Lake Tahoe, Mendocino and Canada, September/October felting workshop updates and some pics of my latest naturally printed nuno felt scarf!

Whew, sorry about the long title for this blog post, there's a lot to share with you though so here I go with all the details!

One of the confirmed participants for our sold out felting retreat at Lake Tahoe (17th to 22nd September) may not be able to take up their place unexpectedly, as a result Merridee and I are looking for one enthusiastic felter/dyer/fibre artist to join us at the cabin! You can check out all the details on the workshop page, please let either of us know ASAP if you would like to come. This is a super opportunity to have our undivided attention in a wonderful location, click here to email me if you've any questions or would like to book, Keith's cooking and the fabulous location are just the icing on the cake!!!

Who knows but Merridee may even inspire me to try my hand at acid dyeing some of my felt too, I'll never even attempt to paint on silk though, aren't these pictures of her's absolutely amazing?

Mendocino, another absolutely fabulous location, this time on the west coast. Merridee's actually going to be my helper for the fun felting extravaganza I'm facilitating there at the Mendocino Art Center, this takes place from Friday 27th to Sunday 29th Sepepetember inclusive. There'll be tonnes of individual attention for everyone each day, class size is small so there'll be loads of felting completed! To a degree, participants will dictate the direction this three day intensive workshop goes but from my perspective I'd like to really help people hone their three dimensional skills (think craters, spikes, jewellery, bags and quirky vessels!) and share how to felt large nuno felt pieces using the tumble dryer method. These are the felting skills that I find most helpful at home, regardless of what project I decide to tackle! You can register online for this felting extravaganza directly with the Mendocino Are Center, here's the link to make things easy.

Moving northwards on to Canada, three individual workshops over the course of a week, Vancouver, Winnepeg then back to Vancouver, I'm still pinching myself to make sure this is happening!!! Here's the schedule first, followed by details of the workshop content below, the scarf in the first picture was felted yesterday morning and dyed twice in the afternoon therefore easily achievable in one day!

Thursday 3rd October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials! 10.30 to 5.30pm at The Loafing Shed Glass Studio, 9060 184th Street Surrey, BC. Please contact Sharon at 604 916 7633 or 778 298-8545 to book your place!

Saturday 5th and Sunday 6th October NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials! This two day workshop takes place at the Edge Gallery and Urban Art Centre, 611 Main Street, Winnipeg, Manitoba and costs $275 including materials. To book your spot at this two day workshop please contact Margaret ASAP, there also is a dedicated Facebook page for this event!

Thursday 10th October NATURALLY NUNO – a beautiful scarf inspired by and printed with natural materials!10 to 4pm at the Marpole Place Neighbourhood House (1305 West 70th Ave), Vancouver. The cost of the workshop is $155 and includes the following materials, a silk habotai or gauze scarf, 4oz of merino (19 micron), 1/2 oz silk hankies plus materials for the natural dyeing segment. To book your spot at this workshop please contact Sara asap at 604 781 1724.

Now for the full workshop descriptions……

NATURALLY NUNO During this fun one day workshop participants will create a simple white nuno felt scarf in the morning using the no roll tumble dryer method then print/dye it in the afternoon using a selection of easy to find natural plant materials and rusty metal.

This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body… We’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the scarves, everyone can enjoy the process of laying out the wool knowing that this will be the biggest design decision of the morning!

In the afternoon we’ll transform the scarves by bundling them together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials then they’ll be tied together and either steamed or cooked in plant enriched water for a couple of hours. Nicola will bring a good selection of samples with her for participants to study and she’ll explain how to achieve different effects and strong leaf outlines depending on the method chosen prior to putting the pieces in the dye pot. Different ways of folding, bundling and tying the scarves also create different designs in the finished pieces.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!”

NATURALLY INSPIRED – wearable felt and household textiles inspired by and printed with natural materials!

During this intensive two day workshop participants will have the opportunity to create a beautiful large nuno wrap, table runner or wall hanging using the tumble dryer method of felting. They will then have the opportunity to totally elevate it to another level as we experiment extensively with different methods of natural printing/dyeing using the bundling method.

Day one – using the no roll tumble dryer method of felting each participant will create a large nuno felt wrap, table runner or wall hanging, depending on the complexity of these pieces some people may also have time to felt additional samples to put in the dye pot on day two! This super easy technique of nuno felting will transform your arts practice if you’ve never tried it before and is ideal for anyone who finds the traditional rubbing and rolling hard on their body. Concentrating on simple shapes with optional ruffles, we’ll work in white and add a selection of un-dyed embellishing fibres to the lay out. Each fibre will take up the colour from the natural materials differently when put in the dye pot the following day, this leads to stunning wearable art or striking and unique interior accents.

