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!

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!

Home, natural dyeing/printing, unexpected presentation taking up my time…..

I’m home safely after a wonderful time in California! It was great to be back at The Tin Thimble catching up with old friends both before, during and after the three days of workshops plus put faces to the friends I’ve previously been in touch with through the blog, FB and various other forms of social media, I’m not going to mention everyone by name but you all know who you are!!! My intention had been to write a long and proper post yesterday about the workshops and my trip with Merridee and Keith to Lake Tahoe, unfortunately I just don’t have the time so apologies in advance to those of you who were expecting all the low down about the exciting work that was created during my three days of teaching. An unexpected opportunity arose while I was away (thanks Paula for getting in touch to alert me!) so yesterday I had to make a presentation in relation to an exciting art project and this morning I got a call asking me to come back in tomorrow and discuss a few of the points raised during this session. Fingers crossed everything will work out, I’ll keep you posted once I know the outcome!

My own naturally printed chiffon with goodies I bought at The Tin Thimble, glass beads by Toni Lutman and beautiful hand dyed merino by Carin Engen and Laurie Simoni

As regards other work since I’ve been home I printed two lengths of silk chiffon on Monday evening then last night I filled two pots with silk and leaves in preparation for a natural printing and dyeing session today. One of the pots contained a tea solution, the other a vinegar and water mix. I’ve now bundled everything up and all the pieces are simmering on the Rayburn, most of the bundles contain a variety of eucalyptus leaves but two I wrapped using Cotinus leaves from my garden. I also sprinkled some of the fabric with tea leaves and wrapped one of the pieces in rusty metal, I LOVE opening these bundles, pictures next time, I promise. During my stay in CA I spent time with Merridee, Sharon and Nika Ivanoff experimenting more with this method of colouring fabric, thanks Nika for the wonderful leaves you brought last Saturday for us all to share not to mention the wine, chocolate and strawberries, we loved them all!!!

Emma and I are just sorting out dates for workshops in The Tin Thimble again next spring, keep an eye out over the next week or so as we hope to have everything sorted by then!

Quick little CA update!

My carry on bag is packed and I’m just waiting for Merridee and Keith to arrive and whisk me off to their cabin at Lake Tahoe. We’ll be hiking, felting, relaxing and possibly doing a little Eco printing/dyeing and kayaking too!!! On Thursday evening we’ll be back home then have a big day planned felting at The Tin Thimble with Sharon, Emma and Lisa on Saturday. More pics from
our three days of workshops now on my personal FB page!

Day one of our felting workshops starts tomorrow!

I’m having an early night tonight in order to be in top form for the first of three days teaching at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, CA tomorrow. This morning I woke up at 3.40am and just couldn’t get back to sleep, too many ideas sparked by the wonderful supplies from the studio and obviously a little bit of jet lag doesn’t help the cause either. Already I’ve been having a fantastic time catching up with old friends. In the morning I’ll be meeting some good online friends in person for the first time, that’s going to be exciting too!!! I’ll try and post some pics to FB as we go along during the workshops.

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Some more experimental felted pieces

Yesterday Rami completed two great sculptural shibori pieces, both were laid out and felted to the prefelt stage then tied and felted again until they were finished. I’d be happy to call either piece my own especially since one features my FAVOURITE colour combination (some might say obsession), light green and black!!!

A selection of Rami’s work to date

Today we concentrated on big boy toys. By this I primarily mean electric tools to help hasten the felting process or achieve specific end results easily, obviously we’ve been using the ‘niki & niki’ felting tools daily but I think that goes without saying by now. I really don’t have time to write up each method we used, thanks must definitely go though to Horst for sharing his method of felting using a combination of sander, washing machine and tumble dryer, check out Rami’s sample below to see the soft and tactile end result. We also tried out Horst’s way of utilising a plasterer’s float to felt cords and if you’re interested in the tumble dryer method for nuno felting large pieces ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ gives step by step instructions! At the moment there are a string of felt beads in the washing machine (another technique, pics later maybe) and I’ve got to rush to write up my submission to ‘Beauty in Nature’ and pack the relevant pieces to deliver to the Crafts Council tomorrow.

Soft and tactile attachments

Rami and I’ll be heading to Borris Market in the morning then visiting Philip at Cushendale Woollen Mill, Alex at Grennan Craft School and then going to Kilkenny where we’ll check out the National Craft Gallery, stroll around the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and in general have a browse and a bite to eat!

Pictures from day two of our intensive felting workshop

Rami arrived safely to Ireland on Saturday night/Sunday morning, bed time 4.25am!

Rami adding some three dimensional elements to his second piece of felt

Yesterday was spent chatting about the basics of feltmaking, laying out and felting his first piece of flat felt, exploring a lot of different natural and manmade surface embellishments, checking out images of work he is inspired by and discussing the large fibre related project that Rami will be working on once he returns to the Lebanon.

Today we explored felt balls, cords, loops, working with raw wool, creating texture, basic needle felting and including resists within the lay out of a piece. This may sound like a lot of different techniques to cover in one day but during the course of our intensive week together Rami wants to learn how to create specific end results and is not concerned with heading home with a perfect, artistic ‘finished piece’. Rather he’s been creating samples and learning about the various ways of achieving the look he wants, it’s exciting seeing how things come together, intensive work but invigorating and creative!

Little sculptural experiment at large in the garden!

I really don’t have time to write much this week, instead I’ll just try and post pictures as the time progresses, enjoy them.