Showcase naturally printed felt wraps and silk scarves are now ready!

So far today I've washed out and ironed seven felt wraps and one wall hanging, four silk scarves still remain to be done. Once they're finished my orders from Showcase will be complete, tonight I'll send the shops and galleries a Pro Forma invoice then have gift boxes, cards etc. prepared ready to dispatch as soon as I hear back from them. Hopefully these first pieces will be on their way first early next week, if it hadn't been for the bad weather and lack of electricity I would have had everything done last Friday.

Here're a few of images of my latest merino, bamboo and Firestar wall hanging. I love the strength of the eucalyptus leaves, these were gathered from a tree that had been pruned, lucky me! The reverse of naturally printed textiles also fascinates me, sometimes appearing strongly printed whilst at other times subtle like an animal pelt, as with this one.

I also included a resist during the laying out phase of this piece, while the finished hanging could be used as a table runner the channel at the top makes it really simple to hang!

 

Packing plus a Mendocino felting extravaganza suggestion!

As I gather my clothes, samples and supplies ready to pack for my exciting trip to California and Canada I'm doing what I always do, trying to keep my suitcases light! One of the things that I'll definitely be packing is this large multifunctional nuno felt wrap made yonks ago, it's marvellously light and warm thrown around the shoulders but because of the curve I created along one edge also works well as a skirt if needed. It's also going to fit in perfectly with the new Autumn/Winter colour scheme I'm hoping to wear, red, purple and orange with just a few touches of black and lime green!

It got me thinking about how much I'm looking forward to revisiting Mendocino, the landscape, coastline and beautiful setting of the Mendocino Art Center are all so inspiring and I can just see myself felting another large wrap while I'm there, maybe in abalone colours this time! For those of you who will be joining me (and my super assistant Merridee) to participate in the three day felting extravaganza from 27th to 29th September we have plenty of time to tackle larger projects, this wrap has oodles of texture and was felted using the tumble dryer method so none of the traditional rubbing and rolling. I also used a technique when felting it which I'll share during the workshop for cutting out precisely shaped pieces of lightly woven fabric, ideal if you have a design in mind and you want to be really controlled in your detail. Although my design for this one may look very random it actually was not, surprised? Sooooo, if you'd like to experiment with larger nuno felt wraps, shrugs etc. at Mendocino, this is your chance.
Another thing that I'm looking forward to felting is a new red or purple shoulder bag for myself plus some smaller three dimensional pieces of jewellery. Because of all my preparation for the Glucksman Craft Fair at the beginning of November I do seem to have been felting a lot in white recently, obviously this was because I've subsequently naturally printed these pieces and white was the way to go. Mendocino is the perfect excuse to burst out with glorious colour, bring it on!!!
 

 

Nuno felt wrap and scarves

The weather has been a lot brighter today after a very wet start this morning, good news for me as it meant that I could snap a few pics outside of my nuno scarves and the wrap I felted earlier this week.

Simple scarf combining ponge silk, merino and silk throwster's waste

Simple scarf combining ponge silk, merino and silk throwster’s waste

I’ll start with one of a simple scarf, this was felted combining ponge silk with some of Leiko’s beautiful hand dyed superfine merino and embellished with hand dyed silk throwster’s waste, a welcome Christmas present from Carmen. I love teaching this scarf as a beginner’s nuno felting project, it’s always successful and such a beautiful way to learn a new technique! The second picture is of a large mosaic style scarf felted combining my own hand dyed cotton gauze (dyed under the watchful eye of Jan Durham and written up in this post last spring!), more of Leiko’s merino and a whole selection of different weights of silk fabric. Good friend Carole buys silk pieces by the weight in the US and then we do a swap for mohair off cuts from Cushendale Woollen Mill, Cushendale is a wonderful source of locally produced knitting yarn and weaving just down the road from me here at Clasheen. I totally forgot that I needed to send Carole another pack of these goodies so many apologies, I’ll head over to Philip Cushen next week and get them in the post to you asap.

Mosaic style nuno felt scarf

Mosaic style nuno felt scarf

Anyway, I also had a small pack of beautiful hand dyed teeswater locks and some firestar fibre in my favourite shades of acidic green, it’s strange to say that although I’m not a glitzy kind of gal at all I really do love the sheen and shimmer from the firestar!!! The printed silk in this scarf was part of my stash from the US, in fact I remember buying it in the Salvation Army on a foray with Sharon of the Tin Thimble but it could just as easily have been from one of the many trips I made with great friends Dawn or Merridee either, I LOVE these silk gathering events!