Day two – wonderful results will be achieved by bundling the felt created on day one together with a selection of simple, easy to find natural plant materials, tying them up and then either steaming them or cooking the bundles in plant and/or rust enriched water. At the start of the second day Nicola will explain and demonstrate how different results when bundling are influenced by using different pre-treatments, materials, fabrics, dye pot solutions and ways of actually tying up the pieces. There will be plenty of samples for participants to study and before we dye the felt created on day one everyone is encouraged to put some smaller items of felt and fabric in the dye pot to get a feel for this method.

Participants are encouraged to bring along previously completed felt (bags and vessels too, not just wearables!) as well as plain thrift store clothes in wool or silk and these may all be included in the dye pot providing we have space!

Finally for today, a few pictures from yesterday's felt and natural printing/dyeing efforts, thanks Liz Nicholls for being my happy cohort! I've actually got loads more silk and cotton pieces from today hanging up to dry but until they've been ironed and brought inside I'll stick with images of work already almost finished.

A length of cotton and a silk scarf bundled together. The eucalyptus leaves from Christine didn't actually give any prints in these experiments, they did add a wonderful colour to the dye pot though so thanks Christine, I'll get working on your silk next week!

Eucalyptus pods and cotinus leaves on cotton

Extremely wishy washy prints from loads of eucalyptus leaves, the sycamore leaf was ok and the cotinus gave a strong print. This was one of the scarves that I felted yesterday morning and I was very disappointed with the colours achieved, after over dyeing with onion skins I'm thrilled with the result!

The final picture shows both sides of the scarf.
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 Sacramentoso no more writing,watch out The Tin Thimble, I'm almost there!

 

 

 

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…….

 

 

 

American workshops – a guide to the raw materials required by participants!

My flights are booked, new linen trousers purchased and I am SO excited now about my upcoming workshops in America, meeting old friends, making new ones and simply having the best of fun with like minded fibre nuts!!!  From 13th to 16th May I will be participating and teaching at The Tin Thimble’s wonderful Mother’s Day Fiber Retreat, on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May I will be with my amazing friend Dawn for two days of workshops in Plainwell, MI and then on Friday 27th and Saturday 28th May I will be meeting and staying with online fibre friend Jan Durham and facilitating two days of workshops in Lexington KY, how fantastic is that for an adgenda???  

On the Friday participants in both MI and in KY have the option of taking a workshop titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects incorporating found objects’ and on the Saturday a workshop titled ‘Nuno mosaic and other interesting possibilities for wearable felt accessories’.  Participants attending both workshops have the option of designing and felting larger and more complex vessels, bags, sculptural items, bigger nuno projects or indeed an art piece for the wall.  As a result I have been toying with the correct materials list to publish for each workshop, eventually I have decided to provide a ‘minimum fabric and fibre requirement’ list for some of the projects participants may want to make and hopefully this will cover most potential eventualities!  In this way each individual participant will decide for themselves what exactly they want to make and what materials then need to bring with them at a minimum,. I know from personal experience that I can never bring too much fibre and embellishment items with me when I attend any workshop so limiting myself can be a challenge, it may also bring unexpected rewards at times!!!  Each participant will need to bring their usual felting equipment, bubble wrap, towels (please bring a few!), hard olive oil/goats milk/glycerine soap, sprinkler, bamboo blind, pool noodle, net, whatever they like to work with themselves.  Anyone felting a bag, vessel or any sort of three dimensional project will need some flexible plastic to use as a template/resist, I prefer laminate floor underlay but in an emergency we can use bubble wrap or whatever flexible plastic you have to hand.  For participants felting nuno mosaic or large nuno wraps it is really best to have two long lengths of bubble wrap bigger than the starting size of the silk used, plastic trash can liners are OK too in an emergency so if you have a roll of them please just bring them along!  NB I love working with batts but roving and tops are perfect too, bring whatever you have and like to work with yourself.  I will also be bringing loads of embellishments, inclusions, leather off cuts and artificial glittery fabrics with me for everyone to share as well as some of the mohair waste which I am currently experimenting with in some of my three dimensional work!  Enough of the waffle, hopefully the following will be a guideline and I am always happy to answer any questions directly so please feel free to email me if you have a major concern …….

Clutch bag, vessel, iPad cover and smaller three dimensional items will need 80 – 150g of fibre.

Larger and more complex bags will need 200 – 350g fibre, I like this to be divided into 2/3 merino and 1/3 a strong coarser fibre such as C1 or Icelandic wool.

A nuno scarf will need either a pre rolled silk chiffon or ponge silk scarf as a base, a long length of silk cut from a roll or alternatively a cotton cheesecloth or muslin length, the longer the better in all cases!  This project won’t need anything like a big amount of fibre but at a rough guide anything between 40 – 60g will be fine for a highly textured end result!

