Creating my own eco prints to use for nuno felt

I had intended to blog today and share pictures of todays nuno felt scarves but the internet connection has been poor, the weather deteriorated and I didn’t get them photographed so instead I’ll share a couple of pics of my latest eco bundling experiment.

Starting to unroll the silk encased eucalyptus

Thanks to Emma Jane Champley I had a small collection of dried eucalyptus windfalls, I also had some onion skins, tea leaves and cotinus leaves which I had discovered starting to turn colour out in my garden this morning. Yesterday I’d left some silk fabric steeping in a vinegar and water solution so proceeded to create four bundles using  a variety of my raw materials. I steamed these for 30 minutes and then a further 20 minutes in the microwave (it’s 700 watts for anyone who is interested!). Probably I should have let them all sit nicely wrapped up until tomorrow morning but I couldn’t wait so opened two of the pieces late this afternoon. The eucalyptus leaves left a really beautiful print, I just LOVE the effect and now need to get my hand on tonnes of these leaves. If you’re coming to our open evening at Duckett’s Grove on Saturday night for a browse, chat and glass of wine please bring some with you if you have any spare!!! I also liked the soft but subtler effect of the onion skin, cotinus, tea package that I opened up, tomorrow will tell another tale as I’ll open the second batch and see if the prints are stronger.

My intention is to do some more experimentation with this method and incorporate some of these current samples into a larger nuno felt project. To date I’ve also being doing some over printing/dyeing with some of the samples, I also need to try more printing on my hand rolled prefelt and I’d also like to design a larger piece as a stand alone silk hanging! Anyway, if you’d like to see a few more pictures of this latest effort just head on over to Nicola Brown – Clasheen on Facebook.

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Printing workshop update, post party news and the innocent big knit

There’s still so much information to share about what I was working on at both the second day of the Kirsten Lundberg printing workshop during Felt in Focus and at the book launch party with Chrissie last weekend but I’ve finally realised I am never going to have enough time to write everything down here on the blog!!!  It’s difficult to be brief but if I’m not I am never going to be able to update you all with the most important info and in turn I’m never going to be able to actually have my planned ‘staycation’, more about that next post!  So, here is a synopsis of the techniques I sampled during day 2 of Kirsten’s amazing workshop …..

  • The use of different binders on silk and cotton with the intention of creating a resist through which fibres would not migrate when working on nuno felt.  These binders could be white, transparent or opalescent and all could have pigments added to change the colour.  They could be applied in a variety of ways such as rollers, screen printing or painted directly on the fabric.
  • The use of a ‘glue’ to add text and images from magazines.
  • The use of a ‘glue’ to add metallic foil.
  • We discussed rust dying and had a look at various samples.

My main focus over the course of the 2 days was to print two similar but slightly different pieces of fabric basing my design on the dry stone walls surrounding me here at Clasheen.  I will be blogging about this further because in a couple of weeks I am going to be combining these with a variety of different coloured wool to see how best to replicate the texture and effect of the walls as I imagine them in my head, I’ll keep you posted.  Now, on to the party.  A big thanks to …..

  • Everybody who attended and helped make the day so special for Chrissie and me and added to the wonderful Irish style party atmosphere!
  • All who so generously brought gifts of salad, flowers, wine, soft drinks, yummy deserts and all thoses yummy extras that went to make the buffet table so tasty, you know who you are!!!
  • Nigel and Alan who carted tables, road signs and all the hardware kind of stuff around both before and after the party.
  • Those essentialtal washer upers including Elizabeth Cope, Suzanne, Shaz and Nigel.
  • Chrissie and Nigel for being such fun, isn’t the power of the internet amazing???
  • Good friend Martin Lyttle who introduced me and Chrissie for us to officially launch the book.
  • All those of you who bought the book and those of you who now have to order online because we sold out, thanks!

Chrissie and me revealing the front and the rear of our ewe!

After we both spoke a few words Chrissie presented me with the choice of two identically wrapped parcels, here is a picture of us as we revealed what each one contained, my parcel contained the front end of a sheep and Chrissie’s the rear!!!  Thanks Chrissie for such a well thought out gift, each picture means something by itself but together they make a whole.

As a result of hearing our story about meeting through the internet Sue Nunn kindly invited us both to join her for a slot on ‘The Sue Nunn Show’ before Chrissie and Nigel travelled home on Monday morning.  Thanks Sue for the invitation and allowing us the opportunity to chat and speak about our love of felting, we had a great time!!!  During the course of the programme we discovered that Sue and KCLR are participating in ‘the innocent big knit’, a movement to help keep older people warm in Ireland this winter.  We know that felting isn’t knitting but since crochet hats are accepted too Chrissie and I thought we would put the word out there that we are both felting hats to give to Sue, would anyone like to join us in supporting this worthwhile cause???  If you do decide to help out we need the hats to be with Sue before the end of the first week in October.  I am going to suggest that anyone who wishes to participate felt your hat/hats, post them to me (Nicola Brown, Clasheen, Ballybrack, Borris, Co. Carlow, IRELAND) to arrive no later than the last week in September, I will blog about them and take photos then deliver them in person to Sue before the final date.  Do please let me know if you are participating then I can keep an eye open in my post box!!!  Thanks!

