Undercover!

I’ve been undercover all day today, no Internet at all as I’m trying to get as much felting done as possible before I crash out with exhaustion! The sum total of my finished work so far is one VERY long silk and merino scarf plus two nuno felt scarves. Yesterday I facilitated a social media workshop which was full on but good fun, hope the participants thought so too!!! I’ll link through to their relevant Facebook pages tomorrow and you can have a look at their respective art/craft practices. For now I’m heading to eat my lunch/supper (rolled into one!), 4 cheese tortellini accompanied by a warm baby beet and pink grapefruit salad. No email or Facebook action today so apologies to anyone expecting a response, I’ll be back to speed tomorrow evening I hope.

A lightweight nuno scarf for me!

On Friday afternoon I felted two ultra lightweight nuno scarves, one for me and one to sell! The ponge silk that I used for both was a beautiful lettuce colour and I combined this with a very fine open layer of my favourite apple green short fibred merino from Wollknoll. I wanted to wear my scarf the following day at the Crafts Council training I was attending and have it match the bag I was bringing so added quite a lot of apple green and turquoise mulberry silk as well as plenty of hand dyed silk throwsters waste. The second scarf I added apple green mulberry silk and plenty of high sheen firestar, it’s lovely to be working with spring shades and I must say it was nice to make myself something for a change! I will be bringing the second scarf to Borris Food and Craft Market on Friday but on the off chance that anyone here is interested it is priced at E40 plus a couple of euros P&P so please just email me if you would like to reserve it and I can invoice via PayPal!

The two sides of my new nuno felt scarf

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!!!

Pictures at last!

My blog/computer seems to be working to order this morning so as promised here are some pictures from the Monday accessories workshop at the KIA! 

Laying out short fibred merino on top of silk for the nuno scarves

Deb's dreadlocks in place at the end of her scarf

Oops, I spoke too soon, so frustrating but I have only been able to upload one picture.   What on earth is happening with WordPress?????  Will try again later …..

The jewellery ladies!

Busy, busy, busy few days!

Since I last posted here on Friday it seems that at least two weeks worth of work has actualy taken place so apologies for my lack of communication over the last few days. 

On Saturday morning as I was preparing for the first of my two planned felting workshops I managed to shear the copper water pipe leading from my well in half with my bare hands (hands made stronger from felting???) leading to no water supply for the day!  Luckliy I have the key to my neighbours farmhouse and was able to let myself in and carry enough water for the felting home in a basin, thanks to Alan the supply was reconnected in the evening and allowed me to have a bath and prepare for Sunday’s craft fair.  I packaged my new felting kits, gathered my felt scarves, jewellery and a couple of vessels, loaded the truck with all these as well as my large folding table, bath bags and tonnes of books which I had assembled during a monsterous house tidying session! 

Sunday dawned dry for a change (my 13,000 decidious trees had not arrived on Friday due to horrendous weather) and I got to Raheen Family Resource Centre with plenty of time to set up before the public was due to arrive.  From a selling point of view the day was not a great success (although I did just about cover my costs) but as regards supporting a good cause, making contacts and promoting my workshops with International artists it definitely helped get the message across about what I am doing.  I do think that Carmen did a great job organising the fair and decorating the hall, people just didn’t seem to have any money to play around with and possibly are holding on to what they have until our Irish Budget which takes place tomorrow!  It was nice however to catch up again with sculptor Gilly Thomas, last December Gilly bought one of my silk and merino neck pieces at an exhibition and was actually photographed wearing it recently and in the paper during the opening of her exhibition for the Wexford Opera Festival!!  I also had a good chat with Gayle Coleman from Palace Gems (our tables were side by side!), visual artist Mary Wallace, excellent holistic therapist Barbara McAteer and textile artist Blanka-Silviane Davare, a new member of the Enniscorthy Knitting Group.  Blanka-Silviane has moved to the Enniscorthy area of Co. Wexford from Switzerland via Dublin and doesn’t have a website at present, if you are interested in viewing her hand knitted and fulled stylish headwear she may be contacted by email.  As well as buying some Christmas presents Barbara and I did a fun swap, one of my cowls in exchange for a half hour head and back massage, a great deal for both of us!

Yesterday morning my trees arrived at last and in the afternoon Alan helped Chris (the forester), Dennis and Paul plant the first of the Ash.  I had to prepare for the Golf Club Ladies AGM and in the evening I officially took over as the new Lady Captain, this is a position I will hold for my sins until the beginning of December 2010.  Today I am trying to organise and collate all the paperwork needed by Chris in order to successfully get my grant cheque for the woodland, I am planting approx 8.5 acres so I need to make sure everything is in order as it does involve quite a lot of money!

Tomorrow morning I am getting my hair cut (newsworthy as it is only the second time this year I will have had time to make the journey!) and then I need to deliver some felt jewellery and scarves to Earthworks, a gallery and studio in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.  After that I will make some lunch for the guys planting and then Carmen is arriving for an afternoon of feltmaking, roll on the time because I feel withdrawal symptoms in the air!

Brilliant start to the felting workshops and images of the felt basket!

Today we have completed our first day of Sigrid’s workshops and everyone left extremely happy with the result of all their efforts!  Three of the participants were total beginners and the other three visitors were experienced felters.  The workshop today was ‘mosaic nuno’ and Sigrid had organisied a simple way of ensuring that the beginners also completed a mosaic nuno project but didn’t have such a difficult time laying out the work! 

Anne's silk chiffon and merino ready to get creating!

Anne's silk chiffon and merino ready to get creating!

We used silk chiffon and merino tops, the beginners were aiming to have the nuno felt block at either end of their scarves and the experienced felters would have the nuno throughout the whole length.  Each participant selected 3 pre-cut lengths of silk chiffon and then cut, overlapped and arranged the silk into a pleasing pattern or random design.  Two very light layers of merino tops were overlaid before the long process of wetting out, rolling and fulling began, longer than usual because the silk was cut into small pieces and sometimes overlapped several times in the one spot. 

Liz, Dee, Linda, Sigrid, Anne and Linda with their great scarves! (from the left)

Liz, Dee, Linda, Sigrid, Anne and Linda with their great scarves! (from the left)

Check out this great picture of some of our participants, beginners Liz, Dee and Linda together with Sigrid and Anne (to the right of Sigrid) wearing the fabulous scarves they created today!  Tomorrow we are felting with found objects, hopefully I will get to post some more pictures in the evening and give you a flavour of all that we are learning.

Just as an aside, if you link through to my Flickr images you will see the trellis felt shopping basket (or string bag!) both as a piece of flat felt with precise cuts and felted further and formed into the finished basket.