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!
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.
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?
Today’s post shares pictures of two beautiful purses felted in Michigan by my friend Sue. I first met Sue last May at one of the Plainwell workshops organised by great buddy Dawn Edwards where she chose to felt her first vessel complete with craters, ever since then we have kept in touch via this blog and through Facebook. When I started offering my new felting kits on Etsy Sue ordered one in a beautiful soft butterscotch shade, don’t forget you can custom request your favourite colours and I’ll oblige you if I can! I also included two buttons, one vintage and the other a lovely shiny kind of bronze colour with a very interesting opening where you sew it on.
For her purses Sue combined the butterscotch fibre from the kit with some wool and hand dyed locks she already had in her stash, laid out some silk scraps on top for embellishment and added the mohair off cuts and cotton gauze, also from the kit. Once felted she added some machine stitching to both the purses and a long leather shoulder strap to one, aren’t they FABULOUS??? I can’t wait to meet Sue again at the 2012 felting workshops in Plainwell on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May, then I’ll be able to hold the purses and admire them in all their glory!!!
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!
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!
After a VERY eventful time of it getting from Grand Rapids to Lexington via Detroit (rain, lightening, tornado warnings so change to flight path and very bumpy flight) I finally arrived safely and happy to get my feet on stable ground once more. Jan, Bruce and son Kevin live in a really nice green area only ten minutes drive from the airport (just as well since I was so delayed!) and the church, where our workshops are taking place is about 500m from the house, another perfect set up!
Yesterday we had the larger of the two workshops, 11 participants many of whom had extremely limited felting experience, 1 day mostly! It could have been a stressful experience for all concerned but instead everyone relaxed, concentrated and produced really amazing pieces, an iPad cover, three large bags underway, four flat pieces of felt (two being stitched into purses overnight) and two beautiful large nuno scarves/wraps underway too. The less experienced felters who made the flat felt pieces are mainly nuno felting or making small vessels today and the experienced and more experienced felters making larger pieces from yesterday are continuing to work on theirs so I am really hoping to have good pictures at the end of the day and share with you all the beautiful pieces made here in KY.
Carmen and I had a wonderful afternoon on Friday for Earth Day! I had been intending on teaching a simple way of making and assembling a mobile out of felt and recycled items, instead I ended up making a mobile purely from laminated bubble wrap and seed beads as I loved the shine of the light on the plastic, it swirls beautifully in the wind!
I actually have a new idea now for a similar shaped one made entirely from felt, I think I might need to stiffen the felt to make sure it is light enough but holds its shape, watch this space. For the one I made on Friday I placed bubble wrap between a sheet of laminating plastic and then ironed it between two sheets of baking paper, if I hadn’t used the baking paper the iron would have stuck to the plastic. Once the bubbles started to heat up and melt I was able to run the whole thing through the laminating machine but if I hadn’t had the laminator I could just have continued ironing until everything was bonded together well. I cut one large disc from the plastic and then cut into it in a circular shape working towards the centre. I’m not explaining this very well but probably you know what I mean, once the disc was cut into a swirly shape I could hold up the centre and the rest would fall down as in the picture of the completed mobile! Next I cut out quite a few circles and strung them together using fishing line and little seed beads as spacers. I had the biggest gap between the smaller discs at the top of the mobile (19 seed beads) and graduated the discs so that the larger ones were at the bottom with the shortest string of beads (9 beads at the bottom).
In the evening I participated in a wonderful walk up Mount Leinster followed by a great party at friends Cathy and Martin’s house, check out this picture of the amazing skies we encountered, this is EXACTLY what it looked like!!!
Yesterday I felted an iPad cover (it was a commission) while working with Deirdre as she designed and felted her first bag. Working from charcoal Icelandic wool sandwiched between two layers of black merino Deirdre embellished the flap and inclusion of her bag with sky blue fabric, yarn and fibre. There is still about an hour or two of fulling and shaping to go but I am sure you can see how wonderful this bag is from the photo, isn’t it GORGEOUS???
