Felting retreat alert at Clasheen and workshops, current and past!

Final pictures of more finished work from Portugal on their way I promise, there’s just so much catching up to do and I don’t want to forget to advertise upcoming workshops too!

I had a really fun weekend felting and teaching for the first time at Duckett’s Grove, congratulations Maya and Valerie, you both felted wonderful pieces for your first time felting. Head on over to my FB page  to see pictures of the beautiful flat felt and fun flowers they created, please like the page too if it appeals to you and you haven’t already done so!

A few of my own flowers from the weekend

Next Saturday I’m running another full day ‘Simple, Stylish and Colourful Flat Felt’ workshop for beginners and improvers, details over on the workshop page and if you’d like to reserve your place please email me asap. On Sunday felt flowers are the theme again. From 2 until 4pm I’ll be hosting my normal workshop costing E25 (incl materials) where you learn the basics for a variety of flowers with and without stems. Integrating stamens and/or ring backs are also options for more experienced felters and everyone will felt at least two or three complete flowers using the special short fibre merino I love to work with for jewellery. To celebrate Duckett’s Grove hosting Carlow Garden Festival on Sunday afternoon I’m also going to offer short 15 – 20 minute taster sessions costing E10 per flower throughout the day. At these sessions I won’t be doing any actual teaching but rather have the lay out done in advance (simple flowers with no stems) and participants will just have the felting to do, I will of course supervise this and think it could be fun!

I’d now like to alert you all to an exciting bit of news, I’ve decided to host an intensive but relaxing residential felting retreat (hopefully not too late in the day!) at Clasheen. I’ll confirm it next post with all the fibre related details but for now put 7th – 10th August in your diaries, the idea is for this to be an affordable and creative mid week break!!! Participants will stay in ‘Tom’s House’ (the adjoining rental property), felt in my studio and be wined and dined in the evenings, watch this space!

Descriptions for my September workshops at The Tin Thimble in Loomis CA are now online and I’m sure Emma won’t mind that I’ve copied and pasted her text here for you to review (please be advised though that I won’t be teaching anyone how to make a skrit, that should of course read skirt!). Please email Emma asap if you are interested in coming along and joining us, these classes are almost full now I think and it’s always such a fun place to teach and meet fibre friends.

  • Three Days of Felting with Nicola Brown! – Friday, September 28 – Sunday, September 30 10:30-5:00

    We have had the honor of hosting Nicola Brown from Clasheen in Ireland the last two years and we are thrilled to announce that she’ll be back for a third workshop this Fall! Here are some of the projects that she has suggested you can make with her:

    Large Nuno Felt Wrap/Skrit, Shrug or Simple Vest (will start on Friday and continue work through Saturday and Sunday along with joining in on the other projects and demos)

    This workshop will share with participants a stress free way of creating a large nuno felt wrap/skirt, shrug or vest using the tumble dryer method. Because there is no rubbing or rolling involved in this workshop participants are free to concentrate on the design process and spend time enjoying laying out ultra fine layers of merino, colonial, polwarth or other fibre suitable for their pieces. Wraps will be multifunctional and entail no stitching, simple shrugs or vests will have minimal stitching but Nicola will have all the necessary needles and thread on hand so that participants can leave at the end of the day with a fully wearable garment! EMMA’S NOTE: IF THIS IS THE KIND OF PROJECT THAT YOU WANT TO TACKLE WITH NICOLA I HIGHLY RECOMMEND SIGNING UP FOR ALL THREE DAYS – IT’S A LARGE PROJECT

    Funky Felt Vessel or Purse(Saturday)

    This one day workshop will share with participants the skills needed to felt a wonderful vessel or large purse with integrated shoulder strap. Depending on felting previous experience participants will have the opportunity to experiement with adding inclusions such as stones, glass nuggets or other found objects into their felt. Vessels will be strong and sculptural, purses may include internal pockets and interesting flaps and closures.

    Fun and Funky Felt Accessories (Sunday)

    This one day workshop will encourage participants to explore and experiment with a variety of wet felt techniques and discover ways in which they may be combined to create unique felt jewelry and accessories. During the day participants will be able to felt a selection of buttons, belts, brooches, bracelets, necklaces, purses, closures or other small three dimensional items and all the techniques discussed and learnt may be translated into larger three dimensional felt or clothing. Found objects and treasured bits and bobs may all be incorporated into the felt so participants are encouraged to bring along a selection of their favourite stash items and Nicola will help them design one off pieces using these as a starting point.

