Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Summer Nuno Wraps with Cristina Garcia

  Cristina making notes with her felt pen in her felt book!!
Cristina Garcia is a extremely talented feltmaker from Kilkenny, who I meet a few years ago at Feltmakers Ireland, when I saw her work I thought one day I would like to take a workshop with her. She only takes a few workshops every year so we were very privileged to have her at Feltmakers North The day began with Cristina showing us her designs and samples of textures created in nuno felting, there were so many ideas, and Cristina was so generous with her knowledge, the excitement was mounting! The silk fabric and wool was selected, but before we could start any felting we had to make a sketch of our design and discuss the techniques involved with Cristina. once the plan had been discussed and we were all clear on our approach to our design we began to felt. The first day flew in and by 5 pm there were a few tired but extremely happy faces leaving the Island Centre.
If the first day went quickly the second day went in the blink of an eye! Everyone had finished there summer wraps and some people started a second one and others decided to make a silk scarf with wool beads on it.
Cristina is a delightful tutor, calm and very encouraging but generous with her knowledge and tips. Everyone on the workshop went away with a beautful summer nuno wrap and so many ideas for other felting adventures.  More photos of the wraps will follow as some were not dry enough to photograph.                                                                               

A few of the girls with Cristina wearing their summer wraps.

For those of you who missed this workshop, we will be running another nuno felting workshop in the future so keep an eye on the blog and remember members get priority. Do not forget the next exciting workshop run by Feltmakers North is August 20th with Dorothy Dinsmore and it is a needle felting workshop to make your very own teddy bear, if anyone needs an application form for this workshop they can email either Liz or myself Fiona and we will forward you one, you do not need to be a member, but members will be given priority and all names are drawn from a hat! There are more details in the workshop section of the blog.

Our felting session start again in September on 17th and the first one will be held in Hillsborough Village Centre, if you have not renewed your membership there will be an opportunity to do it then. Also some of the Summer Nuno wraps will be on show for you to see, we would also like people to bring work they have made over the summer to show! I hope everyone has a lovely summer!


Monday, 13 June 2011

Fantastic Fleeces

The committee and I were delighted to recieve an invitation from Freda Magill to visit her farm, and see the process that the wool goes through before we are able to use it in our felting. We headed down to Rathfriland with our wellies on, for our farm visit, we were all like school children, very excited by this invitation! Although I had grown up on a small farm which had sheep, I never realised the lengthy and painstaking process the wool goes through before it is ready for us to felt with. What makes this even more amazing is that Freda does an immense amount of the work herself! We were first shown into the shearing shed which had an adjustable height shearing table to prevent the shearer bending! We noticed the differences in the fleeces ,the wendsleydale fleeces from the younger sheep were a lot more curly, and all the fleeces had a tremendous amount of lanolin evident, this would be reduced when they were washed. The washing process could only be started on a day with suitable weather conditions so as to enable the fleece to dry, as once washed it takes several hours to dry.

Lambs that Freda has to hand rear they were born earlier this year!

Then we proceeded out to the fields; where we saw ewes rearing triplets, young ewes with their first lambs, some pet lambs and even a newly born lamb that had arrived that morning (especially in honour of our visit!!)

Wensleydale Lamb born that morning!

After a short walk up the hill we visited the main flock of Wensleydales, Texel and Wensleydales  X Texel, who were more wary of us than the younger lambs. The view of the countryside was spectacular as were the sheep.
Once back at the farm we were able to see Freda's stock of over 30 different varieties of wool, each type having different qualities and uses in felting! Freda uses a wild carder to card the wool then she dyes in to many colours and her colour combinations are fantastic. As if carding all the wool isnt enough Freda also has a loom and weaves some into the most amazing fabrics which we were able to admire.

We had a very informative and fun filled morning, which made us all appreciate the work involved in preparing the lovely wool for felting. If you would some rare breed wool contact Freda at http://www.woolinitiative.com/ it is perfect to use in the competition at Gosford Park in September, entires can be given to Liz Nicholls.