Felt rug and Podcamp Ireland

Some of you have been having problems with the link in a previous post so please click HERE if you would like to see some pictures of my rug in progress at the Mehmet Girgic course I took at Wollknoll in Germany last week.  For those of you still unable to click through here is an image of the completed and fulled rug prior to shaving.

Rug prior to shaving!

Rug prior to shaving!

Podcamp takes place tomorrow in Kilkenny and I am going to be participating by contributing to a session in the morning.  I promise to write a proper post about felting on Monday but obviously I am very busy this weekend.  What is Podcamp you ask?  Well I have copied an item from the Podcamp Ireland website explaining what it is all about (hope they don’t mind the copying)and here it is sounding a lot more complicated that I expect it really is!

“A PodCamp is a usually free BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media. The first PodCamp was held September 8-10, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. PodCamps are now being held worldwide.

PodCamp isn’t just about podcasting! If you’re interested in blogging, social media, social networking, podcasting, video on the net, if you’re a podsafe musician (or want to be), or just someone curious about new media, then please join us – and bring a friend or colleague.”

If you are in the South East of Ireland why not pop along and join in the fun.  To extend the weekend even further progress then to Tinnahinch in Graiguenamanagh where we are having the first revival of the old Michaelmas Festival which took place in the area for over 300 years but died out in the 60’s.  I am on the organising committee of the festival so what with talking at Podcamp and working in Tinnahinch I think that it is going to be a very busy weekend!

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Pictures of felt rug and Autumn swap buddies!

As promised I have uploaded some images of my rug in progress at the workshop I attended with Mehmet Girgic at Wollknoll in Germany.  Please click here to access my Flickr photostream and see how the rug was made.  We started with a base of ‘kicked’ wool and cotton fabric and built up our outlines using thin strands of wool.  Mehmet had prepared the bases at his workshop in Turkey (carded wool, fabric, water and kicked together by foot to form a surface similar to prefelt) but a couple of the girls wanted to make bigger rugs so they laid out their design directly onto bubble wrap, by choosing this method they ended up with rugs where their image was reversed.  Once the outlines were laid (mine took 1 and 1/2 days!) we started to fill in with various different coloured wools.  Memhet had brought various hand dyed wool with him and we also had a free rein at Wollknoll, we just took what we wanted from their fantastic range and weighed it as we worked.  At the end of the workshop everyone bought the wool that they had used but to be honest if really did not use up a huge amount if you started with the prepared base.  The girls that choose to lay directly onto the bubblewrap then had to place fabric on their design followed by a thick layer of carded wool and therefore had to buy quite a bit more.  Then the fun started!  The rugs were rolled up in a long plastic carpet, about 5 at a time, the bundle was tied tightly and then kicked by foot for a minimum of an hour.  More details to follow in the next post and as soon as I am at my own computer I will upload a couple of pictures to the blog, unfortunately I can’t do it from here! 

The Autumn swap buddies are hereby announced! 

Carmen and Sylvia – Anna and Nicola – Jo-Anne and Ruth – Martina and Nicola – Sherry and Niki – Pam and Micky

Please can all involved check your email, I have sent you the contact details of your partner and you need to email them as soon as possible with your postal address and your preferences.  I have decided to extend the deadline for posting the packages to 21st October, I am really tied up at the moment so I hope another week will suit us all!  Please remember, the theme is Autumn, we will swap one hand made accessory, one seasonal receipe and one little extra.    Good luck and enjoy!!

Congratulations to Feltmakers Ireland

Just a quick note to congratulate Feltmakers Ireland on their great new blog!  Check it out and whether you are an experienced feltmaker or just starting out in this fascinating field I would encourage you all join our group.  Earlier in the year I participated at a weekend ‘Felt In’ with some of the members and it was a really fantastic experience, great crack and very informative.  I know that another weekend away is on the cards so why not join up, come along and participate in the fun!

Autumn swap update

I just realised that of course we are not all in the same time zone therefore I will wait until tomorrow morning to do the draw for our first ever swap!  If you would like to join in the fun you have just a couple of more hours to either reply to this post or send me an email.

Images from my course with Mehmet Girgic will be posted tomorrow!

Home from fabulous felting course!

