Catching up with news, felt lampshade workshops, any felters in California?

Well I have so much news to write about and only so much time to do it in!  Sigrid travelled back to Germany on Thursday after a wonderful 2 weeks together here at Clasheen and since then I am trying to catch up on household chores, complete my 450+ flowers for ‘Sculpture in Context’, submit a proposal for a craft exchange to Norway and make and submit my entry for an international felt exhibition ….. all these have to be completed before Thursday 27th, some by August 24th!  On September 2nd ‘Sculpture in Context’ opens and on the following morning Alan and I fly to San Fransisco for a 4 week road trip, woo hoo, I am really excited to be travelling to the States for another vacation!

OK, let’s take all these things in order and then I will follow up with some more detailed posts over the coming week to bring you all up to speed with events here in Ireland as well as posting about Anna Gunnarsdottir’s wonderful 2 day ‘felt sculpture’ workshop at ‘Felt in Focus’

Sigrid Bannier’s 2 day felt lampshade workshop went brilliantly, each participant made at least one completed piece with some creating several items over the course of the weekend.  The most useful knowledge gained from this workshop for me was realising how you could adapt basic light fittings and put them to many uses when deciding how to create your lampshades or light fittings. 

Anne with her finished felt lampshade

Anne with her finished felt lampshade

Some participants came armed with a clear idea of what they wanted to achieve and Sigrid was very good at enabling people see how their thoughts could be turned into reality.  Other people had no preconcieved ideas and let Sigrid’s photos and the basic lamp fittings dictate what their finished piece would be like.  The simplest ideas often work the best and by hanging a very fine piece of light coloured felt in front of a wall light beautiful effects can be achieved.  Gerd (who had only felted once before!) incorporated fresh rushes (a type of grass found in boggy ground) into her wall piece and initally had intended creating two lampshades using this method.  Half way through the process she decided to keep the felt as one piece to hang in front of her double height window allowing the natural light to shine through the felt and reveal the gorgeous pattern created by the vegetation.  More images of work in progress and finished pieces from this workshop may be found on  Flickr and when Carmen and Patricia have finished their flower covered shades I promise to take pictures and post them as well!

This is just an off chance but are any of you living in the upper part of California and if so would you be interested in me delivering a felt workshop during the month of September???  Alan and I will be travelling to San Fransisco on 3rd September for 4 weeks and participants from a local Irish stone symposium will be staying in my house for the duration.  This is a win win situation as my friend and well known sculptor Eileen MacDonagh has organised participants from the symposium to house sit during my trip, for these people they get a great location and free accomodation for the month while I get my house minded and my dog fed!  Alan and I are collecting a car in San Fransisco and our intended route extends northwards to encompass amongst others Napa, Mendocino, Redwood National Park, Lava Beds National Monument then travels south through Lassen Volcanis National Park, Yosemite National Park, Mono Lake and returns to San Fransisco via the Big Sur coastline.  If any of you are interested in the possibility of me teaching a felting workshop please email me asap and we can discuss the various options.  It would be absolutely amazing to meet some followers of the blog in person so do please contact me or leave comments if you live anywhere near where we are travelling and who knows we might get time for a coffee and a chat!

Some explainations and more images from day two of Sigrid Bannier’s felt workshops!

Day two of Sigrid’s workshops saw a variety of amazing projects being planned and seen through to completition!  The topic of the day was felting with inclusions and participants brought objects along with them to include and also had access to the brilliant seaweed, driftwood, stones and other items which Sigrid and I had collected on our expidition to the Wexford coast the previous Saturday.  Some people chose to go for a walk around the land beside Carmen’s studio (thanks a million Carmen for the great space to work in!) and came back armed with pieces of rusty metal and all kinds of vegetation to be felted into the various projects.

Anne contemplating her collection of found objects and getting a bit of refreshment before the work begins!

Anne contemplating her collection of found objects and getting a bit of refreshment before the work begins!

