KIA workshops, Weaver’s Guild talk, more photos and into ‘Horst Style’ production this morning!

Great weekend workshops at the KIA, successful talk (at least I THINK so and I think that they do too!) at the Weaver’s Guild meeting on Monday night, visit to Saugatuck and Lake Michigan yesterday and into Horst style production with Dawn this morning, only downside is that I have almost NO voice left and I definitely will need it for visiting with Heather and heading to the Rhinebeck Sheep and Wool Festival this coming weekend!!! 

Dawn and Horst hamming it up for the camera working on our first full duster!

I still need to download my images from the complex felt bag and the felted accessories workshops that happened at the KIA in Kalamazoo from Saturday to Monday but the work created was so inventive and fabulous, you will LOVE the results!  Possibly I may get a little time to do some computer stuff when I get to Heather’s house tomorrow evening but today Dawn and I are felting some scarves and hopefully two sleeveless waistcoats using Horst’s method (small sander and time permitting!) as well as dying them, fingers crossed we have time to complete everything because I would love a new vest to wear the the Sheep and Wool Festival!  Good friend Kristi has kindly set up a Snapfish room (check it out!) where we can share pictures of all the fabulous bags, flowers, pieces of jewellery and nuno felt masterpieces created over the weekend so I am just going to post the info directly here and hopefully some more of you will share your images!  Message from Kristi …….. Join Felting Weekend with Nicola – I created a room where we can share photos, videos and projects! We can also write messages to the group, order prints and gifts of each others’ photos and more. Please feel free to add your photos too!  In order to join or view this group room, you’ll need to enter this privacy code nicola.  You can also copy the web address and paste it into your browser:
http://feltingweekend.snapfish.com/snapfish/otsc=SYE/otsi=CRI

Dawn unloading our first duster from the dryer - beautifully dyed by Horst in some of my favourite colours!

Our second AMAZING creation, now proudly winging it's way back to Ireland with me!!!

Trying out one of Horst's soft and cuddly but oh so stylish jackets!

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Booking open for my felting workshops at The Tin Thimble, Loomis, CA!!!

I am delighted to say that booking is now open for the two felting workshops I will be facilitating at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, Northern California this Fall!  We will be kicking off the fun with a two day Complex Felt Bag workshop on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th September followed by a Nuno Mosaic workshop on Monday 27th September. 

Detail from a recent bag

I am really looking forward to meeting owners Emma and her mother as well as blog readers and friends from Ravelry who are hoping to book into one or even both of the workshops!  It constantly amazes me how the internet brings us all together in a virtual sense and it is always fascinating to meet up in reality and confirm friendships forged online.  Lasy year I had the pleasure of meeting expert nuno felter Nancy Schwab at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco (dates and venues for the general San Fransisco area to follow in a week or so!) and earlier this summer Jamie and Blas from Urban Fauna paid a visit to me here in Clasheen as part of an extended Ireland and England road trip!!!  Mosaic nuno felting was actually the topic I covered in San Fransisco last year and if you are wondering what on earth it entails and would like to see some pictures why not check out this post from October 2009?

Sculpture progresses and fun morning with friend

Apologies for my lack of posts over the last few days.  The internet connection has been extremely sketchy, must be something to do with the fact that our weather has broken at last and amazingly for this time of year farmers (and the golf course) had actually been praying for rain!

I have been working on fulling and shaping the sculpture that I started at the end of last week.  This first experiment in creating a tall column shape should give a good indication of whether I need to make my felt thicker, use a different resist, have a larger space to work in etc., all the nitty gritty things that will help me when planning and executing pieces larger than my own actual height and width!  When I started fulling and shaping I initially worked the felt around a long piece of electricity cable housing.  I had intended on having this diameter as the finished width but discovered that the felt needed to shrink further to become stronger and self supporting so I put the work aside to see what on earth I could find to hand with a slightly narrower diameter to enable me continue the shrinking process.  I returned to the scuplture the following morning having discovered the perfect fencing stake lurking in my garage, no problems now working the felt around the wood and beating it with a wooden spoon to finish firming up the felt!  Pictures to follow when the piece is totally finished.

