Having fun felting, KSFF reflections and preparing for the workshops in Lexington!

I've been having great fun with Jan this week, scouring the local Goodwill stores for printed silk (she's still in training but a quick learner Dawn!), exchanging skills, brainstorming ideas, felting and preparing for two days of workshops in Lexington this coming weekend!

My first task was to finish felting the nuno scarf I laid out last Saturday at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, it's really interesting to see the contrast between the scarf that Jan felted and the one I've just finished. We both chose a western inspired colour scheme of chocolate ponge silk with brown and teal shades of alpaca plus loads of Roo and Elizabeth's beautiful hand dyed bamboo for surface embellishment. Jan also added some of her own dyed cotton gauze on top of the alpaca and I used quite a lot of Firestar for added glamour and shimmer, I love them both!

At this point I have to say that I LOVED every minute of the KSFF!!! Teaching for the full day on Saturday but only half a day on Sunday was a perfect combination. I was able to have a good chat with Roo and Elizabeth on Friday evening plus check out my workshop space, having Sunday afternoon free gave me plenty of time to do the rounds of all the stands, see the animals plus pick up a tonne of yummy fibre to bring home to Ireland, not ALL for me mind you, some for Anita who's looking after my studio while I'm gone. The organisation of everything was SPOT ON, thanks so much to all the committee and helpers who were friendly, helpful and put on a wonderful event!

Yesterday I shared the open resist method of making vessels with Jan, in turn, I was inspired by a wonderful teapot she felted at a Pam MacGregor workshop to try including a handle in one of my own vessels. I love this exchange of ideas and brain storming, I've now an idea in my head for some new bags with long shoulder straps (purses!), I doubt that I'll get to felt them though until some time after I return from teaching in Portugal! This week long residential workshop is now fully booked but if you live within shouting distance of Lexington why not come and join us for our workshop here next Saturday 25th May!!! If you're interested in more information or reserving a place please email me ASAP, if you don't have any idea what to make don't panic (because I'll help you) and if you need materials in a hurry Jan will bring extra on the day if you let her know which colours you prefer.

I'll leave you today with this picture of my new vessel drying, I call it 'Ode to Pam'.

 

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Thanks everyone for your help and how are things looking now???

Thanks to all of you who commented and sent me emails re. the formatting of the blog over the last few days.  It was SO frustrating to be having difficulties and no time to sort them out but hopefully things look back to normal now although I have had to delete the last photo from the second last post for some very strange reason. 

Happy but tired at the end of a successful felt accessories workshop!

 

Here it is again with all the participants from the KIA felt accessory workshop tired but happy (at least I HOPE everyone was happy!) wearing and displaying some of their beautiful nuno felt, flowers and jewellery.  I loved all the work created during this class, gorgeous wearables perfect to brighten up any winter day! 

I am also going to include an image of me wearing one of the gorgeous dusters that Dawn and I made with Horst during our amazing time with him and his family at the beginning of October.  Thanks Jess for taking such wonderful photos and airbrushing etc. where needed!  I was lucky enough to bring one of the dusters home with me and as soon as I wear it to the next exhibition opening I attend promise to have some photos taken to show it back here in Ireland.

Beautiful duster that Dawn and I made under Horst's supervision!

Wonderful nuno felt scarves and fabulous felt flowers (amongst other gorgeous pieces!)

I was delighted that several of the participants from the complex felt bag workshop stayed over in Kalamazoo to join us on Monday for the felted accessories workshop.  We started the day with a quick look at some of my work and then I gave a simple felt flower demo using the short fibre merino I that I love to work with (available online from either Wollknoll or Filzrausch) before everyone launched into flowers of their own!  This was a great way to get warmed up and after a very short time everyone had made a couple of flowers, some of them using a resist and multi layered.  After this we discussed what accessories everyone would like to make and then the group of 12 divided into two sections, one to work on nuno scarves and the other to discover some of the tips and assorted ways I use to create felt balls, cords, dreadlocks, cubes and all sorts of components useful for jewellery, buttons, closures and the like.  I particularly like to show people how I felt balls and cubes starting with a square wad of fibres, this method was shown to me by Australian sculptor and felter Anita Larkin and was a revelation when I first learnt it! 

URGGH, for some reason I am not able to upload pictures here this morning so forgive the lack of eye candy, there must be a technical hitch.  I will try again tonight and hopefully I will be back to full speed tomorrow morning, off to tidy the studio this Bank Holiday Monday.  To keep your imagination fired why not have a look through Dawn’s Facebook album sharing the wonderful time we had together with Horst, Janice Arnold and just mooching around at Plainwell Icecream Parlour and visiting beautiful Lake Michigan.

A moment of calm, beautiful new scarf and some fun felting photos!

Surprisingly I am ahead of myself time wise this morning.  Both letters of acceptance for the Arts Act Grant and ArtL!nks Bursary completed, one wash finished and another ready to go into the washing machine, paperwork underway to sign off on the work completed with the Borris Active Retirement Group, washing up done and some pictures uploaded to Flickr, amazing considering it is still only 10.18 here in the land of the leprechaun’s!  EDITED TO SAY that obviously this time saving was too good to be true!!!  For some reason WordPress is behaving very strangely this morning and I can’t seem to get the images where I want them and the captions in the right place.  Forgive the odd lay out of this post but hopefully you get the meaning!

My beautiful woven silk scarf from Tisserande

I promised you yesterday I would post about the wonderful swap package I recieved from Gill aka tisserande as part of the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap on Flickr.  The colours of the stunning silk scarf Gill wove for me look absolutely amazing when pictured beside the dark purple aquilegias and fresh spring greens of the honeysuckle.  Until I read the little enclosed note I wasn’t sure what the fibre was but am happy to confirm it is woven from spun silk, bourette silk and sari silk, so soft against the skin and it drapes beautifully!!!  The other goodies included some yummy fibres, amazing walnut dyed tussah silk, alpaca tops, bamboo tops and a nice creamy soya fibre.   Gill also included citron flavoured organic chocolate, wooden buttons, a great French cookery magazine (yes, I can understand 90%!) and a lovely hand made card.  Thanks so much Gill, I love it all!!!  If any of you are interested in checking out Gill’s textiles you can visit her Etsy shop, you won’t be disappointed! 

Over the course of the last 5 weeks I have been having great fun felting with the ladies of the Borris Active Retirement Group.  We have covered topics including flat felting, ‘cords, balls and flowers’, simple felt bags using the resist method and nuno felt scarves. 

Mary working the stem of her flower

For our last session today participants are going to be selecting from my stash of beads and buttons to complete the jewellery and other projects they have been working on over the last while and everyone will have the opportunity to felt one last flower or other small item as a wrap up to the course. 

Dorothy and Betty rolling their scarves in harmony

I have had such fun sharing the joys of felting with the women (no men from the group decided to participate!) and considering none of them had ever felted before the work produced has been absolutely amazing!!!  We have decided to have an exhibition and a ‘show and tell’ of all the completed work a little later in the summer.  This will give members who were not able to attend an idea of what they were missing and our plan is to have another session of workshops later in the year as all the participants would like to take their new craft further! 

Una working her beautiful silk chiffon and merino nuno felt scarf

These pictures of some of the women felting are from our session last week (thanks Michael from taking the shots) and hopefully I will have more to share with you tomorrow if I remember to bring my camera with me later today! 

Anne felting her flower

Pictures of the gorgeous scarves from our nuno felt workshop today!

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! 

More beautiful scarves!!!