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!

 

 

Michigan felting workshop, preparations are well underway plus pics from this morning

My bags are packed, I'm ready to go…….. almost!!!

It's hard to believe that this day next week Dawn and I will be well relaxed and fully prepared for some wonderful days of felting and natural dyeing, check out the workshop page for full details of this two day workshop. There is one spot left I think so if anyone would like to join us please don't be shy, email Dawn and she'll answer any last minute questions! I've laid out my clothes on the bed in the spare bedroom, my hair is cut and I've even had a leg wax this evening, tomorrow morning I start to felt the last of my samples to bring to the US next week. I'll also have a saucepan on the go to cook some more natural bundles, thanks Brid for the big bunch of eucalyptus leaves, I can't wait to see if they give me some good prints! I'll try to post a few pictures of the work in progress to Facebook as I go along, fingers crossed nothing gets in my way because I really need to get these samples in the bag, excuse the pun!

My last Irish workshop before I travel took place this morning, this was with a wonderful new group of ladies in Bagenalstown, the first of two sessions we'll be having together.

Isn't this a lovely picture of them all with their finished felt? Next time we'll be making flowers and already they are planning to visit Duckett's Grove after this and participate in more sessions later in the summer. I'll also post before and after pics of their first flat felt pictures to Facebook tomorrow, for now it's a glass of whiskey then bed!

 

Felt bag workshop

I had a lovely day today in the studio at Duckett's Grove catching up with Eliska (on the left) and Zoryana, the temperature may have been cold but their bags are going to be HOT!

We hadn't met since Dawn's great 'Fantastic Felt Hat' workshop in Borris last year so as you can imagine we had a lot of catching up to do. Good friend Tanya, who I don't see very often, also called in for a chat complete with one of her friends and gorgeous puppy as did Christine, a super new felting recruit from Myshall. Liga popped in to say hi too and brought me back my felt from the Creative Carlow shop when it closed, if you don't know Liga's beautiful polymer clay jewellery you can check it out here on Etsy. I guess you could say it was a busy day at the studio!
Here's a picture of Zoryana's bag after the handles and flaps were cut, the turquoise swirls are hand spun banana fibre and there are blue and green silk hankies over both sides of the bag. Zoryana also included one glass marble in the bottom left hand corner but this won't be revealed until the bag is totally felted and fulled.
Eliska's bag has a black inside and a hot red outside. In this picture she's sealing all the cut edges, sometimes I work on this stage of the process for an hour, it might sound like a long time but it makes such a difference to the quality of the edges!
I'm heading to bed now as I've got to have my wits about me in the morning, I'll be starting a series of four workshops with 13 ladies in Carlow so want to be in top form and not tired and bleary eyed. Over the next few days I'll be posting updates about all my US workshops and Portugal, watch this space.

 

Thanks Wollknoll!

Over the past two weeks I've been living in daily anticipation of a large delivery of fibre from Wollknoll in Germany, one of my all time favourite suppliers. This order should have contained the wool and silk to finish my Gaelscoil project, the materials for a new group that I'm just about to start working with, a big amount of wool for Carmen, a good few large blocks of olive oil soap and some more fibre for me to use at upcoming workshops in my studio at Duckett's Grove. I still can't quite work out what happened but finally my suspicions were confirmed yesterday morning that the order had never been received or processed. I've had a couple of sleepless nights but at last everything is sorted, there's light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Sonja Fritz of Wollknoll. I had to reorder the items yesterday afternoon (why oh why did I not keep a written record of them in the first place???), the goods are getting packed today (Saturday) and the order will be dispatched first thing on Monday morning, what a service. Thank you so much Sonja, your help and calmness were very much appreciated! On the positive side of things, it did give me the opportunity to add a bundle of silk fabric and more Kap merino to the order, these will be some of the supplies I'm bringing to my upcoming workshops in Lexington, KY!!!

The Nuno felt wrap and scarf in the first photo were felted using a selection of ponge silk from Wollknoll, the wrap on the left also incorporates some upcycled printed silk collected on a fun Goodwill expidition with Dawn! The bundled and naturally printed/dyed silk chiffon scarves with rolled edges in the second picture also came from Wollknoll. I like the contrast of the silk chiffon with the hardness of my new polymer clay brooches, soft ochre, gold and chocolate brown makes such a good bedfellow with turquoise!

 

 

 

 

Happy smiling faces and beautiful flat felt!

I had a lovely weekend filled with fun, felt and friends both old and new.

Fantastic first felt pictures!

Here are two pictures that sum things up, firstly Jack and Denis with their beautiful felt pictures from Duckett’s Grove on Saturday and then the ladies from Killoughternane Social Club with their fabulous felt from Sunday. Thanks Anna for organising such a great workshop, the food at lunch was fantastic too and I look forward to returning for a felt jewellery session before Christmas!!!

What a creative and fun group of ladies!

Weekend fun and felting news, I’m off on my travels!!!

Although I still have a mountain of things to get finished before I head off on my US travels later this evening I have been having a wonderful action packed art and felting weekend! On Saturday night Alan and I joined Eileen MacDonagh and close friends old and new at a really great wrap up party to celebrate the success of her fabulous exhibition LITHOSPHERE at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow. It was a wonderful evening spent among the towering trees of ‘Cathedral’, yummy food and wine (which I couldn’t drink as I was the designated driver!), great craic and the best music I’ve heard in a very long time!!!

Music amongst the trees!

Local musician Joe Cleere has just been signed to a record deal in the US and although he had never played with them before he came along to join a trio of Eileen’s friends and their playing just seemed to compliment each other perfectly, we had an eclectic mix of traditional and alternative rock tracks, brilliant, thanks Eileen!!!!!

Yesterday I had a very busy day at Duckett’s Grove, I had intended taking loads of pictures of the new studio but to be honest I was so busy demonstrating and talking to visitors that there was almost no time to snap anything. Thanks to everyone who came in especially to see me, I really appreciated it and hope you enjoyed the day! My plan now is to bring my big studio tables from Clasheen to Duckett’s Grove, move the shelving and plints around in the space and set up one half as a display area and the other as a zone for felting and teaching from. The response to the demos was fabulous.

Visitors to the new studio

I now have a long list of contact details from people interested in trying felting for themselves, I’ve actually put Sunday 4th June in my diary for a beginners and improvers felting day and have only space for one more participant if anyone is interested, E75 including materials working from 10am until approx 4.30pm! Please email me asap if you would like the last slot!

Plenty of people came for the music, food and craft!

This evening I’ll be handing over everything at Claseheen to good friend George and hope everything goes well in my absence. It’s lovely here at the moment, foals in the fields, birds singing and wild flowers everywhere in the hedges and down the lane so I think that George will manage to have a restful and fun time with Rex! Don’t expect a lot of blogging over the next few days but I will be posting up to date pictures and notes to facebook as I progress along my way to Kentucky, take care and I’ll be back blogging about the Lexington workshops which take place on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May from 10am – 5pm at the Beaumont Presbyterian Church, 1070 Lane Allen Road!!!