Having fun felting, printing, visiting exhibitions and catching up with Merridee and Keith!

I'm having such a fun time with great US friends and visitors Merridee and Keith, having great weather hasn't been bad either! We started our time together with a lovely party to celebrate Cathy and Martin's 10th wedding anniversary then have spent time visiting the exhibitions in Kilkenny with Alan, at the FORM pop up shop, walking at the Raven and Curracloe beach, eating in Step House, visiting Thomastown to see some wonderful exhibitions (especially at Grennan Mill and Marty in Framewell, congratulations everyone), having a fab chilli and cardamom hot chocolate from the Truffle Fairy, dropping in to Cushendale Woollen Mill, experimenting with new felting and printing materials at Casheen plus spending creative time with Carmen. Tomorrow morning Keith and I will be live on the Sue Nunn show after the 11 o'clock news, after that we'll all head to visit Elizabeth, Geoffrey and all at Shankill Castle before having a last night dinner with Carmen and Leiko. Here's a short round up of the week to date in pictures, the felting pics are last in a case any of you want to skip to the end!

 

Feltmakers North and a little flight of fancy!

Regular blog readers may remember that I spent a few happy days last year staying with good friend Liz Nicholls and facilitating a workshop with Feltmakers North. Over the course of two days participants laid out and felted either large bags with integrated handles and flaps or smaller but no less time consuming iPad or laptop covers, the pictures below give an idea of what we got up to.

This weekend I'll be making a return visit, on Friday we'll be felting large nuno wraps using the tumble dryer method followed by simple vessels or clutches on Saturday.

Thanks ladies for inviting me back, I'm really looking forward to spending some time with you all again!

Aside from teaching and waiting for a big delivery of merino and silk to arrive, I'm currently participating in a two day 'shabby chic' style furniture technique workshop at Raheen Family Resource Centre. Here's a picture of my work from today, thanks Carmen for a fun workshop, the piece combines decoupage, transferring and waxing. I've also given an old antique chair an undercoat of chalk paint ready for some more work tomorrow, it's amazing how fast these techniques actually are.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Houston calling and fun felting at Ballymurphy National School!

I'm really happy to confirm that I'll be heading on from a Dallas to teach for two days in Houston, thanks Barbara for inviting me! We're planning a one day felt vessel workshop on Monday 28th April followed by a one day natural printing workshop on Tuesday 29th, finalised details should be posted here tomorrow or the next day. Here're two pictures of a small naturally printed wrap that I felted last week, this time combining eucalyptus leaves with blackberry and rose leaves from my garden.

Now on to my main activity for a lot of last week…..

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I had the pleasure of introducing the 50 pupils at Ballymurphy National School to the joys of working with fibre. This school is actually about ten minutes walk from Clasheen through the fields, obviously though I had to drive because otherwise I'd never have managed to bring all the necessary materials and bubble wrap!

For those of you living in countries with a different junior school system, usually children go to national (primary) school from the ages of 4 to 12, sometimes in small rural schools such as this there might be actuall classes with no pupils, strange but true!

Anyway, as you can see from this series of images a fabulous variety of stunning felt pictures was created. Inspiration was varied but the surrounding mountainous landscape and portraits were two popular themes. I'm going to load all the pictures I took to an album on Facebook later today, this way you can have a look plus all the pupils will have a reminder of what we got up to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

First felt vessel of 2014

Yesterday I ordered the raw materials to fulfill the trade orders from Showcase and got some dreaded paperwork out of the way early in the morning. This left me free to felt my first vessel of 2014!


Every day when I walk up the lane and through the fields at Clasheen with Rex, my eyes are drawn time and time again to the beautiful lichen, moss and fern strewn dry stone walls which are a constant source of inspiration for me. It was interesting to see the night before that I was very attracted to an unusual polymer clay necklace online friend Jaroslava Zikmundova posted to FB and Etsy, I then discovered when I left a comment that it too was inspired by mosses and lichen!

