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…..
 

 

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!

 

 

 

Istvan and Trees arrive in Ireland, a special 4 days of felt related activity is underway!

It’s official, felt masters Istvan Vidak and Trees Coussement have arrived in Ireland!  Carmen and I returned from collecting them at the airport last night at 11pm and then I spent until 2.40am cooking at Clasheen, whew, I will sleep well tonight.  This morning I drove back to Carmen’s to collect Istvan and Trees and we went together to meet up with Jeremy Hill at the wonderful Norman Gallery where an exhibition of their work will open later tonight.

The Norman Gallery is the perfect setting to show off these beautiful felt bags

I helped Vidak and Trees organise the felt and I have to confess to buying one of Istvan’s stunning decorative bags too!  After meeting the workshop participants and grabbing a quick lunch it was back home for me to finish fitting the units in the back kitchen.  Now I just need to tidy the bedrooms where 3 of my friends will be staying then it’s off to the train station for me and flying to Birmingham at 6.30am with Alan for the weekend!  Tomorrow while Alan is at a meeting I am going to head to a textile market I discovered on a search for saris and the like to nuno felt with!  On Monday I will meet up with Carmen, Istvan and Trees again and get the chance to see some of the beautiful work felted over the next 4 days.

While I am away Rex will be in seventh heaven with all the house guests and loads of walking.  Possibly I won’t get to do much over the internet until Monday evening but I do promise to upload a few pics via Facebook if I get a chance to catch my breath and find some yummy fabric!

Istvan and Trees joking in front of the beautiful bag I bought

Nuno felt, show and tell, picture of the beautiful felt bags created at the workshop on Saturday!

It is 14.52 as I sit down to write this post and although I had planned to felt from dawn to dusk today I haven’t managed to get one piece of wool or silk laid out yet, UGH!!!  I have decided to keep this brief …..

  • My project for the day is a nuno felt collar.
  • Borris Active Retirement had a fantastic ‘show and tell exhibition’ last Wednesday – I am currently downloading all the pictures that I have been emailed from the afternoon and hope to upload them to Flickr tomorrow.
  • Saturday’s felt bag workshop was brilliant and unfortunately the following photo does not do either the participants or the bags full credit!  It was lashing (wet and windy in Irish!) when we had finished, photography was difficult and two of the bags need a little bit of finishing.  I’m guessing you will get the idea anyway, I was so impressed with the individuality of the work and will blog properly about our day next time I get a minute.  Agnieszka has already posted a couple of pictures about the progress of her bag to her blog and I am guessing we might get a clear picture of the finished bag there before very long.  Her spinning and dyeing is like eye candy anyway so I think that you will enjoy browsing her work even if it is a few days before the completed bag is revealed!!!
  • My computer is really having some problems so I am on call for a friend to take remote control once more while he removes everything that is loaded on it and hopefully starts from scratch to iron out all my issues!
Mary, Agniezszka, Gerd and Helena with their wonderful bags!

 

Announcing felt bag workshop at Clasheen and some pictures from Borris Active Retirement!

Not so simple, not so complex, I am delighted to announce that I will be facilitating a ‘felt bag workshop’ here at Clasheen on Saturday 19th March!  This is the perfect opportunity for improving felters to explore the possibilities of designing bags with integrated handles, pockets, flaps and interesting closures.  We will discuss and examine some of my own work and then each participant will design and felt a small or medium sized bag of their own!  Please check out the workshop page for further details and email me asap if you would like to attend this workshop, I have only 3 places left!!!

Mena having a laugh with Dorothy and Mary while working on her first felt beret!

I am a little tired today both mentally and physically, all morning I have been fine tuning several proposals and still haven’t unloaded the truck from yesterday’s session with the Borris Active Retirement Group!  Before I head off to do that now I am going to leave you with a fun picture and if you head over to Flickr you will see some more images of the beautiful work all these ladies are creating!!!

CRAFTed news, Michigan workshops open for booking and general workshop information

Laying out merino for the inside of a beret

Friday’s CRAFTed session was chaotic but fun, all the girls are going to have beautiful items to take home with them as a reminder of this transitional year at the school.  Working with 32 inexperienced felters is definitely a challange, I love the enthusiasm with which everyone is attacking their work, it does mean that Mairead (6th class teacher) and I are running all over the art room however during each session and I really hope that I am able to give each girl enough individual attention to ensure the process is an enjoyable one for everyone!  These individual projects will be completed in our last session (they include bags, cell phone covers, vessels, flat felt with/without little pockets, two scarves and one beret!) where we will also work on our collaborative wall hanging, this will be hung in the school when the girls graduate later this summer.  Because of the logistics when working with 32 beginners I am thinking that we will divide the class into three distinct groups next time, each group will rotate and have their turn to finish their individual project, create twisted yarn cords to add to their bags as well as select a square from the group piece which they will then embellish, add a pocket to or otherwise decorate with something of significance which they would like to leave behind as they leave for secondary school and move forward in life.  Not sure if this will work but I am predicting it will be easier and more sensible than having everyone working on the same task at the same time, it will also avoid me running all around the art room all the time, more concentrated effort but less stressful I think for all envolved! 