Firestar adds a shimmer in places

Firestar adds a shimmer in places

If you’re interested in seeing more images of these pieces plus some photos of a large green wrap I made on Tuesday please check out this album on FB and do like Nicola Brown – Clasheen while you’re over there, only of course if you do like what you see!!!

‘Helping Herd’ collaged wrap and you’re invited to a studio and tea rooms open night at Duckett’s Grove

Yesterday I spent time felting a large nuno collage wrap, this was my contribution to the Helping Herd fundraiser which actually took place earlier in the summer.

Nuno collage ready to felt

The winning bidder (thanks Janet for being so patient!) likes purples, pinks, blues and cool based tones so I gathered a selection of plain and printed silks (recognise one of the patterns Dawn?) and laid out my design on a base of purple cotton gauze and purple and pink short fibred merino. I included some gold printed crinkled silk, it was actually from a very expensive skirt I bought myself a couple of years before I started felting but never wore, I just love the fact that it’s possible to rework fabrics and create something totally new that hopefully will be appreciated and used for years to come.

Leiko modelling the finished wrap

These large wraps may also be hung on the wall or draped on the table and used as a decorative runner. I’ve actually started hanging some up in Duckett’s Grove and they really add a splash of colour to the whitewashed walls. Speaking of Duckett’s Grove, Emma, Michael and Jackie, Madeleine and I will all be staying open until 7pm on Saturday 25th of August to celebrate our first few weeks successfully operating from the ‘Courtyard at Duckett’s Grove‘! From 5pm onwards each of the studios will offer a complimentary glass of wine or something similar to set the tone and we’re all hoping to have special offers on the night and let everyone know that both studios and tea rooms are well and truly open for business!!! Do come along and please feel free to bring your friends, an official event page will be up on facebook as soon as I get a minute to actually get it organised.

Nuno felting with some of my Salvation Army finds!

If you follow me or Dawn on facebook you’ll know by now that we had some marvellous times scouring both Goodwill and the Salvation Army stores for printed silk to nuno felt with! This is a great way of sourcing interesting printed silk in a variety of weights, perfect for combining with other plain coloured silk and/or cotton gauze in the large nujno wraps I love to make.

Turquoise, pink and olive felt wrap

Printed silk is difficult to find by the metre unless one’s very lucky or prepared to pay an arm and a leg for it. Searching in a consignment or charity store is good fun and often results in amazing clothes that are in perfect condition but that have definitely passed their sell by date style wise. Don’t forget to check out the dresses and skirts too not just the shirts, outsizes give even more value for your buck and sometimes the lining is silk as well, not just the outside! These are the pieces that we snapped up with glee, a lot of the patterns are just too over the top to even consider wearing the items even if they were not outdated anyway, once cut up they are totally transformed when felted!

Chocolate, bronze, gold and cream wrap

My first felting workshop in Portugal is now open for booking and back home from Bansko, Bulgaria!

Booking is now open for my first felting extravaganza in Portugal, Karin has finalised the information flyer for the week long workshop and I have to say if I wasn’t going to be teaching there anyway I think I would be booking the week myself!!! I love the thought of spending time in a rural area of outstanding beauty, the big difference from where I live in Ireland is obviously going to be the hotter weather and the delicious fresh Mediterranean food, I’m very excited that we will be working with the wool from the rare Bordeleira sheep so all in all it will be a great experience! Please click on the link below to bring you through to the flyer, places are booking already so if you want to attend please email Karin asap!

Flyer Felt workshop

A Bordeleira ewe with her lamb

 

As you’ve probably already guessed we arrived safely home from our trip to Bansko last night complete with my new stove, thanks Alan for managing to dismantle it enough so that we could distribute it amongst our cases and only have to pay for one extra piece of baggage! We left our hosts at the Dedo Pene early in the morning having spent the last evening together at a fantastic surprise meal Lyben, Yulia and Bobi threw for us in their private quarters. The food, wine and chat flowed freely and reminded me very much of a typical evening in Ireland between friends, a lovely end to our successful business and holiday break!!! Thanks to everyone there who made us feel so welcome, I would love to return the compliment in the future and Yulia and I are going to talk about the possibility of organising a felting workshop in Bansko, watch this space!

Unfortunately I also brought back a stinking cold from Bulgaria in addition to the stove. I’m going to be felting several nuno wraps over the next few days so I’ll post pics of work in progress to Facebook and here, don’t expect much chat though because I think I’m running a fever and I really want to just get my head down to work and through off the cold by the weekend if at all possible.

