Saturday, December 19, 2009

2010 Workshops are here!

Feb 13  "Painted Felt Flowers for Valentines"  Alstead, NH
Feb 27 "Color Theory at NEFS"  Easthampton, MA
March 27-28 "Shibori Dyed Feather Weight Scarf"  Alstead, NH Class is CANCELED but will be rescheduled for later in the season
April 17  "Felt Frogs at the Grafton Nature Center" Grafton, VT 
May 29 - 31 "Felt Ottoman" Alstead, NH
June 19 "Dye Pots! Acid Dyeing Techniques for Wool Fiber" Alstead, NH 
July 3 - 4 "Rug Stomp" Alstead, NH
July 17 "Flat Patterned Felt for Beginners" Alstead, NH
August 14 -16  "Felt Sculptures" Alstead, NH
October 7-11 "Art Is Wicked" Danbury CT  Classes TBA
TBD "Felting in Kentucky"
TBD Vernon, NY  "Felting with the Dolls"
"Painted Felt Flowers for Valentine's"
February 13th (9:30AM-4:30PM) ALSTEAD, NH
We always have a very fun time in this flower class, it is a treat to be creating felt flowers all day but, add to it, a decadent lunch with chocolaty desserts is included! And I call that a recipe for really treating yourself for Valentine's! This class is a one day class, perfecting the principles of placing shading into your felt images, to create a motif that really pops from your composition. We work on shading, highlighting and color contrast, while using a photo reference of your favorite flower.
BRING WITH YOU: Towel (to wrap your wet pieces in) and shoes/clothing which may get wet/dyed.
TUITION: $135.00 includes materials and lunch.
"Color Theory at NEFS" February 27 (9:30AM-4:30PM)
As so many of you know already, I love teaching this class. It is a great way to learn about creating beautiful color combinations, and how to use visual inspiration for a color story, which colors work well together and why, and why you like certain colors? The day is full of small and engaging exercises with a critique after each so students can learn more from their fellow students as well! The process is gentle and non scientific and fun. We are hosted by Chris White of New England Felting Supply, in the midst of their grand studio and store. This is a non-felting class, where we work with paint chips. Students build a workbook through out the day for future reference.
BRING WITH YOU: Scissors, pencils, tape and/or glue, a colored pencil or watercolor set (just in case)
TUITION: $TBD (+10.00 Kit Fee for the workbook)
LUNCHES: Are not included. Feel free to Brown Baggit.

"Shibori Dyed Feather Weight Scarf "
March 27-28 (9:00AM - 5:00PM) ALSTEAD, NH I have spent years dyeing fiber for felting, yarns for knitting and fabrics for hooking, and with each project, though I know what I am going for I find that the surface design element of each comes moslty at the end when each piece is finished. I love all things traditional textiley and shibori, being one tradition I would love to play with, is an age old tradition where-by creating ties, stitches and wrappings, on a piece of fabric, and then dye it, you get the dye and pattern all in one! I like this concept, and of course shibori can be extremely intricate an beyond amazing in the time that it could take to do a complicated design.

I will begin the day with a brief slide show of traditional and contemporary shibori work, students 2-3 make feather weight merino scarves, and then spend the first half of the second day tieing twisting and wrapping their scarves into pattern. The dye process takes about 3 hours and when finished we will have a huge assortment pattern and color. This course has it both, a llittle bit of felting and a little bit of dyeing and of course hand work, think stitching, and tie dyeing.

BRING WITH YOU: Towel (to wrap your wet pieces in) and shoes/clothing which may get wet/dyed.
TUITION: $350.00 includes materials, workbook and instructionals for each technique
LUNCHES: Are not included.There is a deli in the village square, an easy walk to pick up a sandwich, or pizza/sub shop a mile down the road. Feel free to Brown Baggit. Light refreshments and beverages will be served each day.

"FROGS! at the Nature Museum at Grafton"  April 17 Grafton, VT
Kids and adults will have fun at this workshop! We do wet felting hand formed shapes, and if you are able to handle it, embellish your frogs by using a felting needle (age specific for the needles)

BRING WITH YOU: Towel (to wrap your wet pieces in, or wipe your work space) and shoes/clothing which may get wet.

