Upcoming MI and KY workshops plus a couple of pictures from the Gaelscoil

I love teaching!!! Although I would like to have time to felt samples to bring on my upcoming US trip currently I have to concentrate on finishing the wall hanging at the Gaelscoil, help my mother prepare for moving house this Friday and facilitate my ongoing four session felting course with the Goleir group in Carlow. Once the wall hanging is finished I can really knuckle down and get some more pieces felted to bring with me on my travels, in fact I find it hard to believe I’ll be heading off for the first leg of my journey on 7th May. Plainwell MI, Lexington KY and Loomis CA, you’ve been warned!!!!! More about my MI and KY workshops further down this post, to start with I’ll share some news and pics from last week and this morning.

The wall hanging is starting to shrink at last!

The wall hanging is starting to shrink at last!

Firstly, it’s been so rewarding to work with the pupils at the Gaelscoil, their faces were a picture last week as they all returned into the art room to have another felting session with me, this time everyone was really working hard to start the fulling process and get this large baby shrinking! No matter how clear their understanding of the process we are engaged in is, seeing the fully laid out and partially felted wall hanging for the first time was amazing for them. Faces lit up as they could identify their own prefelt pieces in the overall landscape, the younger junior and senior infants (4 to 6 year olds approx) did wonder where their pink, red and purple felt had disappeared to but were soon delighted to discover that they would be adding silk and shaping it into three dimensional flowers!

Beautifully decorated flowers ready to wet out and felt

Beautifully decorated flowers ready to wet out and felt

These will be stitched on to the bottom portion of the piece later this week, I really hope to be able to show you completed pictures before too long, tomorrow we start to roll in a widthways direction. I also want to check with the principal tomorrow to see if I can put some pictures of the children online, I have some great action shots of them all working together as a team.

Now on to my US trip, it’s a hard life for a busy Irish felter!!! I’ll be delivering my new workshop ‘Wrapped in Nature’ in Plainwell MI on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May and Lexington KY on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th May. I’ll follow this on with three individual days teaching at the Felt Fest in Loomis CA on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June, it’s all SO EXCITING!!!!! In the middle of all this I’ll be facilitating a nuno felt workshop and a felt flower workshop at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May respectively, full details of all these events and links to book your place are over on the workshop page. I’m going to post the shortened version of the MI and KY workshop info here again for you to look over in case you haven’t already seen it, I hope to see you soon at one of these fabulous venues!!!

‘Wrapped in Nature’ – beautiful felt inspired by the natural landscape

During this two day workshop participants will design and create their own unique and beautiful wearable, functional or decorative piece of felt using the natural landscape as a starting point. Some participants may choose to felt a purely decorative art piece such as a large vessel, sculpture or wall hanging while others may take the opportunity to work on a nuno felt wrap, vest, complex bag or jewellery. Over the course of the two days there will be time to explore and discover techniques or materials that you may have never considered using in your felting before and we will also have the facilities to make some small experiments naturally printing/dyeing on silk and felt.

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

Marvellous Michigan, felt, fun, friends and ice cream!!!

I am so excited to be heading back to teach and stay once more with Dawn, Morry and Micah in Plainwell MI, it really does feel like my home away from home!!! Sue, Shirley, Kristi, Peggy, Patty and a few others who’ll remain nameless all know that although I don’t have a sweet tooth I’m OBSESSED by the wonderful Plainwell Ice Cream, Art and Judy watch out, I hope that you have a tonne of butter pean in the making as I write this post. In addition to sorting out loads of FeltUnited stuff and many silk salvaging trips to Goodwill and the Salvation Army store, most importantly Dawn will be hosting my MI workshop ‘Wrapped in Felt’ on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May. This is the first weekend of my upcoming US trip, what a fantastic way to kick off this amazing visit!

Sue and Shirley with their marvellous large felt vessels!

Sue and Shirley with their marvellous large felt vessels!

