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!!!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

Wonderful participants and fun in the sun, Portugal week 1!

Our first week at beautiful Dominio Vale do Mondego is starting to come to a head, tomorrow we'll have an exhibition for ourselves and the Portuguese, a great opportunity for the locals to see what we've been up to! Here are a few pictures to whet your appetite, I'll take loads tomorrow and try to post them as soon as I get a minute!!!

 

Felting in Portugal, advance notice of a second week!!!

I'm really excited to announce that Karin, Eelco and I made the decision yesterday to add a second residential felting extravaganza week at Dominio a Vale do Mondego in Portugal this June!!! The week of 14th to 20th June is fully sold out now but to give you advance notice of our second offering here are some basic details. The dates are from Saturday 21 June to Friday 26 June (leaving after breakfast on Friday), 6 nights/ 7 day week including 5 days intensive felting with me (and natural printing for those that want!), all materials, all organic meals and drinks (including fabulous organic wine!), single accommodation in a lovely studio with private facilities, price €695 person! NB this week is one day shorter than usual due to another workshop starting on 27th, hence the slightly cheaper price.

Please, please consider joining us, it's a marvellous week in the sun filled with felt, fibre, friends, food and fun!!! To book your place or for more information email Karin ASAP.

 

 

Residential felting holiday in Portugal 2014 – €65 early bird booking discount!

I’m really thrilled to be heading back to beautiful Dominio Vale do Mondego in Portugal to facilitate another residential workshop next June. The dates are from 14th to 20th and Karin is offering a €65 early bird discount for any bookings made before 1st September, please click on the link to get all the details! Felting in Portugal with Nicola Brown 2014

Here’re a few more pictures from this year’s event to whet your appetite, me lending a hand shearing, a beautiful ram waiting for his turn, one of Heather’s gorgeous wooly creations (pics please when you attach the leather handle Heather!) and sacks of wool waiting for processing at the woollen factory in Guarda. Do consider joining us next year, it’s a marvellous week filled with fibre, fun, friends and food!!!

Me having a go shearing!

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Lake Tahoe felting retreat plus friends, felt and fun in Portugal part one!

It's finally time to share some wonderful photographic memories from my recent residential felting workshop and holiday with Alan in Portugal. Internet connectivity was not good while I was away (hence the lack of blog posts) and since we arrived home on Tuesday night it's been pretty hectic here too, what's new! I'm also conscious that I haven't updated you yet about the exciting felting retreat that the amazing Merridee Smith and I are hosting at beautiful Lake Tahoe from 17th to 22nd September so I'll give you the bare bones now and promise to totally update the workshop page next week. This update will include a series of Irish workshops this summer, the felting retreat at Lake Tahoe, full details about the three day felting extravaganza at Mendocino Art Center and also all the details about the 2014 residential felting holiday in Portugal, phew!!!

OK……. Lake Tahoe – four and a half days exclusive and intensive felting and dyeing tuition with super attention from me and Merridee (the dyeing queen!), your wish is our command – wonderful lunch daily plus tea, coffee and snacks – optional bed and breakfast accommodation with us on site in a beautiful wooden cabin five minutes walk from the lakeside – spectacular, inspirational scenery, am I whetting your appetite yet???

Welcome drink on the private jetty, all tuition (Wednesday morning through until Snday lunch time), lunch, tea, coffee and snacks for the amazing price of $650, optional bed and breakfast an additional $300, a deposit of $200 will secure your place! Merridee and I would love for both experienced and novice felters to feel that they could participate in this retreat. Lake Tahoe is a magical location and while we'll both be working each day participants are free to explore the area if they'd like to relax, chill out and wander a little! Several places for the retreat are gone already and the number is capped at six so if you're interested in joining us please email Merridee or me ASAP.

Now for the first batch of pictures from Portugal, next time I'll upload some more from the workshop, my weekend class teaching local ladies and the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent with Estela and her family! I will be uploading loads more images to Facebook next week with full descriptions, live tags etc. but for the moment you'll have to elaborate on the captions yourselves. Sorry about the poor quality of some of the pictures (it's hard to teach AND snap at the same time!) but if you head over to Terriea's wonderful blog she's written a great post and filled it full of fabulous photos.

