Felting retreat update and pictures from 2 great workshops!

I’ve been out of my mind trying to get my paperwork sorted for the accountant, many, many apologies for the lack of blogging this week but I should be back to speed again once I get the next couple of days out of the way!

Beautiful pine-needle felt from Leiko

On a happier note, why not treat yourself to an early Christmas present and join Leiko and I at Clasheen for our first joint felting retreat from 13th to 15th November??? We’re offering a 3 days intensive felting/dyeing/printing workshop, comfortable accomodation and good home cooking with a glass or three of wine for an all in price of E280. If you’d like to participate for two days of tuition and one nights accommodation that will be E200 or alternatively if you’d like to join us for one day of tuition and lunch the price for that will be E90. Participants need to bring their own materials although both of us will have optional supplies for sale at the workshop. Leiko uses a very fine  merino/silk blend which she dyes herself to create her beautiful pine-needle clothing, these pieces have to be seen to be believed!

Aside from my paperwork nightmares this week, on Monday Leiko and I participated in a wonderful natural/vegetable dyeing workshop and this morning I facilitated a beginners/improvers flat felting workshop at Clasheen. The dyeing workshop was organised by Carmen and delivered by the fabulous Terry, Terry the Weaver as he is known to many!

From the top clockwise – onion skins, cochineal and walnut dyed wool, fabric and fabric

Working with three different mordants (copper sulphate, alum and tin) and three different dye pots (cochineal, onion skins and walnut hulls) we managed to achieve a wonderful variety of toning and contrasting colours on a range of wool, mohair, various other fibres and silk fabric. Carmen also dyed a natural grey wool vessel left behind a long time ago by a student and although I couldn’t get the exact image I wanted from the phone camera here’s a picture of it beside an undyed pot surrounded by all the other glorious colours we achieved!

Finally for today’s post, I had great fun this morning teaching the basics of flat felting to Suzanne and her very creative family. She and her two children had felted flowers with me before at a home schoolers session (but missed the introductory, important, explanatory stuff!) while Geraldine had never felted herself before but loved the flowers that everyone else had made! Anyway, we had a really great session with everyone making really beautiful pieces of high quality felt, check out this picture taken just as it started to rain yet again.

Suzanne, Geraldine, Sophie and Jack with their fantastic first pieces of flat felt!

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Marie’s wonderful bag is finished and our relaxing creative retreat is underway!

Briefly…..

Marie’s wonderful felt bag with integrated handle and flap is finished, here’s a photo prior to beading! I love the shape of it and the fact that she made the handle extra long so that it would sit comfortably across her body as opposed to hanging with all the weight (pretty light anyway) resting on one shoulder.

Marie’s beautiful bag

We’re now about to start the second full day of our felting retreat at Clasheen. These last couple of days have been filled with fun, friends, felt and food not to mention a glass or two of wine to accompany Keith’s wonderful cooking in the evenings!!! We may not have truly Portugese style weather here in misty Ireland however the sun finally decided to show a brief appearance yesterday and I believe the forecast is great for today. To date we’ve mordanted a variety of silk and cotton with either vinegar or washing soda and created eco bundles some of which we opened yesterday. Today we’ll be opening more to check how an extra day immersed in the now rusty coloured liquid that they were simmered in will have affected the results.

Dock leaf and tea leaves bundled around a rusty pin

Aside from the eco bundling everyone has been working on a variety of individual projects, I’m trying to post a few pics each night to facebook so do head over to Nicola Brown – Clasheen and my personal page to check them out. Today I hope to finish laying out and felt a nuno shift/jumper that uses some of the cotton gauze I dyed under the watchful eye of Jan Durham in KY earlier this year. It took forever yesterday to calculate the template and get my fabric cut to shape (thanks Dagmar for all your tuition in the template department at Big Cat Studios!) but now I’m underway I don’t think that the actual felting will take too long. I’m going to sign off now as I have a big more computer work to get out of the way then back downstairs before everyone else arrives to start another day of action!