Vessel turned bag!

Some of you may remember I had tried and failed to shape a large felt vessel to compliment three smaller ones made for the inaugural FORM exhibition in June. The depth of the vessel coupled with the thickness of the wool (many fine layers in the layout) and lack of time did not agree with my current tennis elbow, finally I put it aside and decided to revisit it later.

Later arrived the other day, pretty quickly actually as it turned out! Merridee, Keith and I gathered some windfallen eucalyptus leaves from an unidentified tree while out walking, I flattened the vessel as best as I could, soaked it I vinegar then bundled it and boiled for several hours in a eucalyptus and onion skin dye bath.

Interesting prints where an insect has eaten into the. Edge of the eucalyptus leaf! Felting and printing by Nicola Brown - Clasheen

I'm thrilled with the printing result although I still couldn't reshape it quite the way I'd like to, never mind, this one's a keeper and after the Kilkenny Arts Festival is over I'll add a leather shoulder strap!

Felt bag by Nicola Brown

Large felt bag naturally printed with eucalyptus leaves by Nicola Brown

 

 

Little felt shopping bag, a successful over dyeing/natural printing project

I'm getting tonnes of use and plenty of compliments for this little shopping bag that I felted and printed in Portugal. If my arms were currently a bit stronger (tennis elbow in both unfortunately!) I would have stretched the top edge more during the fulling stage and again after it came out of the dye pot but all in all I'm pleased with the shape and size. Initially I didn't like the results when I printed it, the vegetation that I used was eucalyptus and St. John's Wort but the biggest problem was that some of the black silk ran with the heat. Here's a picture of the front of the bag after the first printing session, see the pale grey lines………
…………… and below is a picture of the same side overprinted during week two in a stronger dye bath containing plenty of rusty metal. This time I was very happy with the result!

 

 

I’ve taken the plunge!

I’ve taken the plunge, nothing dramatic to many of you I’m sure but I’ve finally bought clasheen.com as a domain name. All my old blog traffic will just be redirected so no need for anyone who’s subscribed to updates to panic, as if you would! Deciding to do this was a stupidly big jump for me, my brain said of course it looks more professional but my heart said I’d grown so fond of http://www.clasheen.wordpress.com that I couldn’t bear to change things!!! Anyway, the drama is over now, I’m going to register too with Guaranteed Irish then subject to getting accepted with them I’ll then have all my new business cards, flyers and point of sale materials printed.

Apologies about the lack of communication this week, things just seem to be getting busier rather than quieter. A lot of what I’ve been up to has been one off sort of stuff, I attended an excellent workshop about merchandising, my truck had the DOE test today (to make sure it’s roadworthy for another year, yes is the answer) and I’m going to be pretty busy with Borris Food & Craft Market in the morning and a full bag making workshop at Duckett’s Grove on Saturday. I’ll take pictures of my stand tomorrow and upload them to Facebook, for the moment however here’s a picture of a small bag I felted many years ago. I’m thinking of reviving the design to teach at workshops.

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(Photography by Bernie McCoy)

Some pictures of beautiful felt bags from the north but few words today!

I had a fabulous time in Northern Ireland at the end of last week, staying with good friend Liz and facilitating a complex felt bag workshop in Hillsborough with a wonderful group of ladies! Here are a couple of pictures that I took, I'm hoping that the participants will email me pictures of their finished bags because I just didn't have any more time myself to keep snapping!!! Interestingly, the iPad cover that was such a hit in the states was also a popular choice with the group. Thanks so much to all the Northern Feltmakers for making me feel so welcome, Fiona and Ann for the organisation, Liz for being such a great helper and Dorothy for organising my lunches, I really enjoyed our evening out too and the meal was delicious!

 
 

 

Felt bag workshop

I had a lovely day today in the studio at Duckett's Grove catching up with Eliska (on the left) and Zoryana, the temperature may have been cold but their bags are going to be HOT!

We hadn't met since Dawn's great 'Fantastic Felt Hat' workshop in Borris last year so as you can imagine we had a lot of catching up to do. Good friend Tanya, who I don't see very often, also called in for a chat complete with one of her friends and gorgeous puppy as did Christine, a super new felting recruit from Myshall. Liga popped in to say hi too and brought me back my felt from the Creative Carlow shop when it closed, if you don't know Liga's beautiful polymer clay jewellery you can check it out here on Etsy. I guess you could say it was a busy day at the studio!
Here's a picture of Zoryana's bag after the handles and flaps were cut, the turquoise swirls are hand spun banana fibre and there are blue and green silk hankies over both sides of the bag. Zoryana also included one glass marble in the bottom left hand corner but this won't be revealed until the bag is totally felted and fulled.
Eliska's bag has a black inside and a hot red outside. In this picture she's sealing all the cut edges, sometimes I work on this stage of the process for an hour, it might sound like a long time but it makes such a difference to the quality of the edges!
I'm heading to bed now as I've got to have my wits about me in the morning, I'll be starting a series of four workshops with 13 ladies in Carlow so want to be in top form and not tired and bleary eyed. Over the next few days I'll be posting updates about all my US workshops and Portugal, watch this space.

