Wonderful participants and work from week 2 in Portugal!

I had a wonderful time during the second week at Dominio Vale do Mondego in Portugal. Different participants plus other non felting visitors on retreat (with the exception of Naomi who took part both weeks!) gave a different dynamic and it was really interesting to watch a totally different body of felt and natural prints emerge. Here are some images to give you a flavour of what we got up to, I hope that you enjoy them! Bye, bye Portugal, see you at the same time, same place next year, details of our next extravaganza will be posted online within the next week or so!!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

A picture rich blog post from Kentucky!

I've been having a wonderful time as usual with Jan, Bruce and Kevin in Lexington, Kentucky! This is going to be another picture rich blog post, there are just not enough hours in any one day to document the fun I'm having both facilitating workshops and spending time with friends. Participants at the wonderful Kentucky Sheep and Fiber festival workshops last weekend felted super flowers, clutch bags and landscapes, all of these were created using gorgeous hand dyed alpaca and amazing embellishing fibres sponsored by Roo and Elizabeth from Alpaca Fiber Solutions. Everyone was really amazed to handle and have the opportunity to sample a new fibre, it's lustrous looking and behaves a little like silk, the components are fibre from rose stems and ground pearl dust from the pearl industry!!! Anyway, here are some photos of what has been happening in this neck of the woods to date, on Friday and Saturday I'll be facilitating my final two day workshop, felting on day one and natural printing on day two.

Thanks Leedra for forwarding on a picture of your dry felt, the button your husband made is perfect with these colours!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Loomis and Plainwell workshop pictures, launch of FORM!!!

Internet time has been limited recently as I spend time with friends and facilitate workshops here in the US. I'm not going to write many words today but rather get you up to speed via pictures! I would like to mention though that our new Carlow based design led craft group 'FORM' launches tonight in Visual, I'm sorry that I won't be there myself but someone has to have fun, felt and travel in the US!!!

 

Now for some workshop pictures from The Tin Thimble in Loomis……..
….. and a selection from last weekend's Plainwell workshop! Do head over to the album I've set up on my Facebook page and have a look at all the pics, it's impossible to show every one of them here so this is just a representative sample. Enjoy!!!
Thanks sooooo much to Sharon, Mark, Hannah, Emma and all at The Tin Thimble and Dawn and Morry in Plainwell for your fabulous organisational skills and warm hospitality, I had a blast as always!!!!!
 
 

 

Canadian workshop update and cotinus, a picture of the shrub!

I'm so excited, this Canadian adventure is really going to happen this autumn!!! Hopefully we'll have workshop descriptions and venue details sorted today or tomorrow but for those of you leaving comments and sending me messages the first workshop will be in Langley BC on Thursday 3rd October then I'll travel on to teach in the Manitoba region for the weekend. We're planning a felting workshop on Saturday 5th and a natural printing/dyeing workshop on Sunday 6th, I'm SO thrilled that this will actually be happening, all my friends tell me that Canada is a magical country to travel to!!! Obviously I'm not going to have a bundle of time to explore on this trip, if everything goes well however hopefully this will just be the first of many visits. As soon as I have the finalised details I'll post both here and on Facebook, do please let me know if you'd like the organisers to get in contact so you can reserve a place!

Now on to the cotinus. Here's a picture of the shrub in my garden (not a great shot but you get the idea), it's the purple leaved plant on the left of the picture………

……. and here's a close up of the prints it imparts on top of my recent nuno felt jacket This side is silk covered merino for those of you who've been asking for more details!

 

Fabulous felters!

I'm so thrilled with the beautiful felt each participant made during our two days felting in Michigan, Dawn sure can put a fun and fabulous group of felters together!!! Tonight we're just going to unwind and tomorrow I promise to check emails and post all the pictures from day two. I'll leave you tonight with a group picture, thanks SO MUCH Dawn for organising the workshop and THANKS SO MUCH to everyone for being such good students and good sports!

 

Wonderful Tin Thimble!

On Sunday I promised to update you on all my upcoming May workshops in the States, today I’ll start with the wonderful Tin Thimble in Loomis CA, next post I’ll be writing about my workshops with the marvellous Dawn Edwards in Plainwell MI and the final post of the week will be about Lexington KY where I’m staying once again with great friend Jan! You’ve probably guessed by now how much I’m looking forward to this trip by the number of superlatives and exclamation marks in recent posts, forgive me if they seem a bit excessive but I am so excited to be heading back to stay with Dawn, Jan, Emma, Sharon and Mark!!!