TUITION: TBA includes materials, Register directly with
LUNCHES: Are not included. There is a deli in the village square, an easy walk to pick up a sandwich Feel free to Brown Baggit.
"Felt Ottoman" 
Memorial Day Weekend May 29 - 31
Saturday, Sunday, Monday (Three Day Workshop - 9:30 AM - 4:30PM ) ALSTEAD, NH

This class is awesome where students have the opportunity to design a piece of furniture for their home. Make the felt fabric for and construct and upholster their own ottoman! A fast paced class with lots of different steps on each day, students leave the session very accomplished and in the possession of a brand new beautiful ottoman! Day ONE: Design and lay out fiber for all areas of ottoman. Day TWO: Wet felt all fabrics, (fabrics dry over night) and Day THREE: Students upholster their ottomans. Using furniture quality cardboard cores, student, glue, drill and assemble shape, cover with foams, and then sew their fabric covers, adding trims or embellishments.

***Previous felt making experience necessary, as well as the ability to use power tools, and sewing machines. Student may use prefinished wooden feet, casters or pre paint your feet before arriving to the Festive Fibers studio.

BRING WITH YOU: Shoes/clothing which may get wet/dyed.
TUITION: $625.00 includes all materials (We can ship your ottoman home to you, students pay for shipping)
LUNCHES: Are not included. There is a deli in the village square, an easy walk to pick up a sandwich, or pizza/sub shop a mile down the road. Feel free to Brown Baggit. A light refreshment and beverages will be served.
"Dye Pots! Acid Dyeing techniques for wool fiber"
June 19 ( 9:30AM-4:30PM) ALSTEAD, NH 
I dye fiber for felting all the time, though the technique I learned many years ago can be applied to yarns as well. I love the ability to not be restricted by someone else's color line. The studio will have dye stations set up, with fiber tagged for each student to use a variety of color baths and dye techniques, from solid batch dyeing to rainbow or casserole dyeing. I use Pro-Chem Wash Fast Acid dyes and Cushing. I do not measure dye stuffs, but dye from premixed concentrates. We will review, set time, temperature, prep and clean up.

BRING WITH YOU: Shoes/clothing which may get wet/dyed, apron, goggles. I will supply face masks (not asperators) & gloves
TUITION: $165.00 includes all materials and color charts from both companies
LUNCHES: Are not included. There is a deli in the village square, an easy walk to pick up a sandwich, or pizza/sub shop a mile down the road. Feel free to Brown Baggit. A light refreshment and beverages will be served.
"Rug Stomp" July 4th-5th (Two Day Workshop - 9:30AM-4:30PM) ALSTEAD, NH
...a work in progress, about half way through!
By far my most popular workshop. Students lay out and felt a patterned felt rug in two days. Day one the rug is laid out, discussions on technique, design layouts and color balance are how we start a leisurely creative day. Day two is all felting! (using hands, feet - hence the stomp part, lots of energy, and, well heck anything else that might help the process along!) This class is not for the timid, it is very physical and an absolute blast!
BRING WITH YOU: Towel (to wrap your wet pieces in) and shoes/clothing which may get wet/dyed.
TUITION: $425.00 includes materials
LUNCHES: Are not included.There is a deli in the village square, an easy walk to pick up a sandwich, or pizza/sub shop a mile down the road. Feel free to Brown Baggit. Light refreshments and beverages will be served each day.

"Flat Patterned Felt for Beginners"
July 17 (9:30AM-4:30PM) ALSTEAD, NH

BRING WITH YOU: Shoes/clothing which may get wet/dyed, a towel for keeping your work space dry(ish).
TUITION: $150.00 includes all materials
LUNCHES: Are not included. Feel free to Brown Baggit. A light refreshment and beverages will be served.

"Felt Sculptures "
August 14 - 16 Saturday, Sunday and Monday (Three Day Workshop - 9:30 AM - 4:30PM ) ALSTEAD, NH

Over the years, I have created many 3-D felts. Some are quite sculptural. In this class, we design an Sculptureal OBJECT (Doll, animal or floral) Using aperatures as the internal structures, students learn how to build up form, and layer the fiber, add on detail using felting needles and shaping techniques will be demonstrated, the final sculpture can be skim felted.

Day One: each student will review their idea, size and how to build is determined, and structures are built and wrapped. Day Two and Day Three, Students create their sculpture

BRING WITH YOU: Ideas and photo references.
TUITION: $450.00 includes materials
LUNCHES: Are not included.There is a deli in the village square, an easy walk to pick up a sandwich, or pizza/sub shop a mile down the road. Feel free to Brown Baggit. A light refreshment and beverages will be served.
"Art is...Wickedly Good!"(Art is...You!)