Naomi, Cyndi, Heather, Conchita, Estela, Sandy, Nikki and Terriea with a SMALL selection of their fab creations!
Heather's yummy raw fleece bag
Naomi modelling her wonderful naturally dyed hat and wrap
How's this for a load of eucalyptus? Thanks a million Joacim (sorry if I spelt this name incorrectly)!
This is NOT a glass of wine, it is however a glass of red wine vinegar made with the first batch of grapes harvested from new vines at Dominio Vale do Mondego
From the rear….. Karin (owner of our wonderful venue, check out the new studio space!), Cyndi, Estela, Conchita, Carla, Ana, Vanessa, Heather, Terriea, Naomi, Sandy and Ann
Three generations of the one local family come together for our end of week exhibition! Ana, her daughters Vanessa and Carla (they joined us some days and made some beautiful flowers and naturally printed flat felt pieces!) and Ana's mother
Fun, colourful and quirky work!
Terriea with some of her beautiful felt bags, the hat is by Conchita, the naturally dyed necklace by Cyndi and the gorgeous Bordeleira raw fleece rug by Ann
Manuel modelling Conchita's first felt hat, he's part of the family who own and operate the large woollen mill where our prepared roving came from and I do think he looks rather dashing in this hat. Next post you'll see a picture of his mother with her own amazing first piece of felt!

 

Lake Tahoe felting retreat plus friends, felt and fun in Portugal part one!

It's finally time to share some wonderful photographic memories from my recent residential felting workshop and holiday with Alan in Portugal. Internet connectivity was not good while I was away (hence the lack of blog posts) and since we arrived home on Tuesday night it's been pretty hectic here too, what's new! I'm also conscious that I haven't updated you yet about the exciting felting retreat that the amazing Merridee Smith and I are hosting at beautiful Lake Tahoe from 17th to 22nd September so I'll give you the bare bones now and promise to totally update the workshop page next week. This update will include a series of Irish workshops this summer, the felting retreat at Lake Tahoe, full details about the three day felting extravaganza at Mendocino Art Center and also all the details about the 2014 residential felting holiday in Portugal, phew!!!

OK……. Lake Tahoe – four and a half days exclusive, intensive, felting and dyeing tuition with personalised attention from me and Merridee (the dyeing queen!), your wish is our command – wonderful lunch cooked by chef extrodinaire Keith Smith daily plus tea, coffee and snacks – optional bed and breakfast accommodation with us on site in a beautiful wooden cabin five minutes walk from the lakeside – spectacular, inspirational scenery, am I whetting your appetite yet???

Welcome drink on the private jetty, all tuition (Wednesday morning through until Sunday lunch time), lunch, tea, coffee and snacks for the amazing price of $650, optional bed and breakfast an additional $300, a deposit of $200 will secure your place! Merridee and I would love for both experienced and novice felters to feel that they could participate in this retreat. Lake Tahoe is a magical location and while we'll both be working each day participants are free to explore the area if they'd like to relax, chill out and wander a little! Several places for the retreat are gone already and the number is capped at six so if you're interested in joining us please email Merridee or me ASAP.

Now for the first batch of pictures from Portugal, next time I'll upload some more from the workshop, my weekend class teaching local ladies and the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent with Estela and her family! I will be uploading loads more images to Facebook next week with full descriptions, live tags etc. but for the moment you'll have to elaborate on the captions yourselves. Sorry about the poor quality of some of the pictures (it's hard to teach AND snap at the same time!) but if you head over to Terriea's wonderful blog she's written a great post and filled it full of fabulous photos.

