Beautiful felt flowers

Although is was FREEZING at Duckett's Grove yesterday I had a lovely afternoon facilitating a 'fun felt flower' workshop. Next Saturday is a beginners and improvers full day workshop, we'll be working on flat felt pictures so if you'd like to join us please email me ASAP! Check out these beautiful flowers from yesterday, I love the different colour combinations!

 

 

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Yummy alpaca and embellishing fibres!!!

Check out this yummy box of fibre I received from Roo Kline this week complete with beautiful handmade shawl pin!!! Roo and Elizabeth from Alpaca Fiber Solutions are the amazing sponsors for my nuno felt neckpiece workshop at this years' Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, we are going to have a ball!

I can't wait to dive in but I so want to felt something special with this, I'll be bringing the samples along with me to all my upcoming US workshops.

Alpaca of this quality is a total pleasure to work with, it's not a fibre easily accessed here but once you know a good supplier…..keep them!

On the everyday side of things my current project is coming along really nicely at the Gaelscoil in Carlow, to date I've worked with 300 pupils and by next Monday afternoon another 150 will have had their first experience felting! As a result I've not actually done a lot of felting at home myself over the last two weeks as my fingers are all wrinkled by the time I leave Carlow and my back's aching, I've been trying out a few polymer clay ideas instead. Thanks Elaine (editor of the polymer clay section at Craft Gossip) for linking to the post I wrote recently about my first 'official' necklace, it's always nice to get a thumbs up. I'll be facilitating a felt flower workshop at Duckett's Grove on Saturday so I plan on felting quite a few flowers and other small items then! I'll leave you with a link to a picture of a flower head piece that Mary felted this week (Mary was one of my super students at the VEC recently), I think that it's gorgeous.

https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=425275637551011&set=a.114109508667627.19391.100002057342575&type=1&theater

 

 

 

 

 

New felt bracelets, free machine embroidery workshop and the 2011 Irish Web Awards!

It’s a busy time here at Clasheen but I do seem to be managing my time a little better than usual, thankfully!

Stone wall inspired bracelets

As promised here is a picture of the two dry stone wall inspired felt bracelets I made at Niki’s last week, the bracelet on the right I kept for myself and the one on the left has just been added to my Big Cartel shop.  It has been interesting hearing the reaction of everyone who has seen these two pieces together, with the exception of one friend and myself, everyone has choosen the one on the left hand side as their favourite.  This leads me to believe people find the larger white surround of the stones appealing, whatever, I love them both!!!

I spent a wonderful two days over the weekend participating in a workshop with the South East Textile Group.  Our main focus for the workshop was free machine embroidery on various types of dissolvable fabric or paper but for me the biggest result was getting to grips with my Janome straight stitch machine and feeling comfortable with the results!  Our tutor was Arelene Shawcross, an English lady now living and working from Macroom in Co. Cork.  Arelene was an excellent teacher, I would highly recommend sessions with her for anyone interested in exploring free machining further, her manner is informed, relaxing and highly productive.  There were loads of interesting samples for everyone to examine and exclaim over.  For me the beauty of Arlene’s embroidery was most visable in some subtle tone on tone work, I don’t find highly coloured pieces as attractive to my eye but definitely there was something to suit everyone in the work on display and we all got inspired and ready to get down to business quickly.

Stitching on Romeo, is that a smile???

The first sort of soluble fabric that I decided to experiment with was a thickish plastic kind of one called ‘Romeo’.  Following on with my dry stone wall obsession I wanted to keep my work subtle and elected to stitch a bracelet (after a couple of small sample pieces!) using soft shades of silver, grey and blue machine embroidery threads.  The top two tips that I learnt over the weekend were that it is important not to have the presser foot (free machine or darning) down against the fabric you are stitching on and that you can use machine embroidery and metallic threads on top and in your bobbin if you follow this rule, magic!!!  You may remember I was having problems with my metallic thread breaking constantly when I last stitched into felt, changing to a new needle and following the above tips worked like a dream, I tried stitching into some very thick felt after I had finished the bracelet and no problems.  Following is a picture of the bracelet pinned to some polystyrene prior to dissolving the plastic, images of the finished piece tomorrow!

Finally a big thanks to Cathy for nominating this blog for a 2011 Irish Web Award, YAY!

Bracelet pinned to polystyrene and ready to submerge in water

Playing catch up, sea slug and loads of felting workshops!

I’m going to be playing catch up all this week, paperwork, emails, tidying, medical (to renew my 10 year C1 driving liscence), paying car insurance and a host of other essential but non fibre related stuff.  Finishing my latest nudibranch (sea slug) last night was fantastic, I really put myself under pressure to have it ready to deliver to the Crafts Council today but hopefully as we say in Ireland, all’s well that ends well.

Gently working the protrusions through a net

I can’t upload pictures of the completed creature yet until I hear back if it has been accepted for the exhibition but here is a shot of me working on the protrusions, I added the hot orange tips with a needle (I know, me and needle felting!!!) and then contiued to wet felt.  Overall I am happy with the results but I am sure there must be a simpler way to make a piece like this, I’m still working on it though!!!

This afternoon I’m starting another series of workshops with Borris Active Retirement Group and last Friday I started some similar sessions with the Carlow Wheelchair Association.  On Saturday I have a wet felting basics day schedualed  here at Clasheen so please check out the details on the workshop page and email me asap if you are interested in attending, this workshop is suitable for total beginners as well as improvers!

More printing info from Felt in Focus

This short post is mainly in response to those of you who have been emailing and otherwise asking questions about Kirsten and the binders/pigments we used during the workshop she facilitated at Felt in Focus.   Many of you (most of you!) may need to use Google translate or something similar to access the information but details about all of the products we were using may be found on this page from Kirsten’s website.  As mentioned before my favourite binder to work with left a totally soft feel in the silk fabric and is called unromantically Uniprint Binder HKSL!!!  Here is an image of one of my sample pieces blowing in the wind today at Clasheen.  I worked on a piece of my own hand dyed ponge silk and printed using pigments mixed with HKSL, the distressed design was achieved by partially drawing the colour through a

Butterflies and little round Chinese motif

variety of thermo-fax screens.

Sample printed with HKSL binder mixed with various Uniprint pigments

Kirsten speaks and writes perfect English and I know that she will be more than happy to answer questions about any of the various products she stocks, send her an email but do allow a few days for a response, she is a very busy lady!

I need to get back to my current work RIGHT NOW (deadline approaching!) so will finish blogging about this brilliant printing workshop next time, promise.

Wonderful Loomis and Plainwell workshop pictures up on Flickr!

WOW, looking back over the pictures from our workshops at The Tin Thimble and Plainwell it is amazing how many beautiful, artist and fantastic pieces were felted over the course of these first 4 workshops!!!  I still need to title the images but for those of you just hopping to have a look Loomis pics are here and Plainwell pics are here.  Enjoy!

A few pictures from Loomis!

Meridee, Lisa and Carole all working away!

Here are a few pictures from the workshops at Loomis, more to follow as I get time to upload the wonderful results …..

Laura with her bag laid out and ready to felt

……. and the last picture for today, Meridee’s bag with all the attachments laid out and ready to start the felting process.
 

Meridee's bag