More pics from Lexington!

I'm all out of sync now with posting workshop updates but here're some pictures of the fabulous felt completed during the workshop last Friday and Saturday in Lexington. The final picture today is super host Jan Durham's amazing nuno wall hanging which she started on Saturday then finished at home last night, beautiful work on Friday and Saturday everyone, I really enjoyed my time with you!!!

 

Right now I'm at the airport in Dallas Fort Worth waiting for my connection to Sacramento so no more writing until tomorrow or Tuesday, watch out The Tin Thimble, I'm almost there! For now, here are those pictures…….

 

 

 

Beautiful naturally printed/dyed scarves in Lexington!

Yesterday evening I had a lovely time sharing the technique of natural printing/dyeing on silk with some members of the Lexington Fiber Guild. We met in Jan's house late in the afternoon, by half past eight everyone had created a really beautiful scarf coloured with a selection of eucalyptus leaves, tea, onion skins and rust. I know that some purists would say it's necessary to leave the bundles simmering for longer but although some participants initially intended doing this they too ended up joining in the unwrapping!

Here's a picture of the beautiful scarves after they were revealed.

Next post I'll blog about the marvellous things being created during the two day Lexington workshop, brilliantly organised as usual by Jan!

 

All set for nuno felting tomorrow!

Jan and I spent a very active, happy and tiring day trawling Lexington for printed silk then headed over to Masterson Station Park so that I could check out the workshop space for the weekend and say hi to Roo Kline and Elizabeth Taylor. To say that I was excited to get first dibs on their AMAZING fibre would be an understatement, if you've signed up for either of my workshops this weekend you're in for a BIG treat!!! Everything with the exception of some naturally coloured black cloud like fibre is hand dyed in a beautiful range of contrasting and complimentary colours. For the weekend I selected luscious alpaca locks, bamboo tops, silk hankies and Firestar, the colour range is glorious! Roo and Elizabeth are also going to offer all my students a discount on any fibre they purchase from them during the festival and I've already bought a massive bag of goodies to use myself when I get home. Anita, who's minding my studio while I'm away, is also going to get a lovely slice of heaven! Pictures tomorrow, until then adieu.

Beautiful felt and natural printing/dyeing from our Michigan workshop participants!

It's impossible to write properly (in a short time frame) about the wonderful two days felting and natural printing/dyeing we had in Michigan, thanks Dawn for your wonderful organisational skills and thanks a bunch to the lovely group of fun, creative ladies who joined us. Some people arrived with a clear end goal in mind, others came willing to be inspired whilst still others came with an initial fixed goal then changed it once we had chatted and they had seen other possibilities which they wanted to explore! Whatever the motivation and the differing aims, this group brought together such humour, friendship fun and yummy food to our days, we had a blast!!!

I've posted a bunch of pictures to my personal Facebook page and some collaged images of the felt and natural printing/dyeing to Nicola Brown – Clasheen, they're not tagged or titled yet but I'll sit down to do this when there are no distractions or thrift shops to visit with Dawn. Here are a few to keep you going however, great work everyone!

 

 

A few pictures from day one felting in Plainwell!

I'm too tired and relaxed to write anything tonight but some stunning projects were well underway and Jan's beautiful silk, merino and banana fibre nuno felt scarf was finished at the end of day one of our Plainwell felting workshop. Here are a few pictures taken as the day progressed, enjoy!

 

 

Inspiring patterns from the sky!

Unfortunately I didn't react quickly enough and switch on my iPad in time to take the most breathtaking picture of a gigantic frozen lake as we flew over Newfoundland en route to Chicago. I did however get it together and snap a couple of shots a few minutes later, this picture makes me just itch to create a piece of felt inspired by the beautiful patterns of snow, ice, mountains and forest!

So far my journey on this first leg of my US adventure has been very calm and trouble free, currently I'm nearing Chicago where I change planes for Kalamazoo. Obviously by the time I upload this post I'll have arrived at Plainwell, MI but I'm going to be chatting and catching up for hours and hours and hours with Dawn so I thought I'd get ahead of the game and write now!!! I'm finding it difficult to sleep because I'm so excited to almost be there, four weeks of great friends, felt, food and fun, what more could any felter ask for? Obviously I may not get to blog every day while I'm away but I know I'll be uploading photos like blazes to Facebook so you can keep in touch with all the activities in real time if you so choose.

 

Alpaca and silk nuno felt shrug/wrap, one final picture before I finish my packing!

I wanted to take some pictures of my latest shrug/wrap before I packed it away but it's so windy here today that I could only photograph it worn one way. It wouldn't oblige and stay put to show it worn as a shrug but here's a shot of it pinned with a vintage pin I bought (on one of my Goodwill forays with Dawn!) just to give you a little idea of how it finished up on Friday. This is one of the pieces I've felted using some of Roo and Elizabeth's beautiful alpaca locks, I'll be working with them in my nuno workshop at the KSFF and sharing the technique used here (tumble dryer method) in MI, KY and CA, details on the workshop page for anyone wanting to make a last minute booking!

 

Michigan and Kentucky workshop updates plus a beginners and improvers day at Duckett’s Grove next Saturday!

I’ve been so mentally tired after my exciting days at the Gaelscoil working with the pupils on our large felt wall hanging that I have to admit I’d totally forgotten to post full details about my upcoming MI and KY workshops here on the blog, stupid. In fact I thought that I’d already done so, even stupider!!! I’m so excited about my whole trip back to the US, I actually think that I get more and more excited each visit as I just LOVE spending time with such great friends, facilitating the workshops and meeting new fibre fanatics just adds to the excitement! The workshop page is now updated to include the full ‘Wrapped in Nature’ description for both the MI and KY workshops, links to my Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival classes (I need to alter a couple of details plus my bio via the organisers but the basics are correct!) and information about next weekends flat felting and bag making session at Duckett’s Grove. This coming week I promise to tie down the full details about my Loomis workshops at The Tin Thimble (watch out Emma and Sharon!) but in this post today I’m going to concentrate on both my regular MI and KY venues.