MICHIGAN WORKSHOPS – I am delighted to say that our Michigan workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May are now open for booking!  Please email the wonderful Dawn if you would like to reserve your place, I am just going to have another go uploading  the full details and descriptions to the workshop page (having problems yet again today!) so in case of further technical issues the Friday workshop is titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’ while Saturday will be dedicated to the fascinating art of ‘Nuno Mosaic’.  One workshop will cost $140 or if both are taken the cost will be $130 per day, for more about what can be covered over two days check out the general workshop information further down this post. 

Wonderful vintage printed silk and chiffon create Marni's gorgeous textured nuno mosaic scarf!

The nuno mosaic technique was taught to me by German felter Sigrid Bannier and is a wonderful way to create memorable wraps, scarves and yardage for incredible one off pieces of clothing.  To refresh your memory (or if you are only visiting this blog for the first time!) here is an image of Marni’s amazing scarf incorporating vintage silk and chiffon from one of the Tin Thimble’s workshops last Fall, this was actually the first time ever that Marni had felted a nuno piece!  If this has not whet your appetite enough there are some more nuno mosaic images from The Tin Thimble workshops here, some from the previous Fall at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco here and a few of my own nuno mosaic skirt and matching wrap here.

GENERAL WORKSHOP INFORMATION – I like to think of my workshops as a place where I share information and provide a recipe for felters to follow or adapt as they see fit!  When I am teaching I always explain that there are many ways possible to reach a similar end result, I will be sharing the methods and tips which I find work best and usually guarantee me a successful outcome, it is up to each individual participant to determine whether they want to follow exactly or adapt the steps to suit themselves.  Although each of my upcoming workshops has a title representing the main technique/techniques covered on that particular day, it will be possible for participants choosing to attend for both days to felt larger more complex projects that may not be specifically mentioned in the titles.  An example would be someone who wanted to felt a complex felt sculpture or bag using several stitched resists, another would be a person wanting to create a reversible nuno felt shrug.  If you have any queries in this respect please don’t hesitate to email me personally, I want to provide all the necessary information in order for people to make an educated descision.  As previous experience has demonstrated most participants at my American workshops are regular felters, it should be noted that all the workshops are open to total beginners so please don’t feel you can’t attend if you are just starting out learning this fascinating craft, I would love to have you come along!!!

Finally, at the risk of sounding pushy, the Kentucky workshops are now provisionally full for Saturday and only have 4 places left on Friday, if anyone is having a little think about things please don’t think for too long!!!

THANKS and pictures of the beautiful felt created at the KIA workshops!

I’m home safely at last and bowled over when I look back at all the pictures I have taken over my whirlwind felting trip to the US.  Four weeks sounds like a LOT of time to spend on the road but in actual fact the time just whooshed by although I lived every minute to the best of my ability and LOVED every second spent with fibre friends both new and old!  It’s just not possible to thank everyone who contributed to my wonderful experience individually on the blog and I would hate to leave anyone out unintentionally so to everyone who made me feel totally at home and SO welcome everywhere I travelled THANKS!!!  Thanks to all the organisers, hosts, friends, workshop participants and blog followers who really made the trip so special and thanks to everyone who gave me unusual gifts along the way, fibre, chocolate, rolling mat, sequin waste, artificial fabric, inclusions, fabric, vintage trimmings and other little items either difficult or impossible to get here in Ireland.  I love them all and hope to show you pictures here as soon as I start to incorporate them into my felt over the next few months although in case you are wondering I am eating the yummy chocolate, some things are just a step to far when it comes to adding inclusions!

Now for some pictures as promised from the fantastic complex bag workshop at the Kalamazoo Institute of Art, pictures to follow tomorrow from the felted accessories workshop and then over the weekend pictures from my visit with Dawn and my trip to the Sheep and Wool Festival in Rhinebeck with Heather! 

Cyndee and Lindy adding surface detail to their bags

 

Detail from Sally's bag

 

Wonderful bags created at the KIA weekend workshop