Today I managed to take some pictures of the nuno felt scarf and wrap I felted using some of Kool-Aid dyed merino and ponge silk from the weekend.
Peaches and cream nuno felt wrap
No, we don’t have Kool-Aid here in Ireland but I am lucky to have a good US friend who knows I love it (NOT to drink but to dye with!!!), thanks Kristi! It’s also on my ‘to buy’ list when I visit Jamie and Blas, Sharon and Emma, Dawn and Jan, the special friends who are so good to host felting workshops on my amazing trips across the water.
Incredibly, not only have I taken pictures of the two pieces but I also managed to revisit my Big Cartel online shop and get them listed earlier this afternoon. Woo hoo, finally I have some items for sale again and not just languishing in my wardrobe! I am also just about start a new page to update all my links and let you see which websites and blogs I follow, for today however enough is enough, I need to cook some food now and have a tasty supper!!!
Today has been an excellent day for seeing several of the book projects through from start to finish. Firstly I tackled a highly textured nuno felt scarf, then a 50% silk 50% merino scarf/neckpiece (need to think of a new name for this!), next I felted a really striking but simple raw silk and merino lampshade and finally by combining the waste left over from this project with some raffia and a spare Bodum coffee container I made the easiest felt candle holder imagineable! Now I am just going to spend a few minutes looking up something on the computer (no, it is not fixed yet, more work remotely tonight hopefully) and then back to get on with my next item. I think it must be the fact that we put our clocks forward one hour last Sunday because I am really motoring along with the felting these last few days although unfortunately I need to do some paperwork urgently, ugh. I also need to sort out a materials lists for my US workshops (do you know how EXCITED I am getting about these?????) and I also need to update everyone about Horst’s workshop here as well! No electricity here tomorrow for the whole day so guess it’s felting again for me!!!
Just organising the swap partners tonight for our first Clasheen Crafty Swap of 2011! Welcome to all returning swappers and a big hello to our new members, you are going to love this event!!! I am almost back to normal today, probably about 90% of my usual self with just a bad cough periodically but nothing much else to worry about. There were two meetings (golf club, what else!) I should have been attending tonight and another tomorrow evening but I have put in my appologies because an early night snuggled up in front of the stove calls, not a drive in the current wild wet and windy weather. This morning I felted a highly textured nuno scarf and then knuckled down to felting a one off wrap, a bit more unusual this one but you will have to wait for more details and some pictures tomorrow! My ArtL!nks vessels are really calling out to me but I just want to get a couple more smaller projects out of the way tomorrow and then from Wednesday onwards I can start the really large vessels and get a good run at them. ‘Till then …..
I discovered to my horror over the weekend that I only have until the end of this week to finish three sculptural pieces ready for a joint exhibition in June (need to get to the venue beforehand) and complete my submission for the RDS and Crafts Council of Ireland National Crafts Competition. This has really put me under tremendous pressure especially as yesterday the large piece that I was working on turned into a total disaster and eventually I just cut it up in frustration. Imaging then my delight with this beautiful upcycled box of gifts from Jasmine aka Natures Whispers that I recieved as part of the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap, it really made my day seem brighter! It is hard to describe how perfectly Jasmine captured my personality and likes and dislikes when preparing this amazing swap package to post to me so I am just going to let some pictures do the talking and will blog properly about the AMAZING and unusual fibres (vicuna, possum, cashmere and angora!!!!!) as soon as I get a chance to try them out!
I love this text and the hearts!
It is also incredible to think that Jasmine only started starting felting her amazing nuno scarves earlier in the year having followed my tutorial here on the blog and to say that what she sent me blew me away is an understatement. The wonderful scarf is felted from merino, bamboo, silk tussah and angora; the silk, angora and bamboo were dyed with daffodils and the merino with lilac twigs from Jasmine’s garden. Each end of the scarf has beautiful embroidery and shisha mirror work (instructions enclosed so I can try it myself!), I really, really must try stitching again as this extra detail totally finishes the scarf beautifully. I don’t know if Jasmine has ever seen a picture of me in one of my Blue Fish linen pieces but I have collected a whole collection of pieces in combinations of straw and green and this scarf compliments them perfectly! Check out my Flickr photos to see more pictures of this fantastic bundle of gifts and see what else was enclosed in the beautiful upcycled box but for now I leave you with a couple of images of my amazing new scarf!!!