    Instructor: Nicola Brown
    Class Fee: $150/day or $400 for all three days

American and Irish workshop updates, ArtL!nks plus FlyLady!

It’s official, Kentucky has now been added as the final stop for my American felting workshops on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th May, I am so thrilled to be visiting this beautiful state and am really looking forward to meeting Jan Durham for the first time and catching up with Lindy Huber again!!!  As soon as all the details are ironed out for the workshops I will post here with all the information about the techniques we will be covering as well as update the information on the workshop page

Bookings are now open for The Tin Thimble’s annual Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat in Downeville CA (see I can use American spellings sometimes) so if you are interested in joining us (hi Carole!) for what promises to be an action packed and fun time please hurry, spaces at this event are strictly limited!!!

The introduction to feltmaking for total beginners and improvers at Clasheen on Saturday 5th March is now fully booked but please email me if you would like to be added to my waiting list in case of a cancellation or to discuss the possibility of attending on another day. 

Total mess on my studio tables and beyond

I should in fact be playing in a golf competition this afternoon but needs must, my studio is totally messy once again and I really need to get it sorted and start on my large ArtL!nks vessel by this evening (or more realistically first thing tomorrow morning) at the latest!  The mess isn’t a dirty mess but rather an excceptionally untidy one, the tables mightn’t look too bad but it is everywhere else you aren’t seeing that is the big problem, where on earth will I shove all this stuff to free up my work space???  Note the bird seed, oatmeal and sultanas too, since the harsh weather I have a selection of robins and a blackbird that bombard me every time I leave through the back door so I keep these to hand as a simple way of keeping them happy!  This last part of my ArtL!nks work will be the vessels finished using the yoga balls for the shaping.  I am thinking of making two large vessels, the first one in white Icelandic wool and stiffened with PVA to check out my template measurements and make sure the ball is a good idea, the second in white merino with chocolate and orange shapes.  This merino vessel will require a lot more time and more expensive materials to felt so you can see why I want to try out the Icelandic wool and ball first, if it is a disaster I will need to rethink my plan.

My tidy dining room with felt and fibre accessories!

Lastly I am going to leave you with two pictures of my totally tidy dining room to show that it will be possible to tidy my studio, amazing picture as all my friends know (usually this room is TOTALLY COVERED in paperwork and other assorted ‘stuff’) but it is all down to hard work and a lot of help from FlyLady!!!  Those of you who have been following my blog for a long time may remember that I signed up to FlyLady in January 2009 but I fell by the wayside sometime later that year.  Enough is enough, 2011 is the year I am trying my best to sort out the house, studio and garden in tandem with organising my diary and keeping better track of my felting work.  Keeping a balance between all these things is important but earning a working living is vital and hopefully a bit more structure and a tidy space to live in will help with that!  This first picture shows the view looking over the dining table towards a little nook livened up with a favourite painting by Majid Kahhak, a felt throw on the back of a sofa bed and a light fitting with about 45 felt flower lampshades.  There is another splash of colour in this direction where a shocking pink sheepskin provides a comfy seating place on top of a trunk if necessary, by the way, Alan does NOT like this pink sheepskin at all! 

Simple venacular architecture with individual modern table and chairs!

The second shot is looking in the other direction towards the main bedroom.  In this picture you can see the juxtaposition of the ultra modern dining table and chairs with the unchanged local venacular architecture.  Thanks to friend Duncan Russell whom I comissioned these beautiful pieces from several years ago, I had intended some traditional farmhouse furniture for this room but hadn’t managed to find what I was looking for and totally fell for Duncan’s work, cest la vie. 

When I bought Clasheen approx 5 years ago now it had not been lived in since 1928 and I really wanted to keep the structure and design as it was originally intended (with of course some modern inclusions such as water and an old looking extension to add a bit more space).  This has meant a simple and friendly home which I am totally in love with, there are some drawbacks however including lack of storage space (badly needed) and some draughty spots, even though I had external doors and windows individually made by traditional craftsmen they do not function as well as modern equivalents so I am plannning some improvements which will be put in place as finance and time dictates!