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Nicola Brown :: Spring 2021 Online Workshop :: Two Member Reviews

Updated: Oct 25, 2021

Nicola Brown is a fine art textile maker, known for her eco-printing, natural dyeing techniques, felting, and sewing. Since her introduction to textiles fourteen years ago, she has studied in Ireland, Europe, and the US learning new and innovative techniques. Currently her practice is concerned with the direct use of eco-printing on materials such as silk, wool, handmade felt, and vintage linen. She teaches textile workshops from her studio in Ireland and venues across Europe, the US, Canada, and Australia. She also offers online classes throughout the year.

Recently we spoke to two felt :: feutre canada members Patti Cook and Katy Delau enrolled in Nicola’ workshop. They have generously shared their ideas and artwork.

Patti created a collage of her dye work which demonstrates the beauty of the creative process wonderfully (see the next three images).

Katy lives in the Yukon and was waiting for it to warm up so she could start dyeing. Her dyeing/eco-printing setup is outside. She was planning to work with onion skins and dried eucalyptus which she’d soaked in water to rehydrate. She works with a propane cooker. When we last spoke she was waiting for the contents of her pot to thaw.  She promises to send us photos of her finished products. In the meantime enjoy her gorgeous unfinished pieces.

Patti is a mixed media artist with a strong emphasis on textiles/felt. This isn’t Patti’s first online workshop, she has taken quite a few on Ruzuku. Her first online class was Fiona Duthie’s master class, eight years ago.

What do you like or not like about learning this way?  There are a couple of reasons why I like  learning online: the mixed demographics of the group, and how the price works with my limited income—the latter making travel to a wonderful live experience less likely. I  also do very well with videos, I like that I can either download the videos or go back after classes are completed to review as a refresher.

What do you like about Nicola’s workshop? Why did you decide to take it? The reason I registered for Nicola Brown’s class was to investigate a teachers point of view on eco-dyeing. I have read books and experimented on my own. Plus the cost was so good that I felt it was worth it for the eco portion. The rest of the course is a review as I am well honed on many of the techniques in both wet and dry (except creating actual clothing).

Katy has quite a lot of experience with online workshops. She started her journey by taking several masterclasses with Fiona Duthie, and has since gone on to take eco-print courses with ISO Dye Club in Australia and Irit Dulman, a fab eco-printer from Israel. Though she’ll have to wait until spring in the Yukon before she can try her methods.

What inspired you to take Nicola’s workshop? I did a class with Nicola Brown last Spring just after Covid reality hit. I had the time since I was sent home from work at the Public Library, and it was a perfect opportunity to delve more into eco-printing. I have done a bunch of eco-printing already, but I like to learn from different teachers because they each have their own set of skills and tips. There’s always something to glean from each teacher.

I have been dabbling in making felted bags since taking Fiona’s felted bag workshop a few years ago. So with Nicola’s offering, here was another chance to expand my skills. I learned so much from her teaching! She teaches how to make a felt bag with an integrated shoulder strap which I have been wanting to try on my own, so having her teach it was a great step. It’s great to have the videos that you can re-watch, and also to know that Nicola (or Fiona or Irit) is on the other end, answering your questions, and assessing your work.

What do you like or not like about learning this way? I am so in love with online learning because it really brings the teacher right to you!! No expensive plane tickets or accommodation, which is definitely a bonus since flying out of the Yukon for a workshop usually involves at least $1,000. And you can learn on your own time frame. Plus I find I learn so much from the other participants. Everyone brings their own set of skills, and each of their questions also addresses one of my questions. Online workshops are such a blessing, especially now that none of us can travel. Of course I miss the human connections—with the instructor and the other participants—but that will come again someday.

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