Felting and eco printing retreat at Clasheen in pics!

There was a lot of preparation beforehand but I really had great fun spending time with Ruth and Elena during the first 2015 tailor made felting and eco printing retreat at Clasheen. They both concentrated really hard to learn new techniques and at the end of three and a half days had created an amazing body of samples and finished piece to take home with them. This is a image rich post, as the old saying goes a picture speaks louder than words!

In addition to felting and printing we also had time for brief visits to Borris Food & Craft Market, Ullard Church and High Cross, Cushendale Woollen Mill and enjoyed a delicious obligatory evening meal (thanks Ruth!!!) in the Step House Hotel!

Detail from Ruth's stunning nuno felt wrap

Gorgeous shine from viscose, Elena brought this felt top with her to print

Detail from a large wall hanging Ruth printed

Oak on wool, another print from Ruth's wall hanging

My mind is still buzzing with all they achieved, I'm thrilled that the experiments I've been doing privately at home paid off and their eco printed linen and cotton results were consistent and spectacular.

Elena looking fab in a stunning cotton top

The purple hues of the rose leaves look wonderful against the denim

Printing on cellulose fabrics is a new skill that I'm offering for 2015 to students who attend printing workshops or retreats with me that last for a minimum of three days duration. It's is a lot more difficult and labour intensive than working with protein fabrics (felt, wool and silk) but very rewarding when the results are as good as Ruth and Elena achieved!

I almost hid this linen top so Ruth wouldn't be able to take it home with her and I'd get to keep it, I'd have happily washed it out and ironed it!

Another lovely top of Ruth's, still to be washed and ironed

Wool scarf and linen underskirt of Elena's, eco printed clothing looks fab layered with plain colours

Thanks ladies for being such great students, it was really difficult to select which images to add to this post so I'll sort through them all and upload the best to Facebook during the week!
 
 
 
 

 

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Feltmakers North and a little flight of fancy!

Regular blog readers may remember that I spent a few happy days last year staying with good friend Liz Nicholls and facilitating a workshop with Feltmakers North. Over the course of two days participants laid out and felted either large bags with integrated handles and flaps or smaller but no less time consuming iPad or laptop covers, the pictures below give an idea of what we got up to.

This weekend I'll be making a return visit, on Friday we'll be felting large nuno wraps using the tumble dryer method followed by simple vessels or clutches on Saturday.

Thanks ladies for inviting me back, I'm really looking forward to spending some time with you all again!

Aside from teaching and waiting for a big delivery of merino and silk to arrive, I'm currently participating in a two day 'shabby chic' style furniture technique workshop at Raheen Family Resource Centre. Here's a picture of my work from today, thanks Carmen for a fun workshop, the piece combines decoupage, transferring and waxing. I've also given an old antique chair an undercoat of chalk paint ready for some more work tomorrow, it's amazing how fast these techniques actually are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lexington workshop details for 23rd and 24th May announced and CA dates confirmed!

I’m delighted to say that I’ll be back teaching at The Tin Thimble in Loomis CA on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May. I absolutely love the time I spend here catching up with old friends, meeting new fibre fanatics, facilitating workshops and staying with the most wonderful and welcoming hosts, Sharon, Mark, Dawn, Morry, Jan, Bruce and Kevin, you’re the best!!! Over the next few days I’ll be finalising class descriptions for Loomis and Plainwell (9th and 10th) plus confirming what I’ll be teaching at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival (17th and 18th). Woo hoo, watch out US, here I come again!

In addition to my regular slot at the KSFF I’m back for the fourth time facilitating workshops for the wonderful Jan Durham in Lexington. This two day workshop (one day by arrangement) happens on 23rd and 24th May, there is also a possibility of an additional afternoon/evening class on 22nd, more about that another time! I’m really excited that we’ll be felting on Saturday and having a full day natural printing on sunday, here’s the full workshop description and an example of a naturally printed wrap. Please email Jan if you would like more information and to book your place!

