Upcoming workshops at Duckett’s Grove and look what Debbie created incorporating one of my flowers!

I've had a pretty frustrating week computer wise, thanks goodness for the iPad otherwise I might have gone totally mad! Next weekend I have a felt bag workshop happening on Saturday 16th February in Duckett's Grove, the initial process is the same for vessels and other three dimensional objects so if either bags with integrated handles, pockets and flaps or strong, sculptural vessels are your thing please email me asap to book your place. On Saturday 2nd March I have a beginners and improvers flat felting workshop happening, again please email me if you would like to book a place. These will both be intensive hands on classes where you will leave at the end of the day with a beautiful finished piece and the knowledge that you will confidently be able to repeat the process at home by yourself, more details over on the workshop page.

 

Before Christmas I met a lovely South African lady called Lizette at Borris Food and Craft Market. She bought some of my naturally printed and dyed nuno felt to bring home for gifts and also selected a few flowers in nice bright colours, felt and silk are wonderfully lightweight to transport so make perfect presents for anyone heading off in a plane!!! Anyway, Lizette is back here for a visit and called in to say hi again at the market on Friday. With her she brought me a gift of the latest 'Bead Book' magazine sent from her good friend Debbie Rijns, director of education at Precious Metal Clay South Africa.

In the magazine I was thrilled to see that a tutorial for one of Debbie's mixed media necklaces features one of my felt flowers combined with a beautiful PMC leaf, copper wire, beads and cord. Above is a picture of the second page of Debbie's tutorial. Thanks Debbie for creating such a lovely necklce incorporating the flower and I really appreciate the credit and mention in the magazine!

 

 

 

Interesting combination of hard and soft!

I'm really a felter and only a felter! However, I do love the combination of other materials with hand made felt and up to now have always bought my beads, buttons and findings from others who are skilled in the art of making them.

 

I don't have time to write properly today but here're two pics, an experimental Fimo ring and felt/Fimo pendant I've just finished making, I'm thrilled! Finally I think that I've found a medium I can have fun with and that I will be able to use to design unique organic shapes for my own closures and other bits and bobs.

I used a wonderful online tutorial from Ronna Sarvas Weltman (search for it on YouTube) to learn how to create the textured pod shape for the pendant and then fell totally in love with Melanie West's jewellery, often inspired by nudibranches believe it or not! Kathleen Dunstin is another artist to watch, stunning work. Thanks to polymer clay experts and friends Liga and Sharon for your help (Valg Studio and The Bead and Button Emporium respectively on Facebook) and encouragement, I think I'm going to have great fun. The only thing I'll have to be careful of is if I decide to use super glue to attach the centre to another pod, I nearly stuck my hands together but couldn't wait until I had sourced a different glue, I wanted to see the finished piece

 

 

 

 

Felting workshops for Michigan uploaded at last, lock down and Irish and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships!

Finally, at last I have managed to upload details about the two 1 day workshops I will be facilitating in Michigan this May to the workshop page and amazingly this time they have not caused everything else to hop all over the place or disappear altogether!!!  Our venue is now confirmed as the Presbyterian Church in Plainwell, a wonderfully welcoming space and only about 15 minutes drive from Kalamazoo.  I am so looking forward to staying with Dawn again and meeting up with some of you who participated in the workshops at the KIA last Fall or attended the Weaver’s Guild talk on my last evening.  This trip I will be offering 2 one day workshops, on Friday 20th May we will work on ‘simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’, on Saturday 21st the title will be ‘nuno mosaic’.  Participants attending both days will have the option of felting more complex projects, check out the full listing at the bottom of the workshop page to get all the details!

