Sunday, November 14, 2010

Always Learning... felting class with Nicola Brown

Nicola modeling an amazing felted duster she made

I don't know why it's taken me so long to write about it, but last month I had a great opportunity to attend a felting class in Michigan with Nicola Brown whose blog, Clasheen, I have followed for a while. Those that read blogs regularly have the feel for how small the world becomes... Nicola is from Ireland, but she was coming to the states to teach and I couldn't pass on the chance to learn from her. She seemed like an incredibly creative, generous, and fun teacher and I was certainly not disappointed!I decided to really treat myself, and stayed at a lovely B & B, The Kalamazoo House, that was immediately next door to the Kalamazoo Institute of Art. The entire experience was inspiring, and I loved the museum and it's surroundings. Although I took along lots of knitting and reading, I was surprised to find that I enjoyed socializing with the other guests more than holing up in my room! The hosts were great as well.The first two days of class were specifically about making a complex felt bag. Although I'm a semi-experienced felter, I enjoyed learning about using a "resist" to make a 3D object with the strap cut from the original layout of fiber, and I also had fun incorporating other fabrics and embellishments into the felt.
It was fascinating to see the variety of approaches the other attendees took to choosing the style and colors of their purses (one of the benefits of attending a class, watching and learning from other attendees). One lady put together some colors that I thought were pretty horrendous, and I was sure that her uptight pace would lead to disaster- how wrong I was when she was the first to finish what was definitely a spectacular purse! I was pleased with how mine came out, although it's a bit more "flashy" than what I'd normally carry.
The final day was a Felted Accessories class- we had a choice of techniques to learn about, and although I'd been doing a lot of nuno work where you felt various fibers to a base of silk or other fabric, I wanted to learn new techniques since I'd admired Nicola's nuno feltwork so much. I used some silk that I had already dyed, and felted it with short-fibered merino. Although it wasn't my best finished project, I enjoyed the process and especially love working with that type of merino now in addition to alpaca as it felts so fast and evenly.
I've found a fair amount of time to do some other felting projects since then (though not as much as I'd like!) I made this purse with hand-dyed alpaca, merino, and C1 wool (and embedded glass beads), as I wanted to make another bag while I could remember the techniques.
I've also made quite a few nuno scarves and shawls with silk and both alpaca and wool. Now I need to buckle down and make some of the smaller items (like soaps and jewelry) that are the staple of my holiday gift sales. If only I had more time in the day!!! Pin It Now!


WonderWhyGal said...

ooooh, do you realize that you were 25 minutes from my farm. I wish I would have known because A) I would have loved to attend that class B) I would have loved to meet you in person.

I love your purse and what a great opportunity to take that class.


Loco Lindy said...

Oh Andrea, I had no idea I was so close to you! By the time I found out about Nicola's class, I took the very last slot so I didn't promote it to others at that point. I think there's a good chance that she'll return to the area next year! I'm sure that we'll cross paths in the future... looking forward to it.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindy and Andrea, I had such a blast and totally enjoyed my time with everyone in Kalamazoo, just try to stop me returning (assuming I get invited again of course) in 2011! Your bag was really beautiful Lindy and I am glad to have another convert to short fibred merino, I LOVE it myself. Just to set the record straight, I did make that duster with the wonderful Dawn Edwards and we were obviously under the close supervision of amazing US felter Thomas Horst, now the challenge is to make something equally beautiful by myself here in Ireland! X

Dawn said...

Good morning Lindy,

Loved this post...So great to look back on that wonderful weekend.

You have been so busy...Your new bag and numerous scarves are lovely (doesn't look like you need any extra time in your day...I think you're putting them all to good use:-)


Dianne@sheepdreams said...

Sounds like it was a wonderful experience, all around! So.....when will we get a workshop at Seldom Scene?