Residential Irish retreat in pictures!

Almost a month has passed since I said goodbye to the participants of the first annual Irish felting and eco printing retreat, what a whirlwind those weeks have been. I didn’t want to rush writing about our wonderful time together but now that my house is quiet again (bon voyage to my latest guests Joanie and Jeff!) I’d like to share with you some moments from the ten days we spent at beautiful Kilgraney House and its environs. We have a saying in Ireland that a picture speaks a thousand words. For those of you who couldn’t join me this year I hope that you enjoy these images from the retreat. For those of you wonderful people who travelled from Alaska, Canada, New York, Spain the Netherlands and Denmark to felt, print and visit some of my favourite local spots I hope these memories are as special for you as they are indeed for me! Here goes……..

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Soft organic merino and a selection of embellishing fibres at the start of our time together. These were used to create the felt which we then printed with local vegetation gathered primarily from the extensive garden at Kilgraney.

 

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Looking across some of the medicinal herb beds towards the gallery which we took over as our workshop space for the duration.

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Another view across the courtyard, the building to the right contains some of the beautiful accommodation.

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Dolors and Shirley working on the edges of their nuno felt scarves near the end of day one.

IMG_2035Bryan and Martin treated us like superstars! From the moment everyone arrived, the surroundings, ambiance, comfortable accommodation and superb fresh food put a smile on everyone’s face. All dietary requirements were catered for and delicious salads accompanied the main dishes at lunchtime, many of these ingredients were actually grown at Kilgraney.

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In addition to delicious herbs and salad ingredients Kilgraney provided a huge variety of leaves for us to gather and print with. Here is a group shot from near the beginning of our printing adventures. From left to right – Debbie, Dolors, Willeke, Jette, Naomi and Shirley

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Debbie with one of her bundles fresh from the pot. Each participant had their own skillet or pot to create rust water for soaking their leaves, this helped to modify the colours achieved.

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Unrolling bundles is an exciting time for everyone! Here’s Naomi about to unroll.

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Plenty of smiles from Jette and Willeke, not surprising since Willeke had just unrolled this large beautifully printed piece!

It wasn’t all felting and printing though. One day we visited Ennischorthy (my hometown and where Brooklyn is set and filmed), the Raven Nature Reserve at Curracloe (where parts of Brooklyn was filmed and my favourite beach) and called in for a cup of tea and to gather leaves at Clasheen on our way back to Kilgraney. Our second excursion was to visit the fabulous Cushendale Woollen Mill, spend a little time in Kilkenny city then enjoy a lovely afternoon tea and visit Suzanna Crampton and her wonderful Zwartbles sheep! Thanks Philip (from Cushendale), Suzanna and Bianka (from Carlow Tours) for looking after us all so well and so cheerfully!

After our second excursion it was back to the printing pot. Some participants had brought items of clothing to print while others continued to print on felt and silk.IMG_7474

Jette with her funky trousers!

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Beautiful silk organza from Naomi

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Cottons leaves on nuno felt here for Dolors

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Kilgraney eucalyptus leaves on linen for Shirley.

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We also all made some prints on paper………….

On the second last night of the retreat we ate a delicious evening meal together, Bryan definitely outdid himself with the food. We swooned over a delightful succession of amazing courses including this goat’s cheese mouse in an olive tuile accompanied by beetroot prepared two ways (one hay smoked by Bryan), nasturtium leaves and borage flowers! Each course was an absolute delight.

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On the final evening Martin, Bryan and I invited local friends and artists to join us for a glass of bubbly and view an exhibition of work created during the retreat. The workshop space was turned back into a gallery and this was a lovely opportunity to show off a selection of the amazing felt and printing that the participants had made. It also was when they received their certificates of completion. I was so proud of all that they achieved, the following pictures give just a glimpse of their achievements!!!

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Debbie with her stunning felt shoulder bag, silk scarf and cotton top. Great job!

