I can’t believe that the weekend is almost upon us and the Sigrid Bannier felt workshops will start tomorrow. Yesterday I was at a Crafts Council training day re curating exhibitions and met up with quite a few friends from Feltmakers Ireland. Clodagh had brought along the beads that she made last week with Sigrid and Holly was wearing a necklace that she cut using one of Sigrid’s ideas, both were fantastic! Apparantly the jewellery making workshop is VERY labour intensive and I am looking forward very much to learning some new techniques tomorrow. Sunday sees the Nuno workshop taking place and I will be assisting then but not participating, I expect I probably will learn even more!! Now I am going to rush off and prepare our meal for tomorrow evening, tonight Alan and I go to the Carlow Person of the Year awards and I feel like there are definitely not enough hours in any day at the moment but especially this week! I promise to write a proper post and put up some pictures on Sunday night or Monday morning.
Great news, I got a phone call today and learnt that I have been accepted for ‘Craft in the Classroom’. I am going to be teamed up with a National School in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim (a very rural area for those of you not familar with the Irish countryside) which is brilliant, Alan’s father is actually from the area and his uncle still lives on the edge of town overlooking the canal. Alan owns a small derelict cottage a couple of miles from Ballinamore and we have been stripping it out in preparation for a major restoration job on a budget, is there such a thing?? Anyway, as soon as I know some more details I will contact Alan’s aunt and uncle and book my bed, they run an excellent farmhouse B&B specialising in providing accomodation for keen fishermen and women.
Last night I staged a MAJOR battle with my sewing machine, I might even go so far as to say that I HATE the thing! Two pieces of beautiful nuno felt later and I vowed that it would never see the light of day again. I ruined the felt; my intention initially had been to sew some simple lined diary covers (for the 10 2009 diaries waiting in my studio) but after I wrecked the first piece I ammended my plan to some nuno wrist cuffs I had seen a pattern for in a great American quilting magazine. No go. More felt ruined. I am now going to forget about sewing totally except for some easy beading, instead I am going to ask my friend Remmy to line a couple of bags if necessary and concentrate on making things that need NO stitches!
I have put some more images up on Flickr this morning but the battery on my camera is on charge again, I have nearly worn the poor thing out. As soon as it is charged fully I will be able to load the images to my Etsy shop, for some reason they need to go directly from the camera and not from the web and that seems to be using a huge lot of battery power. If you want to check out some of the items on Flickr I can say that the nuno scarfs will range in price from E30 (frothy neckpiece) to E60 (bronze nuno felted scarf) and the brooches and necklaces from E12 (pink and orange brooch) to E40 (reversible necklace). To order any of these pieces before I put them up on my Etsy shop please email me directly, I would be happy just to charge you whatever it costs to post them instead of the Etsy charges but you would need to let me know asap!
It’s been a busy weekend an an even busier start to Monday! On Saturday I went down to Woodbrook House to discuss a couple of things with Giles and also to clarify the set up of our felting room and the dining arrangements for the Sigrid Bannier jewellery and nuno workshops next weekend. Due to unforseen circumstances I am now going to be organising and cooking the food myself next weekend as well as participating in the Saturday workshop and entertaining everyone on Saturday night! We also need to rearrange the workshop room somewhat and I will be going down to Woodbrook again in the morning to try for a final organising with Giles.
At last I am starting to get a few more items up on my Etsy shop. I wanted to have nice hand made products in the E15 to E60 price range suitable for Christmas presents and stocking fillers. This morning I uploaded a range of images of trellis scarves and wraps selling from E30 up to E47, one thing to remember is that the prices on line are un USA dollers so they are not actually as expensive as they sound at first, $38 = approx E30! As soon as my camera charges up again I have a series of felt necklaces (some with vintage or hand made buttons) to photograph and get on line. These will cost from E15 to E20 each so do check in over the next few days as I get to grips with getting the shop up and running.
