Wonderful hats from Dawn Edwards’s amazing nuno felt hat workshops and a selection of photos from the past week!!!

It's been a whirlwind of activity since Dawn's arrival in Ireland last week, both days of nuno felt hat making went like a dream, congratulations to all the participants who felted such amazing hats and thanks to Dawn for her fabulous teaching!!! Here are some highlights from the last seven days, more pics to follow later in the week.

The Raven, a beautiful beach with forest parallel to the dunes
Dawn about to dive into the Irish Sea!
Roaming the dunes
A marvellous find in Wexford town, expensive but then I've always wanted a copper boiler for natural printing!!!
Anita's hat all ready to rub
A mossy looking masterpiece
Some happy participants at the end of the first workshop
Wow Maureen!
This hat is titled 'leftie', all wool laid out with my left hand just to prove to Maureen that I could!!!
Here's the finished hat modelled by Maria, thanks!
Beautiful hats and beautiful smiles all round
Fab assistant Niki Collier's hat from day two on the left, mine on the right, thanks for all your help Niki!
A detail shot, hand painted silk with merino peeking though

 

Advertisements

Blogging, signature files, social media and buying local/handmade

On Tuesday, I facilitated a workshop re. promoting an artisan business (on zero budget!) to four friends at the wonderful Amanda Byrne’s house just outside Gorey. Amanda (a milliner and feltmaker) and I became friends initially through facebook and met when she was one of the participants at Dawn’s first ‘fantastic felt hat’ workshop in April. Since then we have been in regular contact online as Amanda builds up her business Highbury Designs, we had a session earlier in the year discussing ideas for Amanda to promote her hats and felted accessories and I’m glad to say that the business is really expanding and Amanda’s customer base is building rapidly!

A selection of Amanda Byrne’s beautiful hats and felt accessories

There are all sorts of free and inexpensive ways to get your product in front of consumers, blogging, signature files, internet forums,  business cards and social media sites like facebook and Pinterest to name but a few. It’s really important too for people to realise that buying local and buying handmade really DOES make a difference to the maker, please consider this the next time you are looking for a present or gift voucher, you are really helping to keep an artist maker in business. The four friends who participated in the workshop on Tuesday are all experienced visual artists and craftspeople with interesting and beautiful work to share, making the work is the easy part but as we all know it’s vital to then let as many people as possible know what we are doing!!! Check out their new facebook pages and if you like what you see please hit their like buttons and share. In no particular order (the order everyone sat around the table in fact) I give you Sharon, Julie, Paula and Naoimh.

Hats, new studio update and the ebook is live to order!

We had a WONDERFUL time having fun and learning new skills from great buddy Dawn Edwards during her ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops at the weekend!!! All the participants started each day oohing and aahing over the gorgeous hats on display, trying them on and discussing with Dawn whether to work from one of her templates of branch out and design one of their own.

The start of the Saturday workshop

Unfortunately I don’t have enough hours in any day at the moment to write a long review of the workshops but suffice to say Dawn’s lovely calm, knowledgeable and fun manner of teaching ensured that everybody learnt or honed their skills and left with a beautiful new creation to enjoy and show off! Both Dawn and I are uploading photos to our facebook pages but as I say time is short for me at the moment and I do want to enjoy myself with Dawn now and welcome Danish friend Kirsten to Clasheen at the weekend so it may be another few days before they all are uploaded and titled.

Sisters Babs and Helena wearing their beautiful flower decorated hats!

Friday is going to be hectic, since Dawn’s arrival I have also been running around and frantically preparing a lot of felt which needs to be delivered to Duckett’s Grove tomorrow (I had the wrong deadline) and amazingly I was in the right place at the right time and have secured a new studio place there as well! There are 4 artist’s studios in the renovated courtyard and one of the artists had to back out at the last minute, enter me!!!