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This felt wall hanging made by Jette was absolutely gorgeous, wonderful quality and fabulous prints!

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Naomi felted this fabulous organic shaped vessel and beautiful nuno felt scarf!

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I love this picture of Shirley with her amazing printed tunic and fab shoulder bag, although you can’t see it here she’s also wearing another fantastic printed top!

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This stunning large piece was one of my favourites of Willeke’s, another great job well done!

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Dolors with her fantastic vessel and one of her beautiful nuno felt scarves. I really love the way the colour of the scarf graduates with the different vegetation used to print it!

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Shirley, Alan and Debbie looking glam for the camera!

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An unusually open weave wrap printed beautifully by Naomi!

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Martin and Bryan set up an excellent hanging system for us.

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A funky little purse by Dolors followed by a final group photo.

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Thanks a thousand time to all the participants, Bryan and Martin, Bianka, Philip, Suzanna, George, Dorothy, Anita (for lending me your table!) and everyone else who helped in any way at all to make this event run so smoothly. Go raimh math agat!

Exhibition preparations and retreat update, in brief

Only one week to go and the first ten day residential Irish felting and eco printing retreat will have started, I’m so excited!!! All the preparations are well underway and last week the merino and silk arrived, the last of the actual workshop supplies.

From now until the end of August it’s full steam ahead at Clasheen, I need to have all my solo show preparation completed before 8th July (actually that is tonight!) because I’ll not get a minute free from then until I have to hang the exhibition. I’d be delighted if some of you were able to come to the opening reception or indeed visit any day during the course of Kilkenny Arts Festival.

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The title of my show is ‘Perennial: From Plant to Print’ and it’s a new collection of luxurious silk, linen, felt and locally woven lambswool, eco printed with leaves, onion skins and hedgerow vegetation. Please just let me know if you’re planning a visit and I’ll be able to tell you at that stage whether I’ll be free to meet up for a quick coffee and a chat!

 

 

 

Workshop dates and upgrade at Clasheen (part 2)

As promised, I’m starting to add dates for upcoming workshops at Clasheen to my diary, it’s taking more time that I thought but at least I’ve finally started to get the ball rolling. To kick things off ‘Naturally Nuno‘ is happening on the weekend of 7th and 8th May, this intimate workshop experience will be restricted to just two participants! Day one of this workshop will concentrate on felting a beautifully soft nuno wrap using the tumble dryer method of felting and day two to the eco printing. No physical rubbing and rolling will be involved during the nuno felting so this is the perfect technique for those of you who find traditional nuno too strenuous on your bodies or possibly just too time consuming! The second workshop that I’ve blocked out in my diary is ‘Successful Eco Printing Basics‘. These May workshops are also the first time that I’ll be able to offer optional simple shared accommodation on site in the newly updated guest suite. 12990952_1085907604788984_9222543952602369241_n

This lodging option consists of one double bed and one single bed in a nice light filled bedroom, by all accounts both beds are very comfortable if the friends who’ve already stayed here are to be believed!

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Next door there’s an adjoining guest sitting room; tomorrow I finish painting the custom built shelving there so by the time of the workshop it should be filled with CDs, fiction and interesting reference books for visitors to browse through. Finally for guests there’s a connecting bathroom with a zacuzzi bath but no shower, those who know me well know my obsession with baths.

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Here’s one last picture taken in the guest bedroom, the sliding door that you can see here was one of the original doors from when I bought the house. I always wanted to reuse it during my upgrading endeavours as I’d removed the old door frames to open up the space during initial renovations. So when the built in wardrobe (closet) was created to store my completed felt and eco printed textiles Jonathan fitted it to a custom made track, I’m delighted!

From the personal work point of view I’ve been felting away where possible and printing when the time arises. As soon as the last bit of paint dries on the shelving and the books are brought up from downstairs I’ll be locking myself away in my studio and working on pieces for my exhibition in August! I’ll leave you today with this picture of a piece I felted last week incorporating a base of black merino and a collage of eco printed silk samples. I love how it looks totally at home against the background of the dry stone wall on the lane.

