Studio update and Dawn’s recent visit to Clasheen and London

The last ten days have been a whirlwind of activity, my great buddy Dawn Edwards was visiting from Michigan and we spent our first few days together here at Clasheen. The first full day of Dawn’s visit I needed to participate in a photo shoot for FORM so Dawn headed into the studio and whipped up two felt hats while I was busy, these were printed in the evening after the shoot had ended. If you’ve not had the chance to view Dawn’s work before do make sure to check out her website, the hats and vessels she felts are wonderful!

IMG_0808

Over the weekend we spent some time with good friend and fellow felt/fibre addict Anita, I’m linking here to her Facebook page because maybe some of you will be able to persuade Anita to donate me her latest gorgeous white hat and cashmere wrap to print!!! We also headed down to the car boot sale in Callan for a quick visit, here’s a picture of a super brass preserving pan that I found complete with eucalyptus leaves picked up on the way home.

IMG_0795

On Monday afternoon Dawn and I headed to Dublin stopping off for some fresh air at Newcastle beach, thanks to my sister Suzanne we spent the night relaxing at her house then headed to the airport at 3.50 am.

IMG_5736

Suffice to say Dawn and I spent three absolutely wonderful days sightseeing, eating, talking, laughing and taking in a couple of west end shows in the centre of London. Our hotel was fabulous and in a super location just two minutes walk from Marble Arch and Oxford Street (thanks Dawn!), we got upgraded to a wonderful room overlooking Portman Square so each day we’d fabulous views of the garden there in all its spring glory. Shortly before Dawn arrived to Clasheen I’d discovered that it was going to be London Craft Week while we were away. We couldn’t believe our luck when we snagged tickets to an afternoon talk with Edwina Ibbotson and Rachel Trevor-Morgan (milliner to the Queen) at the Dorchester, what a fabulous afternoon!!! They’d an amazing display of the most wonderful couture hats, different tools of the trade, hat blocks etc., etc. and for two really well known and highly though of milliners the wealth of information they imparted and their naturally friendly outlook was really refreshing. Once the allocated time was up there was no pressure to leave; everyone got time to ask questions, take pictures and try on any or all of the wonderful array of hats that were there on display!

IMG_5742

I know this isn’t the best picture of me but if I’d had my cheque book handy this is the hat I’d have loved to bring home with me (it’s one of Edwina’s)!!! Thank you Edwina, Rachel and London Craft Week for hosting such a smashing afternoon, the cream tea and impeccable service at the Dorchester didn’t go down badly either!

On the studio side of things I’m continuing with my experimentation using natural plant based mordants/pre treatments prior to bundling. Pomegranate is coming up trumps time and time again, the colour palate is very interesting and I’m liking how it works particularly with eucalyptus. Strangely enough it’s not given any satisfying prints from bundling with rose leaves, I wouldn’t have believed it unless I’d seen it for myself! I did get very strong prints from rose yesterday however, these prints are on wool which I’d soaked in vinegar prior to bundling, the pot is my favourite big aluminium one and I had an old iron in the water.

IMG_5790

So that’s all for this blog post, next time I’ll share pictures of the first experiments using the brass preserving pan.

 

 

 

Life, Kentucky and Michigan updates!

Important events have unavoidably taken over in recent days and weeks so I'm way behind updating things here, many apologies if you've been waiting for a blog post. It's hard to believe but after only three full days at home I'm now sitting at the boarding gate in Dublin Airport awaiting my flight to Portugal. Tomorrow I meet the other participants for a wonderful week of shibori under the tutelage of Joan Morris (my first non working holiday for a long while!) and then next Saturday my own felting and eco printing workshops start at Dominio Vale do Mondego. Please excuse me if I upload a selection of pictures from both the Kentucky and Michigan workshops in the same post, I feel that if I don't I am never, ever going to catch up!!! Thanks a thousand times to great buddies Jan Durham and Dawn Edwards respectively for hosting me once again, it was a pleasure visiting you as always! I also really enjoyed teaching at the Kentucky Sheep & Fiber Festival in KY, it was my fourth year on the trot and thanks a million to master dyer Roo Kline of Moonwood Farm for sponsoring the gorgeous fibre we used in class. Now for a selection of pictures………

KSFF

Jan's two day workshop in Lexington
Day one with Dawn in Plainwell MI
Day two in MI, the rain had stopped by then and I was able to take a photo of each participant with a piece of their work. Great job ladies!
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Loomis and Plainwell workshop pictures, launch of FORM!!!

