Today Alan and I will be going to a drinks party at Shankill Castle, Paulstown, Co. Kilkenny, home of Geoffrey and Elizabeth Cope. Elizabeth is a well known artist and Shankill was actually the place where Alan and I both met, we lived there in the late ’90s and over the Millenium!! After last weeks open house here at Clasheen, Elizabeth kindly suggested that I put a discrete display of my work on one of her sideboards complete with some business cards in time for tonight’s festivities. This was a very welcome offer because you never know at Shankill exactly who will be there or who might be interested in the work!
Anyway, I decided last night to made myself a mosaic nuno neck wrap to wear this evening using some of the gorgeous silk chiffon that arrived at the end of last week from Wollknoll. I chopped and laid out the silk in apple green and forest green with some warm yellow and soft orange highlights. Alan arrived into the studio at that point and declared that the layout was just like army fatiques, not the most helpful comment but in a way he was right! I laid a very fine layer of gold coloured merino over the silk and then laid a layer of a beautiful greeny/gold merino and silk combination at right angles to this. This top colour was one of the melanges that I carded earlier this winter when I had the use of Carmen’t drum carder and I had just been waiting for the proper opportunity to make use of it. The whole neck wrap had been laid out on thin plastic bin liners and when I wetted it out I placed another bin liner on the top. I massaged the package by hand to ensure that all the fibres were fully wet and starting to connect, then I rolled it up and began to roll. Once the wool was starting to migrate through the silk I then replaced one of the layers of bin liner with a long sheet of bubble wrap, I felt that this would speed up the process and so it did. Where the silk pieces overlapped by more that two layers it took a bit longer for the wool fibres to work through but after approx 1000 rolls I was able to start throwing the scarf! This sounds a bit frightening if you have never made nuno felt before but so long as the silk and wool have combined successfully this is the ideal way to full your work. Dipping it into really hot soapy (olive oil soap) water, squeezing the excess gently and then throwing hard onto the bubble wrap meant that the wrap only took a further five minutes to shrink and felt fully. The finished item has a really interesting combination of colours now that the merino and silk have worked through from behind and it will be perfect with my olive and apple green linen/organic cotton and hemp outfit that I intend wearing tonight. Hopefully if I get time in the morning and rain permitting I will take a picutre of it and post it to the blog.