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Next post……… final images of the ongoing upgrades at Clasheen, new felt in progress and more dates for your diary.

 

 

 

Felting and eco printing retreat in Ireland plus brief update

Woo Hoo, the ten day residential felting and eco printing retreat that I’m hosting in July is finally open for bookings! Please check out all the details and various price options here and email me if you’d like to grab a place or If you have any questions. I can’t wait to share this beautiful part of Ireland with you, it’s going to be fantastic fun and July is such a perfect time of year to visit Ireland!!! Non workshop participating partners are welcome too, Kilgraney Country House is a gorgeous spot to relax and unwind in and there are a host of activities to enjoy all right on the doorstep.

I’ve already hosted the first two eco printing workshops of 2016 and preparations are in the final stages for Creative Island at Showcase. I’ll be on stand C10 for those of you attending, more about this in the next post. For now I’ll leave you with a small selection of images taken over the last few days.

Eucalyptus leaf prints on lambswool

Bundles of yardage heading to the pot

Looking out the front door at Clasheen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Website and shop stocktaking update plus reminder of Irish workshop plans for 2016!

Tomorrow evening our group will be taking down the FORM exhibition in Blackrock and I’ll be bringing the rest of my current stock home. As a result, I’ve taken down the shop page of my website temporarily in order to assess what I have and what needs to be photographed. It’s really important that I get everything clear in my head and organised in advance of Showcase 2016, I need to know what I have and what I still need to make in addition to uploading new photos from the recent photo shoot with Patrick McHugh!

The last of the cotinus prints for 2015

I also need to finalise the cost and the dates for the residential workshop I’ll be hosting in Ireland during July. The dates will fall between 14th and 26th and the venue will be beautiful Kilgraney House which is less than ten minutes drive from Clasheen. Although the bulk of our workshops will take place at Kilgraney in the surrounds of its beautiful garden, we’ll also spend time at Clasheen in addition to visiting local places of interest including Cushendale Woollen Mill. Cushendale is where I get my wonderful lambswool woven to order, that’s another thing that will be taking place again before Showcase!

Finally for today, please contact me directly while the shop is offline if you need to order any last minute gifts.

 

 

 

Felting and eco printing, announcing residential retreats in Ireland and Portugal

Recently I’ve been getting a lot of email queries and facebook messages asking about 2015 and 2016 felting and/or eco printing workshops. I had hoped to get dates and workshop descriptions sorted, written then uploaded to the website prior to heading off on my Canadian and Australian adventures, no such luck though as here I am writing from Lethbridge having already spent a wonderful few days in Fernie! Anyway, my big news is that I’ve decided to stick closer to home during the early part of 2016, I really need to get to grips with my garden before it gets totally out of hand and I’d also like to get a few more jobs sorted around the house and studio. I’m planning another extended trip to the U.S. in 2017 but for next year I intend to concentrate primarily on Irish workshops, our annual retreat at beautiful Vale do Mondego in Portugal plus investigate the possibility of another foray or two into mainland Europe if possible. I’m delighted to announce that I’ll be organising a really special residential eco printing retreat just down the road from Clasheen during July 2016!

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I’m fine tuning details at the moment but suffice to say extremely comfortable accommodation at a beautiful rural Irish location, optional collection from the airport, delicious food, all tuition, on site access to amazing natural plant material, at least one group excursion including a trip to Cushendale Woollen Mill (more excursions depending on participant’s requirements) plus a celebration evening meal at Clasheen one night. These are the bare bones of the retreat, as soon as I can I’ll be confirming the dates and the cost but it’s definitely going to take place sometime during July, please let me know if you thInk you might be interested in attending! In addition to a group retreat I’ll also be available to accommodate individual or small group residential workshops at Clasheen from approx March onwards, the course material for these will be geared towards felting larger projects and/or intensive eco printing on protein and/or cellulose fabrics. I’m also happy to offer visits withIn the surrounding region to participants if they’d like a day or two off from the studio and non participating partners can avail of super hiking locally, the nearby coast, wood turning workshops, guided eco trails, kayaking, golf outings, visits to medieval Kilkenny etc., etc., all right on the doorstep of Clasheen!