Internet time has been limited recently as I spend time with friends and facilitate workshops here in the US. I'm not going to write many words today but rather get you up to speed via pictures! I would like to mention though that our new Carlow based design led craft group 'FORM' launches tonight in Visual, I'm sorry that I won't be there myself but someone has to have fun, felt and travel in the US!!!

 

Now for some workshop pictures from The Tin Thimble in Loomis……..
….. and a selection from last weekend's Plainwell workshop! Do head over to the album I've set up on my Facebook page and have a look at all the pics, it's impossible to show every one of them here so this is just a representative sample. Enjoy!!!
Thanks sooooo much to Sharon, Mark, Hannah, Emma and all at The Tin Thimble and Dawn and Morry in Plainwell for your fabulous organisational skills and warm hospitality, I had a blast as always!!!!!
 
 

 

Wonderful hats from Dawn Edwards’s amazing nuno felt hat workshops and a selection of photos from the past week!!!

It's been a whirlwind of activity since Dawn's arrival in Ireland last week, both days of nuno felt hat making went like a dream, congratulations to all the participants who felted such amazing hats and thanks to Dawn for her fabulous teaching!!! Here are some highlights from the last seven days, more pics to follow later in the week.

The Raven, a beautiful beach with forest parallel to the dunes
Dawn about to dive into the Irish Sea!
Roaming the dunes
A marvellous find in Wexford town, expensive but then I've always wanted a copper boiler for natural printing!!!
Anita's hat all ready to rub
A mossy looking masterpiece
Some happy participants at the end of the first workshop
Wow Maureen!
This hat is titled 'leftie', all wool laid out with my left hand just to prove to Maureen that I could!!!
Here's the finished hat modelled by Maria, thanks!
Beautiful hats and beautiful smiles all round
Fab assistant Niki Collier's hat from day two on the left, mine on the right, thanks for all your help Niki!
A detail shot, hand painted silk with merino peeking though

 

Woo Hoo, felt sample, silk, television and Dawn’s arrival and workshop next week!!!

Woo Hoo, it's almost time to head to the airport and collect the wonderful Dawn Edwards, I can't wait, in the meantime it's all go, go, go!!! Here are a few photos in place of words, don't forget that tonight's the night I'll have a small television slot on Nationwide's feature about Ennis Creative Arts Centre and there are a final few places up for grabs at Dawn's fantastic nuno felt hat workshop next weekend. Please contact me ASAP if you'd like to join us in all the fun. Now for those pics……

Gathering patterned, beaded and sequined silk to utilize for nuno felting, I have to confess that on this particular day Dawn and I spent over fours in the one shop, roll on next week!

A beautiful nuno felt hat that Dawn has just felted incorporating vintage lace, here's the full workshop description for those that might be tempted to felt a hat, the dates are Saturday 5th April or Sunday 6th.

This abstract landscape incorporating alpaca and silk is a sample for my full day workshop at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, I'll post upcoming US workshop updates next week hopefully, basic details are over on the workshop page here.
Finally for today, I just love this picture of Linda modelling one of my shorter naturally printed nuno felt wraps at Borris Food & Craft Market a little earlier! This one was printed with rose and blackberry leaves from my garden plus a selection of eucalyptus leaves from Co. Wicklow. I've just had a call from her and she's coming back in to buy it to wear for her daughter's wedding, do I see a trend appearing?

 

More Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats with Dawn Edwards!

I’m delighted to announce that Dawn will be teaching a second day of her ‘Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats in April, please click here to view the online class description and email me asap if you’d like to book your place!!! Just to remind you what one of Dawn’s nuno felt hats looks like here’s a picture.

emerald green and black felt cloche

emerald green and black felt cloche

Isn’t this an absolute beauty???

I’ll have a selection of goody bags available to purchase on both days, these will have a selection of stunning beaded, sequinned and printed silk to include in the hats so for those of you not having this in your stash, don’t panic!

Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats with Dawn Edwards!!!

I’m thrilled to confirm the 5th April nuno felt hat workshop that Dawn will be teaching at Clasheen (or a nearby location in Borris) this April, click here for all the details!!! Eight places have already been provisionally booked, please shout out loud and email me asap if you’d like to be included in all the fun. As soon as the ten places are filled I’ll start a waiting list and if the numbers stack up we’ll run a second day on the Sunday. I actually forgot on the flyer to include the payment details, a 50% deposit will be required to hold a place and the balance is needed by the beginning of next month. OK, I’m off to unwrap some bundles now, bed early and teaching second and third class at Ballymurphy National School in the morning!

