Saturday was a fun day even if I was on the road from 5am until 11pm! The closure for ‘Craft in the Classroom’ was very interesting, it was great to hear from other artist/makers and the teachers that they worked with as well as getting the opportunity to view a small selection of the work that they had made with their pupils. All of it was good but some of it was AMAZING!! Polly Minnet (director of the project from the Crafts Council) actually said that one collaboration achieved work of post grad standard and indeed it was absolutely mind blowing to see what these particular pupils had created and realise that they were only 7 to 9 years old. For this particular work they had explored the idea of mapping and combined this with local historical buildings. The pupils had each been given a grid on an ordenance survey map (they painted these on a wooden background) and then they made either an historic building or a local landmark to position on their square. These buildings and landmarks were made to scale in pottery and I still find it hard to believe how accurate and detailed they looked and how the total piece all came together like a jigsaw when the various squares were assembled for display. Other pupils made a life sized willow and paper boat and still others worked in wire and fibre to create colourful fish which now have pride of place hanging over their heads from a large fishing net in their games hall. Overall there were almost 20 schools represented on Saturday and I was thrilled that some of my pupils and parents arrived early in the afternoon and were able to accept their certificate in person and it was interesting to note how QUIET they seemed out of the normal setting of their school environment!! Photographer Bernie McCoy was there to document the day and the Crafts Council are hoping to assemble the pictures into large posters which may go on to tour Ireland, this is a nice idea as it might not be practical to tour all the work but it would be lovely to have a permanent reminder of how the project evolved. The ‘Leitrim Design House’ will also be curating an exhibition in late September/early October of selected works so all in all the project will live on for another while at least. Thanks to Alan who travelled down from his parent’s house to attend with me. I had to rush home as soon as proceedings were over to try and catch the end of the Blueprint opening in Carlow so we didn’t get a chance for a meal or anything but hopefully he will be back in Clasheen towards the end of the week and we will have a lot more time to do things together now he is not in the Council.
By the time I arrived in Carlow on Saturday night the opening was actually starting to wind down! Aparantly there had been a good crowd (over 100) and everyone who had lingered on was in good spirits so I just got my instructions for invigilation on Sunday and after a quick half glass of wine headed off home.
My stint minding the space was from 11.30am until 5pm on Sunday and I must say that although I got pretty cold due to the cement floor and high ceilings the time passed very quickly indeed. There are 10 participating artists and interestingly enough although the works were not curated (there was a definite guideline of art not functional craft) everything seems to pull together well and I think that the space lent itself to an exhibition of this type. It was interesting to talk with some of the people who dropped by over the course of the day and I had a long chat with Paul from the Carysfort Gallery who was taking a day off in Carlow but couldn’t resist spotting for talent at the various fringe exhibitions around the town. Apologies for the quality of the image, I just wanted you to get a bit of an idea of how the show looks and feels, possibly I may get back during the week and get another opportunity to take pictures but realisticaly with my tight time schedual at the moment that seems unlikely!!
As promised here is an image of one of the simple felt corsages that I made the other day at Carmen’s. Without giving a total blow by blow account of the process I laid out a thin circle of merino fibres and added a piece of silk chiffon to the centre, felted the bundle until it was holding together and then cut out a wedge shaped piece a bit like cutting a slice from a cake or a pizza! I also snipped a few holes in the felt and then continued to felt and stretch the holes to create a nice shape. When I was happy with the shrinkage achieved I manipulated the felt into a spiral and left it to dry in this shape. I love the finished result and now have to decide will I get out the dreaded needle to add a few seed beads or leave well alone, decisions, decisions, decisions!