US workshop details getting fine tuned, Downeville info and large vessel is HEAVY!

My upcoming workshops at Urban Fauna Studio SF, Plainwell MI and Lexington KY are in the last stages of finalising, I hope to have all the details about the various workshops ready by the end of this week!!!  I keep forgetting how difficult it is to write workshop descriptions accurately and provide enough information without overloading anyone.  I try to be flexible when I am teaching so one title often doesn’t quite do justice to the various techniques that will be shared during the workshop so if anyone has questions once the info is uploaded please shout and I will do my best to answer!

The Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat at Downeville is booking up nicely, Emma (joint owner of The Tin thimble with her mother Sharon) has written a blog post with some links to photos of previous retreats so if you are interested in more information check this out.

As I write this post my current large ArtL!nks vessel is spinning in the washing machine.  Today I have been rubbing, rolling and throwing it on top of my kitchen table, it is uncomfortably heavy to handle when wet hence the quick spin to remove some of the excess water!  Hopefully it will have shrunk some more by the end of the afternoon, I am really wanting enough shrinkage to make inserting the exercise ball necessary to stretch it into shape before a lot more fulling and finishing.  Wish me luck!

Super San Fransisco workshops and onwards to Michigan ……

Well, I have just spent a fun filled five days with Jamie and Blas exploring the Mission District and facilitating a ‘Felt Accessories’ and a ‘Felt Vessel’ workshop organised through their wonderful Urban Fauna Studio.

A detail of the fabulous wall art from the Clarion Alley Mural Project, North Mission

The two workshops were pretty hectic but I hope that everyone was happy with the results,  I certainly was happy with the creativity evident and the range of beautiful pieces felted!

Anna, Barbara, Jamie, Bonnie, Flo, Rosalind, Natalie and me (from L to R)

During the Saturday workshop participants all worked on individual projects and by the end of the day everybody went home with either a felt bag, nuno wrap, piece of jewellery, iPhone cover or a piece of nuno  felt yardage. Different techniques new to participants included felting around a resist, a simple way of incorporating long cords and including resists between layers of wool at the layout stage which are then cut into in order to expose underlying fabrics once the felt is fulled.  Blas also started a little memory stick cover (thumb drive to you in the US!) in between looking after everyone at the venue and was delighted to finish it at home, repair his memory stick and have a TINY felt pouch perfect to protect this delicate piece of computer equipment!

Blas's felt memory stick cover!

Three people choose to return again today for the vessel workshop and it was very interesting for me to see how some of the wool varieties I am NOT used to working with felt!  Participants used a variety of wools including Corriedale, Romney and two unidentified wool batts and everyone left with a beautiful felted vessel.  Several of the pieces need a little more work fulling over the next day or two although in every case we got a good idea of what the finished piece would be like, the extra fulling is just to make sure that they are strongly felted and hold their shape no matter what.  I would like to post some more about the workshops but I need to finish packing my bags and head off to the airport in two hours so will leave you with some more pictures from the weekend.  Tomorrow morning I am getting picked up by Dawn at Grand Rapids Airport and we are both travelling on to visit and felt with Horst, I can hardly wait to meet them both!!!

Flo's vessel showing the window she created exposing some wonderful colour within

Me, Jamie, Anastasia, Bonnie, Flo and Leslee (from L to R)

Anastasia with her gorgeous bowl incorporating lichen

Bonnie looking stunning in her funky dreadlock necklace!

Natalie's brilliant felt clutch incorporating some of her own hand dyed roving!

Goodbye to old friends, hello San Fransisco!

My wonderful time spent with Sharon, Emma, Mark and Chris in Loomis has finally come to an end.  The Tin Thimble is truly a family run business and everyone who passed through the gates during my visit was friendly, fun and fired up with fibre and fabric fever.  Sharon and I stayed felting until almost 12pm each evening, when you are with someone like minded it is definitely hard to take a break and we both wanted to spend as much time sharing our experiences and having fun while felting together!  I REALLY enjoyed both the complex felt bag and the nuno mosaic workshops, most of the participants actually attended the two courses so by the end of Monday night we were really like one big happy family, all be it a rather tired but happy family!!!  Here is a picture demonstrating how amazing the nuno mosaic scarves turned out, Susan had to fly and catch a plane but hopefully I will have a picture of her gorgeous piece as soon as she gets home and has time to photo it.

