The two day Plainwell felting workshop is over, what a brilliant and fun experience!!!

I had such a blast at the two day felting workshop organized by the wonderful Dawn Edwards in Plainwell, Dawn’s been loading pictures to her Facebook page like crazy and I’ve been loading others to my public page as well as to my profile. Please check them out there because I’m just enjoying a little unwinding time with Dawn, Morry and Micah before heading back to Ireland on Wednesday and really don’t have the brain power to blog properly now!

We spent a wonderful day yesterday enjoying a fantastic trip on the Star of Saugatuck out on Lake Michigan, strolled around Saugatuck town itself, ate dinner serenaded by a brilliant band and then headed back to Art and Judy’s for more butter pecan ice cream at Plainwell Ice Cream!!! This morning Dawn and I were early risers, it was 5 for $5 day at the Salvation Army and boy did we have fun!!! Obviously I was constrained by weight/baggage limitations but all the same I snagged 17 beautifully coloured silk shirts or skirts to either wear or nuno felt, 1 totally new denim jacket, 2 cotton shirts and 3 vintage brooches. I also snapped up a Christian Dior silk top (again only costing $1!) but gave it to Dawn because I thought that she might find a home for it, she also snapped up 70 silk shirts and 2 pelmets!!!

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

American workshops – a guide to the raw materials required by participants!

My flights are booked, new linen trousers purchased and I am SO excited now about my upcoming workshops in America, meeting old friends, making new ones and simply having the best of fun with like minded fibre nuts!!!  From 13th to 16th May I will be participating and teaching at The Tin Thimble’s wonderful Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat, on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May I will be with my amazing friend Dawn for two days of workshops in Plainwell, MI and then on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th May I will be meeting and staying with online fibre friend Jan Durham and facilitating two days of workshops in Lexington KY, how fantastic is that for an adgenda???  

On the Friday participants in both MI and in KY have the option of taking a workshop titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects incorporating found objects’ and on the Saturday a workshop titled ‘Nuno mosaic and other interesting possibilities for wearable felt accessories’.  Participants attending both workshops have the option of designing and felting larger and more complex vessels, bags, sculptural items, bigger nuno projects or indeed an art piece for the wall.  As a result I have been toying with the correct materials list to publish for each workshop, eventually I have decided to provide a ‘minimum fabric and fibre requirement’ list for some of the projects participants may want to make and hopefully this will cover most potential eventualities!  In this way each individual participant will decide for themselves what exactly they want to make and what materials then need to bring with them at a minimum,. I know from personal experience that I can never bring too much fibre and embellishment items with me when I attend any workshop so limiting myself can be a challenge, it may also bring unexpected rewards at times!!!  Each participant will need to bring their usual felting equipment, bubble wrap, towels (please bring a few!), hard olive oil/goats milk/glycerine soap, sprinkler, bamboo blind, pool noodle, net, whatever they like to work with themselves.  Anyone felting a bag, vessel or any sort of three dimensional project will need some flexible plastic to use as a template/resist, I prefer laminate floor underlay but in an emergency we can use bubble wrap or whatever flexible plastic you have to hand.  For participants felting nuno mosaic or large nuno wraps it is really best to have two long lengths of bubble wrap bigger than the starting size of the silk used, plastic trash can liners are OK too in an emergency so if you have a roll of them please just bring them along!  NB I love working with batts but roving and tops are perfect too, bring whatever you have and like to work with yourself.  I will also be bringing loads of embellishments, inclusions, leather off cuts and artificial glittery fabrics with me for everyone to share as well as some of the mohair waste which I am currently experimenting with in some of my three dimensional work!  Enough of the waffle, hopefully the following will be a guideline and I am always happy to answer any questions directly so please feel free to email me if you have a major concern …….

Clutch bag, vessel, iPad cover and smaller three dimensional items will need 80 – 150g of fibre.

Larger and more complex bags will need 200 – 350g fibre, I like this to be divided into 2/3 merino and 1/3 a strong coarser fibre such as C1 or Icelandic wool.

A nuno scarf will need either a pre rolled silk chiffon or ponge silk scarf as a base, a long length of silk cut from a roll or alternatively a cotton cheesecloth or muslin length, the longer the better in all cases!  This project won’t need anything like a big amount of fibre but at a rough guide anything between 40 – 60g will be fine for a highly textured end result!

A large nuno wrap (two day project!) will need 2 – 3 m (yards is fine) silk chiffon, ponge silk, cheesecloth or muslin for the base and 40 – 100g good quality merino depending on size.

A mosaic nuno scarf will need a total minimum of 1m silk chiffon but this needs to be in at least 3 colours ie. 1/3m from a roll of three different colours, adding a small amount of a clashing colour can work wonders!  Incorporating vintage scarves into nuno mosaic is wonderfully effective and a beautiful way of bringing old fabrics back to new life, to see what I mean check out Marni’s wonderful scarf from last year’s Tin Thimble workshop, isn’t it beautiful?  These scarves will also need over 100g good quality merino preferrably in two colours.