 

Now for some early information about our next retreat at beautiful Dominio Vale do Mondego in Portugal!!!

Delicious food and wine at Dominio Vale do Mondego!

For 2016 we’re running it a little later than usual, it’ll be taking place from18th to 25th June and it’s also our first workshop exclusively devoted to eco printing. Eelco’s knowledge of the local vegetation coupled with an ever increasing quest for more eco printing has led to this decision, I’m really excited about the move because I really want to explore the use of local plants more thoroughly!

Olga and Marta happy with their fabulous eco printed leggings

If any participants do want to felt though of course they’ll be free to do so in their own time and print what they make during the group classes every day! Please contact Karin directly if you’d like to reserve a place for this retreat, non participating workshop partners are welcome to join for a slightly reduced fee so don’t feel like yu have to leave anyone behind.

So, it’s been a manic couple of months. FORM had a fantastic ten days at the Kilkenny Arts Festival and I also participated in two separate events for Heritage Week, the Carlow Made collective exhibition in Carlow Library and a local craft fair at the John F. Kennedy Arboretum in Co. Wexford. I don’t usually do craft fairs anymore where the participants are not juried in, the arboretum is such a fantastic resource however and I was really delighted that I made the effort to attend as many people were really interested in seeing what I was doing.

Next post Fernie and Lethbridge workshop pictures!!!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco printing highlights from an intensive week of study and experimentation!

Last week was super fun and super intensive, a whole week facilitating eco orinting through discussion, plotting and planning as well as actually spending hands on time in the outdoor printing studio, aka the garage! It all kicked off on Saturday when I picked up friend and fellow fabric enthusiast Caroline from Dublin Airport. We’d met in Portugal while participating in a Joan Morris residential workshop and almost immediately started planning for Caroline to come over here to study one to one, we also wanted to spend some time together experimenting. The main focus of our time together was to achieve clarity of prints and play with different ways in which to achieve good results on cellulose fabrics, the whole week was an absolute blast, many bottles of wine were consumed too!!!

Here are just a few of Caroline’s highlights in pictures………..

Caroline's eucalyptus prints on linen

Caroline's geranium and cranesbill on linen

A big smile from Caroline and a beautiful linen dress!

The shadowing around the neckline of this linen too printed through two layers of paper resist, another wonderful linen top from Caroline!!!

…… and a couple of my own results I’m particularly happy with!

Satin mordanted with Symplocos printed with eucalyptus

Symplocos mordant has helped achieve amazingly copper like tones on satin

Alder leaves and female catkins on satin

Contrasting colours from the same dye pot, don’t they just sing together?

Caroline's eucalyptus printed linen and my cotinus and rosebay willow herb seed pod printed cotton blend

On Tuesday while Caroline worked away bundling in the indoor studio I spent a lovely time with mother and daughter duo Cristina and Morgan, it was their first time eco printing. After a little discussion about what we would be doing we all headed off to gather our vegetation. Unfortunately the weather was not great early. In the day, the fields were really wet so we stuck to the lane and garden instead. Before lunch Cristina and Morgan got 4 satin scarves in the pot and in the afternoon we all made a stack of paper to print. Their results were super and isn’t Morgan a fab model?

Congratulations Cristina and Morgan, great job!

Morgan in front of the rose she used to print this scarf!

Finally for today, congratulations go to Margaret Hennessey who guessed correctly that dock leaves were used to print this experimental felt wrap.
I’m afraid that I forgot to bring it with me to town today Margaret but promise it’ll be in the post on Wednesday so it should be with you by the end of this week.