Austin TX workshop update in pics!

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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco printed nuno felt top

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.

 

 

Felting and eco printing retreat at Clasheen in pics!

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!
 
 
 
 

 

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The journey and story behind one naturally printed felt wrap!

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.

 

More Fantastic Nuno Felt Hats with Dawn Edwards!

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

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!

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!

 

A few natural print images

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.

 

 

Houston calling and fun felting at Ballymurphy National School!

I'm really happy to confirm that I'll be heading on from a Dallas to teach for two days in Houston, thanks Barbara for inviting me! We're planning a one day felt vessel workshop on Monday 28th April followed by a one day natural printing workshop on Tuesday 29th, finalised details should be posted here tomorrow or the next day. Here're two pictures of a small naturally printed wrap that I felted last week, this time combining eucalyptus leaves with blackberry and rose leaves from my garden.

Now on to my main activity for a lot of last week…..

On Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday I had the pleasure of introducing the 50 pupils at Ballymurphy National School to the joys of working with fibre. This school is actually about ten minutes walk from Clasheen through the fields, obviously though I had to drive because otherwise I'd never have managed to bring all the necessary materials and bubble wrap!

For those of you living in countries with a different junior school system, usually children go to national (primary) school from the ages of 4 to 12, sometimes in small rural schools such as this there might be actuall classes with no pupils, strange but true!

Anyway, as you can see from this series of images a fabulous variety of stunning felt pictures was created. Inspiration was varied but the surrounding mountainous landscape and portraits were two popular themes. I'm going to load all the pictures I took to an album on Facebook later today, this way you can have a look plus all the pupils will have a reminder of what we got up to!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lexington workshop details for 23rd and 24th May announced and CA dates confirmed!

I’m delighted to say that I’ll be back teaching at The Tin Thimble in Loomis CA on 2nd, 3rd and 4th May. I absolutely love the time I spend here catching up with old friends, meeting new fibre fanatics, facilitating workshops and staying with the most wonderful and welcoming hosts, Sharon, Mark, Dawn, Morry, Jan, Bruce and Kevin, you’re the best!!! Over the next few days I’ll be finalising class descriptions for Loomis and Plainwell (9th and 10th) plus confirming what I’ll be teaching at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival (17th and 18th). Woo hoo, watch out US, here I come again!

In addition to my regular slot at the KSFF I’m back for the fourth time facilitating workshops for the wonderful Jan Durham in Lexington. This two day workshop (one day by arrangement) happens on 23rd and 24th May, there is also a possibility of an additional afternoon/evening class on 22nd, more about that another time! I’m really excited that we’ll be felting on Saturday and having a full day natural printing on sunday, here’s the full workshop description and an example of a naturally printed wrap. Please email Jan if you would like more information and to book your place!

May also be used as a wall hanging or a throw

Silk, merino, bamboo and Firestar nuno felt wrap, naturally printed with eucalyptus leaves, onion skins and tea leaves

NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials!

During this intensive two day workshop participants will have the opportunity to create a beautiful large nuno felt wrap, table runner or wall hanging using the tumble dryer method of felting. They will then have the opportunity to totally elevate it to another level as we experiment extensively with different methods of natural printing/dyeing using the bundling method.

Day one – using the no roll tumble dryer method of felting each participant will create a large nuno felt wrap, table runner or wall hanging, depending on the complexity of these pieces some people may also have time to felt additional samples to put in the dye pot on day two! This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body. Concentrating on simple shapes with optional ruffles, we’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the lay out. Each fibre will take up the colour from the natural materials differently when put in the dye pot the following day, this leads to stunning wearable art or striking and unique interior accents.

Day two – wonderful results will be achieved by bundling the felt created on day one together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials, tying them up and then either steaming them or cooking the bundles in plant and/or rust enriched water. At the start of the second day Nicola will explain and demonstrate how different results when bundling are influenced by using different pre-treatments, materials, fabrics, dye pot solutions and ways of actually tying up the pieces. There will be plenty of samples for participants to study and before we dye the felt created on day one everyone is encouraged to put some smaller items of felt and fabric in the dye pot to get a feel for this method.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!

NB Although this is a two day workshop participants may be accommodated for individual days by prior arrangement.

Ordering felt and naturally printed pieces online!

Although I don't have a store devoted to selling my work online please don't hesitate to contact me if you've seen a piece you like at a show or anywhere here on the web! I'll happily package gifts and post worldwide. Here's a picture of how I presented my scarves and wraps at the Glucksman, Kraft boxes, a hand printed gift tag and tied up with natural coloured linen or twine.

As a guideline, gift boxed naturally printed silk chiffon or ponge/habatoi scarves cost €45 each, etamine (finely woven merino) or silk/wool blend scarves cost €65 and large printed nuno felt wraps are priced at €120 upwards depending on size, all excluding postage. Simple nuno felt scarves start from €40, simple saree silk nuno scarves from €80 and more complex mosaic nuno scarves and wraps start from €120, again all prices excluding postage. Hopefully the SumUp attachment for my phone and iPad will arrive this week (similar to Square in the US) enabling me to take credit card payments over the phone or in person, I can also bill via PayPal for those who prefer.

Anyway, I'm now debating taking the rest of today off! Emma and I arrived home from Cork at lunchtime and I'm definitely a little tired now. I'll collect some sloes while out walking Rex (for sloe gin), then I'm going to put a stew in the oven, while that's cooking I'll have a bath and wash my hair. I had been planning to felt another saree silk scarf this afternoon, at this stage I think I might leave that until tomorrow!