I’m thrilled to confirm the 5th April nuno felt hat workshop that Dawn will be teaching at Clasheen (or a nearby location in Borris) this April, click here for all the details!!! Eight places have already been provisionally booked, please shout out loud and email me asap if you’d like to be included in all the fun. As soon as the ten places are filled I’ll start a waiting list and if the numbers stack up we’ll run a second day on the Sunday. I actually forgot on the flyer to include the payment details, a 50% deposit will be required to hold a place and the balance is needed by the beginning of next month. OK, I’m off to unwrap some bundles now, bed early and teaching second and third class at Ballymurphy National School in the morning!
I had a fabulous time in Northern Ireland at the end of last week, staying with good friend Liz and facilitating a complex felt bag workshop in Hillsborough with a wonderful group of ladies! Here are a couple of pictures that I took, I'm hoping that the participants will email me pictures of their finished bags because I just didn't have any more time myself to keep snapping!!! Interestingly, the iPad cover that was such a hit in the states was also a popular choice with the group. Thanks so much to all the Northern Feltmakers for making me feel so welcome, Fiona and Ann for the organisation, Liz for being such a great helper and Dorothy for organising my lunches, I really enjoyed our evening out too and the meal was delicious!
It's been a very busy few days, on Friday morning I had my regular stand at the market in Borris, in the afternoon I moved furniture and arranged Duckett's Grove for the weekend, on Saturday I facilitated a full day felt bag workshop at Duckett's Grove and today a full day beginner's workshop! My linguistic skills aren't too hot at this stage of the night so I'll just post pictures from the weekend and let you admire the fabulous creations all the ladies felted!!!
Although I don’t actually have a price or venue address yet for the class in Winnipeg I thought that I’d post the workshop description and dates to give people time to think whether they wanted to attend or not! If this sounds like something you’d consider joining us for please email Margaret and she’ll answer your questions and take your bookings. The workshop will run over Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October, this means that we will be felting together on FeltUnited day, in Canada, how exciting!!! Anyway, here’s the workshop description…..
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 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 also 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.
Tomorrow is my last session with the parents' group at Carlow VEC. We're going to be working on nuno felt samples so after the last class I brought home some of the wool that the VEC have provided, I just wanted to see how it would react when combined with ponge silk. I'll be bringing a selection of my own supplies and new nuno scarf kits tomorrow also, some of the participants fell in love with the feel of the short fibre merino and want to invest in some for future use at home.
Anyway, here's a picture of the finished sample I laid out this morning, silk side uppermost. I'd actually forgotten how nice it is to experiment with supplies that I don't usually work with! I loved how easily the coarse wool fibres migrated through the silk, it's really quick compared to finer merino and perfect for beginners to get a feel for the nuno technique.
I also love the finished texture of the sample, it would work really well in different colours as a window treatment but it's definitely not soft enough to wear against the skin, for that I'll stick to finer fibres! You can check out some more images of this piece in progress on my Nicola Brown – Clasheen page, the link to bring you there is on the right hand toolbar.
I've no brain power left to write today so thought instead that I'd share a couple of pictures of the fabulous felt created by students over the last two days. Congratulations to you one and all!!!
First off here are the wonderful pieces of flat felt created by Anita and Ariane, they even had time to felt a flower each yesterday, pretty impressive for their first time felting!
I just wanted to let anyone who might be interested know that I’m offering a workshop exploring the basics of flat felting for beginners and improvers next Tuesday, 22nd January at my house in Clasheen, Ballybrack, Borris, Co Carlow from 10.15am until 4.15 – 4.45pm.
During this workshop participants will have fun learning and experimenting with the fascinating technique of wet felting. Working with a selection of colourful wool and adding silk, linen and other vegetable fibres each participant will have the opportunity to felt a beautiful piece of flat felt suitable to be framed, used as a place mat or stitched into a clutch bag or book cover. Improvers will have the opportunity to learn new techniques such as including found objects and resists into their work during the layout stage of the felting process. The emphasis during the day will be to have fun in a creative and supportive environment, participants may expect to leave with the knowledge and confidence to replicate the techniques learnt successfully at home!
