpaca Fiber Solutions' and I'll definitely be buying some of their deliciously dyed materials to bring home to Ireland myself.

Next week Jan and I will be doing some natural printing and dyeing together to check out the local flora and fauna, on Thursday evening I'll be facilitating this topic at a private workshop so fingers crossed we'll find some interesting plants or dried material to work with! I'll leave you now with a picture I love of Dawn taken at our last lunch today, she's wearing one of her Nuno felt scarves which she dyed during the workshop last Saturday and its closed with one of Anne Murphy's (Eala Enamels) wonderful enamel brooches. A little bit of America meets a little bit of Ireland!

 

Nuno felting with alpaca and/or merino in anticipation of my KY classes!

I decided not to go to my studio at Duckett's Grove today, rather I'm staying home and felting some more pieces to bring with me on my travels. Yesterday I made myself a very simple but much needed nuno felt scarf as well as preparing three pots of naturally printed and dyed silk bundles.

So far I've only had time to open up the bundles I steamed in the microwave, unfortunately the eucalyptus leaves from a new source left almost no imprint but the onion skins gave fantastic colour and a light dusting of tea leaves also imparted a soft, warm colour. I'll open the other bundles this afternoon and see what the results of these are like. They were simmered in two differen pots (stainless steel and aluminium) and although my intention was to include rusty metal in the aluminium pot I obviously got a bit distracted (a lot on my brain?), I discovered last night that I had included one rust wrapped bundle in the stainless steel saucepan as well. Uugh. Anyway, whatever the outcome I'm sure they'll be interesting, it's just that I wanted to have an obvious difference between the two pots, ah well, c'est la vie!

On the felting side of things I'm going to make a nuno felt wrap/shrug today using some of the fantastic alpaca and embellishing goodies I got from the wonderful Roo Kline and Elizabeth Taylor of Alpaca Fiber Solutions. I met Roo and Elizabeth at the Kentycky Sheep and Fiber Festival in Lexington last year and they very kindly are sponsoring all the fibre for my nuno felt scarf/neckpiece class at this years festival on Saturday 18th May, thanks a million girls!!! There are several places available for this workshop so if you're interested in nuno felting with alpaca do please check out the website asap and book your place, the cost for this workshop is an impressive $120 including all the necessary silk, alpaca and embellinshing materials! Here's a picture of a simple neck piece I felted two weeks ago using ponge silk, alpaca locks, Firestar and bamboo. Roo is a MASTER at dyeing and I just love the way the different fibres compliment and play against one another, for once the pink and lavender colours in these two pictures are an accurate representation of the actual felt itself! Check out the close up shot, don't the colours just sing?

 

Yummy alpaca and embellishing fibres!!!

Check out this yummy box of fibre I received from Roo Kline this week complete with beautiful handmade shawl pin!!! Roo and Elizabeth from Alpaca Fiber Solutions are the amazing sponsors for my nuno felt neckpiece workshop at this years' Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, we are going to have a ball!

I can't wait to dive in but I so want to felt something special with this, I'll be bringing the samples along with me to all my upcoming US workshops.

Alpaca of this quality is a total pleasure to work with, it's not a fibre easily accessed here but once you know a good supplier…..keep them!

On the everyday side of things my current project is coming along really nicely at the Gaelscoil in Carlow, to date I've worked with 300 pupils and by next Monday afternoon another 150 will have had their first experience felting! As a result I've not actually done a lot of felting at home myself over the last two weeks as my fingers are all wrinkled by the time I leave Carlow and my back's aching, I've been trying out a few polymer clay ideas instead. Thanks Elaine (editor of the polymer clay section at Craft Gossip) for linking to the post I wrote recently about my first 'official' necklace, it's always nice to get a thumbs up. I'll be facilitating a felt flower workshop at Duckett's Grove on Saturday so I plan on felting quite a few flowers and other small items then! I'll leave you with a link to a picture of a flower head piece that Mary felted this week (Mary was one of my super students at the VEC recently), I think that it's gorgeous.

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