The Craft Fair that I participated in on Sunday was interesting if very dissapointing. Unfortunately there was an extremely low turnout of people to view the stands and although in general the standard of work was very high there just weren’t enough people to make it worthwhile. I was lucky enough to sell both of the alpaca scarves (both to men!) that I had on display and therefore covered costs and made a few Euro. Most of the exhibitors sold nothing although the home made biscotti and preserves that the organisers had made did sell steadily to anyone who came. It was a salutory lesson for me. Normally I am on the organising end of events and to be honest advertising in many shapes and forms is the main answer to get the foot fall, the only sign that I saw for the event was on the road leading to the town and although the organiser did assure us that she had advertised extensively locally none of us had seen anything. I am not blaming her in the slightest but I do feel that she underestimated the amount of signage needed and the actual cost of getting it all together, purely through lack of experience. The venue was beautiful if small, a gorgeous room overlooking the river Barrow and the organisers were helpful and friendly.
Thanks so much to Micki who has given me this Blogging Friends Forever Award! Micki is an American living in beautiful Donegal who is passionate about quilting, embellishing, felting and all fiber arts. You can catch Micki’s blog Irish Muses and enjoy some of her favourite music by clicking here or following the link in the blogroll on the right.
The rules for this award are that you …
- link back to the person who gave you this award
- give this award to four dedicated followers of your blog
- present it to one person who is new to your blog and lives on the other side of the world
Yesterday I had my interview for ‘Craft in the Classroom’ and should get to know on Monday whether I am selected for the project or not. I am really hoping that I will be chosen as one of the participating artists because it would be a great oportunity to work with primary school children and introduce them to the art of feltmaking. On Sunday this weekend I will be having a small stand at a local craft fair so am busy today making some more scarves and putting a few things together that I might need for the day. Because of all the work that I have been doing recently for the 2 exhibitions I don’t actually have a lot of stock lying around. I am not going to worry unduly about selling work but have decided to do a few demos and advertise my felt making classes in addition to displaying work. If anyone is interested in coming along the event takes place from 12pm until 4pm at Boats Bistro on the Carlow side of the river at Tinnahinch, Graiguenamanagh, Co. Kilkenny.
The smiles say it all! Thanks to Remmy Quinn for taking this picture of us at the opening of the Winter Exhibition at Kozo last Saturday. I have to say that it is one of the only nice pictures of all the Browns together, me on the left, my mother in front wearing black, my sister Lizzy in red and my sister Suzanne beside her also in black. Check out my Flickr images to see a couple more images that Remmy took at the exhibition including one of my work.
Swap partners have been assigned for the Clasheen Christmas Swap and are as follows …..
Juniejo swaps with Clasheen
ScrapStampSew swaps with Dara
Jean swaps with Martina
Carmen swaps with Shemacgo
Gingersnap Hollow swaps with Vicky Plum
SmitoniumAndSonata swaps with Annabie
REMEMBER that we are swapping either a handmade Christmas ornament or a handmade Christmas gift, a seasonal receipe and a little extra surprise. Packages need to be sent by Friday 6th December and everyone MUST post pictures to the group pool when their package arrives. Have fun!
Well, last night I had a big disaster in my utility room. Johnny, one of my felting students had given me a present of some beautiful Alpaca and I decided to try washing some of it in the washing machine prior to carding. Thanks Carmen for THAT tip, what a catastrophe!! I put the Alpaca in a pillow case, tied the top with cotton cord and set it on a cool silk and wool cycle. When the cycle was over and I opened the door an amazing amount of brown ‘gunk’ was pooling within the rubber of the seal and the pillowcase was extremely wet and heavy. Maybe I shouldn’t have then decided to rinse and spin the package on a higher setting but nothing ventured, nothing gained. Anyway, this morning I am the prowd owner of what looks like a raw fleece collar, some of the fibres felted together, some are shaggy and unfelted. Never mind, I learnt a lesson and in actual fact I think that with a bit of judicious pruning I may well set a new trend in fashion accessories this Winter!