Andrea shaping and fulling, Niki and Dawn near the end of the first workshop

We’ll be measuring it up tomorrow when we deliver the felt to the new retail unit there and then planning what to set up for the official opening with a government minister on Friday morning, Dawn’s been invited to display her hats too so it sounds as if it will be an action packed and fun day!

After a lot of technical issues ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ is now available to order as an ebook for iPhone, iPod and iPad touch. Currently Blurb don’t offer it for other forms of digital readers but hope to do so before too long has elapsed. I did have to make it available in a wrap around hard back too in order to get it online but I’ve priced highly just to ensure nobody orders it by mistake, of course if you do happen to want a hard back copy that’s another thing entirely!

with Chrissie Day a…
By

 

 

Fantastic Felt Hats with Dawn Edwards!

We’re having the most fantastic time here, Dawn’s workshop yesterday was a big success and now she and Chrissie are having breakfast while I try to write this from the bath!!! I’ll try to upload more photos to Facebook throughout the day and post properly tonight or tomorrow night, it’s just too manic now and we need to get on the road again!

U.S. flights booked, residential workshop in Portugal filling up nicely, felting tools posted, Dawn’s materials have arrived and CRAFTed is underway!

It’s very busy here this week and will be until Dawn Edwards and Chrissie Day arrive so I’m going to post briefly with bullet points today!

  • I’ve just confirmed my flights a few minutes ago for my U.S. trip in May. I can’t wait to be back facilitating workshops in Lexington KY with Jan Durham on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May, at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May and in Plainwell MI with Dawn Edwards on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May. Visit the workshop page for all the details.
  • Karin and I now have participants from the U.S., Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Iceland arriving to participate in the week long felting extravaganza in Portugal so there are only a few places left now! Here’s a link to the flyer with all the details. Flyer Felt workshop
  • Niki has personalised where requested and packed our first batch of felting tools and they are now en route to their new owners, thanks Rem (Niki’s husband) for bringing them to the post office yesterday. This first flush of orders came from Ireland, England, Austraila, right across the U.S. and Canada, wow!!!
  • While our ‘niki & niki’ tools went out in the post yesterday other felting materials came in by courier! I had placed an order with Wollknoll recently so the merino roving for Dawn’s two ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops in Borris on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April has now arrived as has the short fibre merino I need to bring with me to U.S., wool that I ordered for my current CRAFTed project came too and lastly I got some more ponge silk in chocolate brown for myself. I need this to nuno felt some more scarves for the new retail outlet which is opening shortly at Duckett’s Grove.
  • My collaboration with students at Rathnure NS for CRAFTed for the Crafts Council has changed shape somewhat. I was meant to have 26 six and seven year olds to work with but the school principal didn’t want one class to be split up so now I’m working with 35 pupils!!! It’s a very big group of little bodies, I think that Taragh (their teacher), Mary (a wonderful helper) and I will have our work cut out for us but it’s definitely going to be fun in the process! I’ll leave you with a picture from our first session last Wednesday, the pupils had never felted or handled wool before so were amazed at how it came together to form a strong fabric. These first pieces were all laid out on needlefelt; the children choose a couple of colours of wool to lay on top of the needlefelt, then added shapes of mohair off cuts and/or metallic fabric, some added swirls of natural and artificial knitting yarn and then all but one child added a generous sprinkling of shiny firestar!

Some of the first pieces of flat felt from senior infants and first class at Rathnure NS

Dawn Edwards is coming to Ireland!!!

I’m SO EXCITED that the wonderful Dawn Edwards has actually booked her flights to Ireland this morning, she will be arriving in Dublin early on Tuesday 17th and staying here at Clasheen from then until the end of the month!!!  We are going to have such a fantastic time.  Chrissie Day, great friend and co-author of ‘From Felt to Friendship’ will be joining us for some of the time and it will be so fantastic that Dawn and Chrissie will actually meet in the flesh rather than ‘seeing each other’ over the internet during our regular chats via Skype!

One of Dawn's beautiful hats!