Aren’t these vessels felted by Sue and Shirley at last year’s event just fabulous??? I can’t wait to see what ideas they both come up with this year! I’ve created an event page for the workshops on FB and the full details of what we’ll be covering are on here on the workshop page of the blog. Amongst other things I’ll be sharing a way of felting vessels using an open instead of a closed resist, when I first tried out this method at Dagmar Binder’s 6 day masterclass in Scotland last year it was a totally ‘DUH’ moment for me. It’s revolutionised the way I think of resists now and made it so much easier to create shapes that I was struggling with or could only conceive in my mind before. There’ll also be the opportunity and facilities (for those that want) to make some small natural bundling experiments on silk and felt using leaves, onion skins, tea leaves and rusty metal. This is a wonderful and totally non toxic way of adding another dimension to your textile art, I love having a selection of my own naturally printed fabric to select from when I’m planning a nuno felting frenzy! Speaking of nuno felting, as with last year, participants are free to lay out a large piece of felt, maybe a wrap, wall hanging or yardage for a vest and then I’ll explain the steps that need to be taken so the piece may be felted in the dryer and brought back to class the next day felted, fulled and ready to share with the group! Obviously if anyone wants to felt their piece by hand during the workshop that’s also possible, the tumble dryer method though takes all the hard work out of the process and allows one to enjoy the designing and laying out process so much more!!! There’s a public laundry (is that the correct word in the US?) just up the road from our venue for those people staying overnight. a trip to Plainwell Ice Cream in the evening is also essential for anyone from out of town so I’ll leave you today with a picture showing some of the amazing flavours available for you to enjoy!

Yummy flavours at Plainwell Ice Cream!

Some of the yummy flavours available at Plainwell Ice Cream!

 

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.

 

2013 felting workshops

I’m confirmed my dates for teaching in the US during May and Portugal in June so am now really trying to concentrate on writing up the workshop descriptions. No matter how many times I promise myself I’ll start a file to collate and store all this info once more I’m floundering around trying to put words to paper, words obviously that will give potential participants an idea of what I’m hoping we will cover during the classes! I’m also sorting out dates for upcoming workshops at Duckett’s Grove, watch this space. Anyway, the dates are now on the workshop page so please excuse me while I go and strain my brain some more…..

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/

 

Workshop pictures, Gaelscoil, Mount Juliet Christmas village…..

Once again I’m very busy, some of you might even ask what’s new? Unfortunately we don’t have wireless internet yet in the studios at Duckett’s Grove and this is meaning that I’m actually incommunicado for much of the week at present. The upside however ensures that I’m getting through my work in a more structured fashion, felting and updating the blog from Clasheen during the week and teaching/felting smaller projects at the studio for the weekends. Having Leiko living here too (in Tom’s house beside me) means that Rex isn’t lonely and my house isn’t untended while I’m away either, especially good as lambing season is just about tostart and I don’t want to lock Rex up all the time I’m away either.

Sharon, Helen, Tracy, Aideen, Anna, Lynsey and Jenny with their gorgeous felt flowers

This past weekend I facilitated two lovely workshops. On Saturday I had a fun group of family and friends for a surprise hen party/baby shower to felt flowers and on Sunday friend Paula and her daughter Sorcha made beautiful flat felt to be stitched into clutch bags. The Sunday session was my way of saying thanks to Paula for ensuring I submitted a proposal to Gaelscoil Eoghain Ui Thuairisc, as a result I start work this week on a large art project with 480 national school children!

 

Paula and Sorcha with their fabulous felt clutches

Emma Jane Champley and I also got good news this week, written confirmation that we’ve been accepted for two stands side by side at the Mount Juliet Christmas Village, a 16 day extravaganza which runs from 8th to 23rd December inclusive. Leiko’ll also be helping us man the fort and showing some of her latest designs so if Irish made high quality jewellery, felt, paintings and Christmas cards are of interest to you look no further!