Website and shop stocktaking update plus reminder of Irish workshop plans for 2016!

Tomorrow evening our group will be taking down the FORM exhibition in Blackrock and I’ll be bringing the rest of my current stock home. As a result, I’ve taken down the shop page of my website temporarily in order to assess what I have and what needs to be photographed. It’s really important that I get everything clear in my head and organised in advance of Showcase 2016, I need to know what I have and what I still need to make in addition to uploading new photos from the recent photo shoot with Patrick McHugh!

The last of the cotinus prints for 2015

I also need to finalise the cost and the dates for the residential workshop I’ll be hosting in Ireland during July. The dates will fall between 14th and 26th and the venue will be beautiful Kilgraney House which is less than ten minutes drive from Clasheen. Although the bulk of our workshops will take place at Kilgraney in the surrounds of its beautiful garden, we’ll also spend time at Clasheen in addition to visiting local places of interest including Cushendale Woollen Mill. Cushendale is where I get my wonderful lambswool woven to order, that’s another thing that will be taking place again before Showcase!

Finally for today, please contact me directly while the shop is offline if you need to order any last minute gifts.

 

 

 

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Showcase debrief and Tuscon Arizona, workshop details!

Gosh, apologies for the delay in giving feedback from Showcase, it was a wonderful event but I’ve been in bed with a toxic flu ever since returning home to Clasheen. I’m still not over the worst so please forgive me if I don’t write a very long post today.

IMG_8851   George and I had a busy and successful week, the pared down simplicity of the stand worked very well and I’m delighted to have secured new orders in both Ireland and the UK with companies who I think it will be very easy to work with going forwards. Thanks a million to Patrick McHugh and Peter Martin, both worked really hard to have the website , printed materials and the video ready right at the start of the event, I know it was touch and go but it all came together brilliantly! Here’s a picture of the stand, as you can see it’s simple and natural looking, having information boards about the process on the walls and the video on a loop helped really drive the eco printing message across to the public.

Stand C13 at Showcase

Speaking of eco printing, I very excited that I’ll be making my first trip to teach this fascinating technique in Tuscon, Arizona this April!!! Thanks Karen and Dawn for inviting me, please email Karen Herhold (putting “Nicola Brown class” in subject line or it will be deleted) if you would like to book a place or need some more information. Now for all the details………..

Intensive two day natural printing workshop with Nicola Brown 17th and 18th April

During this intensive two day workshop participants will explore the fascinating and exciting art of printing on protein based fabric and paper using natural materials from the hedgerow, kitchen and garden!

Using simple, easy to find natural plant materials bundles will be created by tying the organic matter up tightly in various weights of felt, silk, wool and silk/wool blends. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how she achieves different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on fabric pre-treatment, materials used, pot selection and various other determining factors. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the fabric also help to create different designs in the finished pieces. Once wrapped, the bundles will be heated for hours to aid the release of colors from the organic matter, when onion skins or other items are included in the dye pot wonderful lines will be achieved where the string ties act as a resist. NB Where local hedgerow materials are not available we will substitute easily located vegetation from the florist.

Over the course of the two days we will have a selection of pots on the go so participants will have plenty of options and decisions to make. We will also be able to print on paper or card, naturally printed heavy duty manila luggage tags make particularly beautiful gift tags. Participants are encouraged to bring along plenty of silk and wool yardage, scarves, previously completed felt bags, vessels and wall hangings (not just wearables) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk. These may all be included in the dye pot, the more the merrier, space providing!

Attention will be paid to the after treatment and care of these naturally printed textiles and participants will learn how Nicola prepares her work for sale or gifting.

NB Nicola likes to restrict printing to cream or white items during a workshop as this avoids commercial dyes running and ruining someone else’s work. If participants are keen to try printing coloured items it’s possible we can put one of the pots aside for this on day two, this will depend on the requirements and best interest of the group as a whole.

OPTIONAL ADD ON WORKSHOP only for participants who have already participated in the regular natural printing workshop 19th April

NEW for 2015 – Advanced one day workshop, natural printing on cellulose fabrics

Printing on cellulose fabrics is a much more time consuming process than printing on felt, silk and wool, results can be varied and are often disappointing. During this one day class participants who have previously completed a natural printing workshop with Nicola will be able to learn the different ways that cellulose fabric may be encouraged to hold a print. Nicola’s been having great success with linen and cotton this year achieving many really clear and beautiful leaf imprints. Some of the pre-treatments are very time consuming and possibly may not be to everyone’s taste or even smell, others are quicker and seem to result in good prints and colourfast results. This advanced class will share the tips and tricks that Nicola is finding helpful in her own artistic practice to achieve good prints on linen and cotton.

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 studio update and rose eco prints on silk and felt

You might be forgiven for thinking that I'm not working on anything in the studio currently, nothing could be further from the truth though. I've a felt sculpture underway, I just won't be publishing pictures of it as I'm felting some sample pieces for Showcase and want to get things worked out in my head before actually sharing any of the photos. There're a lot of website, video and branding details getting sorted out too at the moment and I've made final decisions about the carpet and wall colours for my stand at Creative Island. Peter Martin and his assistant Eamon were here to shoot the video for the new website earlier this week and Patrick McHugh visited the same day also. We're planning a fashion shoot for early in 2015 and he's also designing the website in advance of Showcase, busy times!

I've a few favourite plants at Clasheen that I love to print with, a small climbing rose, blackberries from the lane, oak from the plantation and eucalyptus from the young grove at the back to the house. Here're a few rose related pictures………..

Rose leaves soaking in rusty water

 

Rose leaves eco printed on silk satin

 

Rose leaves eco printed on felt

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Showcase naturally printed felt wraps and silk scarves are now ready!

So far today I've washed out and ironed seven felt wraps and one wall hanging, four silk scarves still remain to be done. Once they're finished my orders from Showcase will be complete, tonight I'll send the shops and galleries a Pro Forma invoice then have gift boxes, cards etc. prepared ready to dispatch as soon as I hear back from them. Hopefully these first pieces will be on their way first early next week, if it hadn't been for the bad weather and lack of electricity I would have had everything done last Friday.

Here're a few of images of my latest merino, bamboo and Firestar wall hanging. I love the strength of the eucalyptus leaves, these were gathered from a tree that had been pruned, lucky me! The reverse of naturally printed textiles also fascinates me, sometimes appearing strongly printed whilst at other times subtle like an animal pelt, as with this one.

I also included a resist during the laying out phase of this piece, while the finished hanging could be used as a table runner the channel at the top makes it really simple to hang!

 

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.