 

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!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s another busy weekend

It’s another busy weekend on the felting and teaching front. Yesterday I had the market, Duckett’s Grove and organising stock for the Country Fair at Borris House, today I had an enjoyable felt bag workshop (can’t wait for finished pics Marie!), tomorrow and Monday I’m back at Duckett’s Grove and also on Monday I’m really excited that US friends Merridee and Keith will be arriving to stay!!! Our felting retreat starts on Tuesday but I will have time then to keep you all updated each day as I’ll be near the computer each day too. I’m plotting and planning my own projects for next week, Eco printing and a nuno felt shift/jumper are top of my list!

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Photos from the Lexington workshops!

It was another exciting but calm day in Lexington as larger projects from yesterday came together and new pieces were laid out too. Donna, Lindy and Karen all felted pieces in the tumble dryer last night and worked on new pieces today and until you have tried this out for yourself it is impossible to realise how much time and effort this can save you! Check out ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ or the downloadable book if you are interested in learning more about how to go about this and to see the proof of the pudding here is a group picture from this evening; Donna is modelling her wonderful vest, Karen her highly textured scarf and Lindy’s large piece of yardage is photographed to the left of the group.

Lindy’s yardage, Tonya, Donna, Jan, Nancy, Karen and Sandy (left to right)

A lot of interesting techniques were incorporated into the various pieces, resists laid out inside three dimensional pieces to reveal hidden details later (Tonya in an wonderful large vessel and Jan in a gorgeous bag which also includes glass nuggets), Karen incorporated beads at the lay out stage of her first resist project, Nancy felted a wonderful large purse with integrated handles and Sandy felted an incredible large wall hanging using alpaca and a selection of fabulous locks from a variety of different sheep and other animals! Check out the album I’ve created on facebook to see more of the work, congratulations everyone, you are amazing!!! I’ll leave you with a picture of Sandy’s beautiful landscape, isn’t it an amazing piece for her second ever time felting?

Sandy’s felt landscape using all cleaned but uncarded alpaca and other fibres

I’ve just had a great couple of days felting!

Now that I’ve made the descision to stick with felting my favourite nuno accessories and home accents all the pressure is off for my section of the new book.

Heart cuffs and brooches, a few of the many!

Yesterday was good fun, in the morning I did a little stitching on some cuffs and brooches for the market tomorrow and in the afternoon Kate Ramsey arrived and we felted and chatted together at the kitchen table. I was experimenting with some beautiful Portugese rare breed wool (more in another post) and Kate worked on some of her gorgeous flowers and scarves.

This morning it was back to nuno felting and just before Carmen arrived I had a brainwave about a new design for a bag!!! It was great to have someone with an objective eye to bounce ideas off so after about half and hour of discussion and drawing I set to and started laying out the first section. Thanks to a swap I did with Carole Dysart just before Christmas I have a lovely big bag of silk off cuts; some hand dyed, some textured, some heavy, some shiny and some with sparkly threads running through the weave. I selected a large pile of pieces ranging in colour from pinky blues through to lovely apple green and chose a turquoise Kap merino from Wollknoll to use as the base. This bag is felted in two pieces, one nuno and one regular felt, it’s not quite finished yet but when Carmen was leaving she did say that it was her favourite ever of any bag I have made to date! No more info now because the design will definitely be in the book. For those of you who are asking, Chrissie and I hope to have all our writing and projects for the book completed and edited by the middle of March, it will then be published and available as a hard copy and eBook before the end of the month.

I’m heading off now to catch up with some paperwork, grab a bit to eat and pack the car for tomorrow morning.

 

As a result I had an idea for a new bag design this morning, totally out of the blue but I am really thrilled with how it is turning out!!! Carmen was here felting with me and I was able to bounce ideas off

WOW, thanks!!!

Wow, thanks so much to all of you who took the time to respond via comment, email and on FB to the question I posed about closures for my little felt pouches!  I’ve been totally tied up writing my final assignment for ‘ Train the Trainer’ but that’s been put to bed this afternoon (all be it 36 hours later than I had hoped for), printed, bound and driven to Carlow, whew.  I’m just back now and going to have another read through all the messages, assemble my thoughts and write a proper and hopefully more constructive blog post tomorrow!

Abstract leaves on the back of the starburst pouch

I’ll decide when I have a clearer head exactly which option I’m going to use for my little starburst pouch and then I’ll sew up the sides too, whatever it is I don’t want to spoil the stitching on the back either.  I also want to blog this week about selling online and update you all with really exciting news about Dawn’s visit to Ireland and my own proposed visit in May to U.S., that trip is finally in the planning!!!  Until then I’m switching my brain off, my phone off and I just ‘might’ do a little tumbling or pinning later for fun, not before I’ve relaxed by the stove and poured a glass of wine though!