MArni, me, Sharon, Jenine and Brenda showing off their beautiful nuno mosaic scarves!

You can also see some of the complex bags although not all were totally finished at the end of the workshop; there is a LOT of work involved in designing and felting a project such as this and Sharon’s is the only fully felted one in this picture, it is GORGEOUS!

Onwards to San Fransisco, amazingly gleaming in the sun when I arrived and the warmest I have ever experienced here to date.  I really need to stop talking for a day or two (my voice is on the blink!) and fully prepare for an action packed weekend at Knit One One in Berkeley and Urban Fauna Studio in the Mission District, SF.  We kick off the weekend with an evening felt jewellery class in Knit One One, if you are thinking of participating please SIGN UP NOW because we need another two people to make the night work and tomorrow is obviously the deadline for sign ups!

World Felt Day will be brilliant, my first return workshop will be taking place in Urban Fauna and I am so excited to be sharing loads of interesting techniques for creating unusual felt accessories, CLICK HERE if you would like to join us.  On Sunday we have another workshop at Urban Fauna, this time felted vessels and the place to SIGN UP IS HERE!

Off to bed now (aka having a glass of wine with Jamie and Blas before I head off!) so I leave you with some more fabulous photos from the wonderful workshops at Tin Thimble, another update tomorrow.  They may be all over the shop (Irish for all over the page!) but I know you’ll forgive me since the felt is definitely drool worthy!!!

Brenda's silk laid out and ready to cover with two VERY light layers of merino

Modelling the completed nuno mosaic scarf!

Susan including beautiful hand dyed silk in her lay out

Patti and Sharon concentrating on laying out their silk

Jenine throws a pose!

Marni with her amazing first piece of nuno felt!

Fabulous texture from different weights of silk and a gorgeous vintage scarf

The beautiful Sharon from The Tin Thimble with her really amazing wrap

Patti added a romantic ruffle to the edge of her wrap

San Fransisco workshops now open for bookings!

I am thrilled to be making a return visit to San Fransisco this Fall and Jamie and Blas of Urban Fauna Studio and Mary Jane’s Attic fame have put together two wonderful day workshops, Felt Accessories on Saturday 2nd and Felt Vessels on Sunday 3rd October!  The 2nd is actually World Felt Day so how much fun is it that we will be felting together and creating fibre magic in such a stylish part of the world? 

Funky vessel felted from Norwegian C1 and Herdwick

I know that you have seen a picture of this felt vessel before but I am pretty excited to reveal that it has just been selected by a top UK trend  forecaster to be featured as one of the images on their ‘Hunter/Gather’ mood board for Autumn/Winter 2011/2012!  If you would like to learn how to make a fun vessel like this why not join me in San Fransisco???

Rug update – I was in the middle of ironing the rug yet again this afternoon prior to a final rolling but all the steam caused my bandage to loosen and then I knocked my finger, loads of blood all over again, so annoying.  Between tomorrow and Friday I will roll a little and spot full anywhere I am not entirely happy with, hope Sylvia likes the result when I deliver it on Monday!

Wool and silk on order, felting kit update!

Following on from my last post, the Icelandic wool that I have ordered is on its way and I am also now waiting for some silk chiffon and ponge silk to get here in preparation for a nuno felting marathon in the run up to December (note how I managed to avoid using the C word!).  I am very excited to see the colour selection as I definitely stepped outside my usual choices in this department, after all if I am going to be selling the fibre I need to make sure that everyone else’s taste will be catered for.  I also stopped off at Threads of Green today (my favourite Kilkenny fabric store) to pick up some more gorgeous printed silk and a small piece of a fun and funky black polyester printed with silver spiders, perfect to do a sample with a Halloween theme!  Thanks to all of you who took the time to leave comments or respond via email when I mentioned that I am planning to sell felting kits.  You definitely all endorsed the idea wholeheartedly and my plan now is to put together a selection of kits both for the total beginner and for more experienced felters.  I did manage to make one cobweb style scarf for myself the other day with brilliant fibre that I bought from Blas at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco and it got many compliments when I wore it to dinner on Wednesday.  The fibre was from one of the artisan producers that Blas and Jamie deal with and was a hand carded deep green wool with flecks of purple and some glitzy bits thrown into the mix as well!  It goes brilliantly with some of my organic cotton clothing from Blue Fish so there you are, I was really flying the American flag in Ireland the other night!