January felting workshops at Clasheen, Lyda Rump’s visit and reversible nuno wrap/short skirt

Now that my heat is operational again I find out that for some reason my workshop page here on the blog was on the blink, it never rains but it pours!  Anyway, I have just spent the last 90 minutes (yes, the computer is slow as well!!) uploading info on my first January workshops and letting people know the dates, titles and price for the two Lyda Rump workshops taking place from Friday 5th – Sunday 7th February.  I have decided for my own workshops to start with simple fingerless mittens on Saturday 16th January and this will be followed up by an introduction to nuno felting the following week,  Saturday 23rd.  The mittens are an excellent three dimensional project and the nuno felt introduction is a great way to try out various natural fabrics and see how they interact with wool during the felting process.  The last Saturday of the month I am thinking of a full day workshop, probably a warm winter scarf using the softest merino or else a nuno felt scarf as a follow on project to the nuno felt experimenting session.  Lyda Rump will be with us at the beginning of February and I am extremely excited to be able to felt with her once more .  I urge you not to miss these dates if you want to improve your felting, Lyda is a BRILLIANT artist and teacher!  More information about these workshops will be uploaded by the end of the week, just sorting out the final details.

Today I made a reversible wrap/mini skirt and I am thrilled with the result.  For ages I have been looking at some gorgeous deep purple fabric which I have had sitting in my stash but was just too nervous of having a disaster and wasting it that I never got into gear using it at all!  It was part of the lining from a lovely silk and cotton skirt that I had (but was not wearing) and when I deconstructed the garment I had a neat semicircular piece of fabric perfect for today’s project.  I used this as the base for my wrap and incorporated short fibred merino, silk fibre and some of the gold printed purple silk/cotton skirt material into the top layer.  Due to the semicircle shape of the fabric it was a little difficult to roll, tomorrow I will upload some pictures and explain the process further.  Off now to light my stove!

Merino, silk and linen combination, an experiment in nuno felt, fantastic necklace arrives in the post

Well, my package of fibres and fabric was every bit as good as anticipated!  In particular I was delighted with both the dark grey and the zebra striped 16 micron merino as well as the dyed linen (or flax) fibre and the ponge silk.  I have worked with raw linen fibre before and found it very interesting to use as surface decoration if somewhat ‘hairy’ or scratchy.  This dyed fibre however is beautifully soft and the colours are fabulous, I ordered a sort of apple green, dusky pink and a silver, gorgeous. 

Obviously with all these great colours (excluding the grey and zebra I have white, yellow, orange, two depths of turquoise, raspberry, violet, shocking pink, purple, black and two shades of green) I was hot to trot this morning!  I started by making a few felt flowers, some beads and then a necklace before following these up by trying an experiment.  My idea was to make some felt cuffs and try incorporating some artificial fabric, one fabric was a white net with ribbon and sequins, the other was black and shiny overprinted with silver cobwebs and funky spiders!  Both fabrics worked surprisingly well, neither actually became one with the felt as with normal nuno but because I made sure to catch all the edges of the fabric with the wool as I was working both cuffs turned out pretty well.  The black spidery cuff is perfect for Halloween and the turquoise and white cuff would definitely set off a romantic style outfit to perfection, I will be offering this one for sale as soon as Alan gets back and I can upload some photos.

My last project of the morning took a LOT longer to finish than I was allowing  for, about 3 hours instead of the one I had set aside!  This was a nuno felt experiment using a silk/linen mix wide scarf, short fibre merino and a lot of surface decoration on the merino with some of the linen fibre.  Carmen brought a batch of these scarves back from Spain recently and we have been trying different ideas out to see how best to use them with wool.  The weave is quite open but the texture of the scarves is slightly stiff and almost shiny, I am not sure if they have been treated with something but they do felt well after a LOT of rubbing and rolling!  The colour of the fabric was hot orange with a small white design and the wool that I backed it with was a mixture of orange, purple and hot pink.  I overlaid the merino with a lot of apple green and dusky rose linen and the end result is very nice, a hot and spicy coloured wrap with a great crinkly texture.  In actual fact I think that it looks equally good worn with either surface exposed, the wool overlaid with the linen or the bubbly texture of the fabric side upperside, you’ll see what I mean as soon as I have Alan’s computer back and am able to upload the photos.

Look at my fantastic new necklace!!!  For ages I have been a big admirer of Lori aka Tabmade on Etsy and when I discovered recently that she is having a blow out sale I just had to buy this beauty.

Pod necklace by Tabmade

Pod necklace by Tabmade

We have had an online chat as my intention is to order more of this type of bead to incorporate into some of my felt jewellery, what do you think?  For the moment I am in two minds, wear this as it is or (horror of horrors – I hear you gasp!) split the beads and use them as focal points in some new felt pieces.

More flowers and images of two new nuno mosaic scarves

I am really putting my mind down to making these flowers for my piece at Sculpture in Context.  Since Sunday morning I have made over 400 of them so in search of light relief I also made two mosaic nuno scarves ‘a la Sigrid Bannier’ with a twist!  The nuno mosaic technique I learnt last November from Sigrid and have used a lot since then, the holes are my own take on the idea to add a quirky feel to these scarves.

Detail of mosaic nuno scarf
Detail of mosaic nuno scarf

On Sigrid’s last day in Ireland she helped me with 2 children’s felting workshops that I was delivering at the Kilkenny Arts Festival.  On our way home we stopped at a great Kilkenny shop called Threads of Green and discovered some amazing printed silks on special offer.  Apparantly it is really difficult to buy printed silk in Germany and in fact the last time that Sigrid picked up some it was in Brussles!  We both bought some of the silk chiffons on special offer and I fell in love with this amazing sequined silk (unfortunately not on offer!!), hence the experiment incorporating it into a piece of nuno mosaic.  I love the way that it felted and now am off to make a larger scarf, it looks amazingly glamorous with the sequins although I don’t think too cheap and glitzy!  You can check out some more images of this piece and the other new scarf that I have made on Flickr.