Hi everyone, I have finally returned from a week in Crete followed by the most fantastic rug making workshop with Mehmet Girgic at Wollknoll in Germany!!  What can I say?  Mehmet is a master Turkish feltmaker and every minute spent participating in his workshop was an amazing experience.  Twelve of us gathered from as far afield as Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Austria to learn the traditional way to make our own rug and I must say that it was worth every Euro spent.  The knowledge that we gained from our own work and watching others was invaluable.  Mehmet is exceptionally generous with his time and experience, everyone felt he was the most generous teacher and facilitator that they had ever had the chance to work with.  I can’t wait to get some images up for you on the blog but it may be tomorrow before I actually get them downloaded, I have been up for 36 hours without sleep and counting!  Keep an eye on the blog tomorrow or late this evening, I promise to have a taster on view and also the Autumn Swap partners go up tomorrow!!

Exciting news re felt and ‘Breaking Out’!

I am so excited today as my felt is definitely going to be on display at ‘Breaking Out’, the Crafts Council Exhibition to be held in Kilkenny from October 19th until mid January 2009.  The curator Ann Mulrooney and I met this afternoon so that she could have a look at the current work I have been making.  I have to say that I was very unsure how the meeting would go as it is always difficult to be critically assesive about your own work, especially if like me you have no formal art college training.  Anyway, Ann was really nice and supportive, one of my pieces has been selected for photographing on Sept 18th (merino wool neckpiece with loads of spikes!) and the rest of the work needs to be delivered by the beginning of October.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that my work was up to scratch and I really am looking forward to inviting all my friends who have supported me develop my practice to the opening!  Another knock on effect of being selected has been the fact that I am now registered as a maker with the Crafts Council and have a profile page complete with images on their website.

Felting techniques and swap update

It is amazing how many ways there are to felt a ball.  Today I needed to make a couple of felt balls and although they are always trotted out as a beginners project for me they are far from it!  I always seem to have difficulty starting them off without getting creases but no more, Australian feltmaker Anita Larkin’s way worked a treat.  You lay a few very light layers of wool down on a bamboo blind (I used merino) at right angles to each other and then dry felt for a few seconds.  This dry felting is done by placing the palm of your hand of the fibres and moving it gently away from you and back towards you, then do the same from a 90 degree angle.  You now have a flattish square of fibres which you fold over at the corner to make an angle, exactly like folding a won ton.  Starting from this angle now fold and roll the whole wad of fibres into a ball making sure that the last wisps are as smooth as possible on the outside.  Dunk very quickly and very gently into hot soapy water (I use natural olive oil soap) and start to rotate LIGHTLY in your hand.  Almost immediately you will feel a skin forming on the outside of the ball, the inside will still be dry and any small creases can now be covered with a light wisp of wool.  Work the ball in your hand and on the mat dunking it a couple of times in the hot water as you progress to start working the inside as well.  Before you can say ‘felt’ you will have a great ball, amazing!  Make sure to rinse it out in hot water and there you go.

Speaking of Australia I mentioned before a great Australian website for felting and sewing supplies, Essential Textile Art.  Today I placed another order for various types of sari fabric to incorporate in my nuno felting.  I am going away on a felting course to Wollknoll in a weeks time and hope that the fibres will be here on my return.  My new Etsy shop is now set up and I will be frantically making some nice pieces to sell as Christmas presents, as soon as I have the items up I will post a link here on the blog!  Remember, sign up to Buy Handmade if you want to support artists and craftspeople from around the world.

Swap update: We now have swap participants from Ireland, Germany, Spain and Denmark to join in the upcoming exchange that I am organising.  To keep it simple for the first swap the theme will be Autumn and the deadline to join will be 21st September.  Swap buddies will be allocated then and your package needs to be posted to your buddy by the 14th October.  We will exchange one handmade accessory, one seasonal receipe and a little something extra.  Obviously everyone is into different forms of craft so you may make your handmade item anything that you would like to recieve yourself using Autumn at the theme.  If you don’t work with textiles there is no problem, just let me know if you would prefer to exchange a piece of art (hand made cards, wall hanging etc.) or some hand made edible goodies and I will pair you up with someone who would like to receive there items.  To sign up and for those of you already signed up please email me with your likes and dislikes and let me know if you would be happy to receive gifts other that textiles if necessary and I can forward your preferences on to your swap buddy when the draw is made.  If this swap goes according to plan we might consider Christmas as our next theme!  To check out other current swaps visit SwapDex, be careful you don’t get hooked.