Beautiful first felt pictures and an exciting week!

This past week has been one of great excitment and tonnes of work, I really don't have a minute spare this week either so please forgive me if I'm not online much over the next few days. The main highlights from last week all actually occurred on Thursday! It started off mid morning when I met with Mary Gallagher of the Blue Egg Gallery in Wexford, she has placed an order for naturally printed silk scarves and felt which I'll be delivering this week then as soon as I return from teaching in the US I'll be felting her a selection of colourful nuno mosaic pieces too. The say I'm thrilled is an understatement, Mary's gallery and shop is stunning so it's wonderful to be selected as a maker for there! On my way home I stopped at a garden centre and found a couple of healthy eucalyptus (cider gums) to add to my collection and then, when I was just casually driving along a bit nearer home what did I find??? A HUGE eucalyptus of a variety I'd not seen before had fallen during the recent storms and a few end branches were hanging out over the hedge onto the road. I nicked a few leaves, tried printing with them and discovered that they give a good outline, an interesting soft coffee coloured beige. Amazingly the tree was in the home farm of a sculptor whose brother was actually in the same class as me in national school, a text and phone call later and I'll be collecting ALL the leaves from the tree this week, wow!!!

Anyway, here are a few pictures from yesterday's workshop at Duckett's Grove, didn't Bernadette and Mary create just stunning first felt pictures?

Well done ladies, it think a couple of new fibre fanatics are born!

Detail from Bernadette's picture

Detail from Mary's picture

 

 

Duckett’s Grove Christmas Fair

I had a lovely day yesterday meeting friends, past students (now friends!) and first time visitors at the annual Duckett's Grove Christmas Fair. Sales were brisk, the weather amazing, the crowds had fun and everything was brilliantly organised as always by Eileen O'Rourke from Carlow Tourism. I particularly loved the Killeshin Pipe Band, they marched past my studio twice playing their hearts out and followed by a trail of people enjoying the craic! Here are a few pictures for you to enjoy.

 

Brief little update, felting and natural printing

It's been a frustrating weekend at times, the internet connection was deplorable at Duckett's Grove so all the paperwork and online work I planned for Saturday and Sunday went down the Swanee. It's nearly ten past eleven at night now and I'm trying to sort out my materials for two natural printing and dyeing workshops starting tomorrow morning. These will be the first, full day workshops I facilitate at Clasheen solely dedicated to this fascinating technique, I'm looking forward to exciting pieces emerging from the dye pots!

Following on from my last post, the unexpected vacancy for the Lake Tahoe retreat was filled immediately. Merridee and I are sorry one of the first participants has had to pull out due to family reasons but delighted to welcome CA artist Tina Wendon to our group!
Finally for today, I love this picture of Jackie outside my studio at Duckett's Grove with her finished clutch bag, this is the very first piece of felt she's made!!!

 

 

 

 

Brief little update, felting and natural printing

It's been a frustrating weekend at times, the internet connection was deplorable at Duckett's Grove so all the paperwork and online work I planned for Saturday and Sunday went down the Swanee. It's nearly ten past eleven at night now and I'm trying to sort out my materials for two natural printing and dyeing workshops starting tomorrow morning. These will be the first, full day workshops I facilitate at Clasheen solely dedicated to this fascinating technique, I'm looking forward to exciting pieces emerging from the dye pots!

Following on from my last post, the unexpected vacancy for the Lake Tahoe retreat was filled immediately. Merridee and I are sorry one of the first participants has had to pull out due to family reasons but delighted to welcome CA artist Tina Wendon to our group!
 
Finally for today, I love this picture of Jackie outside my studio at Duckett's Grove with her finished clutch bag, this is the very first piece of felt she's made!!!

 

 

 

 

Stunning bags felted at Duckett’s Grove this weekend!

It's been a very busy few days, on Friday morning I had my regular stand at the market in Borris, in the afternoon I moved furniture and arranged Duckett's Grove for the weekend, on Saturday I facilitated a full day felt bag workshop at Duckett's Grove and today a full day beginner's workshop! My linguistic skills aren't too hot at this stage of the night so I'll just post pictures from the weekend and let you admire the fabulous creations all the ladies felted!!!

Paula, Jeni, Mary and Mary hard at work laying out the surface design
Mary and Mary with their almost completed bags, great job!
Stunning iPad sized bags from Jeni and Paula!
Ciara and Jackie almost ready to start felting their clutch bags, these will be stitched up at the sides later
Lovely bags and lovely smiles, wonderful first felt pieces!
The backs of the bags are as beautiful as the fronts…..
 

 

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!!!

 

First felt picture and a couple of spring flower inspired nuno neck felt pieces

I can't actually write about the internet problems I've been having over the last week and a half for fear I'll jinx things again, if you follow me on FB you'll know what I'm talking about! I'll post a few pics instead and just mention that I WON'T be in the studio at Duckett's Grove on Easter Saturday or Sunday but I will be there on bank holiday Monday. I'll also be the Borris Food and Craft Market on Saturday morning, we won't be open on Good Friday at all. Now for the pics……

Last Saturday Ulrike joined me at Duckett's Grove for her first felting experience, the result, an absolutely gorgeous picture with a very definite underwater feel.
The picture was laid out with the intention of having the green circle at the bottom left hand side, once it was felted however, Ulrike decided that the other way up made the most pleasing composition. I think I have to agree! Last night I felted 6 flowers and today a long nuno felt scarf plus four short nuno felt neck pieces inspired by spring flowering bulb. These are all fully reversible, I like them best worn with a little bit of both sides showing!
Daffodil inspired neck piece
Grape hyacinth inspired neckpiece
Crocus inspired neckpiece
 

 

More pics from felting workshops this week

This week has really just flown. I need to finalise a working description today for my upcoming three day felting workshop at the wonderful Tin Thimble, Loomis CA, this takes place from Friday 31st May through to Sunday 2nd June. These classes coincide with the annual Felt Fest organised by The Tin Thimble, I've always wanted to attend this fabulous sounding event so I guess this year I've finally hit the jackpot!!! As a result I've not got much time to write today, instead I'm going to post a few pics here (from the workshops that I've taught this week) and let them do the talking for me.