You may remember recently, I posted an image of the wonderful ladies who came to Clasheen for a ‘Not so Simple, Not so Complex’ felt bag workshop. I just love the way how given the same information and shown the same samples workshop participants always manage to end up stamping their own individuality and talent on the felt they create, no two pieces are ever even remotely alike. This workshop was no exception, four ladies, four bags, four amazing pieces of wearable art!
I’ve stolen this beautiful picture from Agnieszka’s blog this morning, check out the gleaming glass she embedded in her felt and the wonderful way the beading adds to the final surface detail. If you head on over to read her whole post there are some amazing pictures of the completed bag, I know you will all agree it was well worth the wait to see the finished bag in all its glory!!!
I also just wanted to announce a full day felting workshop at Clasheen on Easter Saturday, 23rd April. Because of my recent computer woes I haven’t had time to write up a workshop description and post it to the relevent page but for anyone interested this is the perfect day for improving felters to come here and learn some new skills! Possibly a good title would be ‘Expanding your Felting Skills’ but for now it is enough to say that this workshop will help participants expand their felting repoirtoire and skills learnt will depend on the previous experience of each individual felter. I have two spots left for this workshop, we will work from 10 am until approx 4.30pm (please arrive at about 9.45), the cost for the day is E75 incl. materials, tea, coffee and soft drinks, participants are asked to bring their own packed lunch. If you are interested in joining us please email me asap to book your spot!
As mentioned in the last post Borris Active Retirement had a ‘show and tell’ exhibition last Wednesday and I think this great picture of Mena with her felt beret and large bag sums it all up! Still having ongoing computer problems (and now no anti virus protection) so apologies for the short post, they will be this way until things are finally sorted, hopefully by the weekend if all goes well.
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!
Thanks to Andrea who left me a message on Facebook suggesting that I try dying my unsuccessful white on white little felt bag. I really do need to study the dying process properly but I find that there’s only so much time in one day and far too many things I need to do with that time usually!!! I’m going to spend some time experimenting with Horst this June, he is really a master dyer and I am so looking forward to his workshop (a couple of places still available if anyone is interested!) and watching the magic as large white felt garments become wonderfully colourful creations under his excellent guidance and steady hand!
I couldn’t cope with all the accurate measuring, preparing, heating and clean up involved with using acid dyes the other night, instead I have to confess I was looking for pretty much instant gratification! Sharon and I had stocked up on Rite, Neon and Kool-Aid while I was in Loomis so I just decided to give things a whirl in the microwave with a big dollop of green Neon food colouring. Neon pretty much describes the resultant colour perfectly! The bag was still wet from the felting process so basically I added some vinegar and about 20 drops of food colouring to a small quantity of boiling water, dunked the bag into the liquid, swirled it around for about 5 seconds and then lifted the top portion of the bag out of the dye. I then placed the bag and left over dye in a sealable microwave bag (it’s a small bag remember) and propped them up inside a cooking bowl. My microwave is not very strong so I gave it 5 minutes on high and then a break of about 2 minutes, 5 more minutes on high, another break and then a final 4 or 5 minutes on high again. All the dye was absorbed by the felt so at this stage I called it quits and rinsed under running water, no running of the dye at all! My idea was to have a stronger colour green at the base of the bag and graduating shades towards the top edge, it worked! Note in the picture how the lace ruffles don’t take the dye, interesting how natural and artificial fibres react differently. Sorry I am not posting a picture of the completed bag, the design is actually a really simple first resist project if you leave out the ruffles and as such will be one of my projects in the book Chrissie and I are finishing! At the rate we are currently working I am pretty confident we will hit our deadline, more about this and a little idea of the concept behind the book and what you may actually expect to be blogged about in my next post.
Lastly today, I was amazed to discover HEAT in the sun this morning so seized the opportunity to bring out my freshly baked cornbread and coffee to take advantage of the weather and eat breakfast outside! I know some of you are interested in Heather’s receipe so thanks Heather, here is the link!!!