October 8, 9, 10 and 11th CROMWELL, CT This year's theme is The Wizard of Oz in all of it wonderful and wicked forms! If you are looking for a fully immersed creative retreat with lots of new friends and lots of diversity this is the event for you! At the time of writing this I am not able to list the classes I will be teaching, but let's just say I am fully in the spirit of Dorothy and her friends, felting zaniness all the way!

Click here to get more information from Art is...You!


REGISTRATION: Tuition is due in full upon registration. Students may register via an e-mail request nicoleatfestivefibersdotcom, phone call or by reserving your space and mailing your payment (check) to:
Festive Fibers
PO Box 626
Alstead, NH 03602
(603) 835-2247

***To register for the Color Theory at NEFS, FROGS! At the Nature Center in Grafton & Art is...You workshops, go directly to their web sites linked above***

Festive Fibers accepts MasterCard, Visa, Discover, American Express and Checks (made Payable to Festive Fibers). 

Local Lodging Options can be suggested.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

More Shibori!


Playing with Frogs

My neighbor, Betsy Bennett Stacey works for The Nature Museum at Grafton in Vermont as the Director Education, a sweet little museum, very active in the community, lots of school kids go there and do all sort of fun interactive events.  Betsy has been trying to "get me" to the museum to teach, and we have finally figured out what I will do as a small class, "Felted Frogs"!  It is serendipitous too, as their logo is a cute little frog and apparently they are launching an even newer froggie mascot.  So, I thought this would be fun and easy for youngsters and can be done in a 4 hour mini class.  The class will take place April 17th.  Look for it when my workshop page is launched later this week or weekend.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Playing with Shibori for a new class

I have decided to combine my love of traditional textiles, felt and dyeing all in the same class this coming year and will be playing with Shibori.  What is Shibori?  In simple terms Shibori is a traditional Japanese textile dyeing technique, where silk fabric is tied, folded, wrapped and and then dyed, traditionally in natural dyes, creating intricate detailed patterns.  The fabric for a traditional kimono would have taken a year to dye!  Someone learning the traditional art of Shibori would have interned for 13 years!  I started thinking again about shibori after I returned from teaching at Maiwa last month.  They focus on traditional textiles, and you can actually listen and watch a podcast given during the 2007 Symposium given by Jane Callender The Intimate Stitch: Blueleaf Shibori.

There are many fiber artists today using Shibori for wearable and decorative art , some are quite famous, and have worked for years perfecting their techniques, Carter Smith, Ana Lisa Hedstrom, Chad Alice Hagen to name a few.

As a studio artist and professional fiber artist, I like to keep myself fresh and excited.  For me, playing with new techniques (new for me) does just that!  I have not yet decided for the class whether I will do natural dyes or my bright acid dyes.  I plan on dyeing felt wool scarves, not silk fabric and am leaning towards natural dyes for something different in my studio.

Not many people know that I have been dyeing wool, since I was a teen.  When I was about 14 I took a course taught by Edna Blackburn, of Toronto, called Three Days in the Country.  We stayed in a camp type place for three days, and did nothing but spin and dye with natural dyes.  When I was 15 and 16 I got a job at the little textile craft shop that hosted Edna the year before.  The shop was called the Niddy Noddy, it's owner Irene Preston Miller, a pioneer in textile crafts in the states, my mentor and boss, said upon taking my little job, if you work here you have to learn how to do everything so you can help every customer who walks in the door.  When I was a bit more experienced, Irene taught me how to dye beautiful wool yarns for knitting.  She created variegated dyed yarns, unique at the time (early to mid 70's at the time)  I learned all about acid dying wool (and other fibers) from Irene.  I bought my first spinning wheel from Irene when I was 12 years old.  I had a school savings account from grade school, $80.00 saved over 8 years, when I graduated from 8th grade my parents said I could use that money for whatever I wanted, I went right down to The Niddy Noddy and bought a little Polish upright spinning wheel.

OK, I am back from reminiscing, so here are the beginnings of my playing with shibori...I tried the tying on a woolen fabric to practice.  And then dyeing in a batch of logwood.

T-B: a running stitch spiral; a pleat - tied from both sides; tiny ties; large circle - orderly pleats and tied at segments; large circle - pleats were twisted then randomly bound; the whole sampler pre-dye; the pot of logwood and the swach.  The finished swatch below - I will play with more folding techniques and keep posting here.

