I had a hard time of it trying to keep my fingers and hands warm at Duckett’s Grove this weekend. Felting on Saturday morning really was freezing, I’ve only got one electric heater (which is very expensive to run) included in the studio so I finally decided to do a little beading and finishing of projects for Saturday afternoon and all of Sunday.
Most of you know well by know how much I HATE using a needle, however it was very satisfying to end the weekend have brooch backs stitched to a lot of flowers (all delivered to the design shop now) and my latest felt hat beaded. Pauline in Duckett’s Grove Design came up with a novel way of displaying these flowers, she’s requested a long green ‘stem’ which we’re going to suspend against a white background and pin all the flowers along the length, I think this will really show off the mix of colours well! I might include some tendrils with leaves too, it all depends how much time I get to make this before next Friday.
Tomorrow I’m excited to learn the pine needle technique with Leiko, it’s very much more precise than the majority of the felting I usually do, please wish me luck because I think I’ll need it!!! We’ve decided to defer the last two days of the projected retreat, not enough interest at this time of year and unfortunately we didn’t get it together in time to advertise it with the Crafts Council and the VAI. I will be doing more natural printing/dyeing myself during the week and post pictures, I need to get ready now to have another felt jewellery session with Borris Active Retirement.
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I tried out a couple of new display ideas at Borris Food and Craft market this morning based on some of the recent research I’ve been doing. Definitely having a well stocked stand has made a difference, it’s almost too full compared to my usual minimalist style and I find it a mental struggle to have so much stock on display, it does seem to work however when it comes to attracting the customers!
All set up and ready to trade
Raising my table (on bed risers bought with Dawn during my MI sojurn) proved quite interesting, I liked the fact that my felt was more accessible and the small table that I placed in front of the main display added another dimension to the effect.
Logs as hat display stands
Finally for today, I LOVED the logs I positioned my two new hats on, why I’ve never thought of these as a display stand before I just don’t know!!! If you’d like to see these pictures in a bigger size just head on over to my personal Facebook page (link on the right), there are a few more showing different aspects too.
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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.
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Posted in Book, Book with Chrissie, Felt, Felting Tools, tagged Felt, felt hat, felting prodder, felting roller, felting rollers, felting shaper, felting tools, felting workshops on May 3, 2012 |
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Thanks to everyone who has expressed such an interest in our ‘niki & niki’ felting tools, we’re blown away by all the orders and inquiries and thrilled with the positive response we’re getting from everyone who has already tried them out!!! Our latest batch of prodders has just arrived to be posted asap and the rest of the tools should be here shortly for those of you who are waiting! Apologies also to one friend and customer who has not yet recieved their package, if it doesn’t arrive any day now we’ll be posting out a replacement as soon as the new delivery of rollers arrives. We’re also considering offering registered mail as an option in the future and letting the purchaser choose whichever postal option they want, this would be less stressful for us in the event of any losses in transit. In response to the numerous enquiries we’ve been getting here is the basic info about the various tools again and in future when I get asked the questions I will have a definite link here to direct people to!
Meg fulling her hat at Dawn’s workshop with our prototype mini minimilast
Firstly I’ll reiterate that the tools are the result of a collaboration with great friend and designer Niki Collier, between us we are offering you tools that we both find invaluable in our own felting studios. I like to roll on top of the bubble wrap at the early stages of the felting process then directly on the felt as it gets stronger and is in the middle of fulling to shrink; several of my projects in the new book ‘Nuno Felting with Nicola Brown and Chrissie Day‘ used the rollers and the vessel used the prodder! Handmade and hard wearing, all ‘niki & niki’ felting tools may be personalised with your own name for an additional $8 up to a total of 10 digits including spaces, never lose a valued piece of felting equipment again!!! Niki is preparing a little care note to post with new orders but suffice to say that a good quality wood oil is perfect for keeping your tools in tip top condition, don’t forget to rinse off any soap also at the end of each felting session. Now for the sizes and prices excl P&P, this is charged according to which country we are posting to…..
- The Big One – total length 56cms and an active rolling width of 36cms – $60
- The Modest One – total length 50cms and an active rolling width of 30cms – $47
- The Minimilast - total length 24.5cms and an active rolling width of 21.5cms – $40 The length of this handleless roller makes it perfect for using both hands together directly on top of the ridged surface
- The Mini Minimilast – a shorter handleless roller which we have been testing, final length and prices to be advised shortly
- The Prodder – a handmade wooden prodder with a curved end that is a wonderful aid for stretching and shaping felt vessels and sculptures – $11
NB Please remember that I will be away teaching for the next 3 weeks, back for 1 week and then off to teach in Portugal followed by a weeks holiday there, back for one week then off to participate in a 6 day masterclass with Dagmar Binder in Scotland! In tandem with all this excitment and travelling I’m trying to set up my studio in Duckett’s Grove properly (from afar!) and look after the people who will be staying at Clasheen to mind the house and Rex in my absense. Please don’t be offended if I don’t respond to emails or questions immediately and if I do respond I won’t be writing a missive!!! I really appreciate all your kind comments and wishes for my trip to the US, I really can’t wait to be back and am so looking forward to seeing old friends and meeting new ones, I wish I had Dawn here though to help me with my packing!!!!! I’ll leave you today with Meg modelling her finished hat with Dawn, you can check out some of Meg’s other beautiful and stylish hats at Meg Kavanagh Designs!