Anyway, yesterday I wanted to work on an idea that I had had for a while, a felt vessel with plenty of texture and some craters. I'm planning a series of vessels incorporating some natural printing but for yesterday I just wanted to break my duck and get back to felting three dimensionally. I also wanted to use some of the lovely Portugese merino I bought at the wool factory in Guarda on a trip we made last year at the wonderful residential felting holiday at Dominio Vale do Mondego. Just as an aside, if anyone is interested in joining us for this years extravaganza don't forget to check it out and contact Karin ASAP, spaces are filling very quickly!

Here's a picture of the vessel during the early laying out stage…..

and one after I've laid out all the surface embellishments and started to felt, thanks Sue (GlitterGirl Feltworks) for the funky yarn!

Here's a picture of the almost finished vessel sitting on top of the wall, I still need to do a little work to firm up the shape. Overall I'm happy with the result, the craters would have been much better if I'd used a different method for creating them, the Portugese merino batt gives a lovely pebbly texture when felted but was a little uneven to lay out, all in all it was a pleasant way to start felting vessels for the new year.

 

Lexington workshop details for 23rd and 24th May announced and CA dates confirmed!

I’m delighted to say that I’ll be back teaching at The Tin Thimble in Loomis CA on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May. I absolutely love the time I spend here catching up with old friends, meeting new fibre fanatics, facilitating workshops and staying with the most wonderful and welcoming hosts, Sharon, Mark, Dawn, Morry, Jan, Bruce and Kevin, you’re the best!!! Over the next few days I’ll be finalising class descriptions for Loomis and Plainwell (9th and 10th) plus confirming what I’ll be teaching at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival (17th and 18th). Woo hoo, watch out US, here I come again!

In addition to my regular slot at the KSFF I’m back for the fourth time facilitating workshops for the wonderful Jan Durham in Lexington. This two day workshop (one day by arrangement) happens on 23rd and 24th May, there is also a possibility of an additional afternoon/evening class on 22nd, more about that another time! I’m really excited that we’ll be felting on Saturday and having a full day natural printing on sunday, here’s the full workshop description and an example of a naturally printed wrap. Please email Jan if you would like more information and to book your place!

May also be used as a wall hanging or a throw

Silk, merino, bamboo and Firestar nuno felt wrap, naturally printed with eucalyptus leaves, onion skins and tea leaves

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 felt 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!

NB Although this is a two day workshop participants may be accommodated for individual days by prior arrangement.

Happy holidays everyone!

Apologies for the lack of posting over the last week or so. Rex had an accident the Wednesday before Christmas and the normally hectic round at this time of year (market, pop up shop, Christmas celebrations and family time) has revolved around making sure he is comfortable and not left by himself for too long. In typical border collie style he was chasing a car up the lane in the dark and came back on three legs, although X-rays showed no broken bones the vets think that it may be soft tissue damage and take as long if not longer to heal. Anyway, today I'll be felting a wrap and getting a pot on for a bout of natural printing this afternoon, eucalyptus leaves also make a seasonal decoration for the front door!

I hope that you are all having a wonderful holiday season whatever your beliefs, stay safe and best wishes for a fabulous felt filled 2014!!!

 

 

A rather brusque summary of the week to date

It's been a crazy, crazy week, apologies to anyone who may be waiting for me to respond to emails or similar, shout out loud if you think that I've forgotten you, it's certainly not intentional! My week to date in bullet points…….

  • Returned from Cork on Monday and tried to unpack everything constructively
  • Demonstrated felt flowers and gave a talk to a lovely group of ladies on Tuesday, took photos of the saree silk wrap/scarf that I have for Amy, sorry though that I haven't managed to upload them here, technical issues
  • Should have been at a training day on Wednesday but it was postponed until next week, instead planned to felt but instead spent the time trying to get washing and paperwork done
  • Thursday, spent hours weighing materials and preparing for a workshop then taught 20 wonderful ladies flat felting. Until the afternoon, neither I nor the organisers knew that their would be 20, as it was they turned away another 5 phone enquiries!
  • Up like a bird on Friday to catch that proverbial early worm!!! Brought a lot more stock than usual to Borris Food & Craft Market as we were having a coffee morning in support of the 'Save Our Heartland' group. The aim of this group is to stop a line of HUGE pylons ploughing across our beautiful rural landscape, please visit us on Facebook if you would like to read more and/or help us in our endeavours. In addition to all the funds from our regular market teas, coffee and cakes I had personally pledged 10% of my takings for the day to the group. Thankfully we had an excellent turnout and raised quite a bit of welcome funds for the campaign. I was also really happy with the feedback about my extended range of products, I sold a couple of larger interior accent pieces and some flowers so I'm definitely going to make the effort and bring more stock to the market in the foreseeable future!
  • Today, Saturday, I was supposed to be facilitating a two day workshop this weekend at Berkeley Forest House but unfortunately there were not enough bookings this time for Alexis to be able to host the event, Instead, I'm teaching tomorrow at Duckett's Grove so is anyone wants to join me there for a beginners and improvers say email me ASAP or give me a bell, there are only two spaces left.