A large nuno mosaic wrap will need 2 – 3m silk fabric in mixed colours and a total of up to or over 200g good quality merino, again two colours of fibre is ideal.

As you can imagine different projects require different techniques and heaviness of hand when laying out the fibre.  The figures above are a minimum guideline, I don’t want anyone to feel pressurised to buy more fabric or fibre than they may realistically need but to be honest where felting is concerned, can one ever have enough fibre or raw materials???

Felting workshops for Michigan uploaded at last, lock down and Irish and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships!

Finally, at last I have managed to upload details about the two 1 day workshops I will be facilitating in Michigan this May to the workshop page and amazingly this time they have not caused everything else to hop all over the place or disappear altogether!!!  Our venue is now confirmed as the Presbyterian Church in Plainwell, a wonderfully welcoming space and only about 15 minutes drive from Kalamazoo.  I am so looking forward to staying with Dawn again and meeting up with some of you who participated in the workshops at the KIA last Fall or attended the Weaver’s Guild talk on my last evening.  This trip I will be offering 2 one day workshops, on Friday 20th May we will work on ‘simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’, on Saturday 21st the title will be ‘nuno mosaic’.  Participants attending both days will have the option of felting more complex projects, check out the full listing at the bottom of the workshop page to get all the details!

I’m in a bit of a lock down situation at the moment, felting hard, writing and working for as long as possible each day on projects for the book which Chrissie and I are trying to put to bed.  Deciding not to turn on the television until after 9pm each night (if at all!) has definitely helped, I NEVER wanted a ‘box’ here at all but Alan really needed to keep up to date with the progress during the last local election campaign and once it arrived it was like a virus!  Today I have been working on some accessories using a combination of short fibred merino and hand dyed silk fabric.  Thanks Heather for the silk, you may remember it was that stretchy funny stuff you gave me a present of in October and although I found it really didn’t give me the result I was seeking when nuno felting (the stretch I think) it is combining wonderfully with the wool in this different sort of project, wait ’till the book is out!  PS Heather has a give away running on her blog at the moment so if you hurry you might be the lucky winner of one of her latest new scarves!!!

Lastly I urge you to check out the Irish and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships which are taking place about 40 minutes drive from my house the first weekend in June!  More about this exciting event anon …..

Booking open for my felting workshops in Michigan this October!

Booking is now open for my ‘Complex Felt Bag’ and ‘Felted Accessories’ workshops at the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts in Michigan on 9th, 10th and 11th October!  I am so excited to be finally getting everything together for my American trip and this is just another milestone towards a totally fantastic fibre filled adventure!!!  Yesterday I booked all my international and internal flights (Dublin to San Fransisco, San Fransisco to Grand Rapids, Grand Rapids to Philadelphia and New York back to Dublin) and it is just going to be so exciting to meet as many of my blogging felting friends as possible during the 4 weeks which I will be spending on the road.  Dawn Edwards (of the wonderful hats fame!) has been brilliant setting up the Michigan leg of things and I am so looking forward to spending time with her both at the workshops and during a planned visit to felt with Horst of Horst Couture, I am almost expiring with excitment as he is one of my all time felting idols!!!  Anyway, I thought that for today I would just let you know what is planned for Kalamazoo so that if you are interested in joining us you can book to be sure of your place, below are the details taken directly from the Institute of Arts website. 

Complex Felt Bags – Functional Wearable Art (557)

Nicola Brown
Saturday and Sunday, October 9 & 10, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.
Sustaining Members: $143, Members: $147,
Note: Community registration begins August 11.
Community: $155
Studio 6, Limit 10
Materials fee to be paid on date of workshop. A $30 (approximately) materials fee will need to be paid on date of workshop. Participants will begin by creating a small piece of jewelry imbedding glass nuggets or stones within our felt and using natural or artificial fabric for surface decoration and texture. There will be discussion of the various options for felting bags with integrated handles, multiple pockets, flaps, attachments and shapes and looking at the various ways the bags may be adapted to be used as handbags, shoulder bags or backpacks. Participants will learn how to either stitch or stick resist materials together to create the templates and then make a sample piece using layers of merino and C1 wool or similar coarse wool. Continuation of felting and finishing the bags will complete the workshop. Bring a sack lunch, materials list available on the web.

 

Felted Accessories (558)

Nicola Brown
Monday, October 11, 9 a.m.-4 p.m.
Sustaining Members: $68, Members: $72
Note: Community registration begins August 11.
Community: $80
Studio 6, Limit 10
Materials fee to be paid on date of workshop. A $27 (approximately) materials fee will need to be paid on date of workshop. This workshop will allow participants to experiment incorporating found objects, glass nuggets, stones, fabric, leather, fish skin and any other kind of inclusion in make unique wearable accessories. Each person will create a combination of rings, bracelets, necklaces, brooches, scarves, simple belts, purses, neck wraps, sleeveless mittens, or flowers. Nicola will bring a selection of unusual fabrics with her from Ireland including metallic meshes and sequin or glitter studded polyester, for participants to use. Bring a sack lunch; materials list available on the web.

To book either or both workshops please scroll down to the bottom of this page and click on the relevant link!