Meg and Dawn with Meg’s beautiful finished hat!
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Posted in Book, Book with Chrissie, Felt, workshops, tagged Dawn Edwards, Fantastic Felt Hats, Felt, felt hat, felt hat workshop, felt hats on April 25, 2012 |
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We had a WONDERFUL time having fun and learning new skills from great buddy Dawn Edwards during her ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops at the weekend!!! All the participants started each day oohing and aahing over the gorgeous hats on display, trying them on and discussing with Dawn whether to work from one of her templates of branch out and design one of their own.
The start of the Saturday workshop
Unfortunately I don’t have enough hours in any day at the moment to write a long review of the workshops but suffice to say Dawn’s lovely calm, knowledgeable and fun manner of teaching ensured that everybody learnt or honed their skills and left with a beautiful new creation to enjoy and show off! Both Dawn and I are uploading photos to our facebook pages but as I say time is short for me at the moment and I do want to enjoy myself with Dawn now and welcome Danish friend Kirsten to Clasheen at the weekend so it may be another few days before they all are uploaded and titled.
Sisters Babs and Helena wearing their beautiful flower decorated hats!
Friday is going to be hectic, since Dawn’s arrival I have also been running around and frantically preparing a lot of felt which needs to be delivered to Duckett’s Grove tomorrow (I had the wrong deadline) and amazingly I was in the right place at the right time and have secured a new studio place there as well! There are 4 artist’s studios in the renovated courtyard and one of the artists had to back out at the last minute, enter me!!!
Andrea shaping and fulling, Niki and Dawn near the end of the first workshop
We’ll be measuring it up tomorrow when we deliver the felt to the new retail unit there and then planning what to set up for the official opening with a government minister on Friday morning, Dawn’s been invited to display her hats too so it sounds as if it will be an action packed and fun day!
After a lot of technical issues ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ is now available to order as an ebook for iPhone, iPod and iPad touch. Currently Blurb don’t offer it for other forms of digital readers but hope to do so before too long has elapsed. I did have to make it available in a wrap around hard back too in order to get it online but I’ve priced highly just to ensure nobody orders it by mistake, of course if you do happen to want a hard back copy that’s another thing entirely!
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We’re having the most fantastic time here, Dawn’s workshop yesterday was a big success and now she and Chrissie are having breakfast while I try to write this from the bath!!! I’ll try to upload more photos to Facebook throughout the day and post properly tonight or tomorrow night, it’s just too manic now and we need to get on the road again!
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Posted in America 2012, CRAFTed, Felt, Felting Tools, Portugal 2012, workshops, tagged CRAFTed, Dawn Edwards, Fantastic Felt Hats, Felt, felt hat, felt hats, Felting, felting workshops, Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival, KY, MI, U.S. felting workshops, workshops with Nicola Brown on April 3, 2012 |
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It’s very busy here this week and will be until Dawn Edwards and Chrissie Day arrive so I’m going to post briefly with bullet points today!
- I’ve just confirmed my flights a few minutes ago for my U.S. trip in May. I can’t wait to be back facilitating workshops in Lexington KY with Jan Durham on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May, at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May and in Plainwell MI with Dawn Edwards on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May. Visit the workshop page for all the details.
- Karin and I now have participants from the U.S., Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Iceland arriving to participate in the week long felting extravaganza in Portugal so there are only a few places left now! Here’s a link to the flyer with all the details. Flyer Felt workshop
- Niki has personalised where requested and packed our first batch of felting tools and they are now en route to their new owners, thanks Rem (Niki’s husband) for bringing them to the post office yesterday. This first flush of orders came from Ireland, England, Austraila, right across the U.S. and Canada, wow!!!
- While our ‘niki & niki’ tools went out in the post yesterday other felting materials came in by courier! I had placed an order with Wollknoll recently so the merino roving for Dawn’s two ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops in Borris on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April has now arrived as has the short fibre merino I need to bring with me to U.S., wool that I ordered for my current CRAFTed project came too and lastly I got some more ponge silk in chocolate brown for myself. I need this to nuno felt some more scarves for the new retail outlet which is opening shortly at Duckett’s Grove.