The fee for this workshop is E75 including all materials, tea, coffee and soft drinks. Participants are asked to bring their own packed lunch and wear comfortable, warm clothing, the workshop will run from 10.15am sharp until 4.15 – 4.45pm with a break of approx one hour for lunch. Please contact me asap to reserve your place, I have a maximum of three places left!
Once again I’m very busy, some of you might even ask what’s new? Unfortunately we don’t have wireless internet yet in the studios at Duckett’s Grove and this is meaning that I’m actually incommunicado for much of the week at present. The upside however ensures that I’m getting through my work in a more structured fashion, felting and updating the blog from Clasheen during the week and teaching/felting smaller projects at the studio for the weekends. Having Leiko living here too (in Tom’s house beside me) means that Rex isn’t lonely and my house isn’t untended while I’m away either, especially good as lambing season is just about tostart and I don’t want to lock Rex up all the time I’m away either.
This past weekend I facilitated two lovely workshops. On Saturday I had a fun group of family and friends for a surprise hen party/baby shower to felt flowers and on Sunday friend Paula and her daughter Sorcha made beautiful flat felt to be stitched into clutch bags. The Sunday session was my way of saying thanks to Paula for ensuring I submitted a proposal to Gaelscoil Eoghain Ui Thuairisc, as a result I start work this week on a large art project with 480 national school children!
Emma Jane Champley and I also got good news this week, written confirmation that we’ve been accepted for two stands side by side at the Mount Juliet Christmas Village, a 16 day extravaganza which runs from 8th to 23rd December inclusive. Leiko’ll also be helping us man the fort and showing some of her latest designs so if Irish made high quality jewellery, felt, paintings and Christmas cards are of interest to you look no further!
Now that wonderful Japanese felter Leiko Uchiyama has moved next door we’ve started planning a series of workshops to deliver together designed to compliment our individual strengths. Our first three day felting retreat will take place at Clasheen from Tuesday 13th to Thursday 15th November inclusive and this will be the first time in Ireland that Leiko is offering a full workshop to learn her ‘pine needle’ technique! She’ll be teaching this on Tuesday (and Wednesday morning/afternoon for larger projects), I’ll be concentrating on naturally printing/dyeing on Wednesday then felting large nuno wearables and household textiles using the tumble dryer on Thursday, fine felt without fabric or cobweb felt is also an option with this method. The emphasis on all three days will be learning new skills, creating beautifully felted and finished pieces inspired by nature and having fun in a relaxed, peaceful, rural setting. Simple, tasty home cooking will be the order of the day and shared rooms are on site in comfortable farmhouse accommodation! A maximum of 5 residential places are available for the retreat but we will also be able to accommodate a few additional participants for the printing/dyeing day on Wednesday. I’ll post the prices etc. over the next day or two, stupidly I left them at home and I’m now in Duckett’s Grove and felting here for the rest of the day.
I’ll leave you with an image of a simple necklace I made this morning. I liked this tiger wire fitting which I bought last year in CA so now need to research the best place to buy these at a competitive price in Ireland.
The sun finally shone yesterday evening so after a long day preparing and tidying up it was very pleasant for us artist makers to relax, have a chat to visitors and explain what we’re up to in the courtyard at Duckett’s Grove. Thanks to all my friends old and new who travelled to help us celebrate our new venture and thanks Marion Byrne for the wonderful gift of some Jacob’s fleece, much appreciated!!! The evening was actually quieter than I expected but the bonus was that as makers we were able to have a proper conversation with our visitors and not be dashing around like headless chickens all the time. I’d also set up a few laid out but unfelted flowers on one of my tables. This proved a good idea because no matter how many times I explain to people what wet felting entails it’s only when they can see and touch the raw materials beside the finished piece that the process becomes a little easier to understand and visualise.
Next Saturday I’ve a beginners and improvers full day workshop taking place between 10am and 4pm and on Sunday there are 2 places left in the afternoon for a fun felt flower workshop. Please email me if you are interest in attending and having some fun creative time!