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!

 

Michigan workshops and a short felt book update!

I was thrilled this morning to be able to switch on my laptop, connect to the internet without any difficulty and discover that the wonderful Dawn of Felt so Right fame has started a blog, welcome to a whole new world Dawn!  What made it even more exciting was to see what Dawn’s first post was about and revisit my memories of the wonderful ladies who participated in our ‘felted accessories’ workshop at the KIA in Kalamazoo last Fall!!!  I had a total blast facilitating both workshops in Michigan (the earlier two day workshop was complex felt bags) and I am absolutely sure participants I meet at our workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May will be every bit as warm, friendly, enthusaistic and artist as the ladies who made my first visit so special.  I am SOOOO excited to be in this beautiful part of US one more, thank you Dawn for being my friend and making this trip possible again!!!  If you would like to join us and are interested in what we will be felting who not check out the workshop page and then please email Dawn to book your place.

Rounding the point and heading back along the shore line

Yesterday I took an unexpected break from felting and any lingering computer woes.  Alan and I took full advantage of the beautiful  hot weather by escaping for a long walk at ‘The Raven’, a nature reserve right on the Wexford coastline and about an hours drive from Clasheen.  We walked for 6 miles totally, 3 miles through forested dunes and slob land and the return trip right beside the shore line.  I love taking pictures on these walks, everything falls under my eye and may be used as inspiration for a new felt piece in the future!

Writing our book together has made me even more conscious that Chrissie sketches and makes notes about work in progress far more than I do.  Sometimes I wonder if it is because I document so much online that I just don’t write everything down literally, other times I wonder if it is just that I lack discipline, hmm.  Now that my computer is on top form I am starting to enjoy sitting down and writing my part of our collaboration, the whole process has just been SO stressful over the last 4 weeks I was beginning to wonder would we ever get sorted!  Light is at the end of the tunnel however and now that my flights are booked I can really set myself some deadlines and make sure we put it to bed sometime before the end of this month.  I really want to have some copies to bring with me to US and I know we have editors chomping at the bit waiting to review it for some of the textile and craft magazines, we are getting there!

Footprints in the sand