Eco printed nuno felt top

It's full steam ahead at Clasheen, felting and eco printing will be on the agenda from now until I head to the U.S. and I'm really trying to restrict answering emails and the bulk my internet time until after well after lunch each day if at all possible. I'm always freshest brain wise in the mornings, if I postpone starting a new project until too late in the day my head is so full of ideas I often find that I just can't actually get started, especially if it's felting.

rose and bramble printed nuno felt top

Yesterday morning I made a nuno felt top, it was actually the first time that I'd used Crepe de Chine 14 as the fabric (combined with merino, silk, bamboo and Firestar) and I like the finished texture very much. This is not a cheap fabric but I'd several ginormous silk scarves 138cm square and actually felt that they were so large it made them difficult to wear.

Large rose leaves give a very definite print

I printed it in the afternoon using rose and bramble leaves, now all it needs is a little stitching up the sides and it's finished.

 

 

Busy times at Clasheen

Apologies for the lack of posting here and to Facebook recently, since arriving home from Showcase I've had a lot of paperwork and eco printing to do, bringing home the dreaded flu bug definitely didn't help. Tomorrow I've a product photo shoot so I'm sure many of you can imagine the tidying and prepping I needed to get through today, tidiness is not one of my strengths!!! Anyway, here're a couple of pictures of a little silk twin set that I included in the printing pot the other day, I've happy memories of finding it on a thrifting expedition in Sacramento with Sharon from The Tin Thimble last spring!

Silk twinset eco printed with onion skins

I included some dried rose hips in the bundle there's absolutely no sign of them in the printed cardigan, the stronger pinkish blush comes from overlapping brown onion skins predominately although there were a few red skins in the mix too.

Close up of the lace, it took. The colour differently because it is not made from pure silk

This week I hope to have my wood gasifier delivered. I can't wait to have a brand new central heating system installed that will actually run the underfloor heating, the cost of oil is soooooo huge here in Ireland that it's totally impossible for me to run the old boiler efficiently and heat the house. Next week I've two guests staying for a tailor made intensive felting and eco printing workshop, let's hope that the heating is working before they arrive and we can have a fun time felting and printing in comfort!

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Exciting website news, thanks, ticket giveaway and a brief event update.

It’s controlled mania here preparing for next weekend’s Marlay Fair, the National Crafts & Design Fair which is set up just two days after Marlay ends plus Creative Island at Showcase in January. Everything is coming along nicely thanks to a structured plan, plenty of long but fun working days and lots of help when needed from good buddy George.

Eco printing at Clasheen

She’s great at keeping me on track finishing printed pieces and happy to be a sounding board when I ramble on about all the detritus involved in preparing for a major show.

Eco printed wrap by Nicola Brown

Eucalyptus leaves and bark on a large felt wrap, one of my pieces that is heading to the RDS fair

I’ve several pairs of tickets to giveaway for Thursday 4th and Friday 5th at the RDS, please email me your full name and address ASAP if you would like me to pop some in the post for you, first come, first served!

Eco print on felt by Nicola Brown

Oak leaves on nuno felt, another scarf heading to Dublin

I’m also very busy at the moment collating information for my new selling website, this will be launched in January in advance of Showcase and I’d like to say a heartfelt thanks to everyone involved who has helped me get to this stage in my business and is currently helping make this vision a reality.

  • Frances McDonald – excellent craft mentor who has acted as a sounding board all year. Thanks too Frances for your generous mention recently on Craft Words, much appreciated!
  • Emer Ferran, Mary Whelan, Emma McGrath and team, ongoing support and feedback from the DCCoI, especially in relation to Showcase preparation and providing one to one mentoring with Eddie Shannahan
  • Carlow Local Enterprise Office – 1000 thanks for approving my grant application for the web voucher scheme, none of this would have been possible if it hadn’t been approved
  • Eddie Shanahan – retail, branding and marketing guru, clearly saw within minutes of meeting how I could pull the three separate strands of my artistic practice together, a fabulous help and the person who introduced me to Patrick
  • Patrick McHugh – wonderful fashion photographer and super duper website designer, a pleasure to work with
  • Peter Martin – quirky film maker and videographer, can’t wait to have a short video for the website to help communicate my making process
  • Greg Dorney – excellent product photographer

Ok, one final picture before I head back to the printing studio, professional photographers avert your eyes!