Yesterday I spent a fun morning with friend and artist Rosin Markham.  Amongst other materials Rosin sometimes works with gorgeous undyed raw wool from a variety of different sheep breeds.  She very generously gave me samples and locks from some wonderful looking kinds, hopefully I will be able to take pictures later today and you will see the crimp and texture which should translate wonderfully into some finished felted work.  As Rosin had never worked three dimensionally before I showed her how I work around a resist and she laid out a simple round vessel in graduating shades of undyed Icelandic wool.  Meanwhile I decided that this was a good morning to get started on an ocean inspired bag which I am making as part of the current ‘felted bag swap’ on Ravelry.  I tried out a new shape which with a little tweaking will be perfect as a basis for exploring a new complex felt bag design, just need to add another flap or two but need to buy more laminate floor underlay first!  Rosin’s vessel was looking very good by the time she had to leave and my bag is now sitting on top of a rad drying while I plan and execute the dreaded cord handle.

Suzanne's necklace

You may remember I posted a good while ago about the necklace I made my sister Suzanne for her birthday.  She and my mother came over for a coffee on Sunday morning and I snapped a shot of her wearing it for my records, note the fact that she didn’t want her face to be shown, false modesty in my opinion but it does make for a good photo!

My first experiment podcasting about my felt!

This is not a proper movie I know but here goes with my first experiment adding both an audio and a visual element to this blog, please have a look and let me know what you think!  Thanks again Ken, John, Alan and Cathy for facilitating such a great ArtL!nks event yesterday and thanks also to friend and professional photographer Bernie McCoy for the beautiful images of my bag!

The last day of our wonderful complex bag workshop

Sunday was the second and final day of our complex bag workshop and the end of three brilliant days felting with Lyda Rump.  Because Cristina and I had worked well into Sunday morning to complete our bags we had a great opportunity to try something else whilst watching Elaine and Carmen’s bags taking shape as they felted and fulled.  I decided to make a small felt vessel which had been in my mind for a while and Lyda showed me how to design the template to give me the result I was aiming for.  Sometimes another brain or a bit of lateral thinking makes all the difference because I would have used a round resist myself and cut the opening down the middle in a wave, Lyda suggested an oval resist with a wavy top edge and this proved to be an entirely better option.  What it is to have artistic ability combined with years of experience! 

Vessel in progress

Carmen and Elaine worked on the various parts of their bags by rolling, pulling, stretching and spot fulling with a felting mouse.  When the bags were almost finished they were rinsed thoroughly in clear water and then put to drain in my washing machine with a towel to add a bit of friction and weight.  Doing this does not shrink the felt any further but it does remove a significiant amount of water and then you can work the felt further if you want or just stretch to shape and leave it to dry if you are happy that it is fulled enough. 

Elaine, Lyda and Cristina showing off the felt bags!

I don’t have a picture yet of Carmen’s finished bag as she decided to do the final shaping at home and felt a beautiful scarf during the last hour or so of the afternoon.  More about this in my next post and also some discussion about the various handle options when creating a felt bag. 

I would like to say a really big thank you all for leaving such lovely comments about my own complex bag!  It is great to be able to feel so connected to everyone through the medium of the internet and I really appreciate you taking the time to leave your thoughts, tips and advice!! 

I’ll leave you with an image Lyda took as I was preparing my small vessel on the gravel for a photo, it gives a good overhead view of the scalloped edges of the opening.

Positioning the vessel for photography

My complex felted bag – the big reveal!

Cristina and I were so inspired after the first day of Lyda Rump’s complex bag workshop that we continued working after Lyda went to bed and both had our bags finished by 1.45am on Sunday morning!  We really enjoyed working together and somehow the time just seemed to fly.  Although my photos aren’t the best here goes with the final reveal! 

Front of my finished bag

I had a great piece of driftwood which made the perfect handle, Alan says I need to cut it a little shorter but I am happy with the length myself and let’s not forget it is me who will be using the bag!  Friend and fellow felter Nancy Schwab (hope to see you at Urban Fauna Studio in October Nancy!) throws out the question on her blog ‘do we have to use a felted handle for our felted bags’?  My answer is a definite no.  Obviously a felted handle is perfect for some styles of bags but other different materials and found objects can just be so exciting and unexpected.  That is not to say that many designs don’t suit an incorporated handle (more of that in my next post), just try and think outside the box sometimes and experiment with other types as well. 

Back of my finished bag

 

To answer a question from another friend and experienced felter Dawn Edwards yes, it is actual fish skin inserted into some of the ovals!

And finally ……

Underneath the flaps