A large nuno wrap (two day project!) will need 2 – 3 m (yards is fine) silk chiffon, ponge silk, cheesecloth or muslin for the base and 40 – 100g good quality merino depending on size.

A mosaic nuno scarf will need a total minimum of 1m silk chiffon but this needs to be in at least 3 colours ie. 1/3m from a roll of three different colours, adding a small amount of a clashing colour can work wonders!  Incorporating vintage scarves into nuno mosaic is wonderfully effective and a beautiful way of bringing old fabrics back to new life, to see what I mean check out Marni’s wonderful scarf from last year’s Tin Thimble workshop, isn’t it beautiful?  These scarves will also need over 100g good quality merino preferrably in two colours.

A large nuno mosaic wrap will need 2 – 3m silk fabric in mixed colours and a total of up to or over 200g good quality merino, again two colours of fibre is ideal.

As you can imagine different projects require different techniques and heaviness of hand when laying out the fibre.  The figures above are a minimum guideline, I don’t want anyone to feel pressurised to buy more fabric or fibre than they may realistically need but to be honest where felting is concerned, can one ever have enough fibre or raw materials???

Busy day felting …..

Today has been an excellent day for seeing several of the book projects through from start to finish.  Firstly I tackled a highly textured nuno felt scarf, then a 50% silk 50% merino scarf/neckpiece (need to think of a new name for this!), next I felted a really striking but simple raw silk and merino lampshade and finally by combining the waste left over from this project with some raffia and a spare Bodum coffee container I made the easiest felt candle holder imagineable!  Now I am just going to spend a few minutes looking up something on the computer (no, it is not fixed yet, more work remotely tonight hopefully) and then back to get on with my next item.  I think it must be the fact that we put our clocks forward one hour last Sunday because I am really motoring along with the felting these last few days although unfortunately I need to do some paperwork urgently, ugh.  I also need to sort out a materials lists for my US workshops (do you know how EXCITED I am getting about these?????) and I also need to update everyone about Horst’s workshop here as well!  No electricity here tomorrow for the whole day so guess it’s felting again for me!!!

Felting workshops for Michigan uploaded at last, lock down and Irish and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships!

Finally, at last I have managed to upload details about the two 1 day workshops I will be facilitating in Michigan this May to the workshop page and amazingly this time they have not caused everything else to hop all over the place or disappear altogether!!!  Our venue is now confirmed as the Presbyterian Church in Plainwell, a wonderfully welcoming space and only about 15 minutes drive from Kalamazoo.  I am so looking forward to staying with Dawn again and meeting up with some of you who participated in the workshops at the KIA last Fall or attended the Weaver’s Guild talk on my last evening.  This trip I will be offering 2 one day workshops, on Friday 20th May we will work on ‘simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’, on Saturday 21st the title will be ‘nuno mosaic’.  Participants attending both days will have the option of felting more complex projects, check out the full listing at the bottom of the workshop page to get all the details!

I’m in a bit of a lock down situation at the moment, felting hard, writing and working for as long as possible each day on projects for the book which Chrissie and I are trying to put to bed.  Deciding not to turn on the television until after 9pm each night (if at all!) has definitely helped, I NEVER wanted a ‘box’ here at all but Alan really needed to keep up to date with the progress during the last local election campaign and once it arrived it was like a virus!  Today I have been working on some accessories using a combination of short fibred merino and hand dyed silk fabric.  Thanks Heather for the silk, you may remember it was that stretchy funny stuff you gave me a present of in October and although I found it really didn’t give me the result I was seeking when nuno felting (the stretch I think) it is combining wonderfully with the wool in this different sort of project, wait ’till the book is out!  PS Heather has a give away running on her blog at the moment so if you hurry you might be the lucky winner of one of her latest new scarves!!!

Lastly I urge you to check out the Irish and International Sheep Shearing and Wool Handling Championships which are taking place about 40 minutes drive from my house the first weekend in June!  More about this exciting event anon …..

Irish and American workshops plus Horst is coming to teach in Ireland!!!

I was mortified this morning to discover that I had never updated my workshop page since before my trip to the States last Fall, knowing me well as a lot of you do by now I am sure you will have realised that paperwork and planning is REALLY not my thing but this was just the absolute limit!  Anyway, I now have spent a couple of hours (yes, really) sorting things out and am pleased to say I have updated the page to include the latest workshop here at Clasheen (on Saturday 5th March), provisional dates and venues for my US trip this May and an announcement about wonderful designer Horst’s first trip to Ireland and the workshops he will be facilitating here this June (whey hey, how lucky are we???).  Please visit the workshop page to check out any of these events, I promise to add extra details where necessary as final topics, dates and prices for some of these workshops are sorted out.

I also need to update all my links on this blog to include the wonderful selection of fibre and art related blogs I currently follow through Google Reader so please bear with me during this process, I follow a LOT of blogs!