I’m in a bit of a lock down situation at the moment, felting hard, writing and working for as long as possible each day on projects for the book which Chrissie and I are trying to put to bed.  Deciding not to turn on the television until after 9pm each night (if at all!) has definitely helped, I NEVER wanted a ‘box’ here at all but Alan really needed to keep up to date with the progress during the last local election campaign and once it arrived it was like a virus!  Today I have been working on some accessories using a combination of short fibred merino and hand dyed silk fabric.  Thanks Heather for the silk, you may remember it was that stretchy funny stuff you gave me a present of in October and although I found it really didn’t give me the result I was seeking when nuno felting (the stretch I think) it is combining wonderfully with the wool in this different sort of project, wait ’till the book is out!  PS Heather has a give away running on her blog at the moment so if you hurry you might be the lucky winner of one of her latest new scarves!!!

Lastly I urge you to check out the Irish and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships which are taking place about 40 minutes drive from my house the first weekend in June!  More about this exciting event anon …..

Thanks everyone for your help and how are things looking now???

Thanks to all of you who commented and sent me emails re. the formatting of the blog over the last few days.  It was SO frustrating to be having difficulties and no time to sort them out but hopefully things look back to normal now although I have had to delete the last photo from the second last post for some very strange reason. 

Happy but tired at the end of a successful felt accessories workshop!

 

Here it is again with all the participants from the KIA felt accessory workshop tired but happy (at least I HOPE everyone was happy!) wearing and displaying some of their beautiful nuno felt, flowers and jewellery.  I loved all the work created during this class, gorgeous wearables perfect to brighten up any winter day! 

I am also going to include an image of me wearing one of the gorgeous dusters that Dawn and I made with Horst during our amazing time with him and his family at the beginning of October.  Thanks Jess for taking such wonderful photos and airbrushing etc. where needed!  I was lucky enough to bring one of the dusters home with me and as soon as I wear it to the next exhibition opening I attend promise to have some photos taken to show it back here in Ireland.

Beautiful duster that Dawn and I made under Horst's supervision!

Pictures at last!

My blog/computer seems to be working to order this morning so as promised here are some pictures from the Monday accessories workshop at the KIA! 

Laying out short fibred merino on top of silk for the nuno scarves

Deb's dreadlocks in place at the end of her scarf

Oops, I spoke too soon, so frustrating but I have only been able to upload one picture.   What on earth is happening with WordPress?????  Will try again later …..

The jewellery ladies!

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!

Super San Fransisco workshops and onwards to Michigan ……

Well, I have just spent a fun filled five days with Jamie and Blas exploring the Mission District and facilitating a ‘Felt Accessories’ and a ‘Felt Vessel’ workshop organised through their wonderful Urban Fauna Studio.

A detail of the fabulous wall art from the Clarion Alley Mural Project, North Mission

The two workshops were pretty hectic but I hope that everyone was happy with the results,  I certainly was happy with the creativity evident and the range of beautiful pieces felted!

Anna, Barbara, Jamie, Bonnie, Flo, Rosalind, Natalie and me (from L to R)

During the Saturday workshop participants all worked on individual projects and by the end of the day everybody went home with either a felt bag, nuno wrap, piece of jewellery, iPhone cover or a piece of nuno  felt yardage. Different techniques new to participants included felting around a resist, a simple way of incorporating long cords and including resists between layers of wool at the layout stage which are then cut into in order to expose underlying fabrics once the felt is fulled.  Blas also started a little memory stick cover (thumb drive to you in the US!) in between looking after everyone at the venue and was delighted to finish it at home, repair his memory stick and have a TINY felt pouch perfect to protect this delicate piece of computer equipment!

Blas's felt memory stick cover!

Three people choose to return again today for the vessel workshop and it was very interesting for me to see how some of the wool varieties I am NOT used to working with felt!  Participants used a variety of wools including Corriedale, Romney and two unidentified wool batts and everyone left with a beautiful felted vessel.  Several of the pieces need a little more work fulling over the next day or two although in every case we got a good idea of what the finished piece would be like, the extra fulling is just to make sure that they are strongly felted and hold their shape no matter what.  I would like to post some more about the workshops but I need to finish packing my bags and head off to the airport in two hours so will leave you with some more pictures from the weekend.  Tomorrow morning I am getting picked up by Dawn at Grand Rapids Airport and we are both travelling on to visit and felt with Horst, I can hardly wait to meet them both!!!