Oak leaves eco printed on silk satin by Nicola Brown

My own oak leaves printed on silk satin

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Article from yesterday’s Sunday Business Post

Thank you Margaret O'Brien for featuring me in yesterday's 'Made in Ireland' article in the interiors section of the Sunday Business Post Magazine! As plans progress for 'Creative Island' at Showcase 2015 it's good know that I'm heading in the correct direction with my naturally printed felt throws and large squishy feather filled cushions. This month I'll be felting like crazy and also printing heavy quality silk and wool yardage ready to be sewn into more of the cushion covers. Luckily I have an excellent seamstress living locally, if I didn't I'd be in a bit of a state by now, sewing really isn't my forte!

 

Wonderful hats from Dawn Edwards’s amazing nuno felt hat workshops and a selection of photos from the past week!!!

It's been a whirlwind of activity since Dawn's arrival in Ireland last week, both days of nuno felt hat making went like a dream, congratulations to all the participants who felted such amazing hats and thanks to Dawn for her fabulous teaching!!! Here are some highlights from the last seven days, more pics to follow later in the week.

The Raven, a beautiful beach with forest parallel to the dunes
Dawn about to dive into the Irish Sea!
Roaming the dunes
A marvellous find in Wexford town, expensive but then I've always wanted a copper boiler for natural printing!!!
Anita's hat all ready to rub
A mossy looking masterpiece
Some happy participants at the end of the first workshop
Wow Maureen!
This hat is titled 'leftie', all wool laid out with my left hand just to prove to Maureen that I could!!!
Here's the finished hat modelled by Maria, thanks!
Beautiful hats and beautiful smiles all round
Fab assistant Niki Collier's hat from day two on the left, mine on the right, thanks for all your help Niki!
A detail shot, hand painted silk with merino peeking though

 

A tidy printing and dyeing studio?

Work progresses slowly but surely on organising the garage as an efficient storage space cum printing and dyeing studio. Thanks to buddy George some of the larger items that were stored there have now been shifted and delivered to new homes, I've also taken the decision to sell (at a good discount!) some lovely hand made jute/hessian tool belts and fishermans smocks which I've been holding on to for sentimental reasons. These are stock that I held on to from a previous lifetime, I'm planning to post some pictures to my personal FB page later today so if anyone local is interested in any of them I'll bring them in my truck to Borris Food & Craft Market tomorrow morning.

On the felt and naturally printed side of things, I'll be bringing this silk/wool blend printed wrap to Borris too, I've a few sculptures in the pipeline, my last five silk scarves to wash out and iron in time for tomorrow, a selection of new fabrics ordered to print over the festive period and yesterday I updated my Showcase profile with new text and images. I'll leave you today with an image of a large nuno felt wrap/throw and a small silk cushion, this one is printed with rose and blackberry leaves from my garden with a little bit of onion in the dye pot.

 

Nuno felt wrap and scarves

The weather has been a lot brighter today after a very wet start this morning, good news for me as it meant that I could snap a few pics outside of my nuno scarves and the wrap I felted earlier this week.

Simple scarf combining ponge silk, merino and silk throwster's waste

Simple scarf combining ponge silk, merino and silk throwster’s waste

I’ll start with one of a simple scarf, this was felted combining ponge silk with some of Leiko’s beautiful hand dyed superfine merino and embellished with hand dyed silk throwster’s waste, a welcome Christmas present from Carmen. I love teaching this scarf as a beginner’s nuno felting project, it’s always successful and such a beautiful way to learn a new technique! The second picture is of a large mosaic style scarf felted combining my own hand dyed cotton gauze (dyed under the watchful eye of Jan Durham and written up in this post last spring!), more of Leiko’s merino and a whole selection of different weights of silk fabric. Good friend Carole buys silk pieces by the weight in the US and then we do a swap for mohair off cuts from Cushendale Woollen Mill, Cushendale is a wonderful source of locally produced knitting yarn and weaving just down the road from me here at Clasheen. I totally forgot that I needed to send Carole another pack of these goodies so many apologies, I’ll head over to Philip Cushen next week and get them in the post to you asap.