Beautifully felted and embellished scarf from Jasmine
At the moment it just seems to be a roller coaster ride, organising my American workshops (sorry about the lack of details yet, trying to pin everything down in reverse order time wise!), sorting out my new online store, ploughing through the ever mounting paperwork and housework (on the back boiler yet again!!), attending to my golf club duties (unpaid I might add) and trying to get some time to actually felt and be creative. Spending time felting is the one thing that keeps me sane and although Alan can’t understand why I feel compelled to get into the studio when so many other things need to be done I just would go totally mad if I didn’t get a little time to play around with fibres!
English Garden wrap/scarf
On Saturday morning I drove into Carlow town with Alan as we had a washing machine of his in the back of my truck which needed some repairs, my truck is very handy for hauling stuff around! Anyway, while I was on this mission of mercy I managed to call into a nearby shop for a couple of minutes to check out their t-shirts and have a look at some of the latest summer accessories. I was lucky enough to have the very good fortune of snapping up three stunning printed silk scarves, absolutely perfect for the pictured nuno felt wrap! I laid out short fibred merino and silk fibres on one side of the silk scarf roughly following the colours in the print though not being totally confined by colour at the same time!! It did take me longer than usual to lay out the fibres but I definitely think that the results have been worth the effort, I love the finished colours and texture!
Detail showing both the silk side and the fibre side out
During the course of this week I promise to launch my new online store and this wrap/scarf will be one of the special items I am offering to launch my summer collection!!! Here is a close up shot to show how I followed the colours and shapes printed on the silk when laying out my fibre.
Alison and Ann with their first gorgeous nuno felt scarves!
Today Ann and Alison joined me here at Clasheen for a refresher day working on nuno felt scarves. Over a coffee we examined some work that both had done since their last session and discovered that sometimes they needed to work the fibres into the fabric further before progressing on to the throwing stage of the process. We then moved into the studio where a lot of debating went on before they decided on the colours to work with for the first scarves of the day. Alison worked her turquoise based scarf in short fibred merino while Ann’s first scarf was felted using merino tops, both scarves were felted into a base of ponge silk. Keeping the layout of the fibres light and leaving small open spaces within the wool meant that both scarves had wonderful texture when they were felted.
In the afternoon two more scarves were laid out, Alison’s on silk chiffon this time and Ann’s on ponge silk again. Because we didn’t have a lot of time in this session and because it is interesting to try out new equipment I ‘allowed’ Alison and Ann to try my electric sander and see for themselves how this can really speed up the felting process! Usually when I am teaching I don’t use the sander but because we were on a tight time schedual and because they have a clear understanding of the nuno process I thought that it would be interesting to let them try the sander out for themselves and see how powerful a tool it can be used in the correct fashion. Check out these beautiful scarves that they felted in the afternoon, all in all a very productive and enjoyable day!
As promised here are some more musings re my first hand dyed nuno scarf experiment. Once I had zapped the scarf in the microwave for the second 5 minute session I left it in the bowl to cool down a little bit. As soon as it was cooler to handle I rinsed it out under running water before spinning with a damp towel and then hanging it up to dry.
My first scarf dyed with food colouring
I absolutely adore the mohair locks combined with the nuno texture but wouldn’t include the corn fibres again for this type of work. As mentioned before I did know that they would not dye with the food colouring but because I intended the scarf to be various shades of blue and green I thought that the fibres would add a nice touch, I actually think that they don’t! I am happy however with the blending of the green and yellow colours which was carefully planned and not an accident by any means, oh ye of little faith!! The scarf seems to be amazingly soft after the process and I really don’t know if the dying altered the handle of the nuno felt or if it is just the addition of the mohair locks. Dying with food colouring is something that I will experiment with a little further as it was quick, safe and only required items already here in my house (except obviously the food colouring itself!).
At the moment I am just trying to finalise the Michigan leg of my US felting trip this October. As soon as I have confirmed news I will post here and sort out the Californian and Oregan side of things, I can’t wait!!!
I am teaching a nuno felting workshop here at Clasheen next Wednesday and due to the arrival of my new tables this morning (HURRAH!) have one space available for the day. Please email me asap if you are interested in attending. The cost is E75 for the day including materials and ongoing tea or coffee, silk fabric is a little extra (you can use cotton gauze or muslin if preferred) depending on whether you go for hand dyed or commercial silk.