Another online workshop launches and some FAQ

Next post I promise to share images of my wonderful holiday in Portugal followed by a super two day private class in Lisbon.

for now though I’m very excited to announce that the second six week intensive online eco printing workshop launched today! If you’re interested in joining me or learning more please click this link to see what it’s all about. In response to many of the questions I’ve been asked over the last month or so below are some FAQ with answers that I hope will be helpful.

‘Eco printing, an intensive foundation for successful results’ Winter 2016

FAQ and answers

How does this online eco printing workshop differ from a hands on experience in a classroom?

Online workshops are to eco printing what slow food is to the culinary world! Over an extended period of time participants will get the opportunity to engage with me (and fellow students) to discover techniques, tips and processing methods which will form the basis of all their eco printing into the future. Everyone will get an equal opportunity to ask as many or as few questions as they like and students may complete the assignments as and when they have the time to do so.

Who is this workshop particularly aimed at?

This workshop is aimed at anyone interested in learning the methods I use to achieve consistent and substantive prints on protein based fabric (silk, wool etc.) using a selection of local or easy to find natural vegetation. These prints will be achieved without the use of traditional powdered mordants and done in as simple and environmentally friendly a way as possible.  It is an extremely cost effective way to participate in a workshop and very well suited to people who may not have the time to travel or attend workshops in person.

Is this workshop suitable for both beginners and/or improving and experienced eco printers?

Absolutely! This workshop will empower the total beginner to have confidence in the process and be able to repeat their results when working by themselves. There should also be plenty of ‘ah ha’ moments for the more experienced eco printer too!

How is the workshop content delivered?

The workshop content is primarily delivered through a series of written modules, each module is like a chapter in a conventional book and the text may be downloaded as a PDF and printed for future reference if wanted. That’s where the similarities to a book end though! In addition to written text and images modules 4 to 6 contain video footage which clearly demonstrates specific tips and techniques. Each week discussion prompts are initiated by me relevant to the particular topics covered in the module. Participants are encouraged to ask questions, post pictures and learn much in the way they would in a classroom situation but a big difference is the length of time in which it will be possible for us to engage with each other. Internet connections allowing, I will also answer questions via a live video webinar once we are several modules into the workshop.

How long will participants have access to class content?

Class content will be available for a total of 6 months from the start date of the workshop.

Is there ongoing daily support from Nicola?

Definitely! I’m available to answer all of your questions relating to the class content as the weeks progress, daily via the Ruzuku platform for the first 12 weeks and then as frequently as I can for the full 6 months that the content is online.

What other way may participants engage with each other and with Nicola?

I have set up a private Facebook group for all the participants in this session of the workshop. This has been a very popular forum for the first batch of workshop participants and access to this group will be indefinitely!

What happens if I am not very confident using a computer? Will I be able to follow along with the class?

Ruzuku is pretty simple to navigate, if you can write an email or open a website I think that you will have no problems with the course. However, in order to ease everyone into the class gradually I’ll release a short module on Monday 31st October with tips to help guide you through the workshop. This way we can all be confident that it will be as stress free as possible for everyone concerned, I’ll be very happy to help anyone who needs a bit of extra support. From Friday 4th November a new module will be released each week.

When and how do participants get notification that a new module is available for them to view?

Once we’ve got underway participants will receive an email every Friday morning letting them know that the new module is available to view.

Is it possible to view class content on a tablet or mobile device?

Yes, tablets and mobile devices work well with Ruzuku.

How much does this workshop cost?

This 6 week class costs a total of $220 or €200.

How do I pay for the workshop?

When you visit the enrolment page and sign up for the workshop you will be given two options for payment, both will be processed via PayPal. US dollars is the default choice for payment but if you would prefer to be billed in Euros select that option and I will invoice you immediately. Please note, your class place is not confirmed until you have paid the invoice in full. Thanks!

Wonderful Portugal, a pictorial tale of two weeks……..

Two wonderful weeks have passed since I've been able to take time and update the blog from Portugal, it's now changeover day between the two felting and eco printing workshops so I'm grabbing the opportunity for a little internet activity. I've set myself up with a simple outdoor office, the Internet connection from the studio appears to work well on the roof so I can write in peace whilst enjoying the sun and views!

