October felt jewellery class in Ennis Creative Arts Centre!

I’m delighted to be returning to the beautiful Ennis Creative Arts Centre in Tubber, Co. Galway on 19th October where I’ll be facilitating a felt jewellery making workshop, instead of participating in one! Here’s a picture of Liga, Ronna Sarvas Weltman and me outside Shirley Bredin’s gorgeous venue, a beautifully renovated Irish farmhouse that’s been tastefully extended to accommodate a fabulous studio. This picture was taken after the brilliant polymer clay class I attended with Ronna, I loved every minute of the weekend!!!

Liga, Ronna and me outside the Ennis Creative Arts Centre

Liga, Ronna and me outside the Ennis Creative Arts Centre

Anyway, a little more info about what I’ll be sharing………….during this intensive one day jewellery making class we’ll be working towards making three specific items of jewellery, a flower ring, a beaded bracelet and a large multi functional flower bolo. No previous felting experience is necessary to attend the workshop but if you are an experienced or improving felter I’ll be able to help you add your own quirky twist to these most popular designs from my studio. Shirley’s set up an event page on facebook for people to check out and I’m posting a more expansive workshop description here so that you may get a greater feel for what the day will offer! Do please consider joining us if you live on the other side of Ireland and have not considered travelling to Duckett’s Grove before. The techniques learnt during this workshop will be ones that you can use in a whole variety of sculptural projects, the cord making one (I learnt it from Anita Larkin many years ago) is particularly useful!!! Here goes….

‘Funky Felt Jewellery”

Wet felted flowers and cords make wonderful jewellery, scarf closures, hair accessories and colourful accents to brighten any outfit; alternatively they are perfect for adding a decorative element to interior and exterior design schemes! During this workshop Nicola will share with participants how to create stylish flowers with or without stems using her favourite short fibered merino and a selection of embellishing fibres such as silk, bamboo and Firestar. Intermediate and more experienced felters will learn the techniques necessary to add multiple stamens, felt ring backs or several layers of petals all at once; each flower will be created totally from wet felting, no need to sew a stitch!

Gorgeous and colourful felt flowers felted during one of my workshops last year at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival!

Gorgeous and colourful felt flowers felted during one of my workshops last year at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival!

For participants who do like to stitch however, Nicola will have a selection of beads and brooch backs with which the flowers may be turned into beautiful, sparkling, pieces of jewellery. We will also learn a simple but very effective way of felting strong, hard cords. During the workshop participants will felt a long cord which may be combined with a felt ring to wear as a stunning multi functional felt bolo. The technique for making these cords may also be used in a variety of other ways including quirky jewellery, spikes for three dimensional felting and strong bag handles.

Beautiful felt flowers!

I love this picture taken after my workshop at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber festival today, check out the beautiful smiles and fab felt flowers. We started our first flower just using short fibre merino but adding plenty of bamboo for embellishment, the second flowers included a stem, silk, bamboo and loads of lovely alpaca locks from generous sposnors Alpaca Fiber Solutions! I'm heding for an early night now, well done with the flowers ladies, I look forward to seeing some of you again next weekend.

 

Drying the large wall hanging is taking some time

I'm amazed how long the large wall hanging is taking to complete. I called in to the Gaelscoil after I'd finished felting with the Goleir group yesterday morning to discover the art room was a bit smelly and humid because of the drying felt. Now that it's not so wet and heavy I decided to bring the piece home with me and try to get it dry outside, at least this way I can move and turn it regularly.

At the moment it's draped over one of my felting tables at the front of the house. I'm a little nervous that Rex might lift his leg on a corner of it but unless the wind and possibly the sun gets to the felt (hopefully not rain, look at that sky!) I'm not sure how on earth I'll get it ready to iron and attach the flowers. The school have put a picture of the wall hanging in progress online, once we're finished I'll collate all the picture and videos I've taken myself and post the best images here on the blog.

I'll leave you today with a picture of the beautiful flowers felted by the Goleir group yesterday, next week we'll take pictures of all the work created during this fun and creative four week series of workshops!

 

 

A lovely afternoon felting!

I spent a great afternoon facilitating a 'Fun Felt Flower' workshop for Geraldine and her lovely granddaughter Orla at Duckett's Grove yesterday. During the course of the two hours, Geraldine and Orla felted two flowers each (the first without a stem the second with) while I felted two myself and finished a commission of a flower bolo which I'd started earlier in the morning. Instead of felting a third flower each the ladies went for a stroll around the gardens then headed home with wool and embellishments to have for another day.

They'll felt together again and show Orla's mum how the flowers are made, what a great birthday gift from any granny to her granddaughter!!!

I haven't forgotten that some of you are asking for instructions about how the stems are made and attached, it's been CRAZY here with mum's move and the Gaelscoil project etc. but I do promise to try and get it done for you sometime later this week! Now I'm heading to the bath, then Duckett's Grove and then back home to do yet more organising. I've been up since early this morning and already have the truck full of useful items that I don't need to deliver (to a friend who works in the community) and yet more boxes to bring to the recycling centre. Onwards and upwards……. emails, flights to Portugal, Facebook messages and other online stuff will be dealt with later tonight!

 

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
 

 

Yummy alpaca and embellishing fibres!!!

