BC, Canada – felting and dyeing workshop details!

Today I’m delighted to give you the details of the first workshop in Canada, tomorrow I hope to have the info re. Winnipeg, Manitoba. Thanks a million Sharon Gerhart for inviting me to teach and getting a venue sorted so quickly, this is going to be an active and super fun day!!! The workshop will take place within shouting distance of Vancouver at The Loafing Glass Studio, 9060 184th Street, Surrey, BC on Thursday 3rd October. The class will run from 10am sharp until 5pm, please contact Sharon ASAP if you’d like to book a place, the numbers to ring are 604-916-7633 or 778-298-8545. And now for those details…..


NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials!

During this fun one day workshop participants will create a simple white nuno felt scarf in the morning using the no roll tumble dryer method then print/dye it in the afternoon using a selection of easy to find natural plant materials and rusty metal.

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. We’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the scarves, everyone can enjoy the process of laying out the wool knowing that this will be the biggest design decision of the morning!

In the afternoon we’ll transform the scarves by bundling them together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials then they’ll be tied together and either steamed or cooked in plant enriched water for a couple of hours. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how to achieve different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on the method chosen prior to putting the pieces in the dye pot. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the scarves also create different designs in the finished pieces.

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!

Canadian workshop update and cotinus, a picture of the shrub!

I'm so excited, this Canadian adventure is really going to happen this autumn!!! Hopefully we'll have workshop descriptions and venue details sorted today or tomorrow but for those of you leaving comments and sending me messages the first workshop will be in Langley BC on Thursday 3rd October then I'll travel on to teach in the Manitoba region for the weekend. We're planning a felting workshop on Saturday 5th and a natural printing/dyeing workshop on Sunday 6th, I'm SO thrilled that this will actually be happening, all my friends tell me that Canada is a magical country to travel to!!! Obviously I'm not going to have a bundle of time to explore on this trip, if everything goes well however hopefully this will just be the first of many visits. As soon as I have the finalised details I'll post both here and on Facebook, do please let me know if you'd like the organisers to get in contact so you can reserve a place!

Now on to the cotinus. Here's a picture of the shrub in my garden (not a great shot but you get the idea), it's the purple leaved plant on the left of the picture………

……. and here's a close up of the prints it imparts on top of my recent nuno felt jacket This side is silk covered merino for those of you who've been asking for more details!

 

Upcoming felting workshops at Lake Tahoe, Mendocino, Canada and more pictures from Portugal!

I'm very excited this morning, it's possible I'll be teaching in Canada at the beginning of October so fingers crossed I'll have details and dates to confirm in a couple of days! In the meanwhile I've updated the workshop page with full details of my September workshops at stunning Lake Tahoe (only one place left) and Mendocino. I've also posted details of classes at Duckett's Grove on July 27th and 28th (also only one place left each day) and I'll have the full info for Portugal 2014 tomorrow or on Thursday. I've just this past weekend got the new outdoor stove I brought home from California firing on all cylinders so before the Food & Craft Market in Borris this Friday I'll sort dates out for my new natural printing and dyeing sessions at Clasheen. These classes will be suitable for all textile and mixed media artists, not just felters!

To whet your appetite here's a picture of a sleeveless jacket that I printed last week using cotinus leaves (from my garden), onion skins and tea leaves. The dye bath had rusty metal and eucalyptus leaves to add extra colour, I love the richness of this piece and the fact that the colours are so deep and intense. I also had great news this week, my large printed wrap titled 'Second Skin' has been selected to be exhibited as part of the Feltmakers Ireland exhibition 'Origins: Felt in the Natiral World' at the National Botanic Gardens in Dublin. This exhibition will run from 7th to 24th August and should make for a wonderful day out!
Finally for today, I'm just not getting the time I need to upload all the pictures that I intended from the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent in Portugal. I'd meant to post them and a few more from the amazing time we spent with Estela and the residential workshop at Dominio Vale do Mondego, instead I'm going to ask you to check out my Facebook photos, Heather's, Terriea's and Karin's to see what we were up to, thanks! I will leave you with this shot though, it's the prow of a traditional fishing boat indigenous to the Aveiro and Praia de Mira regions, stunningly beautiful and photogenic! Thanks Estela for being such a marvellous host!!!
 

 

Short little felt, natural dyeing and polymer clay update

I've had a very busy but extremely enjoyable few days. Firstly Liga Valg and I headed to Ennis Creative Arts Centre for a wonderful two day polymer clay workshop with fabulous Seattle artist Ronna Sarvas Weltman and then as soon as I arrived home Anita came to stay for two days of intensive felting and natural dyeing! My electricity went late this afternoon and has only just come back so I'm not going to write any more now as I'm tired but here are a few pictures which I hope will keep you happy until the next post! That one will contain the promised info about all my upcoming interntional and Irish workshops.

 

Anita with her first ever naturally printed and dyed felt, two beautiful nuno felt scarves and three flat felt samples. Great job Anita!!!

Undoing one of the scarves, it's always a very exciting moment, will there or won't there be fabulous colour from the inclusions?
One of my sample pieces from the workshop with Ronna, I learnt so much and am now very excited about designing a limited collection to compliment my felt. Ronna was a marvellous instructor, very generous and so knowledgeable, I absolutely ADORE her jewellery!!!
Finally my funky ring, I love it but unfortunately unless I loose some weight it's just a tad too small for the finger I intended to wear it on, 'cest la vie'!
 