- My collaboration with students at Rathnure NS for CRAFTed for the Crafts Council has changed shape somewhat. I was meant to have 26 six and seven year olds to work with but the school principal didn’t want one class to be split up so now I’m working with 35 pupils!!! It’s a very big group of little bodies, I think that Taragh (their teacher), Mary (a wonderful helper) and I will have our work cut out for us but it’s definitely going to be fun in the process! I’ll leave you with a picture from our first session last Wednesday, the pupils had never felted or handled wool before so were amazed at how it came together to form a strong fabric. These first pieces were all laid out on needlefelt; the children choose a couple of colours of wool to lay on top of the needlefelt, then added shapes of mohair off cuts and/or metallic fabric, some added swirls of natural and artificial knitting yarn and then all but one child added a generous sprinkling of shiny firestar!
Some of the first pieces of flat felt from senior infants and first class at Rathnure NS
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Posted in Book, Book with Chrissie, Felt, workshops, tagged Clasheen, Dawn Edwards, Felt, felt hat, felt hats, felt workshops, Felting, felting workshop on December 12, 2011 |
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I’m SO EXCITED that the wonderful Dawn Edwards has actually booked her flights to Ireland this morning, she will be arriving in Dublin early on Tuesday 17th and staying here at Clasheen from then until the end of the month!!! We are going to have such a fantastic time. Chrissie Day, great friend and co-author of ‘From Felt to Friendship’ will be joining us for some of the time and it will be so fantastic that Dawn and Chrissie will actually meet in the flesh rather than ‘seeing each other’ over the internet during our regular chats via Skype!
One of Dawn's beautiful hats!
As soon as I have some provisional dates sorted for our felt hat workshops I will post them to the blog and also set up an event page on Facebook. Please bear with me, realistically this may not be for a couple of weeks due to the frantic run up to Christmas especially since I am working towards 2 more days in Borris Market as well trying to whip my house into some kind of shape yet again! I won’t have to travel up and down from Dublin so much now because Mum came home to Enniscorthy on Friday evening and is in very good form. She is having some more blood tests etc. this week but overall is making an absolutely amazing recovery from her recent serious health scare.
OK, I’m rushing off now because Carmen is on her way over and I need to clear enough space in the kitchen for her to get in the door, it’s lashing outside so I also want to stoke the stove. Winter has finally arrived at Clasheen!
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Posted in Craft Fairs/Events, Fairs/Events, Felt, Felt for sale, tagged Borris Farmer's Market, Clasheen, craft fair, Felt, felt flower, felt flowers, felt hat, felt hats, Felting, Nicola Brown, taste of Carlow on December 6, 2011 |
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It’s been another busy weekend for me! On Friday morning I set up my stand for the first time at Borris Farmer’s Market, it’s always easier to repeat a display so I wanted to get in early and have time to decide exactly how best to show off the felt. Flowers proved to be the favourite seller on the day, I priced them at E15 each, 2 for E25 or 3 for E30. This didn’t allow much profit per unit but keeping the price down meant that I sold more overall, I think it was the right way to go and worth remembering for the future!
Setting up the felt flowers in Borris
On Sunday Alan gave me a hand unloading and setting up my space for ‘A Taste of Carlow’ before heading off to catch up with some paperwork. The weather was HORRENDOUS while we were unloading the truck, wet, cold and very windy! It was a little chaotic at the beginning when setting up, I chose to display my felt in an open sided marquee which was definitely colder there than in the individual wooden huts available. My reasoning was that the open sided display area would hopefully attract more browsers.
A Taste of Carlow
I was sited opposite the band area, beside the christmas tree and next to the wonderful organic food vendors, also the toilet was close by and when you are manning a stand by yourself this is a BIG consideration!!! Once I had set up everything to the best of my ability given the weather constraints the organisers came around and apologised, several stand holders had arrived late and there was no space left for them. Some of us who had come early in order to set up properly had to shift sideways and allow them cram in beside us so that was a bit of a pity, but live and let live, it wasn’t the end of the world! Luckily the rain had eased off by about 2.30 so although the beginning of the day started badly for some people (several display stands blew down, one actually shattered!) the public did come out to support the event, all was well that ended well. It took a while before anyone started buying but by the end of the evening I was very happy with the event. There was a great Christmas atmosphere and bustle about the place, quite continental in feeling. Obviously I wanted to make sales and I did, the biggest benefit however was meeting potential students and making contacts with sheep breeders, it was also great to catch up with old friends! Check out this picture of Roisin modelling the felt snood her sister treated her to for Christmas! Roisin learnt to felt with me recently and is really looking forward to participating in one of the hat making workshops I will be organising at Clasheen for Dawn Edwards. Watch out Dawn because Roisin is a very talanted felter with a great head for design, it will be interesting to see what sort of concepts she has dreamt up by April!!!
