January update

I’m writing this blog post on a flight to Dubai, my final destination is Canberra where I’m looking forward to joining Australian family to help celebrate my great aunt’s 90th birthday. So many events and preparations happened during January that it’s difficult to believe that 2016 has only Just started. I’m going to share a few of the highlights from the past month here in images, next month I’ll be back to reality!


Beautiful photography from Patrick McHugh………….

Felted raw fleece wrap and onion skin printed felt skirt

Onion skin printed silk organza scarf with cotton dots

Showcase Ireland 2016

Custom built wall displays for Showcase made to my spec by Jonathan Dickson

Borris Library

Debriefing in Borris Library with some of the ladies involved in our 2015 year of design project

 

 
 

 

 

 

 

Felting and eco printing retreat in Ireland plus brief update

Woo Hoo, the ten day residential felting and eco printing retreat that I’m hosting in July is finally open for bookings! Please check out all the details and various price options here and email me if you’d like to grab a place or If you have any questions. I can’t wait to share this beautiful part of Ireland with you, it’s going to be fantastic fun and July is such a perfect time of year to visit Ireland!!! Non workshop participating partners are welcome too, Kilgraney Country House is a gorgeous spot to relax and unwind in and there are a host of activities to enjoy all right on the doorstep.

I’ve already hosted the first two eco printing workshops of 2016 and preparations are in the final stages for Creative Island at Showcase. I’ll be on stand C10 for those of you attending, more about this in the next post. For now I’ll leave you with a small selection of images taken over the last few days.

Eucalyptus leaf prints on lambswool

Bundles of yardage heading to the pot

Looking out the front door at Clasheen

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s a red letter day, the new website and video launch, Showcase begins!

Thanks 1000 times to Patrick McHugh and Peter Martin for all their hard work over the last few weeks, my new website is finally ready to reveal, six hours before my first time participation at Creative Island in Showcase!!! After the show finishes we have some tweaking to do; the product and fashion photo shoots will take place, the shopping cart will go live and I'll be working hard to update the workshop section to reflect all the exciting classes and residential retreats that will be happening during 2015.

Stand C13 at Showcase 2015, almost ready for action!

Stand C13 at Showcase 2015, almost ready for action

Clasheen (the blog) will be fully interpolated within the new web domain as opposed to linking to the whole of the old site, from here forwards the website is nicolabrown.ie to reflect my new branding and positioning. I couldn't have done all this without the marvellous guidance of Eddie Shanahan, a push from Mary Whelan, incredible support from the aforementioned Mary, Emer Ferran, Emma Mc Grath, Kieran Comerford and all their relevant teams, thanks to you one and all!

It's too late tonight to work further on embedding the new video here, I'm posting this link instead. I hope that you enjoy it and get a little feel for what living and working at Clasheen is all about, I ansolutely love what I do and really hope that you can get a sense of this plus an appreciation for the beautiful rural countryside where I live!!! I'd really appreciate any comments, feedback, likes and shares both on YouTube and on Facebook, this will help with getting the video ranked on search engines. Thanks friends, I'm off to sleep now and be bright and bushy tailed for the opening of Showcase in the morning!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brief felt, eco print, website and Showcase Ireland update

I’ve not had much time to blog recently, please bear with me and don’t think that I’m not working quietly away at Clasheen! Here are the most recent updates in brief………..

Felting – finally, after a lot of hard work and frustrated sampling the large felt sculpture I’m currently working on is starting to take shape. It’ll be felted from merino and bamboo fibre, the bamboo adds wonderful sheen and texture to the surface of the felt.

Banana fibre gives an interesting sheen and texture to felt

Eco printing – I’ve had a lot of pots on the boil over the holiday season and since the new year. The contents have been mixed, a couple of small felt sculptural pieces, plenty of lovely super fine merino scarves and several batches of paper which I’m printing to incorporate into Showcase invitations.

Onion skins and black tea eco printed on paper

Patrick is working hard on the new website, I worked hard to write and collate a lot of the new information. The website should be live sometime next week, obviously I’ll post here as soon as it is but the blog will link to the new domain name anyway.
 