Flo's vessel showing the window she created exposing some wonderful colour within

Me, Jamie, Anastasia, Bonnie, Flo and Leslee (from L to R)

Anastasia with her gorgeous bowl incorporating lichen

Bonnie looking stunning in her funky dreadlock necklace!

Natalie's brilliant felt clutch incorporating some of her own hand dyed roving!

My favourite felt accessory of the moment, raw materials for US workshops and a picture of my new fibre friend!

If you are a regular follower of this blog you will know how hectic things have been here at Clasheen since my return from ‘Felt Naturally’ in Silkeborg at the beginning of August.  Laying out and felting Sylvia’s large rug took a lot longer in actuality than in planning, partially due to the logistics of scaling up to such a degree (especially without another pair of hands!) and partially due to interruptions with Lady Captain duties at Borris Golf Club.  I did however manage to fit in a few small projects between other committments and one of the pieces that I felted is definitely one of my all time favourite accessories, a real conversation opener whenever I wear it at the moment which to be honest is quite often!  

Green felt boa

Charlotte Buch needs to be credited with the design and was very generous in sharing the technique used with all of us who participated in her long workshop in Denmark.  Because I was totally focused on felting my sea creature it wasn’t until I returned to Clasheen that I actually got to try out this method for myself and I absolutely LOVE the versality of the finished piece!  In the workshop many participants felted this boa starting with a base of prefelt but for mine I decided to start from scratch and use some of the gorgeous hand dyed merino roving I recieved from Holly as part of the New Year Secret Scarf Exchange organised via Ravelry.  The boa may be twisted a couple of times around the neck as a necklace, wrapped around the waist, worn as a scarf, tied around a ponytail and in many other ways which might grab the wearer at any given moment.  This felt accessory just goes to demonstrate how totally versatile and adaptable one simple design may be and if you would like to see some of the other ways which I wear mine have a look through my Flickr  photos.  Another amazing advantage of felting this piece is that my horror of a sewing machine has almost disappeared, honestly!  Charlotte uses either an embellisher or a sewing machine (depending on the end result required) during the early stages of some of her work and to be honest once I saw how simple various of the techniques were and the amazing results on offer I have had a major head change with regard to the use of these frightening pieces of equipment (frightening to me!). 

This brings me on to another point which I feel is well worth making before I head over to the US next week.  Many different raw materials may eventually lead to a similar end result and many different end results may be arrived at by numerous different people all starting from the same point and using the same raw materials!  This is something that I can’t stress enough for anyone considering joining me at one of the exciting workshops that are planned for Loomis, Berkeley, San Fransisco and Kalamazoo over the next 4 weeks.  Please don’t feel that you have to copy exactly what I do or use the same fibres and other raw materials that I choose to use but obviously you are welcome to do so if that is what you so wish!  What I will be providing is an insight into how I work, what I find works best for me (I am ALWAYS learning and discovering new materials and texchniques!), sharing some of my own favourite pieces and bringing along with me as many raw materials and embellishments as possible to examine with all of you thereby providing a felting receipe which you may choose to follow or totally adapt dependent on your own wishes.  What I would like all participants to do is to bring with you as many or as few of your own felting materials,  found items, stash goodies, jewellery findings and equipment as you can comfortably transport (in a bag or in a truck!!!) and then we can look at the ways in which you work and find the direction and materials you are comfortable experimenting with in order to create some fabulous and individual pieces during the course of the various workshops!  Is it obvious HOW EXCITED I am to be finally meeting so many of you in the flesh???

Lastly, here is a picture I took of a fibre friend from La Gomera and I have now installed her as my desktop background because I think she is just gorgeous!!! 

My fibre friend from La Gomera!