As soon as I have some provisional dates sorted for our felt hat workshops I will post them to the blog and also set up an event page on Facebook.  Please bear with me, realistically this may not be for a couple of weeks due to the frantic run up to Christmas especially since I am working towards 2 more days in Borris Market as well trying to whip my house into some kind of shape yet again!  I won’t have to travel up and down from Dublin so much now because Mum came home to Enniscorthy on Friday evening and is in very good form.  She is having some more blood tests etc. this week but overall is making an absolutely amazing recovery from her recent serious health scare.

OK, I’m rushing off now because Carmen is on her way over and I need to clear enough space in the kitchen for her to get in the door, it’s lashing outside so I also want to stoke the stove.  Winter has finally arrived at Clasheen!

Market, craft fair and running repairs on large felt rug!

It’s been another busy weekend for me!  On Friday morning I set up my stand for the first time at Borris Farmer’s Market, it’s always easier to repeat a display so I wanted to get in early and have time to decide exactly how best to show off the felt.  Flowers proved to be the favourite seller on the day, I priced them at E15 each, 2 for E25 or 3 for E30.  This didn’t allow much profit per unit but keeping the price down meant that I sold more overall, I think it was the right way to go and worth remembering for the future!

Setting up the felt flowers in Borris

On Sunday Alan gave me a hand unloading and setting up my space for ‘A Taste of Carlow’ before heading off to catch up with some paperwork.  The weather was HORRENDOUS while we were unloading the truck, wet, cold and very windy!  It was a little chaotic at the beginning when setting up, I chose to display my felt in an open sided marquee which was definitely colder there than in the individual wooden huts available.  My reasoning was that the open sided display area would hopefully attract more browsers.

A Taste of Carlow

I was sited opposite the band area, beside the christmas tree and next to the wonderful organic food vendors, also the toilet was close by and when you are manning a stand by yourself this is a BIG consideration!!!  Once I had set up everything to the best of my ability given the weather constraints the organisers came around and apologised, several stand holders had arrived late and there was no space left for them.  Some of us who had come early in order to set up properly had to shift sideways and allow them cram in beside us so that was a bit of a pity, but live and let live, it wasn’t the end of the world!  Luckily the rain had eased off by about 2.30 so although the beginning of the day started badly for some people (several display stands blew down, one actually shattered!) the public did come out to support the event, all was well that ended well.  It took a while before anyone started buying but by the end of the evening I was very happy with the event.  There was a great Christmas atmosphere and bustle about the place, quite continental in feeling.  Obviously I wanted to make sales and I did, the biggest benefit however was meeting potential students and making contacts with sheep breeders, it was also great to catch up with old friends!  Check out this picture of Roisin modelling the felt snood her sister treated her to for Christmas!  Roisin learnt to felt with me recently and is really looking forward to participating in one of the hat making workshops I will be organising at Clasheen for Dawn Edwards.  Watch out Dawn because Roisin is a very talanted felter with a great head for design, it will be interesting to see what sort of concepts she has dreamt up by April!!!

Roisin modelling her new felt snood!

Yesterday I travelled to Dublin to help my mother with prep for some more hospital tests.  Before travelling home this afternoon I had to call in to Sylvia and effect some running repairs on her large felt rug.  Followers of my blog will remember that Sylvia commissioned a big rug from me last year, unfortunately her new rescue dog found some very interesting smells worth investigating recently but luckily only pulled off a bit of surface wool, no irrepairable damage was done!!!  I managed to needle felt (I know!) matching wool into the few damaged areas and Sylvia is now going to spot wash, hoover and steam clean the entire rug.  By the time this is done I don’t think that anyone will be able to tell where the  new areas of wool are, hopefully the steaming will remove any other attractive scents so I’m guessing that this is the only repair I will have to make, fingers crossed anyway.

I’m off now to put some food in the oven, walk REX and hopefully catch up on a bit of felting too.  I would like to have some new work ready for my second week at Borris Farmer’s Market this Friday!