Showcase Ireland – A lot of my work is ready for Showcase but there’s also a lot more to do! I hadn’t fully appreciated how a lot of European companies closed down from before Christmas right through until after the new year. As a result I won’t have any of my new promotional material (with the new website details and new email address) for another few days, cushion liners are somewhere with the courier, silk is on its way, many things are in transit. I’m really excited that Philip Cushen of Cushendale Woollen Mill is weaving a run of lambswool for me this week too, I’ll print it at the weekend and Dorothy will stitch it into cushions at the beginning of next week.

One of the five varieties of eucalyptus planted at Clasheen

To round things off today I’ll leave you with a picture of eucalyptus leaves against a blue winter sky. This eucalyptus is one of five different varieties I have planted in a grove to the back of the house and I’m interested in the way the leaves have started to change colour, you can clearly see ribs and veins. The three trees of this variety have slso started to get tall so I’m thinking now I’ll have to curtail their growth sooner rather than later, if I don’t I’ll never be able to reach the leaves when I need them for printing!
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

Reflections from Showcase 2014 and thanks!

I had intended posting pictures to the blog every day of Showcase, poor Internet connectivity coupled with tiredness in the evenings unfortunately made this an impossibility. Instead, I'm going to reflect on how everything went and give you a peek into my thoughts as I debrief, if I get it all written down now then I can move on and make some new felt. I'd especially like to say a massive thank you to everybody who supported and encouraged me in advance of the show and over the five days of the event itself, the Showcase and Crafts Council teams who did an incredible job, the electrician who changed the wiring on my stand with such good humor, twice, all of you both here and on Facebook who blew me away with your good wishes and finally, my buddies in crime at the neighbouring stands, thanks for being such a pleasure to spend time with! Obviously it's impossible to name everybody (and I don't want to leave anyone out inadvertently!) but a special thanks go to Ariane Tobin, Cornelia McCarthy, Roisin Markham, Kate Ramsey, Emma Jane Champley, Lesley Round, George Stafford, Anita Marnell, Niki Collier, Mary Whelan, Nicola Doran and to Lorraine Bowen who gave me great advice about agents and JobBridge.


Now for those reflections, it paid to……….

  • Have clear signs (thanks Ger and Joe from Carlow Sign Management)
  • Have good photography (thanks Greg Dorney)
  • Send out email invitations to prospective stockists letting them know which stand I was on and what my collection consisted of
  • Keep the display very simple
  • Pay for additional lighting
  • Offer a show special
  • Ask for a sale
  • Have a slide show of images looping on the MacBook meaning whenever I got a confirmed order or a lead I could quickly update my notes by typing them up
  • Be on the stand myself as much as possible but have good knowledgeable friends to help me too, thanks a million George and Anita!
  • Wear one of my scarves
  • Eat!!! The first day I didn't eat any lunch, bad move! From then on I tried to get a hot meal or snack regularly on dates and fruit, one needs ones energy at these shows.
I was thrilled to get orders from galleries and high end shops in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. America will be on stream in a couple of months while Canada is also a possibility. In addition to the confirmed stockists I've several exciting projects coming up in both Ireland and Northern Ireland over the spring/summer period, all in all exciting times ahead! I've now got to finish unloading the truck and order more raw wool and silk. I'll leave you today with a picture I took earlier this afternoon, somehow a glittery leaf from a Christmas arrangement ended up on a pile of spent natural printing material and was sparkling in the rain, weird but fun.

 

 

Less is more for Showcase!

My mantra today has been ‘less is more’! Although I’d love to get a few more wraps felted before the weekend I’ve realised that I’d be better occupied making sure everything else is organised in advance of Showcase. Today George came over and we worked out a mock stand set up, hence the less is more theme. I really, really wanted to have a printed wall hanging displayed but working within a 2m x 2m space it’s more important to leave stuff out than cram it all in I think!

Large naturally printed wall hanging

Large naturally printed wall hanging

Obviously I’ll bring a couple of wall hangings with me and store them in the magic plinth, I’ll reserve the final judgement about whether to display one or not until I set up the stand on Saturday. I’m in the ‘Home & Gift’ hall, stand A285, please can you share this info with anyone you know who might be attending, thanks! Tomorrow I collect my new signs, a couple of plinths, try to get a top or two and have my hair cut, plenty of other things need to be done too but for now I’m going to have an easy night and get a few more invitations to buyers emailed then call it a day.