Nuno felt hat with peacock feathers

Nuno felt hat with peacock feathers

Dallas TX calling and watch out Clasheen, Dawn’s returning!!!

I've been super excited for the last two days. Firstly, I've been invited to teach a workshop in Dallas at the end of April and secondly, wonderful friend and felt hat maker extraordinaire Dawn Edwards of Felt so Right fame will be teaching in Ireland at the beginning of the same month. Exciting times ahead!!!

So…………..

  • If you're interesting in attending a two day nuno felting and natural printing workshop with me in Texas the weekend of 26th and 27th April please shout out loud ASAP. We need to make sure that the numbers stack up by next Monday if at all possible, if they do the workshop goes ahead!

  • If you're interested in attending a one day fantastic felt hat workshop with Dawn Edwards at Clasheen (or a nearby venue) on Saturday 5th April please shout out loud ASAP also. It may be that we will have two days of classes but I need to confirm everything with Dawn so for the moment I'm starting to take bookings for the Saturday.Please email me or comment here to express your initial interest or provisionally book for either workshop!

 

Beautiful felt and natural printing/dyeing from our Michigan workshop participants!

It's impossible to write properly (in a short time frame) about the wonderful two days felting and natural printing/dyeing we had in Michigan, thanks Dawn for your wonderful organisational skills and thanks a bunch to the lovely group of fun, creative ladies who joined us. Some people arrived with a clear end goal in mind, others came willing to be inspired whilst still others came with an initial fixed goal then changed it once we had chatted and they had seen other possibilities which they wanted to explore! Whatever the motivation and the differing aims, this group brought together such humour, friendship fun and yummy food to our days, we had a blast!!!

I've posted a bunch of pictures to my personal Facebook page and some collaged images of the felt and natural printing/dyeing to Nicola Brown – Clasheen, they're not tagged or titled yet but I'll sit down to do this when there are no distractions or thrift shops to visit with Dawn. Here are a few to keep you going however, great work everyone!

 

 

Nuno felt wrap and scarves

The weather has been a lot brighter today after a very wet start this morning, good news for me as it meant that I could snap a few pics outside of my nuno scarves and the wrap I felted earlier this week.

Simple scarf combining ponge silk, merino and silk throwster's waste

Simple scarf combining ponge silk, merino and silk throwster’s waste

I’ll start with one of a simple scarf, this was felted combining ponge silk with some of Leiko’s beautiful hand dyed superfine merino and embellished with hand dyed silk throwster’s waste, a welcome Christmas present from Carmen. I love teaching this scarf as a beginner’s nuno felting project, it’s always successful and such a beautiful way to learn a new technique! The second picture is of a large mosaic style scarf felted combining my own hand dyed cotton gauze (dyed under the watchful eye of Jan Durham and written up in this post last spring!), more of Leiko’s merino and a whole selection of different weights of silk fabric. Good friend Carole buys silk pieces by the weight in the US and then we do a swap for mohair off cuts from Cushendale Woollen Mill, Cushendale is a wonderful source of locally produced knitting yarn and weaving just down the road from me here at Clasheen. I totally forgot that I needed to send Carole another pack of these goodies so many apologies, I’ll head over to Philip Cushen next week and get them in the post to you asap.

Mosaic style nuno felt scarf

Mosaic style nuno felt scarf

Anyway, I also had a small pack of beautiful hand dyed teeswater locks and some firestar fibre in my favourite shades of acidic green, it’s strange to say that although I’m not a glitzy kind of gal at all I really do love the sheen and shimmer from the firestar!!! The printed silk in this scarf was part of my stash from the US, in fact I remember buying it in the Salvation Army on a foray with Sharon of the Tin Thimble but it could just as easily have been from one of the many trips I made with great friends Dawn or Merridee either, I LOVE these silk gathering events!

Firestar adds a shimmer in places

Firestar adds a shimmer in places

If you’re interested in seeing more images of these pieces plus some photos of a large green wrap I made on Tuesday please check out this album on FB and do like Nicola Brown – Clasheen while you’re over there, only of course if you do like what you see!!!