Naomi, Cyndi, Heather, Conchita, Estela, Sandy, Nikki and Terriea with a SMALL selection of their fab creations!
Heather's yummy raw fleece bag
Naomi modelling her wonderful naturally dyed hat and wrap
How's this for a load of eucalyptus? Thanks a million Joacim (sorry if I spelt this name incorrectly)!
This is NOT a glass of wine, it is however a glass of red wine vinegar made with the first batch of grapes harvested from new vines at Dominio Vale do Mondego
From the rear….. Karin (owner of our wonderful venue, check out the new studio space!), Cyndi, Estela, Conchita, Carla, Ana, Vanessa, Heather, Terriea, Naomi, Sandy and Ann
Three generations of the one local family come together for our end of week exhibition! Ana, her daughters Vanessa and Carla (they joined us some days and made some beautiful flowers and naturally printed flat felt pieces!) and Ana's mother
Fun, colourful and quirky work!
Terriea with some of her beautiful felt bags, the hat is by Conchita, the naturally dyed necklace by Cyndi and the gorgeous Bordeleira raw fleece rug by Ann
Manuel modelling Conchita's first felt hat, he's part of the family who own and operate the large woollen mill where our prepared roving came from and I do think he looks rather dashing in this hat. Next post you'll see a picture of his mother with her own amazing first piece of felt!

 

Portugal – some end of week pictures!

I’ve been promising you these pictures for ages now, it’s really lashing outside now (raining heavily for all you non Irish out there!) but looking at these again brings a smile to my face and reminds me of the wonderful time we all had together in sunny Portugal!

Carla, Nienke and Heather

I loved the huge selection of high quality and diverse work produced during the week, these photo’s really only give you a little idea of what we were up to!!! This was the first time that I had facilitated such a long workshop and I found it very interesting to see that as the week developed everyone settled down into the felting with gusto. Being together at a workshop over a longer than usual period of time was very relaxing and inspiring, staying in such a beautiful rural setting and being served delicious food and drink every day added wonderfully to the experience!

More happy faces, thanks Fernanda for looking after our cooking needs so well!
(from left to right Karin, Fernanda, Heather, Terriea and Annemarie)

Our group all gathered together for the last time!

Portugal, the fruits of our labours!

I promised you some pictures of the result of our felting extravaganza in Portugal and here the first few. Sometimes I have problems uploading more than 3 images in a post if I don’t have a lot of text so I’m going to try adding a few blank lines around all the pictures, please bear with me and just keep scrolling down. I’ll upload more as soon as I return from Scotland (it’s 1.17am and I’m just about to head for the airport!) but for now these will give you a small idea of the fruits of our labours.

Kellie, Karin, Terriea, Heather, Sandy, Nienke, me, Estela, Annemarie and Carla (from left to right)

First up a group shot with participants draped in and holding a selection of the completed felt including raw wool fleece combined with two fine layers of Bordeleira, felt vessels, bags, nuno felt, eco bundled and eco dyed felt too!!!

Terriea’s fantastic felt bag with flaps

Terriea with her gorgeous natural Bordeleira bag, hope you don’t mind that I grabbed this photo from your blog Terriea!

Sandy, Heather, Terriea and Nienka celebrate Heather’s fabulously eco printed bag!

Sandy, Heather, Terriea and Nienka celebrate the sucessful eco printing of Heathers Bordeleira bag!

Felting extravaganza in Portugal, part three!

As promised yesterday, I’m going to continue blogging about our wonderful residential week felting in Portugal and today concentrate on our trip to the Museu de Tecelagem dos Meios (the textile museum in Meios) and the pieces we made using the natural Bordeleira fleece from Dominio Vale do Mondego.

Watching a weaving demonstration at the Museu de Tecelegam in Meios

We started Wednesday morning by heading off to nearby Meios, this is a small village approx 1km away from Trinta, site until recently of 40 different wool processing and weaving factories. At Meios there’s a very interesting small museum with wonderful old tools and pieces of weaving equipment on display as well as huge working looms on the upper floor. Eelco and I had already been there on the Saturday prior to the workshop commencing and had found out that Wednesday morning would be the time to go if we wanted to see one of the largest old looms in action! These big looms were only ever operated by men, having seen one working I would never presume that a female could work one (even though I usually believe in equality for all), the physical effort required in the upper body to move the heddle was enormous!!! Alan and I went back for a further visit when he arrived to join me, we learnt that traditionally women did all the spinning and loading the flying shuttles, the men did all the weaving. Back downstairs after our demonstration everyone had fun trying on some of the gorgeous locally produced clothing and browsing the rugs and blankets for sale. The simple floor rugs, shepherd’s blankets and marriage blankets are woven at the museum, if they are to be brushed (as in the case of the natural white wedding blankets) they go one of the remaining working factories at Trinta and then come back to be sold on site. I also discovered some wonderful locally produced hand forged knives (you could easily cut off your finger with these!) and scissors, I bought two knives and a pair of scissors for myself plus some knives to bring home as gifts to Ireland.