Week 1: The Joan Morris workshop 'stitched resist dyeing with ecology in mind' was definitely an eye opener, her work is both fascinating and incredibly beautiful. I learnt so much about natural dyeing and mordanting during the week that I hope to bring forward in some small way into my own textile practice. The following pictures share a fraction of the progress and some samples that I made.

Week 2: Some felting and eco printing images. Many congratulations to all the participants from the first workshop I facilitated, you were wonderful students as our exhibition last night clearly demonstrated!!!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

Little felt shopping bag, a successful over dyeing/natural printing project

I'm getting tonnes of use and plenty of compliments for this little shopping bag that I felted and printed in Portugal. If my arms were currently a bit stronger (tennis elbow in both unfortunately!) I would have stretched the top edge more during the fulling stage and again after it came out of the dye pot but all in all I'm pleased with the shape and size. Initially I didn't like the results when I printed it, the vegetation that I used was eucalyptus and St. John's Wort but the biggest problem was that some of the black silk ran with the heat. Here's a picture of the front of the bag after the first printing session, see the pale grey lines………
…………… and below is a picture of the same side overprinted during week two in a stronger dye bath containing plenty of rusty metal. This time I was very happy with the result!

 

 

Wonderful felt and natural printing in Lexington, short Portugal update!

Thanks Jan for once again organising a brilliant two day felt and natural printing workshop in Lexington, it was fun catching up with old friends and lovely to make some new ones too! I'm going to post a bunch of pictures below sharing some of the amazing work created, before I sign off though I'd like to remind you that if you'd like to join me in Portugal for a fab residential felting holiday one person has had to cancel the first week (due to health reasons unfortunately) and there is still some availability for the second week that we added recently. Please contact Karin ASAP at Dominio vale do Mondego to book a place of ask any questions, it will be a magical time!!!

Now on to those pictures………

Unwrapping those bundles is serious stuff………
….. but the results for everyone were absolutely worth it!!!
 
Congratulations ladies, you did an awesome job!
 
 

 

 

 

Portugal week 2 and a lovely last minute commission!

As promised, here's the link to the newly added second week residential felting extravaganza at Dominio Vale do Mondego in Portugal this June. I've also updated the workshop page here on the website to reflect everything that is happening over the next few months, currently I'm planning a trip to teach in Canada again this Autumn so if you're interested please shout out loud now and email me. I don't plan an instant reply (with my impending trip to Texas, California, Michigan and Kentucky happening this week it's full steam ahead as usual at Clasheen) but I do promise to respond as soon as my feet hit the ground!!!


On Thursday last week I got a lovely last minute commission to felt a baby's blanket. This will be used as the base for an embellished family tree and will also be displayed at Nadia's wedding at the end of May. Thanks Nadia for such a charming request, I can't wait to see how you stitch or print the names of your family members to the tree! Here's a picture of the completed piece as it left my studio this afternoon.

 


 

Lake Tahoe felting retreat plus friends, felt and fun in Portugal part one!

It's finally time to share some wonderful photographic memories from my recent residential felting workshop and holiday with Alan in Portugal. Internet connectivity was not good while I was away (hence the lack of blog posts) and since we arrived home on Tuesday night it's been pretty hectic here too, what's new! I'm also conscious that I haven't updated you yet about the exciting felting retreat that the amazing Merridee Smith and I are hosting at beautiful Lake Tahoe from 17th to 22nd September so I'll give you the bare bones now and promise to totally update the workshop page next week. This update will include a series of Irish workshops this summer, the felting retreat at Lake Tahoe, full details about the three day felting extravaganza at Mendocino Art Center and also all the details about the 2014 residential felting holiday in Portugal, phew!!!

OK……. Lake Tahoe – four and a half days exclusive and intensive felting and dyeing tuition with super attention from me and Merridee (the dyeing queen!), your wish is our command – wonderful lunch daily plus tea, coffee and snacks – optional bed and breakfast accommodation with us on site in a beautiful wooden cabin five minutes walk from the lakeside – spectacular, inspirational scenery, am I whetting your appetite yet???

