International felting workshops, visitors to Clasheen, promoting your business through social media and another eco print experiment!

Gosh, I’ve had a busy morning on the computer so far, I’m almost not able to write quickly enough, respond to emails and upload pictures to FB and now it’s lunch time, I need to eat and then I have to prepare for another felt flower workshop tonight, happy days! As a result I think that I’m going to post most of my news today in bullet point format followed by some info and pics re another eco print experiment, of course Alan would probably say that none of my news is urgent, it’s certainly not life threatening but I would like to share it with you!!! Anyway, for those of you who are interested, here goes…..

  • My upcoming workshops at The Tin Thimble CA from 28th to 30th September are now all full! Please contact Emma if you would like to be put on a waiting list or are interested in attending on a future date.
  • Bookings are now open for next year’s felting extravaganza at stunning Dominio Vale do Mondego in Portugal, full details on the workshop page. The dates are from 15th to 21st June inclusive and places are booking up fast so please contact Karin immediately if you would like to join us!
  • This morning I ordered more felting supplies in anticipation of Rami’s arrival from Beiruit at the end of next week. Rami (a graphic designer) will be staying with me for 7 days intensive one on one felting tuition, currently there are no opportunities to learn in the Lebanon so we will really be working hard to cover the various techniques that he is interested in learning. Do I see another potential workshop venue for the future???
  • A lot of my workshop bookings are now coming as a direct result of this blog and FB. Often I meet other makers and artisan producers who are looking for advice about how to promote their small business with a zero budget, hence next Tuesday’s workshop at Clasheen titled ‘Social media skills to promote your artisan business‘! This is a full day event with a light lunch included, participants are asked to bring their own laptop and wireless enabled mobile devices with them so that they will go home at the end of the day armed with the knowledge of how to best promote themselves using a variety of free or inexpensive promotional techniques. Please check out the event on FB if you are interested in attending and email me asap if you would like to reserve a place.

Bundles, eucalyptus leaves, bark and rusty metal in the pot

Yesterday I received some lovely BIG eucalyptus leaves from Luarena. Thanks so much for the present Luarena and thanks a million to sister Jacqui for delivering them to me at Duckett’s Grove, much appreciated! I couldn’t wait until my next batch of silk arrived to try experimenting with them so last night I grabbed what I could from my studio at Clasheen, scraps of white needle punch, an old outdated yellow silk top (one of our ‘5 for $5’ haul from the Salvation Army in Plainwell Dawn!) and a piece of pongee silk that I’d previously achieved only minimal colour change with when printing. I bundled the cut up yellow top with Luarena’s large leaves and some small leaves of a different eucalyptus variety and wrapped it around a rusty pin (thanks mum for the gift of some young sprigs from your garden!), the needle punch I bundled with more of the large leaves and the ponge silk I just scrunched up and included in the pot. This time I added some of my mother’s small leaves, eucalyptus bark (collected from the ground under a dead tree at the HSE head office in Kilkenny!) and some scraps of rusty metal I picked up down in Tom’s yard to the cooking water, the water I might add is from my own well and free from any artificial additives. After approx an hour simmering on the stove I was amazed to discover the water was incredibly dark, obviously this was something to do with the loose leaves, bark and metal. I had been expecting colour of course, just not this depth after such a short length of time before unwrapping. I couldn’t wait until today to open up the bundles so right before I headed to bed I unwrapped everything and was delighted with the results. I’m especially pleased with the rich colour achieved on the needle punch and now want to see how it felts, I’ve a project in mind for another large wearable and once my latest order arrives from Wollknoll I’ll be begging for more leaves and getting out the dye pot once again!

From left to right – the ponge silk, deconstructed yellow silk top and the needle punch after unwrapping


Large experimental landscape felted at last!

Yesterday I was able to finish the large felt landscape that I had started at the beginning of the adverse weather conditions recently.  You may remember that I had been playing around laying out loads of different fibres and broken up pieces of cobweb felt for my design, it had been languishing for the last couple of weeks damp in my bath!  

Landscape prior to reworking


Anyway, here is a photo o f the piece yesterday morning before I got down to re-wetting and fulling the felt.  At this stage it measured approx 85cm X 49cm and you can see that the sky area looks slightly pinkish.

I boiled up a couple of kettles (STILL no heat or hot water!) and immersed the felt into a basin of hot soapy water.  It took a bit of dunking and squishing before the fibres totally absorbed the water but once I was sure everything was saturated I soaped heavily and then rolled the piece firmly using my old bamboo blind.  Because I was aiming for a nice textured surface and didn’t want too even a surface I didn’t roll for too long, just enough to totally felt the piece and once finished the completed landscape now measures 77cm X 49cm. 

The finished landscape

As you can see from this picture of the finished landscape the sky now is white with grey wisps for clouds and extremely pale pink strands of gauze streaking it in places.  It is hard to describe how like the mountains surrounding me these colours actually are.  Where my farmhouse is situated at Clasheen the Blackstairs Mountains  almost enclose me and every morning I am woken up to an ever changing view for inspiration! 

Silk threads highlight the hills


The finished landscape is now ready for a new home!  To me it is completed as it is and would be a wonderful reminder of Ireland for a special friend.  I do think however that if there are any needle felters, embellishers or stitchers out there it would also make an amazing base to work your magic on!!  I am going to put the landscape up for sale in my Etsy store as soon as I have had a coffee (internet connection permitting) and am happy to include some extra fibres if anyone would like to play around and embellish the surface some more.