Short little felt, natural dyeing and polymer clay update

I've had a very busy but extremely enjoyable few days. Firstly Liga Valg and I headed to Ennis Creative Arts Centre for a wonderful two day polymer clay workshop with fabulous Seattle artist Ronna Sarvas Weltman and then as soon as I arrived home Anita came to stay for two days of intensive felting and natural dyeing! My electricity went late this afternoon and has only just come back so I'm not going to write any more now as I'm tired but here are a few pictures which I hope will keep you happy until the next post! That one will contain the promised info about all my upcoming interntional and Irish workshops.

 

Anita with her first ever naturally printed and dyed felt, two beautiful nuno felt scarves and three flat felt samples. Great job Anita!!!

Undoing one of the scarves, it's always a very exciting moment, will there or won't there be fabulous colour from the inclusions?
One of my sample pieces from the workshop with Ronna, I learnt so much and am now very excited about designing a limited collection to compliment my felt. Ronna was a marvellous instructor, very generous and so knowledgeable, I absolutely ADORE her jewellery!!!
Finally my funky ring, I love it but unfortunately unless I loose some weight it's just a tad too small for the finger I intended to wear it on, 'cest la vie'!
 

 

 

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Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day from a cool and blustery Emerald Isle!

I'm in Duckett's Grove today 'trying' to change stock around and write out some kind of definitive inventory list, it's a very stressful task considering how challenging I find organisational and housekeeping skills at the best of times. I've managed to rig up a kind of pin board from a picture frame, some polystyrene and some organic cotton quilt batting (don't ask!), this now serves as a display prop in the design shop for some of my new polymer clay brooches.

I've taken some of my older stock out of the shop and created a new display concentrating on gold, turquoise, chocolate brown, shades of caramel and natural white. When my order of silk and wool arrives from Wollknoll I'll felt some more wraps in these Arizona/New Mexico inspired shades, I love the addition of a little coral colour too, its always nice to add a shot of contrasting colour.

 

Excuse the glare and exposure in this second photo, I just wanted to give you an idea of the colours. Now for a bit of light relief, paperwork, then on to sorting out the display area in the studio!

 

Contrasting textures in my first ‘official’ felt and polymer clay necklace

I finally finished my first 'official' felt and polymer clay necklace last night, I'm happy with some of its aspects and less happy with others. On the plus side of things I love the combination of textures, the soft organic shape of the beads, the smoothly burnished large polymer clay bead contrasting with the tactile felt beads, the black rubbery tubing I used to tie everything together with and I'm definitely happiest with the roughly textured polymer clay beads and the matt black spacers.

I think that the finished necklace looks lovely against the textures of my recent nuno felt so I'm happy that I'll be able to create a collection of accessories that will add another dimension to my craft practice. On the negative side of things I'm least happy with how symmetrically I strung everything together, my only excuse is that I had a very limited selection of felt and polymer components to work with, hopefully that'll change as I get more pieces made and build up my stock of raw materials. I'm still waiting for my tissue blades to arrive so I'm a little limited with what I can do, the plus side of that is I have to keep experimenting and looking for ways around my lack of some decent cutting implements.

 

I'd like to recommend Ronna Sarvas Weltman's book 'Ancient Modern' for anyone looking for clear basic instructions and wonderfully inspiring projects in polymer clay and wire jewellery. It's on special offer via the Interweave store up until 15th February at a knockdown price of $6.88 (usual price $22.95). I wish I'd known that before I ordered it elsewhere for the full price but it's wonderful value nonetheless!

 

Decisions, decisions…..

Laying out some Fimo against a nuno felt wrap last night to try and select the colours I wanted. Of course I realised as soon as my order of polymer clay arrived that I didn't get half enough blocks of soft subtle colours and I only ordered one white and one translucent block, silly me. The green that I got is much sharper in colour than I expected also so this afternoon I headed into Carlow after teaching to stock up on some more light colours and white. The Fimo is much more expensive there than online but at least I can now work again and do some more experimentation this evening, tomorrow I'll be felting the complimentary pieces in the morning then assembling all the jewellery in the afternoon. At least that's my plan anyway and I'll really try to stick to it!

 

Interesting combination of hard and soft!

I'm really a felter and only a felter! However, I do love the combination of other materials with hand made felt and up to now have always bought my beads, buttons and findings from others who are skilled in the art of making them.

 

I don't have time to write properly today but here're two pics, an experimental Fimo ring and felt/Fimo pendant I've just finished making, I'm thrilled! Finally I think that I've found a medium I can have fun with and that I will be able to use to design unique organic shapes for my own closures and other bits and bobs.

I used a wonderful online tutorial from Ronna Sarvas Weltman (search for it on YouTube) to learn how to create the textured pod shape for the pendant and then fell totally in love with Melanie West's jewellery, often inspired by nudibranches believe it or not! Kathleen Dunstin is another artist to watch, stunning work. Thanks to polymer clay experts and friends Liga and Sharon for your help (Valg Studio and The Bead and Button Emporium respectively on Facebook) and encouragement, I think I'm going to have great fun. The only thing I'll have to be careful of is if I decide to use super glue to attach the centre to another pod, I nearly stuck my hands together but couldn't wait until I had sourced a different glue, I wanted to see the finished piece