Welcome drink on the private jetty, all tuition (Wednesday morning through until Snday lunch time), lunch, tea, coffee and snacks for the amazing price of $650, optional bed and breakfast an additional $300, a deposit of $200 will secure your place! Merridee and I would love for both experienced and novice felters to feel that they could participate in this retreat. Lake Tahoe is a magical location and while we'll both be working each day participants are free to explore the area if they'd like to relax, chill out and wander a little! Several places for the retreat are gone already and the number is capped at six so if you're interested in joining us please email Merridee or me ASAP.

Now for the first batch of pictures from Portugal, next time I'll upload some more from the workshop, my weekend class teaching local ladies and the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent with Estela and her family! I will be uploading loads more images to Facebook next week with full descriptions, live tags etc. but for the moment you'll have to elaborate on the captions yourselves. Sorry about the poor quality of some of the pictures (it's hard to teach AND snap at the same time!) but if you head over to Terriea's wonderful blog she's written a great post and filled it full of fabulous photos.

Naomi, Cyndi, Heather, Conchita, Estela, Sandy, Nikki and Terriea with a SMALL selection of their fab creations!
Heather's yummy raw fleece bag
Naomi modelling her wonderful naturally dyed hat and wrap
How's this for a load of eucalyptus? Thanks a million Joacim (sorry if I spelt this name incorrectly)!
This is NOT a glass of wine, it is however a glass of red wine vinegar made with the first batch of grapes harvested from new vines at Dominio Vale do Mondego
From the rear….. Karin (owner of our wonderful venue, check out the new studio space!), Cyndi, Estela, Conchita, Carla, Ana, Vanessa, Heather, Terriea, Naomi, Sandy and Ann
Three generations of the one local family come together for our end of week exhibition! Ana, her daughters Vanessa and Carla (they joined us some days and made some beautiful flowers and naturally printed flat felt pieces!) and Ana's mother
Fun, colourful and quirky work!
Terriea with some of her beautiful felt bags, the hat is by Conchita, the naturally dyed necklace by Cyndi and the gorgeous Bordeleira raw fleece rug by Ann
Manuel modelling Conchita's first felt hat, he's part of the family who own and operate the large woollen mill where our prepared roving came from and I do think he looks rather dashing in this hat. Next post you'll see a picture of his mother with her own amazing first piece of felt!

 

Lake Tahoe felting retreat plus friends, felt and fun in Portugal part one!

It's finally time to share some wonderful photographic memories from my recent residential felting workshop and holiday with Alan in Portugal. Internet connectivity was not good while I was away (hence the lack of blog posts) and since we arrived home on Tuesday night it's been pretty hectic here too, what's new! I'm also conscious that I haven't updated you yet about the exciting felting retreat that the amazing Merridee Smith and I are hosting at beautiful Lake Tahoe from 17th to 22nd September so I'll give you the bare bones now and promise to totally update the workshop page next week. This update will include a series of Irish workshops this summer, the felting retreat at Lake Tahoe, full details about the three day felting extravaganza at Mendocino Art Center and also all the details about the 2014 residential felting holiday in Portugal, phew!!!

OK……. Lake Tahoe – four and a half days exclusive, intensive, felting and dyeing tuition with personalised attention from me and Merridee (the dyeing queen!), your wish is our command – wonderful lunch cooked by chef extrodinaire Keith Smith daily plus tea, coffee and snacks – optional bed and breakfast accommodation with us on site in a beautiful wooden cabin five minutes walk from the lakeside – spectacular, inspirational scenery, am I whetting your appetite yet???

Welcome drink on the private jetty, all tuition (Wednesday morning through until Sunday lunch time), lunch, tea, coffee and snacks for the amazing price of $650, optional bed and breakfast an additional $300, a deposit of $200 will secure your place! Merridee and I would love for both experienced and novice felters to feel that they could participate in this retreat. Lake Tahoe is a magical location and while we'll both be working each day participants are free to explore the area if they'd like to relax, chill out and wander a little! Several places for the retreat are gone already and the number is capped at six so if you're interested in joining us please email Merridee or me ASAP.

Now for the first batch of pictures from Portugal, next time I'll upload some more from the workshop, my weekend class teaching local ladies and the wonderful holiday Alan and I spent with Estela and her family! I will be uploading loads more images to Facebook next week with full descriptions, live tags etc. but for the moment you'll have to elaborate on the captions yourselves. Sorry about the poor quality of some of the pictures (it's hard to teach AND snap at the same time!) but if you head over to Terriea's wonderful blog she's written a great post and filled it full of fabulous photos.

