Internet connectivity is zero here in the cabin at Lake Tahoe so Merridee and I have sneaked in to Tahoe City to catch some wifi, read our emails and catch up with essential online stuff. I arrived here on Monday morning having spent a wonderful week with Barbara and Sam in Austin TX, thanks guys for a really fun visit!
Cyndi, Barbara and Carolyn modelling their gorgeous nuno scarves!
The nuno scarf/wrap and vessel workshops last weekend went very smoothly, I hadn't appreciated that many of the participants had no previous felting experience until I arrived at the venue so was doubly delighted with the beautiful felt everyone created.
Stunning felt vessels and purses
It's always amazing when a group of creative people with access to the same raw materials get together, no two pieces looked alike even though everyone was working with the same instructions and the same basic shapes.
Super felt vessels and purses
Great job ladies!
It's full steam ahead at Clasheen, felting and eco printing will be on the agenda from now until I head to the U.S. and I'm really trying to restrict answering emails and the bulk my internet time until after well after lunch each day if at all possible. I'm always freshest brain wise in the mornings, if I postpone starting a new project until too late in the day my head is so full of ideas I often find that I just can't actually get started, especially if it's felting.
rose and bramble printed nuno felt top
Yesterday morning I made a nuno felt top, it was actually the first time that I'd used Crepe de Chine 14 as the fabric (combined with merino, silk, bamboo and Firestar) and I like the finished texture very much. This is not a cheap fabric but I'd several ginormous silk scarves 138cm square and actually felt that they were so large it made them difficult to wear.
Large rose leaves give a very definite print
I printed it in the afternoon using rose and bramble leaves, now all it needs is a little stitching up the sides and it's finished.
There was a lot of preparation beforehand but I really had great fun spending time with Ruth and Elena during the first 2015 tailor made felting and eco printing retreat at Clasheen. They both concentrated really hard to learn new techniques and at the end of three and a half days had created an amazing body of samples and finished piece to take home with them. This is a image rich post, as the old saying goes a picture speaks louder than words!
In addition to felting and printing we also had time for brief visits to Borris Food & Craft Market, Ullard Church and High Cross, Cushendale Woollen Mill and enjoyed a delicious obligatory evening meal (thanks Ruth!!!) in the Step House Hotel!
Detail from Ruth's stunning nuno felt wrap
Gorgeous shine from viscose, Elena brought this felt top with her to print
Detail from a large wall hanging Ruth printed
Oak on wool, another print from Ruth's wall hanging
My mind is still buzzing with all they achieved, I'm thrilled that the experiments I've been doing privately at home paid off and their eco printed linen and cotton results were consistent and spectacular.
Elena looking fab in a stunning cotton top
The purple hues of the rose leaves look wonderful against the denim
Printing on cellulose fabrics is a new skill that I'm offering for 2015 to students who attend printing workshops or retreats with me that last for a minimum of three days duration. It's is a lot more difficult and labour intensive than working with protein fabrics (felt, wool and silk) but very rewarding when the results are as good as Ruth and Elena achieved!
I almost hid this linen top so Ruth wouldn't be able to take it home with her and I'd get to keep it, I'd have happily washed it out and ironed it!
Another lovely top of Ruth's, still to be washed and ironed
Wool scarf and linen underskirt of Elena's, eco printed clothing looks fab layered with plain colours
Thanks ladies for being such great students, it was really difficult to select which images to add to this post so I'll sort through them all and upload the best to Facebook
during the week!
Last year a call went out to Feltmaker Ireland members inviting submissions for a curated exhibition titled 'Origins: Felt in the Natural World'. Regular readers of this blog may remember that I was delighted to have a large naturally printed nuno felt wrap accepted, the timing was extremely tight but I managed to felt and print it in the week between trips to the US and Portugal! A visitor to Borris a Food & Craft Market saw images of the wrap on display at the National Botanic Gardens and wanted to buy it, between the jigs and the reels we never managed to actually meet up again (she was a one off visitor!) so in November I brought the wrap with me to the Glucksman Gallery Christmas Fair. Enter Kate!
Kate was on holiday from the US visiting her sister who is living in Dublin, her daughter was getting married very shortly and she'd had been searching for months to find a special piece to compliment her mother of the bride dress. As soon as she saw the wrap Kate knew it was the one, love at first sight! It looked amazing on her at the Glucksman and I was so excited that someone would be buying it to wear on such a special occasion. As soon as Kate decided to purchase the wrap her sister stepped in with a lovely surprise, she bought it as a gift for an upcoming 'special' birthday and off the piece went to the States, nice surprise!
Last week I got a lovely email from Kate with stunning pictures as promised from the wedding. I was so touched with her message and asked her if I could share part of the email and some of the pictures. As soon as I saw them I understood exactly why the eucalyptus, black tea and onion skin wrap complimented her silk outfit so beautifully, I think that the colours were divine together.
In Kate's words, 'I wanted you to know that it made me feel so extra special that day! It really looked like it was meant to be with my dress. Everyone loved it and I of course, told them the story. Not only did I love the look, but the feel of the fabric was so soft and comfortable. We had a blizzard the night before the wedding and it was so cold and windy. It just felt so cozy in my wrap!!
Your work is so beautiful and I really appreciate your art. Thank you for making me feel so beautiful on one of the most important days of my life. I know it was heaven sent!!'
Thank you so much Kate for taking the time to write to me, I'm thrilled that you enjoyed the day so much and from the wedding pictures it's obvious that everyone else did too!!! I look forward to having you visit Clasheen next time you're in Ireland and sharing the magic and simplicity of natural printing with you.
I’m delighted to announce that Dawn will be teaching a second day of her ‘Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats in April, please click here to view the online class description and email me asap if you’d like to book your place!!! Just to remind you what one of Dawn’s nuno felt hats looks like here’s a picture.
emerald green and black felt cloche
Isn’t this an absolute beauty???
I’ll have a selection of goody bags available to purchase on both days, these will have a selection of stunning beaded, sequinned and printed silk to include in the hats so for those of you not having this in your stash, don’t panic!
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!
Yesterday I spent the day printing nuno felt wraps, one silk scarf, a vintage silk skirt and a wall hanging, that is when I wasn't cuting myself with metal or catching the top of one finger in my tongs! I was very happy with the results of the silk scarf (a welcome but unexpected result!), skirt and wall hanging but although the wraps printed well they didn't have as dark colour a base colour as I was looking for so back to the felting table today.
The scarf had been bundled with eucalyptus leaves and wrapped around a copper pipe about a week ago and then I discovered that there just wasn't space to add it to the dye pot at that time. It sat in the studio and the silk got greener and greener (a bit like my hair!), once I took it out of the pot yesterday and opened it up I was thrilled with the speckles, a welcome surprise!
One of the joys of natural printing is the unbundling, although it is possible to predict to a large extent the results when using familiar organic materials, water and pot etc. there's always that unknown element that pops up to surprise on occasion!
Here's a detail from the wall hanging, this will either be heading to a gallery or onto my new online shop, the shop is what I'll be finishing this week as soon as I have the last of my Showcase orders fulfilled.