Check out this yummy box of fibre I received from Roo Kline this week complete with beautiful handmade shawl pin!!! Roo and Elizabeth from Alpaca Fiber Solutions are the amazing sponsors for my nuno felt neckpiece workshop at this years' Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, we are going to have a ball!

I can't wait to dive in but I so want to felt something special with this, I'll be bringing the samples along with me to all my upcoming US workshops.

Alpaca of this quality is a total pleasure to work with, it's not a fibre easily accessed here but once you know a good supplier…..keep them!

On the everyday side of things my current project is coming along really nicely at the Gaelscoil in Carlow, to date I've worked with 300 pupils and by next Monday afternoon another 150 will have had their first experience felting! As a result I've not actually done a lot of felting at home myself over the last two weeks as my fingers are all wrinkled by the time I leave Carlow and my back's aching, I've been trying out a few polymer clay ideas instead. Thanks Elaine (editor of the polymer clay section at Craft Gossip) for linking to the post I wrote recently about my first 'official' necklace, it's always nice to get a thumbs up. I'll be facilitating a felt flower workshop at Duckett's Grove on Saturday so I plan on felting quite a few flowers and other small items then! I'll leave you with a link to a picture of a flower head piece that Mary felted this week (Mary was one of my super students at the VEC recently), I think that it's gorgeous.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=425275637551011&set=a.114109508667627.19391.100002057342575&type=1&theater

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

Beautiful flat felt and flowers!

I've no brain power left to write today so thought instead that I'd share a couple of pictures of the fabulous felt created by students over the last two days. Congratulations to you one and all!!!

First off here are the wonderful pieces of flat felt created by Anita and Ariane, they even had time to felt a flower each yesterday, pretty impressive for their first time felting!

Secondly here's a group photo of the beautiful flowers felted this morning by the parents group I'm working with at Carlow VEC, fabulous result ladies for our second time felting together!

 

Cow hair, scarf closures and important information regarding ‘Nuno Felting by Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’

I need to confess, the raw fleece and cow hair iPad cover I felted the other day was not a success, in fact, I could go so far as to say it was a big disaster!!! Cow hair is very slippery and likes to protrude through the layers of wool in any project, I did know this from previous experience and was happy to use it to my advantage in the little vessel pictured.

Back CameraWhat I did for this narrow mouthed vessel was lay the hair against my plastic resist, encase everything in several layers of lamb’s wool then felt them together. The hair worked its way through to the outside during the felting process and ended up as an interesting surface detail, I love this piece. For some lunatic reason however I decided to include cow hair in the iPad cover even though I was able to predict a hairy interior, stupid! I loved the idea of raw fleece and cow hair combined but unfortunately the resultant felt is shedding like crazy both on the outside and the inside of the cover. The soap I used, the felting net, the utility room and my kitchen are covered in loose strands of the hair days later, you know by now how much I HATE cleaning and tidying so you can imagine how thrilled that makes me feel!

Anyway, yesterday I knuckled down to felt 23 flowers with ring backs with a lot more success, these are multi functional acting as colourful scarf closures and are also one of the components of my flower bolo.

IMG_4530The flower bolo has proved to be a best seller since I came up with the design prior to my trip to the wonderful Tin Thimble last September. It may be worn in several different ways and as all my stock of them sold in the run up to Christmas I decided to felt more for both the studio and design shop at Duckett’s Grove when we reopen the first weekend in February. It was really nice to work with bright, cheery colours for the flowers and I’ve continued this theme today while working on some nuno felt, pics tomorrow, weather permitting.

Finally for today, I just wanted to let you all know some important information regarding ‘Nuno Felting by Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’. Due to circumstances beyond my control I regret that from this point forwards purchasers will no longer be able to get a free set of templates for Chrissie’s designs when they order the book. This was a unilateral descision taken by Chrissie, she is however making them available from her at an additional cost of £2.50 per template.

Workshop pictures, Gaelscoil, Mount Juliet Christmas village…..

Once again I’m very busy, some of you might even ask what’s new? Unfortunately we don’t have wireless internet yet in the studios at Duckett’s Grove and this is meaning that I’m actually incommunicado for much of the week at present. The upside however ensures that I’m getting through my work in a more structured fashion, felting and updating the blog from Clasheen during the week and teaching/felting smaller projects at the studio for the weekends. Having Leiko living here too (in Tom’s house beside me) means that Rex isn’t lonely and my house isn’t untended while I’m away either, especially good as lambing season is just about tostart and I don’t want to lock Rex up all the time I’m away either.

Sharon, Helen, Tracy, Aideen, Anna, Lynsey and Jenny with their gorgeous felt flowers

This past weekend I facilitated two lovely workshops. On Saturday I had a fun group of family and friends for a surprise hen party/baby shower to felt flowers and on Sunday friend Paula and her daughter Sorcha made beautiful flat felt to be stitched into clutch bags. The Sunday session was my way of saying thanks to Paula for ensuring I submitted a proposal to Gaelscoil Eoghain Ui Thuairisc, as a result I start work this week on a large art project with 480 national school children!

 

Paula and Sorcha with their fabulous felt clutches

Emma Jane Champley and I also got good news this week, written confirmation that we’ve been accepted for two stands side by side at the Mount Juliet Christmas Village, a 16 day extravaganza which runs from 8th to 23rd December inclusive. Leiko’ll also be helping us man the fort and showing some of her latest designs so if Irish made high quality jewellery, felt, paintings and Christmas cards are of interest to you look no further!