May also be used as a wall hanging or a throw

Silk, merino, bamboo and Firestar nuno felt wrap, naturally printed with eucalyptus leaves, onion skins and tea leaves

NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials!

During this intensive two day workshop participants will have the opportunity to create a beautiful large nuno felt wrap, table runner or wall hanging using the tumble dryer method of felting. They will then have the opportunity to totally elevate it to another level as we experiment extensively with different methods of natural printing/dyeing using the bundling method.

Day one – using the no roll tumble dryer method of felting each participant will create a large nuno felt wrap, table runner or wall hanging, depending on the complexity of these pieces some people may also have time to felt additional samples to put in the dye pot on day two! This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body. Concentrating on simple shapes with optional ruffles, we’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the lay out. Each fibre will take up the colour from the natural materials differently when put in the dye pot the following day, this leads to stunning wearable art or striking and unique interior accents.

Day two – wonderful results will be achieved by bundling the felt created on day one together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials, tying them up and then either steaming them or cooking the bundles in plant and/or rust enriched water. At the start of the second day Nicola will explain and demonstrate how different results when bundling are influenced by using different pre-treatments, materials, fabrics, dye pot solutions and ways of actually tying up the pieces. There will be plenty of samples for participants to study and before we dye the felt created on day one everyone is encouraged to put some smaller items of felt and fabric in the dye pot to get a feel for this method.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!

NB Although this is a two day workshop participants may be accommodated for individual days by prior arrangement.

A rather brusque summary of the week to date

It's been a crazy, crazy week, apologies to anyone who may be waiting for me to respond to emails or similar, shout out loud if you think that I've forgotten you, it's certainly not intentional! My week to date in bullet points…….

  • Returned from Cork on Monday and tried to unpack everything constructively
  • Demonstrated felt flowers and gave a talk to a lovely group of ladies on Tuesday, took photos of the saree silk wrap/scarf that I have for Amy, sorry though that I haven't managed to upload them here, technical issues
  • Should have been at a training day on Wednesday but it was postponed until next week, instead planned to felt but instead spent the time trying to get washing and paperwork done
  • Thursday, spent hours weighing materials and preparing for a workshop then taught 20 wonderful ladies flat felting. Until the afternoon, neither I nor the organisers knew that their would be 20, as it was they turned away another 5 phone enquiries!
  • Up like a bird on Friday to catch that proverbial early worm!!! Brought a lot more stock than usual to Borris Food & Craft Market as we were having a coffee morning in support of the 'Save Our Heartland' group. The aim of this group is to stop a line of HUGE pylons ploughing across our beautiful rural landscape, please visit us on Facebook if you would like to read more and/or help us in our endeavours. In addition to all the funds from our regular market teas, coffee and cakes I had personally pledged 10% of my takings for the day to the group. Thankfully we had an excellent turnout and raised quite a bit of welcome funds for the campaign. I was also really happy with the feedback about my extended range of products, I sold a couple of larger interior accent pieces and some flowers so I'm definitely going to make the effort and bring more stock to the market in the foreseeable future!
  • Today, Saturday, I was supposed to be facilitating a two day workshop this weekend at Berkeley Forest House but unfortunately there were not enough bookings this time for Alexis to be able to host the event, Instead, I'm teaching tomorrow at Duckett's Grove so is anyone wants to join me there for a beginners and improvers say email me ASAP or give me a bell, there are only two spaces left.

Whew, I'm hoping you can see why I haven't been the best correspondent this week!

 
 
 
 
 

 

Nuno felt scarves!

Today's workshop was great fun but HARD work, nuno felting is always an interesting process involving a gentle touch initially coupled with plenty of rubbing and rolling then finally some aggressive throwing to loosen up tight muscles and encourage the felt to shrink! I'm going to upload a picture rich post today, plenty to see from the lovely colours and work produced, my brain is too tired to write many words though. Drool over the supplies and colours so kindly provided by Alpaca Fiber Solutions and be amazed by the beautiful scarves the ladies all felted!!! I don't have a picture yet of the Nuno samples Chris was working on or Jan's finished scarf, I'll try and take pics of them tomorrow.