By the way, there are very special tying, patterns with specific names, kind of like a traditional quilt block pattern.  We'll see how much I can learn on my own research!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Gallery: Chairs


Sunday, November 29, 2009

Art Exchange: A Fun Idea

A few weeks ago I received an interesting e-mail.  It was a chain mail letter, but this one I didn't trash.  This one promised fun and art, so how could I refuse?  Called, "Tag your it! Art Exchange", the sender sends you a note asking your to join.  Your task if you choose to accept is to create any kind of small piece of art and send it to the name on the top of the 2 person list - in one week.  Then move his or her name to the top and add mine to the bottom.  Send the e-mail out to 6 arty-crafty friends and in a few weeks I should receive 36 pieces of art!  This idea intrigued me so I got busy, it took me a little over a week and a half, and then I mailed my art to a gal in California, and have sent out requestsI hope my friends can play!  Here's what I made.

I got the wood block (stamp for fabrics) at Maiwa.  When I spied the camels, I right away saw what I was going to do for a holiday card.  Here's how I did it:
1.  On heavy weight cotton rag watercolor paper, brush colors of acryllic paints, I used Liquitex's Ultramarine Blue and Dioxazine Purple.  Wetting a large brush with a gollpe of paint make large cross hatchings across paper with the Ultramarine.  Using a dryer brush and the Purple make more cross hatches but these are more feathery.  I was thinking of sand storms when I was doing this.  
2.  Using Colored Ink,  I used Windsor & Newton's color that looks like intense teal.  and an old tooth brush, dip the tooth brush in some ink and scrape the bristles against your fingers or a knife to splatter the ink.
Once your paper has dried:
3.  Using a metallic acryllic, I used Liquitex's Iridescent White, and a damp sponge.  Pour a bit of your paint out onto a sheet of paper/glass/plate and gently sponge the color onto the stamp taking care not to clog up the stamp.  Press your stamp onto your paper, three times.  It is important to test your stamping technique.  making sure you have the right amount of pressure so the stamp stamps completely.  My paper is hard so I put one thickness of a towel under the paper between the table so there is a bit more absorbsion.  Mostly I did this because my stamp is wood, not linoleum or rubber.
4.  Creating the gifts for the camels:  I love ARTchix Studio for collage sheets and I used two different collage sheets here.  The Party Crown  and the Heart and Soul Collage Sheet.
The party crown I cut the crown out with an X-acto, and then glued glass flats on the top three points, the heart I cut out of the sheet with and X-acto and then using two other fancy colored papers, red and purple cut another heart in purple paper just slightly larger than the heart and hen another in red slightly larger than the purple.  These were glued together using Zots, a hard sticky paper glue that makes what you glue stand away from the previous layer.  Then I glued a larger glass flat to the center of the heart. and glued that to the camel. The third gift is a vintage gold embossed paper bunny I got from Tinsel Trading Company.  The handsome bun is holding a square decorative glass, again glued to the bun's hands using a tiny bit of a Zot.
5.  Once the gifts are Zotted on, I cut out the entire shape of the card following the images of the camels and their gifts.  I also cut out the area where the reign is. 
6.  The three words on little flags are sewn onto the reigns with gold metallic thread.  I like the words Cherish, Love and Create, but choose your own.  Each letter is its own flag and using both a thin black finepoint maker letter the words, and the write over the black with a metallic gold pen.  And then just sew through the paper!
7.  Since my art card is folded it is nice to emboss a fold before you try to bend the paper.  I use a ruler and a dull back side of a knife to do this, making a groove in the paper, will make your creased fold perfectly sharp.
8. Sign your work! I did mine on the back with its title "Cherish, Love and Create".
9.  Don't forget to clean your brushes, sponge and stamp for another project.

"The Drive" East Vancouver's Murals

Once ready to set up for my class we headed over to Maiwa East where we were graciously hosted through Maiwa by the lovely Sue Lum.  She is a fellow textile fiend!  One of the things I most enjoyed about her home was her library.  She has an extensive collection of art, fiber, textile and cook books that just further transported me away.  Sue has her textile treasures (and fantastic cabinets and armoires that store her stashes) fill her contemporary home. Its color warm and rich, with dashes a ethnic wonderfulness thrown EVERYWHERE, I mean everywhere!  

Sue's neighborhood is called "The Drive".  So each night after my class, Tom and I would walk home, through the streets looking at all the fun things to see.  To say The Drive is multicultural is to say New England has colored leaves in the Fall!  Each night we ate at a restaurant of a different country.  As we strolled the streets, we discovered murals and more murals...some so inspiring I was inspired to document them.