 

 

Turquoise, chocolate and copper or gold

For the first time yesterday I felted a wrap in a ‘new to me’ colour combination, turquoise, chocolate and copper. Today I felted a larger wrap using some of the same fabrics but adding a few small pieces of gold metallic mesh too. Unfortunately the light was very strong today and it was difficult to get good pictures, time was against me too as I’m still trying to gather stuff for my trip to Bulgaria but here are a couple of photos just to give you an idea of what they turned out like!

Ponge silk, hand dyed silk chiffon, cotton gauze and bronze fabric

Two chocolate, turquoise and bronze and/or gold wraps

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Pictures from today’s felting workshop at Clasheen!

Today’s beginner and improvers workshop at Clasheen actually turned into a private lesson as the other participants all had to reschedule due to illness and unforseen circumstances, it’s often difficult trying to organise classes in Ireland, ironic but true! Anyway, I’ll be teaching the same workshop again in two to three weeks as soon as everyone is able to come together, today Jenny came and benefitted from the individual attention!

Jenny with her first piece of felt

Once we had discussed the basics of felting and examined some of my favourite raw materials Jenny laid out her first piece of flat felt, a lovely undyed white merino background with distressed mohair off cuts, silk fibre and some threads of unraveled banana fibre knitting for surface decoration. While Jenny worked on rubbing and rolling I was able to lay out another nuno wrap (obviously keeping an eye out and helping if necessary!), this time in a colour combination new to me, turquoise, chocolate and highlights of metallic copper fabric, pictures tomorrow when it’s dry. By lunchtime Jenny’s first piece was finished and her second was laid out, it’s always so rewarding to watch newbies amazement as the fluffy fibre becomes strong, flexible and stable felt! For her second piece Jenny chose to felt a large needle cover (knitting is her business, HotHead the name!), there were three layers of colour separated by resists on the flap, this worked out beautifully!!! Now she’s all ready for the hat workshop here in April with the wonderful Dawn Edwards, if you’d like to join us for that there are still a couple of places available on Sunday 22nd so please email me asap!

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Nuno felt scarf and wrap pics at last!

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!!!

Nuno felt scarf with matching flower brooch

Niki’s stunning wrap photographed in the urban landscape

I spent a wonderful time with friend Niki Collier, her husband Rem and their beautiful children Coral and Tanya in Dublin yesterday.  Niki and I had a felt filled day planned, inspiration, discussion, chat and action, it certainly lived up to and surpassed all my anticipation!

Striding out in the urban landscape

During the day we walked to collect the children from their respective pre-schools and this was an opportunity for me to wear and Niki to photograph the stunning piece she felted at the recent Dublin Pam de Groot workshop organised by Feltmakers Ireland.  Initially this softly draping nuno piece was designed to be worn as a long shift, once I tried it on and looked at myself in the mirror I asked Niki would she mind if I tried it on with the intended neck opening as an armhole, voila, this incredible wrap was born!!!  We had great fun chatting and pausing as we walked along and it was totally fitting that the wrap was photographed in the urban landscape that was its inspiration.  Congratulations Niki on a very special piece!!!

Out and about in Dublin

During the afternoon Rem took the children out for a while and Niki and I settled down to our felting.  I’m thrilled with the two new bracelets I made and promise photos tomorrow, they are the first in a new series of work I’m creating inspired by Irish dry stone walls.  In the evening our felting friend Sheila Ahern joined us right on time to watch this weeks episode of Craft Master, a current Irish television series focusing on craft in Ireland.  Sheila is involved in the production of the series and her official title is ‘Craft Advisor’, Niki and I thought the programme was excellent!!!  Alan travelled up from Bagenalstown to join us for dinner and we had a wonderful meal, the highlights included a yummy salad accompanied by a Bulgarian speciality drink (unfortunately I can’t remember the name, maybe I drank too much!), stuffed aubergines, seasonal vegetable stir fry, roasted tomatoes with garlic and a fantastic tasting fillet steak for the meat eaters, it was a meal fit for a king!

Little Tanya is making me smile!

Today I headed back to Niki’s in the morning to collect my truck and have a good cup of coffee (I stayed in Alan’s Dublin pad for the night), after that I drove to Ikea to make some final choices for my utility room/back kitchen.  This part of the house has just not been working in its current layour so over the next week I am going to dismantle all the units, drag them out to the garage and reinstall, then I get to have fun putting together and finally fitting what I hope will be the work space from heaven, I’ll update you as it progresses!  Unfortunately this does mean that I won’t be going away for a short holiday with Alan as we had planned, he just can’t get next week off but luckily we hadn’t booked to take account of this eventuality occuring.  Ah well, he did suggest he MIGHT wrangle two weeks off at the beginning of November so I’m not totally ruling out a holiday yet, for the moment I’ll live in hope!