I’m thrilled to be returning to both Plainwell and Lexington and want to say thanks a million times to the fabulous Dawn Edwards and Jan Durham for being such good friends and wonderful hosts!!! I’m so looking forward to catching up with returning participants and meeting new felters in MI and KY, one of the biggest joys of these trips is the opportunity to meet and make friends with blog readers and Facebook buddies, it’s just amazing how the internet allows us connect in the first place. This will be the first time that I facilitate my new workshop ‘Wrapped in Nature – beautiful felt inspired by the natural landscape’. It’s hard for me to express how inspiring it is to live surrounded by the beauty of the rural Irish landscape, I only have to look outside my windows at Clasheen to find my fingers itching to create and when I travel overseas my senses just seem to go on full-time overload!!!

Inspiring views above Berea!

Inspiring views above Berea!

It’s actually been very difficult this year to confine myself to short workshop descriptions, I don’t want to miss a technique out that participants may want to try but on the other hand I don’t want the descriptions to be so vague that no one knows what I’m talking about either! I think that maybe the best thing to do is post the full workshop description here as well as on the workshop page and then I’m happy to answer any questions about individual projects if you’d like to send them my way via email.

‘Wrapped in Nature’ – beautiful felt inspired by the natural landscape

Skill Level: Basic felting skills an advantage
Age Level: Adult although younger students welcome by arrangement

Class Description: During this two-day workshop participants will design and create their own unique and beautiful wearable, functional or decorative piece of felt using the natural landscape as a starting point. Some participants may choose to felt a purely decorative art piece such as a large vessel, sculpture or wall hanging while others may take the opportunity to work on a nuno felt wrap, vest, complex bag or jewellery.

Over the course of the two days there will be time to explore and discover techniques or materials that you may have never considered using in your felting before. Nicola will share with participants how she has been experimenting with natural printing on silk, felt and occasionally prefelt over the last year. This simple dyeing/printing process uses a selection of readily acquired onion skins, leaves (especially eucalyptus), tea leaves and rusty metal, wonderful patterns and colours may be achieved on fabric. Nicola has also been experimenting with using open-topped resists for vessel making and some of her bags since participating in a masterclass with Dagmar Binder last summer. The finish is very smooth on the open edges and this method opens up the possibilities for creating different shapes much easily than with the more often used closed resist method. Another technique that may be relatively new to participants is the tumble dryer method of nuno felting. This technique is wonderful for difficult to felt fabrics and eliminates all the traditional rubbing and rolling, it’s not for everyone but it is fantastic to speed up the process especially if you have a bad back or other health issues! We won’t have access to a tumble dryer at the venue but if participants would like to try this technique they are free to lay out a large nuno wrap during day one and get it to the stage where they can bring it home with them and finish it using their own dryer that evening. Nicola will clearly explain the steps to take and it should be possible to full the pieces and have them finished to show off on day two.

Participants are encouraged to bring along treasured bits and bobs from their stash, buttons, beads, scraps of vintage fabric, shells, stones, glass nuggets etc., these all make wonderful inclusions in felt and help to personalize and create a truly unique work of art!

 NB: Participants who are not able to attend on both days may possibly book one day by prior arrangement although the projects they complete will not be as large or complex as those created over both days of the workshop.

 

2013 felting workshops

I’m confirmed my dates for teaching in the US during May and Portugal in June so am now really trying to concentrate on writing up the workshop descriptions. No matter how many times I promise myself I’ll start a file to collate and store all this info once more I’m floundering around trying to put words to paper, words obviously that will give potential participants an idea of what I’m hoping we will cover during the classes! I’m also sorting out dates for upcoming workshops at Duckett’s Grove, watch this space. Anyway, the dates are now on the workshop page so please excuse me while I go and strain my brain some more…..

A tip to enhance texture in nuno felt and KY and MI workshop details are finally online!

I have managed to get through a lot of the clearing, re-organisation and tidying chores that I blogged about on Monday, not all of them obviously but I have made a dent in the never-ending pile! Thanks for all your encouragement both via comments and through FB, they are definitely much needed to keep me going, I HATE tidying!!!

As promised, the full workshop descriptions for the KY and MI workshops in May are now up on the workshop page and I am hoping that we will have a mix of both experienced and improving felters attend. Beginners are really welcome too so please don’t feel you don’t have enough felting under your belt to book a place, everyone is welcome and it makes for a really fun and creative time if we have groups of mixed experience!

I have also started to transfer some of my felt pouches across from Big Cartel and into my Etsy shop, only time will tell if this has been a wise descision.

Finally for today, Rhonda was wondering how I achieve so much texture in some of my nuno felt pieces. This is something that I will be writing about in the new book with Chrissie but a great tip is to wet out and soap your fibres before you lay out any of your embellishment. Taking this idea a little further for projects such as nuno bags or cushions (items where you have a couple of layers of wool in addition to your fabric), try rubbing the base layer of wool through your bubble wrap to create a ‘skin’ on the surface before laying out your fabric on the top, then wet and soap the fabric lightly and rub again through the bubble wrap. By working like this the wool fibres underneath don’t have as much opportunity to travel through the fabric and this helps to create more texture! You do need to be careful though to rub longer than roll however using this method, otherwise you could try fulling with the tumble dryer, this elliminates both the rubbing and the rollling process!!! I’m going to be discussing my experiences nuno felting using the dryer thoroughly for my section of the new book and I will also be talking about it at the workshops in Lexington and in Plainwell!

Textures in a nuno felt scarf