Whew, I'm hoping you can see why I haven't been the best correspondent this week!

 
 
 
 
 

 

Fabulous felted and printed scarves from Vancouver and tomorrow is FeltUnited Day at last!!!

I'm here in Winnipeg now preparing for this weekend's two day felting and natural printing workshop, I'm really excited to be felting here tomorrow in celebration of FeltUnited Day 2014!!! We had a wonderful time yesterday at the one day event in Vancouver so ably organised by Sharon Gerhart, congratulations ladies on all your marvellous creations, you really were a fun group! Here's a pictorial rich review of what we got up to, for the first time ever I think I actually managed to take pictures of everyone unveiling their scarf.

Smiling faces all round as Sharon helps Chelsea open her scarf, this first successful unveiling really sets the tone for the whole group!
Judith bundled her scarf a little differently from everyone else and got a really nice clear design against the natural white background.
Debbie smiling as she shakes out the leaves and madrone bark from her scarf. Who knew until yesterday in that madrone was actually another name for arbutus, a tree I can get my hands on in Ireland??? Not me!
A group photo before Judith, Debbie and Chelsea head for the ferry then the rest of us head back to do some more unbundling!
Intense examination of Hayden's results.
One section of her scarf…..
….. looking good Hayden!
A stunning all over print from Sharon our intrepid organiser.
Bamboo fibre doesn't take the colour so lends a gorgeous tracery of white against some of the Silver Dollar eucalyptus prints.
Seed pods add another whole dimension to the design.
We're all pretty excited as Sheila unrolls her scarf, by this time we know she'll have a great outcome…..
….. and here it is!
Hayden helping Irma.
Super prints on Irma's scarf, Silver Dollar eucalyptus, black tea and onion skins.
Sheila and Sharon intent as they watch Ann unwrap her scarf.
Another nice example showing the bamboo fibre standing out strongly against the printed felt.
A final photo and a lot of happy smiling faces, Irma, me, Sheila, Sharon, Hayden and Ann!

 

 

 

Stunning bags felted at Duckett’s Grove this weekend!

It's been a very busy few days, on Friday morning I had my regular stand at the market in Borris, in the afternoon I moved furniture and arranged Duckett's Grove for the weekend, on Saturday I facilitated a full day felt bag workshop at Duckett's Grove and today a full day beginner's workshop! My linguistic skills aren't too hot at this stage of the night so I'll just post pictures from the weekend and let you admire the fabulous creations all the ladies felted!!!

Paula, Jeni, Mary and Mary hard at work laying out the surface design
Mary and Mary with their almost completed bags, great job!
Stunning iPad sized bags from Jeni and Paula!
Ciara and Jackie almost ready to start felting their clutch bags, these will be stitched up at the sides later
Lovely bags and lovely smiles, wonderful first felt pieces!
The backs of the bags are as beautiful as the fronts…..
 

 

Winnipeg, Canada on FeltUnited day – workshop description!

Although I don’t actually have a price or venue address yet for the class in Winnipeg I thought that I’d post the workshop description and dates to give people time to think whether they wanted to attend or not! If this sounds like something you’d consider joining us for please email Margaret and she’ll answer your questions and take your bookings. The workshop will run over Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October, this means that we will be felting together on FeltUnited day, in Canada, how exciting!!! Anyway, here’s the workshop description…..

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 also 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!

NB Although this is a two day workshop participants may be accommodated for individual days by prior arrangement.