Thanks to all my friends and family who attended the opening of the Winter Exhibition at Kozo Gallery in Thomastown yesterday. Special thanks to my mother Lynette, my sisters Suzanne and Lizzy, my partner Alan and my friends Cathy, Martin, Eileen, Remmy, Duncan and Helena who all make the effort to attend, a great turnout! The exhibition continues until 31st January and as work is sold I can replace it with newer pieces. A second opening has also been organised for 6th December and another 5 artists are joining us then in the run up to Christmas. This was the first time that Kozo have invited artists to participate in an open selection and the work seemed to be very favourably received by both the public and the press.
With all the coming and going over the last few days I decided to felt something simple and quick this morning, prefelts seemed the obvious choice. I had promised my students that I would have some prepared for their next lesson and of course as soon as I started making them I have been having all sorts of wild ideas of what I myself would like to use them for. Now I want to spend all my time preparing some funky colour schemes and know that I will be in a frenzy over the next few days to prepare a wide selection of colours! For those of you not sure what I mean by prefelt it is a piece of felt in the making which you stop fulling and shrinking as soon as the fibres are holding together into an obvious piece of fabric. This lightly felted piece can then be cut into any shape and laid on top of loose wool roving or batts, wet out and felted fully as normal. The big advantage of using prefelt in a design is that because it has already started to mesh together into a fabric your design edges will be very clean cut and sometimes this is exactly what you require. Anyway, I am having fun making quite large pieces in solid colours (so far!) and embellishing part of each prefelt heavily with either tussah or mulberry silk. Tomorrow I will continue making some more pieces and on Tuesday or Wednesday start cutting some of them up to use in some vessels I have been brooding over!!
I have just finished packing my work for the Kozo Winter Exhibition and am off to deliver it and meet a friend for coffee. Hopefully Tunde will be happy with what I am bringing, several necklaces, several vessels and 2 beautiful (I think!) and glamorous neck wraps with matching pins. These were made from some of the amazing silk jewels (recycled sari silk) that I got from Susan at Essential Textile Art in Australia. I nuno felted them with a very small amount of merino and they crinkled up beautifully as you can see if you look in my Flickr photostream, although the light was not great when I took the images so imagine a lot more sheen!
Tonight is the second class from my beginners course, last week they made amazing pieces of flat felt and tonight we are going to make small felt vessels. It was great seeing their amazement last week as the felt came together, tonight should be interesting!!
Last call to everyone for the Sigrid Bannier felt jewellery making and mosaic nuno workshops that take place on 29th and 30th November at Woodbrook House, Kiltealy, Co. Wexford. Please visit the workshops page for full details and either call me or contact Feltmakers Ireland immediately if you want to book a space. This weekend Sigrid is in Dublin and these courses are totally over subscribed, the Wexford leg still has a couple of places.
This afternoon I made the last felted vessel that I will be bringing with me to Kozo Gallery tomorrow. I love 3 dimensional work and really enjoy exploring the different shapes that can be made starting out with a flat felted parcel containing a resist. Depending on where you cut the hole to remove the resist all sorts of regular or organic shapes can be achieved using the same initial template. The vessel that I made today is in various shades of green merino embellished with a felted cord and some beautiful hand dyed tussah silk. I sandwiched the felt cord inside 4 layers of merino then felted the vessel as normal. Although I was expecting it to stand out very visably in relief in the finished piece I think that I could have used a thicker cord, it is visable but I felted it so much that I think it disapeared into the background a little! My intention is to shave the vessel as soon as it dries and then emphasise the cord with a little judicious stitching of seed beads along the lines. Fingers crossed this will achieve the effect that I am looking for.
Recently I had a visit from Anna, a regular follower of the blog and a great swap partner in the first Clasheen Crafty Swap! This photo shows Anna wearing one of my simple fleted necklaces as a hairband. Thanks Anna for the order of 4 more of these accessories, I will get them made and in the post for you next week. I will be offering these necklaces/hairbands for sale on my Etsy shop for E20 each and am happy to make them in any colours that might take your fancy. Please email me if you would like to order one if I have not had time to put them up on the shop, they would make a great Christmas present!