Naomi, Cyndi, Heather, Conchita, Estela, Sandy, Nikki and Terriea with a SMALL selection of their fab creations!
Heather's yummy raw fleece bag
Naomi modelling her wonderful naturally dyed hat and wrap
How's this for a load of eucalyptus? Thanks a million Joacim (sorry if I spelt this name incorrectly)!
This is NOT a glass of wine, it is however a glass of red wine vinegar made with the first batch of grapes harvested from new vines at Dominio Vale do Mondego
From the rear….. Karin (owner of our wonderful venue, check out the new studio space!), Cyndi, Estela, Conchita, Carla, Ana, Vanessa, Heather, Terriea, Naomi, Sandy and Ann
Three generations of the one local family come together for our end of week exhibition! Ana, her daughters Vanessa and Carla (they joined us some days and made some beautiful flowers and naturally printed flat felt pieces!) and Ana's mother
Fun, colourful and quirky work!
Terriea with some of her beautiful felt bags, the hat is by Conchita, the naturally dyed necklace by Cyndi and the gorgeous Bordeleira raw fleece rug by Ann
Manuel modelling Conchita's first felt hat, he's part of the family who own and operate the large woollen mill where our prepared roving came from and I do think he looks rather dashing in this hat. Next post you'll see a picture of his mother with her own amazing first piece of felt!

 

Fabulous time felting in Portugal!

I'm having a fabulous time facilitating my second felting residential holiday in Portugal, it's been wonderful meeting up with returning participants and welcoming new faces to join in the fun! We're a very international bunch, three Americans, one Swedish participant via Cuba, two English participants via Spain, one English participant via the UK, one Portuguese participant and one participant all the way from Hong Kong!!! Karin, owner of our beautiful venue Domino Vale do Mondego also joined us to felt today as did local girls Vanessa and Carla.

I've managed to felt a couple of pieces myself too and at the moment they're bundled with eucalyptus and oak, bubbling away on the cooker ready to be removed in a couple of hours time. For now though I've got my feet up and am just waiting for the call to dinner, the food and drink is divine as always, pics of the felt completed to date tomorrow, I promise!!!

 

Portugal, the fruits of our labours!

I promised you some pictures of the result of our felting extravaganza in Portugal and here the first few. Sometimes I have problems uploading more than 3 images in a post if I don’t have a lot of text so I’m going to try adding a few blank lines around all the pictures, please bear with me and just keep scrolling down. I’ll upload more as soon as I return from Scotland (it’s 1.17am and I’m just about to head for the airport!) but for now these will give you a small idea of the fruits of our labours.

Kellie, Karin, Terriea, Heather, Sandy, Nienke, me, Estela, Annemarie and Carla (from left to right)

First up a group shot with participants draped in and holding a selection of the completed felt including raw wool fleece combined with two fine layers of Bordeleira, felt vessels, bags, nuno felt, eco bundled and eco dyed felt too!!!

Terriea’s fantastic felt bag with flaps

Terriea with her gorgeous natural Bordeleira bag, hope you don’t mind that I grabbed this photo from your blog Terriea!

Sandy, Heather, Terriea and Nienka celebrate Heather’s fabulously eco printed bag!

Sandy, Heather, Terriea and Nienka celebrate the sucessful eco printing of Heathers Bordeleira bag!

Felting in Portugal, part four

Well the ‘tomorrow’ of  Wednesday’s post has been and gone so appologies if it’s taken me a couple of days longer than anticipated to write about our nuno felting and eco bundling experiences in Portugal! My Danish friend Annette arrived in Ireland at 12.45am on Wednesday morning and as well as enjoying her company, attending the market in Borris on Friday and sorting the hundreds of other daily things that go on here at Clasheen I’m trying to get my supplies together (not sucessfully yet unfortunately) and prepare for Dagmar Binder’s masterclass in Scotland which starts on Tuesday.  Annette and her husband will be staying here while I’m away and taking care of Rex then we’ll have another couple of days together when I return, I’m planning a visit to Cushendale Woollen Mill and we’ll be felting together too so that should be fun! Now as promised, back to our time in Portugal…..

