Lake Tahoe, Mendocino and Canada, September/October felting workshop updates and some pics of my latest naturally printed nuno felt scarf!

Whew, sorry about the long title for this blog post, there's a lot to share with you though so here I go with all the details!

One of the confirmed participants for our sold out felting retreat at Lake Tahoe (17th to 22nd September) may not be able to take up their place unexpectedly, as a result Merridee and I are looking for one enthusiastic felter/dyer/fibre artist to join us at the cabin! You can check out all the details on the workshop page, please let either of us know ASAP if you would like to come. This is a super opportunity to have our undivided attention in a wonderful location, click here to email me if you've any questions or would like to book, Keith's cooking and the fabulous location are just the icing on the cake!!!

Who knows but Merridee may even inspire me to try my hand at acid dyeing some of my felt too, I'll never even attempt to paint on silk though, aren't these pictures of her's absolutely amazing?

Mendocino, another absolutely fabulous location, this time on the west coast. Merridee's actually going to be my helper for the fun felting extravaganza I'm facilitating there at the Mendocino Art Center, this takes place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th Sepepetember inclusive. There'll be tonnes of individual attention for everyone each day, class size is small so there'll be loads of felting completed! To a degree, participants will dictate the direction this three day intensive workshop goes but from my perspective I'd like to really help people hone their three dimensional skills (think craters, spikes, jewellery, bags and quirky vessels!) and share how to felt large nuno felt pieces using the tumble dryer method. These are the felting skills that I find most helpful at home, regardless of what project I decide to tackle! You can register online for this felting extravaganza directly with the Mendocino Are Center, here's the link to make things easy.

Moving northwards on to Canada, three individual workshops over the course of a week, Vancouver, Winnepeg then back to Vancouver, I'm still pinching myself to make sure this is happening!!! Here's the schedule first, followed by details of the workshop content below, the scarf in the first picture was felted yesterday morning and dyed twice in the afternoon therefore easily achievable in one day!

Thursday 3rd October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials! 10.30 to 5.30pm at The Loafing Shed Glass Studio, 9060 184th Street Surrey, BC. Please contact Sharon at 604 916 7633 or 778 298-8545 to book your place!

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials! This two day workshop takes place at the Edge Gallery and Urban Art Centre, 611 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba and costs $275 including materials. To book your spot at this two day workshop please contact Margaret ASAP, there also is a dedicated Facebook page for this event!

Thursday 10th October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials!10 to 4pm at the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House (1305 West 70th Ave), Vancouver. The cost of the workshop is $155 and includes the following materials, a silk habotai or gauze scarf, 4oz of merino (19 micron), 1/2 oz silk hankies plus materials for the natural dyeing segment. To book your spot at this workshop please contact Sara asap at 604 781 1724.

Now for the full workshop descriptions……

NATURALLY NUNO During this fun one day workshop participants will create a simple white nuno felt scarf in the morning using the no roll tumble dryer method then print/dye it in the afternoon using a selection of easy to find natural plant materials and rusty metal.

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… We’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the scarves, everyone can enjoy the process of laying out the wool knowing that this will be the biggest design decision of the morning!

In the afternoon we’ll transform the scarves by bundling them together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials then they’ll be tied together and either steamed or cooked in plant enriched water for a couple of hours. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how to achieve different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on the method chosen prior to putting the pieces in the dye pot. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the scarves also create different designs in the finished pieces.

Participants are 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!”

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 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!

Finally for today, a few pictures from yesterday's felt and natural printing/dyeing efforts, thanks Liz Nicholls for being my happy cohort! I've actually got loads more silk and cotton pieces from today hanging up to dry but until they've been ironed and brought inside I'll stick with images of work already almost finished.

A length of cotton and a silk scarf bundled together. The eucalyptus leaves from Christine didn't actually give any prints in these experiments, they did add a wonderful colour to the dye pot though so thanks Christine, I'll get working on your silk next week!

