Houston calling and fun felting at Ballymurphy National School!

I'm really happy to confirm that I'll be heading on from a Dallas to teach for two days in Houston, thanks Barbara for inviting me! We're planning a one day felt vessel workshop on Monday 28th April followed by a one day natural printing workshop on Tuesday 29th, finalised details should be posted here tomorrow or the next day. Here're two pictures of a small naturally printed wrap that I felted last week, this time combining eucalyptus leaves with blackberry and rose leaves from my garden.

Now on to my main activity for a lot of last week…..

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I had the pleasure of introducing the 50 pupils at Ballymurphy National School to the joys of working with fibre. This school is actually about ten minutes walk from Clasheen through the fields, obviously though I had to drive because otherwise I'd never have managed to bring all the necessary materials and bubble wrap!

For those of you living in countries with a different junior school system, usually children go to national (primary) school from the ages of 4 to 12, sometimes in small rural schools such as this there might be actuall classes with no pupils, strange but true!

Anyway, as you can see from this series of images a fabulous variety of stunning felt pictures was created. Inspiration was varied but the surrounding mountainous landscape and portraits were two popular themes. I'm going to load all the pictures I took to an album on Facebook later today, this way you can have a look plus all the pupils will have a reminder of what we got up to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dallas TX calling and watch out Clasheen, Dawn’s returning!!!

I've been super excited for the last two days. Firstly, I've been invited to teach a workshop in Dallas at the end of April and secondly, wonderful friend and felt hat maker extraordinaire Dawn Edwards of Felt so Right fame will be teaching in Ireland at the beginning of the same month. Exciting times ahead!!!

So…………..

  • If you're interesting in attending a two day nuno felting and natural printing workshop with me in Texas the weekend of 26th and 27th April please shout out loud ASAP. We need to make sure that the numbers stack up by next Monday if at all possible, if they do the workshop goes ahead!

  • If you're interested in attending a one day fantastic felt hat workshop with Dawn Edwards at Clasheen (or a nearby venue) on Saturday 5th April please shout out loud ASAP also. It may be that we will have two days of classes but I need to confirm everything with Dawn so for the moment I'm starting to take bookings for the Saturday.Please email me or comment here to express your initial interest or provisionally book for either workshop!

 

Some more experimental felted pieces

Yesterday Rami completed two great sculptural shibori pieces, both were laid out and felted to the prefelt stage then tied and felted again until they were finished. I’d be happy to call either piece my own especially since one features my FAVOURITE colour combination (some might say obsession), light green and black!!!

A selection of Rami’s work to date

Today we concentrated on big boy toys. By this I primarily mean electric tools to help hasten the felting process or achieve specific end results easily, obviously we’ve been using the ‘niki & niki’ felting tools daily but I think that goes without saying by now. I really don’t have time to write up each method we used, thanks must definitely go though to Horst for sharing his method of felting using a combination of sander, washing machine and tumble dryer, check out Rami’s sample below to see the soft and tactile end result. We also tried out Horst’s way of utilising a plasterer’s float to felt cords and if you’re interested in the tumble dryer method for nuno felting large pieces ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ gives step by step instructions! At the moment there are a string of felt beads in the washing machine (another technique, pics later maybe) and I’ve got to rush to write up my submission to ‘Beauty in Nature’ and pack the relevant pieces to deliver to the Crafts Council tomorrow.

Soft and tactile attachments

Rami and I’ll be heading to Borris Market in the morning then visiting Philip at Cushendale Woollen Mill, Alex at Grennan Craft School and then going to Kilkenny where we’ll check out the National Craft Gallery, stroll around the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and in general have a browse and a bite to eat!

Pictures from today’s felting workshop at Clasheen!

Today’s beginner and improvers workshop at Clasheen actually turned into a private lesson as the other participants all had to reschedule due to illness and unforseen circumstances, it’s often difficult trying to organise classes in Ireland, ironic but true! Anyway, I’ll be teaching the same workshop again in two to three weeks as soon as everyone is able to come together, today Jenny came and benefitted from the individual attention!

Jenny with her first piece of felt

Once we had discussed the basics of felting and examined some of my favourite raw materials Jenny laid out her first piece of flat felt, a lovely undyed white merino background with distressed mohair off cuts, silk fibre and some threads of unraveled banana fibre knitting for surface decoration. While Jenny worked on rubbing and rolling I was able to lay out another nuno wrap (obviously keeping an eye out and helping if necessary!), this time in a colour combination new to me, turquoise, chocolate and highlights of metallic copper fabric, pictures tomorrow when it’s dry. By lunchtime Jenny’s first piece was finished and her second was laid out, it’s always so rewarding to watch newbies amazement as the fluffy fibre becomes strong, flexible and stable felt! For her second piece Jenny chose to felt a large needle cover (knitting is her business, HotHead the name!), there were three layers of colour separated by resists on the flap, this worked out beautifully!!! Now she’s all ready for the hat workshop here in April with the wonderful Dawn Edwards, if you’d like to join us for that there are still a couple of places available on Sunday 22nd so please email me asap!

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