A few more pics from Tahoe!

Having a ball with Merridee, Susan and Dale in Mendocino, just wanted to post another few pics from Tahoe today!

Tina with her fab nuno felt scarf naturally dyed with onion skins (mordanted with Alum) then modified with iron.
Tina and Lupe at the of a fun and active retreat!

 

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!

 

Busy keeping fingers warm

I had a hard time of it trying to keep my fingers and hands warm at Duckett’s Grove this weekend. Felting on Saturday morning really was freezing, I’ve only got one electric heater (which is very expensive to run) included in the studio so I finally decided to do a little beading and finishing of projects for Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday.

ImageMost of you know well by know how much I HATE using a needle, however it was very satisfying to end the weekend have brooch backs stitched to a lot of flowers (all delivered to the design shop now) and my latest felt hat beaded. Pauline in Duckett’s Grove Design came up with a novel way of displaying these flowers, she’s requested a long green ‘stem’ which we’re going to suspend against a white background and pin all the flowers along the length, I think this will really show off the mix of colours well! I might include some tendrils with leaves too, it all depends how much time I get to make this before next Friday.

Tomorrow I’m excited to learn the pine needle technique with Leiko, it’s very much more precise than the majority of the felting I usually do, please wish me luck because I think I’ll need it!!! We’ve decided to defer the last two days of the projected retreat, not enough interest at this time of year and unfortunately we didn’t get it together in time to advertise it with the Crafts Council and the VAI. I will be doing more natural printing/dyeing myself during the week and post pictures, I need to get ready now to have another felt jewellery session with Borris Active Retirement.

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!

Exciting news – Leiko and I are organising a joint felting retreat at Clasheen!

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.

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Felting retreat pictures and beyond!

Wow, I enjoyed an amazing few days at Clasheen during the felting retreat last week, it was even better fun than I had imagined and we had such an inspirational sharing of ideas and techniques.

Merridee with her amazing raw fleece bag

Everything came together in an organic kind of way, US friends Merridee and Keith arrived on Monday, Michelle drove down from Donegal on Tuesday, unfortunately Maya wasn’t able to make it at the last minute (check out her amazing first nuno project which she felted at Duckett’s Grove on Saturday instead!) but Japanese friend Leiko arrived back in Ireland just in time to join us and Carmen called over a couple of times just to say hi and check out what we were making! I don’t have enough hours in the day to go over everything that we were doing but at the start of the retreat I checked which techniques both Merridee and Michelle especially wanted to experiment with and made sure that they were happy with what they had achieved at the end of our time together.

Michelle’s wonderful first nuno felt scarf!

Keith proved a wonderful chef as always, gorgeous cuisine and wine plus HOME MADE yeast bread in the evenings, bliss!!! On Friday morning Leiko helped me set up at Borris Food and Craft Market then everyone else arrived and we headed off to Cushendale Woollen Mill. Our arrival coincided with Suzanna Crampton plus sister and friends delivering Zwartbles fleece so again everything worked out beautifully as Merridee, Keith and Michelle were able to join them as Philip gave everyone a proper tour of the mill in action. It’s obviously not going to be possible to upload all the pictures we took over the course of the retreat to the blog, I will be adding more though to both my personal facebook page and Nicola Brown – Clasheen, do check there over the course of the next few days and hopefully there’ll be loads to whet your appetite! Thanks Merridee, Keith, Michelle and Leiko for being such good fun and relaxing company to have around, you were all wonderful!!! I’ll leave you with a picture I love, all of us together at Borris on Friday morning.

Leiko, Keith, Merridee, me and Michelle at Borris Food and Craft Market

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!

Relax, unwind and recharge your felting mojo!

FELTING RETREAT AT CLASHEEN

Relax, unwind and recharge your felting mojo!

Come and join me at Clasheen from 7th – 10th August for a fun filled felting extravaganza. This recession busting mid-week break is the ideal opportunity to tackle new projects or work towards perfecting techniques in a fun and creative atmosphere. The emphasis during the retreat will be on participants having fun, extending their felting practice and sharing techniques, for those wanting a structured experience I will demonstrate and share my method of incorporating raw fleece into bags and rugs as well as share how I use the tumble dryer to felt larger nuno projects. I will be on hand to guide and answer any questions for the less experienced felter; I’ll also be felting myself and am really looking forward to working on a new jumper/dress idea! Participants are free to use my studio from early morning until 11pm and there’s a wealth of interesting plant material and old rusty bits of iron around for anyone wanting to try out a little bit of eco bundling or rust dyeing!

The total fee for this residential retreat is E220 incl comfortable shared accommodation on site, DIY breakfast and lunch (from a well stocked kitchen) plus a catered evening meal with wine to help us unwind in the evenings, vegetarians are welcome!

Felting equipment and materials are not included in the fee but I will have a good selection of short fibred merino, silk, raw fleece and other natural undyed wool available for participants to purchase for individual projects as well as bubble wrap and laminate floor underlay available by the metre.

This retreat is suitable for participants with all levels of felting experience, the emphasis for the retreat will be fun, fibre, felt, food and friends!

TIMETABLE

Tuesday 7th – Participants arrive from 11 am to check into the accommodation, welcome snack at 12.30, felting starts at 2pm and continues until 6pm, dinner at 7pm, felting until late if desired

Wednesday 8th and Thursday 9th – Felting officially starts at 10pm and continues until 5pm, dinner at 6.30pm, felting until late if desired

Friday 10th Check out is by 10am – Borris Country Market takes place on Friday morning and Cushendale Woollen Mill is just 6 miles away at Graiguenamanagh, this is a wonderful spot to visit, gorgeous locally produced and dyed yarns as well as weaving!

Please email me asap if you would like to reserve a place, confirmation of booking will be on receipt of the full fee via PayPal or cheque.