Everybody discussed with Sigrid their ideas and concepts before embarking on the main work of laying out their wool.  Very luckily I was able to collect my order of Icelandic wool from the post office that very morning as I had been panicking that it would not arrive on time!!!  This wool is a fibre that I had been introduced to by Anna Gunnarsdottir in Denmark at Felt in Focus and I had thought it would be excellent for the lampshades and any work using inclusions.  (What was an added bonus once I opened the box was how wonderful the colours were, in Denmark I only saw the natural white and a scrap of natural charcoal as well.  I now intend trying to become the Irish stockist for this specialised fibre so watch this space and hopefully I will be offering the wool for sale over the coming weeks.)  Ali, Shirley and Deirdre decided to create panels of almost see through felt with various inclusions including seaweed, rushes, seed heads and grass.  Anne worked on a three dimensional felt sculpture incorporating rusty metal and various stones within the felt structure.  Maria started by making a gorgeous necklace incorporating some of her stash of limpid shells with holes in the middle and then progressed to a double sided sample incorporating shell and found sea washed glass. 
Maria's sample using Icelandic wool with shell and glass inclusions

Maria's sample using Icelandic wool with shell and glass inclusions

Carmen decided to make an exceptionally thick layered piece of felt which she would then carve into to expost various colours so 42 layers later she was ready to roc and roll!!  Sharon travelled all the way from Donegal to do a condensed version of the felt lampshade workshop and after showing Sigrid some images that she had broght with her a design concept was achieved.  Sharon then set to laying out her wool and during the course of the day made a wonderful punched felt lampshade which looked marvellous when we experimented with adding the light fittings at the end of the workshop.  Unfortunately my camera choose this moment to have charging problems so you will just have to wait until Sigrid sends me a copy of all the great images she took before seeing Sharon’s final result.  By the end of the day everyone had completed successfully all the work that they had intended and left totally fired up about the possiblilty of experimenting with further inclusions at home in the future.  Shirley also make her first successful felt vessel in addition to her felt panel so congratulations to everyone on a great day of felting!

Shirley's beautiful felt vessel

Shirley's beautiful felt vessel

Some images from day two of Sigrid Bannier’s felt workshops (will follow up with explainations as soon as I get a minute!)

Deirdre and Sharon alying out their felt projects incorporating fresh and dried natural items

Deirdre and Sharon laying out their felt projects incorporating fresh and dried natural items

Sigrid and Maria with a stunning felt and shell (limpid) necklace

Sigrid and Maria with a stunning felt and shell (limpid) necklace

Anne and Sigrid with Anne's amazing felt, rusty iron and stone sculpture!

Anne and Sigrid with Anne's amazing felt, rusty iron and stone sculpture!

Brilliant start to the felting workshops and images of the felt basket!

Today we have completed our first day of Sigrid’s workshops and everyone left extremely happy with the result of all their efforts!  Three of the participants were total beginners and the other three visitors were experienced felters.  The workshop today was ‘mosaic nuno’ and Sigrid had organisied a simple way of ensuring that the beginners also completed a mosaic nuno project but didn’t have such a difficult time laying out the work! 

Anne's silk chiffon and merino ready to get creating!

Anne's silk chiffon and merino ready to get creating!

We used silk chiffon and merino tops, the beginners were aiming to have the nuno felt block at either end of their scarves and the experienced felters would have the nuno throughout the whole length.  Each participant selected 3 pre-cut lengths of silk chiffon and then cut, overlapped and arranged the silk into a pleasing pattern or random design.  Two very light layers of merino tops were overlaid before the long process of wetting out, rolling and fulling began, longer than usual because the silk was cut into small pieces and sometimes overlapped several times in the one spot. 

Liz, Dee, Linda, Sigrid, Anne and Linda with their great scarves! (from the left)

Liz, Dee, Linda, Sigrid, Anne and Linda with their great scarves! (from the left)

Check out this great picture of some of our participants, beginners Liz, Dee and Linda together with Sigrid and Anne (to the right of Sigrid) wearing the fabulous scarves they created today!  Tomorrow we are felting with found objects, hopefully I will get to post some more pictures in the evening and give you a flavour of all that we are learning.

Just as an aside, if you link through to my Flickr images you will see the trellis felt shopping basket (or string bag!) both as a piece of flat felt with precise cuts and felted further and formed into the finished basket.