Eucalyptus pods and cotinus leaves on cotton

Extremely wishy washy prints from loads of eucalyptus leaves, the sycamore leaf was ok and the cotinus gave a strong print. This was one of the scarves that I felted yesterday morning and I was very disappointed with the colours achieved, after over dyeing with onion skins I'm thrilled with the result!

The final picture shows both sides of the scarf.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reviewing, recharging and renewing for the months ahead

It’s that time of the year again, reviewing events past, recharging the creative juices and looking forward to a renewed sense of artistic direction for the months ahead. Thankfully my cold is definitely on the mend today and I did actually manage to felt an experimental iPad cover this morning incorporating raw wool and cow hair (see pic above), more about that next time. I am still taking a cough bottle but at least I can think straight again, I just need to answer outstanding emails and respond to queries over the next few days, drat!

2013 is shaping up to be another exciting year on the felting front. Carlow County Council have been working hard to seal and secure all my windows and doors in the studio at Duckett’s Grove so hopefully that’ll mean no more freezing days trying to felt in the cold. All the studios and the design shop will be open again from the first week in February, Madeleine in the tea rooms is actually open this Sunday too as there’s an organised walk for families in the afternoon and she’ll be offering yummy cakes and hot drinks then as per usual.

In addition to facilitating workshops at Duckett’s Grove most weekends I’ll be starting several VEC funded courses over the next few weeks, once they’re up and running I’ll share the individual details and try to take pictures of the work in progress. May will see me travelling once again to teach in the US, I LOVE these trips and am so looking forward to catching up with you all again!!! I’ll be in MI, KY and CA, details to be added to the workshop page of the next few weeks as the workshop descriptions get sorted. In June I’m returning to beautiful Dominio Vale do Mondego in Portugal to facilitate our second residential felting week. It was fabulous last year and I’m very excited that many of the participants are attending again, we’ll have a ball!!!

Also on the teaching front, my wonderful friend and fellow Felt United partner in crime Dawn Edwards hopes to make a return visit to Ireland during 2013, obviously for a holiday but I’m happy to say I’ve also persuaded her to facilitate another hat making workshop! This trip I really want to take Dawn across the country to visit the Aran Islands, they are so stunningly beautiful and one of my all time favourite places in the world!!! Initially we had thought that this might take place early in the year but now we’re working towards a later date, as soon as we know we’ll let you know all the details.

I had also intended on sharing my thoughts here about the various craft fairs and events I participated in recently, unfortunately I’ve run out of steam now is so I think I’ll call it a day if that’s OK! WordPress have interesting annual reports available for all their blogs, click on the link bellow if you want to see some interesting facts about Clasheen!

https://clasheen.wordpress.com/2012/annual-report/

 

Felting in Portugal, part four

Well the ‘tomorrow’ of  Wednesday’s post has been and gone so appologies if it’s taken me a couple of days longer than anticipated to write about our nuno felting and eco bundling experiences in Portugal! My Danish friend Annette arrived in Ireland at 12.45am on Wednesday morning and as well as enjoying her company, attending the market in Borris on Friday and sorting the hundreds of other daily things that go on here at Clasheen I’m trying to get my supplies together (not sucessfully yet unfortunately) and prepare for Dagmar Binder’s masterclass in Scotland which starts on Tuesday.  Annette and her husband will be staying here while I’m away and taking care of Rex then we’ll have another couple of days together when I return, I’m planning a visit to Cushendale Woollen Mill and we’ll be felting together too so that should be fun! Now as promised, back to our time in Portugal…..