Alpaca locks ready at the start of the day
Silk fabric and embellishing fibres
My samples ready to show how some of the fibres look when felted
Carolyn, Nancy and Julie laying out their scarves
Pat's scarf in the foreground, Jan laying a scarf and Chris working on some samples
Chris's first sample underway
Julie's first ever piece of wet felt ready to embellish, it's the top scarf in the following picture!
BEAUTIFUL colours and textures in theses four finished scarves! Alpaca is wonderfully soft but doesn't travel through the silk to the same extent that merino would, this gives a highly textured effect on the reverse side but of course I forgot to take a photo of this, sorry!
Pat, Carolyn, Julie, Jan and Nancy
Pat modelling her stunning scarf!
To end the day some of us headed over to show Roo and Elizabeth what had been felted during the workshop using their beautiful fibre. I'll leave you with a picture of the ladies at the Alpaca Fiber Solutions booth (we say stand at home), the light is not the best but I think you can get the idea. From left to right……… Nancy, Julie, Elizabeth, Roo, Pat and Carolyn, see you tomorrow ladies!!!
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

Lexington and the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, here I come!

I've got a little lay over at Chicago Airport on my way to Blue Grass, Lexington so thought I might write a short blog post and upload it later when I have an Internet connection. My wonderful stay with Dawn in Plainwell Michigan is over, our two day felting and printing/dyeing workshop was a blast, I spent such fun time with friends and once again I had a BRILLIANT time, thanks so much Dawn and Morry for having me!!! Now I'm en route to stay with Jan and Bruce, great friends and always a hoot to stay with too, I'm really looking forward to catching up with them later tonight!

This weekend I'm teaching at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival then next weekend it's the workshops that Jan is organising and running. These have always been great fun and Jan is a master at putting on a super lunch too, there are a couple of places left so if you'd like to join us please don't forget to email Jan or pick up the phone!!! Tomorrow we'll head over to the festival grounds and check out the space I've been given to teach in for the festival, last year there was plenty of room but not too many tables so fingers crossed well have enough for the classes. On Saturday I'm teaching nuno felt scarves/neck pieces working with alpaca locks, silk and fabulous embellishments, on Sunday I'll be teaching felt flowers. I'm really looking forward to catching up with both Roo Kline and Elizabeth Taylor tomorrow too, they're sponsoring the fibre and embellishments on Saturday via their business 'Alpaca Fiber Solutions' and I'll definitely be buying some of their deliciously dyed materials to bring home to Ireland myself.

Next week Jan and I will be doing some natural printing and dyeing together to check out the local flora and fauna, on Thursday evening I'll be facilitating this topic at a private workshop so fingers crossed we'll find some interesting plants or dried material to work with! I'll leave you now with a picture I love of Dawn taken at our last lunch today, she's wearing one of her Nuno felt scarves which she dyed during the workshop last Saturday and its closed with one of Anne Murphy's (Eala Enamels) wonderful enamel brooches. A little bit of America meets a little bit of Ireland!

 

Beautiful felt and natural printing/dyeing from our Michigan workshop participants!

It's impossible to write properly (in a short time frame) about the wonderful two days felting and natural printing/dyeing we had in Michigan, thanks Dawn for your wonderful organisational skills and thanks a bunch to the lovely group of fun, creative ladies who joined us. Some people arrived with a clear end goal in mind, others came willing to be inspired whilst still others came with an initial fixed goal then changed it once we had chatted and they had seen other possibilities which they wanted to explore! Whatever the motivation and the differing aims, this group brought together such humour, friendship fun and yummy food to our days, we had a blast!!!

I've posted a bunch of pictures to my personal Facebook page and some collaged images of the felt and natural printing/dyeing to Nicola Brown – Clasheen, they're not tagged or titled yet but I'll sit down to do this when there are no distractions or thrift shops to visit with Dawn. Here are a few to keep you going however, great work everyone!