Workshop number 2 at Felt in Focus

The second workshop that I participated in at Felt in Focus was brilliantly facilitated by Kirsten Lundbergh, ‘Print, Paint and Reserve on Silk for Nuno Felting’.  In my innocence I somehow arrived to this two-day workshop with the idea that we would be printing with acid dyes, duuh, Kirsten soon put me right!!!

We started the first morning  getting to know a little bit about Kirsten’s background, really this deserves a whole post to itself but in a nutshell this is an amazing story about quitting a large and successful printing/dying business to spend 13 years teaching women living in remotest Africa (several hours from any electricity, water or facilities) how to dye cloth using simple environmentally friendly methods then showing them how to start micro businesses and bring their product to market.  I found this an absolutely fascinating and inspiring story, it also made us all realise that with the barest minimum of materials and facilities everyone should be able to print successfully without causing any harmful damage to the environment or society.  As a result of this experience all the products Kirsten works with herself and sells through her current business are totally non toxic to use.  It’s very refreshing to know that when working with children and indeed students no special precautions need to be made when printing, very refreshing also if you do tend to be a bit glib like I am!

Kirsten mixing binder and pigment

Moving on from Kirsten’s background we learnt a little about the pigments and binders we would be using.  These binders are the base to which pigments are added prior to printing or painting on your chosen fabric, my presumption re acid dyes had already flown out the window by this stage!!!  Depending on the end result we wanted to achieve there were different binders for silk, cotton, adding an opaque colour, transparent colour, opalescent colour, solid white etc., etc., etc. as well as glue type binders to aid transferring image from print to fabric, magnetic foils, the list goes on and on.  One of the most fascinating was a binder that allows you to print designs (either with or without colour) onto the fabric thereby creating a resist and then when nuno felting no wool can migrate through these areas, the second binder I fell in love with is made exclusively for Kirsten’s and means you can print on silk without altering the structure of the fabric at all, wonderful!!!  More anon …..

Pictures of the collagraph on felt and thanks Alan!

A big thanks to Alan who has decided this morning to give my old laptop a spring clean and has given me a bit of time to take some long overdue pictures (with his camera, mine is still awol!) to upload here and to Flickr. 

My first collagraph

My first collagraph

 

 

Firstly here is a picture of my collagraph on paper.  As you can see I went with a simple design, circles within and without other circles and ovals.  Although the picture is not the clearest (not helped by the fact that I had a bit of difficulty carying the print in the wind to the truck and think that I smudged it slightly) you can see the graduation from deep green at the bottom of the image through to a yellower based green at the top.  It is possible to see the texture of the lace on the bottom left of the picture and also various textured wallpapers used for the larger ovals and circles.  Some of the wallpaper I positioned unside down so when printed in some areas you get bumps and in others dimples.  Depending on how I wiped off the ink prior to printing you can also see various depths of colour on the plain background sections of the print.  From this experimental first effort I now know that for my next attempt I want to continue with the circular theme but use just wallpaper and scoring into the plate, not any lace unless I find some with a more defined outline.

My first print on felt!

My first print on felt!

 

As mentioned yesterday I inked the plate with a dark turquoise before printing on my hand rolled felt, I LOVE the result.  Unlike the paper it is obvious that the felt produced an altogether clearer image, I think that this must be due to the different absorbsion rate of the merino fibre.  The turquoise ink perfectly complimented the apple green felt and produced an interesting deep green print, now I am dreaming of all the possibilities this one day workshop has opened up, watch this space!

 

Check out my Flickr  for more pictures of the printed felt.

Printing on felt

Printing on felt is one surface decoration that I have not tried yet but hopefully today will change all that!  I am just off now for my monthly workshop (have missed all during the summer unfortunately) with the South East Textile Group and apparantly printing is what we will be learning, specifically printing on felt or so I believe.  Luckily I have a plain green felt rectangle in my stash and I am hoping it will be fine to try on this, some of the other members are bringing along commercial needle punched felt and possibly some hand made prefelt as well.  I will also have access to a good printer which the group owns so I am bringing some JetFix paper as well.  I want to print on to muslin and gauze and then incorporate this into some experimental nuno as soon as I have a minute early next week.  Anyway, off I go, I will update you on how I get on over the weekend.