Sandy and Stella both working on laying out large nuno felt wraps

The latter part of the week was taken up with nuno felting, flat felting with a view to eco bundling and basically a little (or a lot!) of whatever took each participants fancy based on the techniques that had been already been shared. Not everyone had previous nuno felting experience and strangely enough it proved impossible to get either cheesecloth or muslin in Portugal for everyone to share, why is this I wonder??? Between us all however we had quite a variety of suitable fabrics including the most amazing stretchy cotton gauze from The Netherlands that apparantly is something you use when making a mattress for yourself!!! Depending on the supplies that everyone had brought some participants worked with undyed Bordeleira while others worked with hand dyed silks and coloured merino. For everyone who had not nuno felted before I recommended felting their first pieces by hand to learn the different stages of the process, for those with plenty of nuno experience I shared the way I’m currently using the tumble dryer to slash the time for larger projects. Over the course of the rest of our week a selection of amazing large wraps were felted (pictures of finished work from the week will be in my next and final post about Portugal!) and some smaller nuno felt and flat felt pieces in white were made in preparation for some natural dyeing experiments.

Participants disappearing into the distance to forage for leaves, flowers and old pieces of rusty iron!

From the beginning it had always been obvious how Karin and Eelco would like everyone to use natural materials or found objects from the domain as inspiration for or inclusion in the felt that we would be making during the week. This came together very naturally with a desire to try out simple eco bundling, the olive and sweet chestnut leaves just cried out for inclusion as did various rusty bits of old metal which we picked up while out foraging for goodies! Terriea was marvellous in sharing her experience dyeing with leaves and rust, thanks Terriea for your wonderful manner and fun way of sharing a new experience!!! Our objective was to imprint leaf shapes and colours onto felt as well as trying out some experiments with the heavier cotton fabric Karin had bought originally thinking it would be OK for nuno felting with. Terriea explained that protein fibres such as silk and wool absorb natural colour from the leaves best but since we also had the cotton we decided to give it a go too, we soaked our felt and the cotton pieces overnight in a vinegar solution prior to bundling. This was all a fun and relaxing experiment so please don’t ask me for any exact measurements as shock horror, we didn’t take any!

Terriea and Annemarie with a large pot of bundles ready for the stove

On Thursday morning Sandy choose to continue working on the final shaping of her large felt vessel but everyone else wrapped a selection of different nuno felt, flat felt and cotton pieces with a selection of the leaves and rusty pieces of old metal we’d scavanged. Heather also decided to eco print a felt bag; the original intention had been to felt this together with some silk velvet but as the velvet experiment hadn’t worked out as planned this proved to be an inspired choice to print with! Carla made great use of some left over cherry soup from the previous lunch with one of her pieces of felt and I added some tea leaves to a couple of my cotton bundles. Once all the pieces were tied up with their various inclusions we placed them in two different saucepans, one for pieces including rusty objects and the other for pieces only containing vegetable matter. The bundles were covered with water and put on a cooker to bring to the boil, once boining point was reached the heat was turned down and the pots were simmered for aprox 45 minutes to an hour. They were then left to cool down naturally and the bundles stayed in the water overnight until we unwrapped them on Friday morning. This was fun, seeing how our expectations were either met, exceeded or in some cases failed, all part of the learning process and information to be stored and used in future projects! Sweet chestnut leaves (plus the long flowers), olive leaves and rose leaves proved to impart the strongest and clearest shapes on felt, Carla’s scarf using the cherry soup worked brilliantly as did Annemarie’s pieces using a mizture of flowers, grasses and fruit slices while Heather had a very successful experiment wrapping one of her large nuno felt wraps without inclusions and simmering it in the pot with the rest of the iron filled pieces!!!

I’ve got to sign out now because my bags are calling and I need to get those raw materials assembled for Dagmar’s class as well as some final clothes dried and the house tidied a little. My final post about Portugal will be memories of our last group day together at Dominio Vale do Mondego and pictures of the participants with some of the amazing felt completed during the course of this fantastic week. I’m not sure if I’ll actually get this written before I fly to Scotland at 6.05am tomorrow morning but I will try and keep you all up to date with progress at the masterclass during the week and finish Portugal as soon as I can. For now one last picture and ‘adeus’ until next time!

Having fun – Heather and Sandy watching Nienke unwrapping one of her bundles