 

 

Naturally dyed linen dress and opening invitation!

The light wasn't the best when I tried to photograph this naturally dyed linen dress yesterday, it's one of my pieces for sale as part of the Creative Carlow pop up shop during the Eigse art festival.

Our opening is tonight between 6 and 8pm in the shop on Dublin Street (beside the entrance to the Royal Car Park), do please call in for a glass of vino and some nibbles if you are in the area!

 

Home again, home again, jigiddy jig……..

I'm finally home again after a long delay ridden trip. Thanks to all my lovely friends who left me comments and private messages on Facebook, please excuse me if I haven't replied or liked each one individually but it's full steam ahead here today and I'm teaching (14 or 15 ladies!) from tomorrow morning onwards! At this stage I’ve unpacked about half my stuff and washed all the new linen and cotton jackets, shirts and skirts etc. that I picked up during those fun, high octane, silk seeking thrift store excursions with Dawn, Sue, Shirley, Jan, Kevin and Sharon!!!

I couldn't believe how many new garments (complete with tags) in natural fibres that I found on these trips, some to naturally dye and others to actually wear myself. They included a gorgeous silk top, a long sleeveless linen dress, several linen jackets and some amazing silk formal dresses. Anyway, enough of the writing for now, in brief……….

  • I had a MARVELLOUS time in MI, KY and CA and promise to finish blogging about the workshops and upload pictures sometime over this coming weekend!
  • the weather here is beautiful at Clasheen today
  • my washing is drying on the line
  • I've some silk scarves and tops ready for the dye pot
  • I need to finish off some of the new pieces I printed/dyed last week in order to submit them for a pop up shop/exhibition tomorrow
  • I'm cooking lamb chops, new potatoes and making a salad for supper tonight, Leiko is coming
  • Later I'm checking that the truck will start then delivering some stuff to a friend
  • Finally tonight I'll pack the truck for my workshop in the morning

 

 

 

Beautiful naturally printed/dyed scarves in Lexington!

Yesterday evening I had a lovely time sharing the technique of natural printing/dyeing on silk with some members of the Lexington Fiber Guild. We met in Jan's house late in the afternoon, by half past eight everyone had created a really beautiful scarf coloured with a selection of eucalyptus leaves, tea, onion skins and rust. I know that some purists would say it's necessary to leave the bundles simmering for longer but although some participants initially intended doing this they too ended up joining in the unwrapping!

Here's a picture of the beautiful scarves after they were revealed.

Next post I'll blog about the marvellous things being created during the two day Lexington workshop, brilliantly organised as usual by Jan!

 

Thanks Wollknoll!

Over the past two weeks I've been living in daily anticipation of a large delivery of fibre from Wollknoll in Germany, one of my all time favourite suppliers. This order should have contained the wool and silk to finish my Gaelscoil project, the materials for a new group that I'm just about to start working with, a big amount of wool for Carmen, a good few large blocks of olive oil soap and some more fibre for me to use at upcoming workshops in my studio at Duckett's Grove. I still can't quite work out what happened but finally my suspicions were confirmed yesterday morning that the order had never been received or processed. I've had a couple of sleepless nights but at last everything is sorted, there's light at the end of the tunnel thanks to Sonja Fritz of Wollknoll. I had to reorder the items yesterday afternoon (why oh why did I not keep a written record of them in the first place???), the goods are getting packed today (Saturday) and the order will be dispatched first thing on Monday morning, what a service. Thank you so much Sonja, your help and calmness were very much appreciated! On the positive side of things, it did give me the opportunity to add a bundle of silk fabric and more Kap merino to the order, these will be some of the supplies I'm bringing to my upcoming workshops in Lexington, KY!!!

The Nuno felt wrap and scarf in the first photo were felted using a selection of ponge silk from Wollknoll, the wrap on the left also incorporates some upcycled printed silk collected on a fun Goodwill expidition with Dawn! The bundled and naturally printed/dyed silk chiffon scarves with rolled edges in the second picture also came from Wollknoll. I like the contrast of the silk chiffon with the hardness of my new polymer clay brooches, soft ochre, gold and chocolate brown makes such a good bedfellow with turquoise!

 

 

 

 

How much felt is enough, stock that is!

How much felt is enough for a display table or booth, enough that is to create a good display, have a selection of different items in different colours yet not have so much out that things look messy and don’t create a good impression???

Katie dyed her hair to match the gorgeous flower she felted yesterday, FUN!

Because of the various different events I’ll be participating in over the next 5 weeks I’m very conscious that I need to have stock to replace sold items too. I’m not however going to do as someone suggested and hold items back for the bigger fairs, the last thing that I want to do is presume people will buy at these and not offer everyone at my regular gigs an equal opportunity to buy my items. After all, they’re the customers who support me throughout the year so if anything they deserve the pick of the crop in my opinion! A sale is a sale is a sale, all money gratefully recieved and the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned!!!

Katie’s finished her week with me as part of her transition year (4th year in the school she attends) work experience. It was interesting having her with me as I usually work totally on my own and a second opinion was definitely a help at times. In addition to being out and about facilitating two sessions with Borris Active Retirement, a birthday party for a 9 year old and Borris Food & Craft Market this morning we managed to naturally print/dye over 24 scarves on Tuesday and have a big pot of cochineal on the go yesterday, a busy and satisfying week I think! Thanks Katie for all your help, it was a pleasure having you at Clasheen.

Cochineal dyed nuno 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!