Someone wanting a little bit of early lunch too!

Once we returned to base we had an early lunch so that everyone could have a head start in the afternoon selecting and starting to work with the freshly shorn Bordeleira fleece. We headed down to the stables and had the pick of gorgeous brown or white fleece, some people choose to felt smaller pieces while others wanted to felt a whole fleece. Because the climate and terrain is so different to Ireland there were lots of seed heads and various bits of dried vegetation in the fleece. At home our wool may be muddier but we definitely don’t have anything like the amount of little bits to pick out before we can get stuck into the serious besiness of felting! Once participants had selected their fleece everyone worked outside cleaning and sorting, this took quite a while depending on each individual animal that the fleece had come from.

Picking through the raw fleece prior to felting

Next two very fine layers of carded Bordeleira wool were laid out on the side of the fleece that would have been next to the sheep’s skin and everything was felted together using a lot of soap at the early stages of the process. Depending on previous experience and the size of the pieces some of these pieces took a lot longer than others to felt, this in normal, it’s not a race!!! I had laid out a slightly trimmed smaller fleece the night before and was able to finish it late on the Wednesday afternoon. Here’s a picture of it as it’s finishing drying, it’s on my chair at the kitchen table at Clasheen now and is a delicious contrast to the shaggy Norwegian wild mountain sheep fleece I felted last year!

Tomorrow I’ll write about nuno felting and our wonderful time eco dyeing with Terriea!

My fleece felted and drying in the sun

Memories of felting in Portugal, part two!

At the beginning of our first session felting I asked all the participants what was the most important technique for them to learn over the course of our week together. Working with the Bordeleira wool was going to be a new experience for all of us although I had had the opportunity myself to felt 3 small samples and one little vessel prior to arriving at Dominio Vale do Mondego. From the teaching point of view I wanted every participant to be able to leave having absorbed new skills or ways of working and most importantly having had plenty of fun!

Samples and materials laid out at the start of the workshop, picture mosaic thanks to Terriea

For the first two days we felted using washed and carded wool, flat felt pieces first then three dimensional vessels and bags of many different shapes and styles. The wool roving that we used was either a natural white or chocolate brown, it felted beautifully and it’s amazing to me it is not more widely known or appriecated elsewhere. I found that it felted every bit as quickly as mernio with an approximate rate of 25% shrinkage on pieces that I would normally achieve a rate of 33%. We incorporated a selection of other fibres with the Bordeleiera wool for added surface decoration or texture. I’d brought a lot of undyed fibres with me for everyone to share including linen, silk, milk protein, soy, banana silk, wool neps etc. and I’d also got some of my favourite mohair off cuts from Cushendale Woollen Mill, mohair waste (from the brushing process after weaving), angelina, firestar and various natural and artificial yarns to dip into as well as a few different colours of merino roving in case anyone wanted to use these too. These were displayed inside with the samples and examples of other work I’d made at the beginning of the week, from Terrie’s picture mosaic it looks as if everything was very organised, obviously knowing me you’ll appreciate that it never looked as neat and tidy again!

Sandy working on her large felt vessel

Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of our flat felt from day one or two, I think that I was concentrating so much on answering questions and making sure that the new felters had a successful first piece I forgot to take any pictures. Here’s a picture of Sandy though from day two starting to shape her piece, she’s working here on a stunning large vessel felted from the chocolate wool with a design in natural white with gold linen strands. As the week progressed we found that the Bordeleira wool was perfectly soft enough for wearables and nuno felting yet strong and easy to work with for bags and vessels.

On Wednesday morning we all visited a wonderful museum dedicated to wool and started working with the raw fleece in the afternoon. I’ll post about that next time and for now leave you with a great picture of Heather modelling one of her bags as a hat, watch out Dawn, you’ve got some competition!!!

Heather modelling her very flexible bag! Doesn’t she look great???