Roisin modelling her new felt snood!
Yesterday I travelled to Dublin to help my mother with prep for some more hospital tests. Before travelling home this afternoon I had to call in to Sylvia and effect some running repairs on her large felt rug. Followers of my blog will remember that Sylvia commissioned a big rug from me last year, unfortunately her new rescue dog found some very interesting smells worth investigating recently but luckily only pulled off a bit of surface wool, no irrepairable damage was done!!! I managed to needle felt (I know!) matching wool into the few damaged areas and Sylvia is now going to spot wash, hoover and steam clean the entire rug. By the time this is done I don’t think that anyone will be able to tell where the new areas of wool are, hopefully the steaming will remove any other attractive scents so I’m guessing that this is the only repair I will have to make, fingers crossed anyway.
I’m off now to put some food in the oven, walk REX and hopefully catch up on a bit of felting too. I would like to have some new work ready for my second week at Borris Farmer’s Market this Friday!
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Posted in Craft Fairs/Events, Felt, Felt for sale, tagged A Taste of Carlow, Borris Farmer's Market, Clasheen, Felt, felt beret, felt hat, Felting on November 30, 2011 |
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Well, I can almost not speak or write today I am so excited, drumroll please! The biggest news I am sharing with you today is that super friend and felt hat maker extraordinaire, the wonderful Dawn Edwards will be coming to stay at Clasheen during April 2012, I can’t wait!!!!! This trip has been a long time in the planning, almost 2 years to be exact. Finally Dawn has her first ever passport, some provisional dates in mind (the 2nd, 3rd and 4th weeks in April) and as soon her current fairs and events are over Dawn will be booking her tickets. Watch out Ireland, here she comes!!! I’m going to be blogging loads about Dawn’s trip over the next few weeks and also revealing news about my own Spring trip across the water, KY are you ready???
For the moment however ‘A Taste of Carlow’ looms on the horizon, I’ve been invited to participate in the Borris Farmers Market over the next 4 weeks, loads of felting needs to be completed to display at these venues and mum is being discharged from hospital today but still has loads of tests, scopes and consultant visits to go through over the course of the next two weeks. Thanks so much Sonia, Deb, Suzanne, Dawn, Ellen, Margaret, Chrissie, Margo, Lebec EGirl (sorry I can’t work out your actual name!), Shirley and Pam for leaving comments about the ‘labels for textile art’ debate! I am thrilled to get your input as it really opens up the issue and has given me plenty of food for thought. It’s interesting that Shirley suggested signing the mount board on the bottom right, I did debate doing that but ended up not, would one use a pen or pencil for this??? Shirley also said about keeping the bottom border about 1/2″ deeper than the others, I didn’t do this unfortunately but it totally makes sense if you are signing the board! As to stitching directly on the felt or adding initials by either needle felting or sewing, like Suzanne while I can sew if really pushed it doesn’t come naturally and I’m really looking for a simpler solution that totally shouts ‘me’. Obviously I am stretching myself since I purchased my beautiful straight stitching sewing machine but I don’t feel comfortable or confident enough at the moment to sign with free machine embroidery. Also for me, the felting is my favourite part of the process so I think I’m going to stick with adding a label onto the back of my work in future coupled with signing the mount as suggested in the front.
Label ironed onto felt
At the moment I am ironing my new basic labels onto the back of my work as opposed to sewing them in and it does seem to be working although I would definitely like a more distinctive label. I love Margo and Deb’s idea of a metal label, adore the little silver tags that Chrissie makes and uses herself and also love the little wooden tags Heather sews inside her felt bags etc., these are definitely options to consider in the future!
Yesterday evening when I got home from visiting mum I decided I just couldn’t face in to felting more flowers. I am up to date with the target I set myself of having a minimum of 57 flowers completed in time for Sunday so decided instead to have some fun and start working on a few soft and colourful felt berets! Below is a picture of the first one I completed, beautiful short fibred merino, a swirl of silk chiffon and loads of hand dyed silk hankies on top to provide sheen and bring the turquoise and green colours together. I’ll be bringing some of these berets to the farmers market on Friday and also to Carlow on Sunday afternoon if I still have any in stock! I created an event page on FB this morning to promote ‘A Taste of Carlow’ so do please share this with your friends if you use FB. We would love a big crowd to support all the wonderful Carlow artisans who will be participating on the day (Sunday 4th December, 2 – 6pm) and I just want to let as many people as possible know that the event will be happening!
The finished turquoise and green beret
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