Felting with glass nuggets, Sigrid Bannier workshops and Seanchas Festival

To answer a question about working with glass nuggets or indeed stones or other found objects in felt, Lyda uses a great method to ensure that they stay in position.  Previously I have felted with glass but found that it tended to move within the felt layers therefore I could never quite predict what the end result would look like.  Lyda’s method for the bags was to lay out and wet layer one, lay out and wet layer two, position the glass nuggets, cover them with a wad of dry wool from layer two and then needle the dry wool into the wet layer to secure the glas in position.  Then you lay out layer three, wet and felt as normal.  This works like magic!  Tomorrow I will continue to write about the progress of my felt backpack but for now I just want to update you all about Sigrid Bannier’s workshops and let everyone in South Eastern Ireland know about a sustainable feltival where I will be teaching felting workshops at next weekend.

Sigrid’s workshops are filling up nicely but there are still spaces available on any of the days from Wednesday 5th until Sunday 9th August.  We have been chatting by email and Sigrid is very flexible, if anyone is interested in a specific workshop but not available on the advertised day just let me know and we will be able to fit you in with your chosen topic on one of the other dates!  Check out some great images on the gallery pages of Sigrid’s new website, if you click on any of the images a slide show will start.

This weekend sees the first running of a new sustainable festival called Seanchas which takes place near Adamstown, Co. Wexford from Friday 24th to Sunday 26th July.  I will be facilitating the adult felting workshops on Saturday and Sunday, you can check out all the info about the festival and the great activities on offer via the website.

Workshop details and photos of new nuno felted wrap/shrug!

At last I can post more details for Sigrid Bannier’s exciting August workshops!  All the workshops will take place either on site or within walking distance of my studio and farmhouse here at Clasheen, Borris, Co. Carlow.  Inexpensive self catering accomodation will be available at my neighbours newly renovated farmhouse (only 1 minutes walk!!) or participants can organise to stay in B&Bs locally or the one high quality hotel within a 5 minutes drive.  All workshop costs include materials and tea and coffee throughout the day, please bring a packed lunch with you or you can walk through the fields to the local shop if you want to get something basic to eat.  I really think that this will be a FANTASTIC series of workshops.  Sigrid is a great facilitator and so generous with her knowledge, I hope that as many of you as possible will take this opportunity of investing in your felting future and as they say here in Ireland ‘the craic will be mighty’!

Anyway, here are the details and please note that if you want to participate in two workshops there will be a €10 reduction or if you wish to join us and felt for three or four workshops a €30 reduction will apply.  Please also note that the mosaic nuno day is more expensive in order to cover the cost of the silk chiffon we will be using.  A non refundable charge of 50% of the workshop price is payable with your booking to secure your place and the balance to be paid by 29th July.

5th August – Mosaic nuno felt  – Discover the possibilities of creating your own unique fabric for clothing using the mosaic nuno technique. €90

6th August – Incorporating found objects into your felt – Learn how to incorporate natural and found objects into your felt whether as a focal point in a piece of jewellery or to add embellishment to flat felt or 3 dimensional bags and sculpture. €85

7th August – Incorporating found objects into your felt  – Learn how to incorporate natural and found objects into your felt whether as a focal point in a piece of jewellery or to add embellishment to flat felt or 3 dimensional bags and sculpture. €85 

8th and 9th August – Felt lampshades – a two day workshop – Sigrid’s pictures speak for themselves if you want to learn how to plan, design and create quirky and stylish lampshades or wall lights! €160

Sigrid's flower explosion lampshade

Sigrid's flower explosion lampshade

Nuno mosaic scarves made at a workshop Sigrid tutored in Italy

Nuno mosaic scarves made at a workshop Sigrid tutored in Italy

Please email asap or call me on 00353 (0)87 2789740 if you wish to reserve your place!

And now on to some pictures of my latest nuno felt project, a simple but striking lightweight wrap or shrug.  This developed from an idea that I had when creating some flower corsages the other evening; what would happen if I enlarged the size of my circle, cut out a wedge as per the corsages and then manipulated the felt into a collar or shrug??? 
'Peony' - my new nuno felt wrap

'Peony' - my new nuno felt wrap

I was thrilled with the results and here I present my second shrug which I have called ‘Peony’.  The photos really don’t do the colours justice (it was overcast and raining when I shot them) but I thought that you might like to give this a go for yourselves when you see how simple it is!  Check out my Flickr images for the side and back view and please email me some pictures if you give this a go yourselves!!