This first shot is of the beautiful flat felt pictures created by Myshall Art Group on Monday night, for some of the ladies it was their second night felting, for others their first.

Here's a closer shot of some of these pieces…….

another……
and another! The last shot shows Anita with her beautiful first felt bag at Duckett's Grove yesterday. This bag has integrated handles, a flap and an interior pocket, great job Anita!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michigan and Kentucky workshop updates plus a beginners and improvers day at Duckett’s Grove next Saturday!

I’ve been so mentally tired after my exciting days at the Gaelscoil working with the pupils on our large felt wall hanging that I have to admit I’d totally forgotten to post full details about my upcoming MI and KY workshops here on the blog, stupid. In fact I thought that I’d already done so, even stupider!!! I’m so excited about my whole trip back to the US, I actually think that I get more and more excited each visit as I just LOVE spending time with such great friends, facilitating the workshops and meeting new fibre fanatics just adds to the excitement! The workshop page is now updated to include the full ‘Wrapped in Nature’ description for both the MI and KY workshops, links to my Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival classes (I need to alter a couple of details plus my bio via the organisers but the basics are correct!) and information about next weekends flat felting and bag making session at Duckett’s Grove. This coming week I promise to tie down the full details about my Loomis workshops at The Tin Thimble (watch out Emma and Sharon!) but in this post today I’m going to concentrate on both my regular MI and KY venues.

I’m thrilled to be returning to both Plainwell and Lexington and want to say thanks a million times to the fabulous Dawn Edwards and Jan Durham for being such good friends and wonderful hosts!!! I’m so looking forward to catching up with returning participants and meeting new felters in MI and KY, one of the biggest joys of these trips is the opportunity to meet and make friends with blog readers and Facebook buddies, it’s just amazing how the internet allows us connect in the first place. This will be the first time that I facilitate my new workshop ‘Wrapped in Nature – beautiful felt inspired by the natural landscape’. It’s hard for me to express how inspiring it is to live surrounded by the beauty of the rural Irish landscape, I only have to look outside my windows at Clasheen to find my fingers itching to create and when I travel overseas my senses just seem to go on full-time overload!!!

Inspiring views above Berea!

Inspiring views above Berea!

It’s actually been very difficult this year to confine myself to short workshop descriptions, I don’t want to miss a technique out that participants may want to try but on the other hand I don’t want the descriptions to be so vague that no one knows what I’m talking about either! I think that maybe the best thing to do is post the full workshop description here as well as on the workshop page and then I’m happy to answer any questions about individual projects if you’d like to send them my way via email.

‘Wrapped in Nature’ – beautiful felt inspired by the natural landscape

Skill Level: Basic felting skills an advantage
Age Level: Adult although younger students welcome by arrangement

Class Description: During this two-day workshop participants will design and create their own unique and beautiful wearable, functional or decorative piece of felt using the natural landscape as a starting point. Some participants may choose to felt a purely decorative art piece such as a large vessel, sculpture or wall hanging while others may take the opportunity to work on a nuno felt wrap, vest, complex bag or jewellery.

Over the course of the two days there will be time to explore and discover techniques or materials that you may have never considered using in your felting before. Nicola will share with participants how she has been experimenting with natural printing on silk, felt and occasionally prefelt over the last year. This simple dyeing/printing process uses a selection of readily acquired onion skins, leaves (especially eucalyptus), tea leaves and rusty metal, wonderful patterns and colours may be achieved on fabric. Nicola has also been experimenting with using open-topped resists for vessel making and some of her bags since participating in a masterclass with Dagmar Binder last summer. The finish is very smooth on the open edges and this method opens up the possibilities for creating different shapes much easily than with the more often used closed resist method. Another technique that may be relatively new to participants is the tumble dryer method of nuno felting. This technique is wonderful for difficult to felt fabrics and eliminates all the traditional rubbing and rolling, it’s not for everyone but it is fantastic to speed up the process especially if you have a bad back or other health issues! We won’t have access to a tumble dryer at the venue but if participants would like to try this technique they are free to lay out a large nuno wrap during day one and get it to the stage where they can bring it home with them and finish it using their own dryer that evening. Nicola will clearly explain the steps to take and it should be possible to full the pieces and have them finished to show off on day two.

Participants are encouraged to bring along treasured bits and bobs from their stash, buttons, beads, scraps of vintage fabric, shells, stones, glass nuggets etc., these all make wonderful inclusions in felt and help to personalize and create a truly unique work of art!

 NB: Participants who are not able to attend on both days may possibly book one day by prior arrangement although the projects they complete will not be as large or complex as those created over both days of the workshop.

 

A couple of pics from the weekend

I spent a lovely day on Saturday at my studio in Duckett's Grove helping Andrea felt her first bag with integrated handles and flaps, isn't it wonderful?

While she was working on this I was felting some more beads to combine later in the week with polymer clay pieces, I love the cabbage like swirls in the cut ones.