San Fransisco workshops now open for bookings!

I am thrilled to be making a return visit to San Fransisco this Fall and Jamie and Blas of Urban Fauna Studio and Mary Jane’s Attic fame have put together two wonderful day workshops, Felt Accessories on Saturday 2nd and Felt Vessels on Sunday 3rd October!  The 2nd is actually World Felt Day so how much fun is it that we will be felting together and creating fibre magic in such a stylish part of the world? 

Funky vessel felted from Norwegian C1 and Herdwick

I know that you have seen a picture of this felt vessel before but I am pretty excited to reveal that it has just been selected by a top UK trend  forecaster to be featured as one of the images on their ‘Hunter/Gather’ mood board for Autumn/Winter 2011/2012!  If you would like to learn how to make a fun vessel like this why not join me in San Fransisco???

Rug update – I was in the middle of ironing the rug yet again this afternoon prior to a final rolling but all the steam caused my bandage to loosen and then I knocked my finger, loads of blood all over again, so annoying.  Between tomorrow and Friday I will roll a little and spot full anywhere I am not entirely happy with, hope Sylvia likes the result when I deliver it on Monday!

Booking open for my felting workshops in Michigan this October!

Booking is now open for my ‘Complex Felt Bag’ and ‘Felted Accessories’ workshops at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan on 9th, 10th and 11th October!  I am so excited to be finally getting everything together for my American trip and this is just another milestone towards a totally fantastic fibre filled adventure!!!  Yesterday I booked all my international and internal flights (Dublin to San Fransisco, San Fransisco to Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids to Philadelphia and New York back to Dublin) and it is just going to be so exciting to meet as many of my blogging felting friends as possible during the 4 weeks which I will be spending on the road.  Dawn Edwards (of the wonderful hats fame!) has been brilliant setting up the Michigan leg of things and I am so looking forward to spending time with her both at the workshops and during a planned visit to felt with Horst of Horst Couture, I am almost expiring with excitment as he is one of my all time felting idols!!!  Anyway, I thought that for today I would just let you know what is planned for Kalamazoo so that if you are interested in joining us you can book to be sure of your place, below are the details taken directly from the Institute of Arts website. 

Complex Felt Bags – Functional Wearable Art (557)

Nicola Brown
Saturday and Sunday, October 9 & 10, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sustaining Members: $143, Members: $147,
Note: Community registration begins August 11.
Community: $155
Studio 6, Limit 10
Materials fee to be paid on date of workshop. A $30 (approximately) materials fee will need to be paid on date of workshop. Participants will begin by creating a small piece of jewelry imbedding glass nuggets or stones within our felt and using natural or artificial fabric for surface decoration and texture. There will be discussion of the various options for felting bags with integrated handles, multiple pockets, flaps, attachments and shapes and looking at the various ways the bags may be adapted to be used as handbags, shoulder bags or backpacks. Participants will learn how to either stitch or stick resist materials together to create the templates and then make a sample piece using layers of merino and C1 wool or similar coarse wool. Continuation of felting and finishing the bags will complete the workshop. Bring a sack lunch, materials list available on the web.

 

Felted Accessories (558)

Nicola Brown
Monday, October 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sustaining Members: $68, Members: $72
Note: Community registration begins August 11.
Community: $80
Studio 6, Limit 10
Materials fee to be paid on date of workshop. A $27 (approximately) materials fee will need to be paid on date of workshop. This workshop will allow participants to experiment incorporating found objects, glass nuggets, stones, fabric, leather, fish skin and any other kind of inclusion in make unique wearable accessories. Each person will create a combination of rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, scarves, simple belts, purses, neck wraps, sleeveless mittens, or flowers. Nicola will bring a selection of unusual fabrics with her from Ireland including metallic meshes and sequin or glitter studded polyester, for participants to use. Bring a sack lunch; materials list available on the web.

To book either or both workshops please scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the relevant link!