Sandy and Stella both working on laying out large nuno felt wraps

The latter part of the week was taken up with nuno felting, flat felting with a view to eco bundling and basically a little (or a lot!) of whatever took each participants fancy based on the techniques that had been already been shared. Not everyone had previous nuno felting experience and strangely enough it proved impossible to get either cheesecloth or muslin in Portugal for everyone to share, why is this I wonder??? Between us all however we had quite a variety of suitable fabrics including the most amazing stretchy cotton gauze from The Netherlands that apparantly is something you use when making a mattress for yourself!!! Depending on the supplies that everyone had brought some participants worked with undyed Bordeleira while others worked with hand dyed silks and coloured merino. For everyone who had not nuno felted before I recommended felting their first pieces by hand to learn the different stages of the process, for those with plenty of nuno experience I shared the way I’m currently using the tumble dryer to slash the time for larger projects. Over the course of the rest of our week a selection of amazing large wraps were felted (pictures of finished work from the week will be in my next and final post about Portugal!) and some smaller nuno felt and flat felt pieces in white were made in preparation for some natural dyeing experiments.

Participants disappearing into the distance to forage for leaves, flowers and old pieces of rusty iron!

From the beginning it had always been obvious how Karin and Eelco would like everyone to use natural materials or found objects from the domain as inspiration for or inclusion in the felt that we would be making during the week. This came together very naturally with a desire to try out simple eco bundling, the olive and sweet chestnut leaves just cried out for inclusion as did various rusty bits of old metal which we picked up while out foraging for goodies! Terriea was marvellous in sharing her experience dyeing with leaves and rust, thanks Terriea for your wonderful manner and fun way of sharing a new experience!!! Our objective was to imprint leaf shapes and colours onto felt as well as trying out some experiments with the heavier cotton fabric Karin had bought originally thinking it would be OK for nuno felting with. Terriea explained that protein fibres such as silk and wool absorb natural colour from the leaves best but since we also had the cotton we decided to give it a go too, we soaked our felt and the cotton pieces overnight in a vinegar solution prior to bundling. This was all a fun and relaxing experiment so please don’t ask me for any exact measurements as shock horror, we didn’t take any!

Terriea and Annemarie with a large pot of bundles ready for the stove

On Thursday morning Sandy choose to continue working on the final shaping of her large felt vessel but everyone else wrapped a selection of different nuno felt, flat felt and cotton pieces with a selection of the leaves and rusty pieces of old metal we’d scavanged. Heather also decided to eco print a felt bag; the original intention had been to felt this together with some silk velvet but as the velvet experiment hadn’t worked out as planned this proved to be an inspired choice to print with! Carla made great use of some left over cherry soup from the previous lunch with one of her pieces of felt and I added some tea leaves to a couple of my cotton bundles. Once all the pieces were tied up with their various inclusions we placed them in two different saucepans, one for pieces including rusty objects and the other for pieces only containing vegetable matter. The bundles were covered with water and put on a cooker to bring to the boil, once boining point was reached the heat was turned down and the pots were simmered for aprox 45 minutes to an hour. They were then left to cool down naturally and the bundles stayed in the water overnight until we unwrapped them on Friday morning. This was fun, seeing how our expectations were either met, exceeded or in some cases failed, all part of the learning process and information to be stored and used in future projects! Sweet chestnut leaves (plus the long flowers), olive leaves and rose leaves proved to impart the strongest and clearest shapes on felt, Carla’s scarf using the cherry soup worked brilliantly as did Annemarie’s pieces using a mizture of flowers, grasses and fruit slices while Heather had a very successful experiment wrapping one of her large nuno felt wraps without inclusions and simmering it in the pot with the rest of the iron filled pieces!!!

I’ve got to sign out now because my bags are calling and I need to get those raw materials assembled for Dagmar’s class as well as some final clothes dried and the house tidied a little. My final post about Portugal will be memories of our last group day together at Dominio Vale do Mondego and pictures of the participants with some of the amazing felt completed during the course of this fantastic week. I’m not sure if I’ll actually get this written before I fly to Scotland at 6.05am tomorrow morning but I will try and keep you all up to date with progress at the masterclass during the week and finish Portugal as soon as I can. For now one last picture and ‘adeus’ until next time!

Having fun – Heather and Sandy watching Nienke unwrapping one of her bundles