Mosaic style nuno felt scarf

Mosaic style nuno felt scarf

Anyway, I also had a small pack of beautiful hand dyed teeswater locks and some firestar fibre in my favourite shades of acidic green, it’s strange to say that although I’m not a glitzy kind of gal at all I really do love the sheen and shimmer from the firestar!!! The printed silk in this scarf was part of my stash from the US, in fact I remember buying it in the Salvation Army on a foray with Sharon of the Tin Thimble but it could just as easily have been from one of the many trips I made with great friends Dawn or Merridee either, I LOVE these silk gathering events!

Firestar adds a shimmer in places

Firestar adds a shimmer in places

If you’re interested in seeing more images of these pieces plus some photos of a large green wrap I made on Tuesday please check out this album on FB and do like Nicola Brown – Clasheen while you’re over there, only of course if you do like what you see!!!

Display ideas for the studio and a new fun felt hat!

I’ve been researching ideas for home made displays wanting to get different height levels to add interest, check out my new board on Pinterest if you would like to see some of the ideas I’ll be putting into practice this festive season! Last night I tried out a cardboard Christmas tree and it worked really well, I just need to get some gold spray now and I’ll get into production mode. I’d pinned another idea recently about attaching an upturned wooden bowl to a wooden kitchen roll holder and using it as a hat stand, the new board has this and other ideas, hopefully it will inspire me to create seasonal interest at the studio, Borris Food and Craft Market and the Christmas Village at Mount Juliet.

Felt hat incorporating naturally printed and dyed silk

This morning I felted a highly textured hat (really a soft edged beret) incorporating some of the smaller pieces of naturally printed and dyed silk I’ve been working on lately. I really want to have nice items to offer customers that compliment each other, I won’t be making many of these but I do think they’ll work wonderfully with some of the nuno felt scarves that I have been enjoying making. Here’s a picture of the finished hat, check out my new album on FB if you’d like to see some pictures of it at the lay out stage.

Home, natural dyeing/printing, unexpected presentation taking up my time…..

I’m home safely after a wonderful time in California! It was great to be back at The Tin Thimble catching up with old friends both before, during and after the three days of workshops plus put faces to the friends I’ve previously been in touch with through the blog, FB and various other forms of social media, I’m not going to mention everyone by name but you all know who you are!!! My intention had been to write a long and proper post yesterday about the workshops and my trip with Merridee and Keith to Lake Tahoe, unfortunately I just don’t have the time so apologies in advance to those of you who were expecting all the low down about the exciting work that was created during my three days of teaching. An unexpected opportunity arose while I was away (thanks Paula for getting in touch to alert me!) so yesterday I had to make a presentation in relation to an exciting art project and this morning I got a call asking me to come back in tomorrow and discuss a few of the points raised during this session. Fingers crossed everything will work out, I’ll keep you posted once I know the outcome!

My own naturally printed chiffon with goodies I bought at The Tin Thimble, glass beads by Toni Lutman and beautiful hand dyed merino by Carin Engen and Laurie Simoni

As regards other work since I’ve been home I printed two lengths of silk chiffon on Monday evening then last night I filled two pots with silk and leaves in preparation for a natural printing and dyeing session today. One of the pots contained a tea solution, the other a vinegar and water mix. I’ve now bundled everything up and all the pieces are simmering on the Rayburn, most of the bundles contain a variety of eucalyptus leaves but two I wrapped using Cotinus leaves from my garden. I also sprinkled some of the fabric with tea leaves and wrapped one of the pieces in rusty metal, I LOVE opening these bundles, pictures next time, I promise. During my stay in CA I spent time with Merridee, Sharon and Nika Ivanoff experimenting more with this method of colouring fabric, thanks Nika for the wonderful leaves you brought last Saturday for us all to share not to mention the wine, chocolate and strawberries, we loved them all!!!

Emma and I are just sorting out dates for workshops in The Tin Thimble again next spring, keep an eye out over the next week or so as we hope to have everything sorted by then!