This is the first time that I’ve actually managed to time my visit to The Tin Thimble to coincide with their annual fibre extravaganza, as a result I’m delighted to be included in the line up for Felt Fest 2013. I’ll be facilitating three full days of workshops with individual topics each day, obviously participants attending for 2 or 3 days may expect to tackle larger and more challanging projects over the duration of the festival. Full details of all the workshops are on The Tin Thimble’s website, I hope to see you there!!!!!

Felt Fest 2013

Felt Fest 2013

My Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival workshops 2013

I accidentally deleted the previous post as I was just about to publish so forgive me now if I'm brief.

On Saturday 18th May I'll be facilitating a full day nuno scarf/neckpiece workshop at the KSFF and on Sunday 19th a half day fun felt flower class, two classes if we get enough sign ups over the next couple of months! Roo Kline from Moonwood Farm is sponsoring the yummy hand dyed alpaca and delicious embellishing fibres we'll be using for the nuno felt workshop and I'll be bringing some of my favourite short fibre merino from Ireland as well as a selection of different fabrics for participants to choose from. Thanks to Roo's very generous sponsorship this class will only cost $100 per participant including all fibre, fabric and embellishing materials, thanks Roo!!!.

The short fibre merino I'm bringing with me is also what we'll be working with for the flowers on Sunday, here's a picture of some which were completed during the 2012 classes, so stunning and colourful. The price for the flower workshop is $30 per person plus $10 for the materials, participants can expect to make 3 flowers each during the class!

 

Keep an eye out on the KSFF website as booking for all their great classes should be possible shortly, as soon as I know that it's live there I'll post a link here on my workshop page.

 

Home, natural dyeing/printing, unexpected presentation taking up my time…..

I’m home safely after a wonderful time in California! It was great to be back at The Tin Thimble catching up with old friends both before, during and after the three days of workshops plus put faces to the friends I’ve previously been in touch with through the blog, FB and various other forms of social media, I’m not going to mention everyone by name but you all know who you are!!! My intention had been to write a long and proper post yesterday about the workshops and my trip with Merridee and Keith to Lake Tahoe, unfortunately I just don’t have the time so apologies in advance to those of you who were expecting all the low down about the exciting work that was created during my three days of teaching. An unexpected opportunity arose while I was away (thanks Paula for getting in touch to alert me!) so yesterday I had to make a presentation in relation to an exciting art project and this morning I got a call asking me to come back in tomorrow and discuss a few of the points raised during this session. Fingers crossed everything will work out, I’ll keep you posted once I know the outcome!

My own naturally printed chiffon with goodies I bought at The Tin Thimble, glass beads by Toni Lutman and beautiful hand dyed merino by Carin Engen and Laurie Simoni

As regards other work since I’ve been home I printed two lengths of silk chiffon on Monday evening then last night I filled two pots with silk and leaves in preparation for a natural printing and dyeing session today. One of the pots contained a tea solution, the other a vinegar and water mix. I’ve now bundled everything up and all the pieces are simmering on the Rayburn, most of the bundles contain a variety of eucalyptus leaves but two I wrapped using Cotinus leaves from my garden. I also sprinkled some of the fabric with tea leaves and wrapped one of the pieces in rusty metal, I LOVE opening these bundles, pictures next time, I promise. During my stay in CA I spent time with Merridee, Sharon and Nika Ivanoff experimenting more with this method of colouring fabric, thanks Nika for the wonderful leaves you brought last Saturday for us all to share not to mention the wine, chocolate and strawberries, we loved them all!!!

Emma and I are just sorting out dates for workshops in The Tin Thimble again next spring, keep an eye out over the next week or so as we hope to have everything sorted by then!

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 day two of our intensive felting workshop

Rami arrived safely to Ireland on Saturday night/Sunday morning, bed time 4.25am!

Rami adding some three dimensional elements to his second piece of felt

Yesterday was spent chatting about the basics of feltmaking, laying out and felting his first piece of flat felt, exploring a lot of different natural and manmade surface embellishments, checking out images of work he is inspired by and discussing the large fibre related project that Rami will be working on once he returns to the Lebanon.

Today we explored felt balls, cords, loops, working with raw wool, creating texture, basic needle felting and including resists within the lay out of a piece. This may sound like a lot of different techniques to cover in one day but during the course of our intensive week together Rami wants to learn how to create specific end results and is not concerned with heading home with a perfect, artistic ‘finished piece’. Rather he’s been creating samples and learning about the various ways of achieving the look he wants, it’s exciting seeing how things come together, intensive work but invigorating and creative!

Little sculptural experiment at large in the garden!

I really don’t have time to write much this week, instead I’ll just try and post pictures as the time progresses, enjoy them.