Dawn and I have had a busy time of it since Chrissie Day and Nigel headed home on Tuesday morning. We’ve taken loads of pictures, I finished a lot of stitching while Dawn caught up with emails and facebook, we delivered my felt to Duckett’s Grove yesterday afternoon, collected mum’s car (because with Danish friend Kirsten arriving we couldn’t all fit in my pick up truck!), got up early again this morning for the official opening of the new craft and gallery shop, felted in the studio for the first time, was interviewed for the paper, filmed and interviewed for today’s RTE News, collected Kirsten from the bus and then headed home to Clasheen in time for an early supper and to watch the slot on the 6 o’clock news!!!
Dawn in front of my vessels at the opening of Duckett's Grove
It really was a case of being in the right place at the right time. Edel Galvin from Carlow County Development Partnership had asked me if I would do a little felting demo in my new studio after the speeches and before I knew what was happening the footage was shot and I had my short moment of fame. The invited guests at the opening really seemed to appreciate the quality of the work displayed and it’s wonderful to finally have a local Co. Carlow venue to sell high-end craft from.
The fact that I have just secured a studio in the complex is really, really exciting. There may well be more workshops available in the future but currently there are 4 local artist makers who will be working from Duckett’s Grove and I feel privileged to say that I am one of them!!! I did think that I would be getting the keys today but there is still a bit of paperwork to complete so although I did get to felt inside the space for the first time today it will be another week or so before it is officially handed over to me! If you’d like to call in and say hello before I head to teach in the US I’ll be there all day on Sunday 6th May and hope to have a workshop schedule prepared for the rest of the summer, there will also be a big craft market in the grounds of Duckett’s Grove and all the studios should be open to the public!
Having fun felting for the first time in my new studio at Duckett's Grove!
Check out Dawn’s facebook page for loads of images of the buildings and the opening, she was snapping away and has some lovely shots.
We had a WONDERFUL time having fun and learning new skills from great buddy Dawn Edwards during her ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops at the weekend!!! All the participants started each day oohing and aahing over the gorgeous hats on display, trying them on and discussing with Dawn whether to work from one of her templates of branch out and design one of their own.
The start of the Saturday workshop
Unfortunately I don’t have enough hours in any day at the moment to write a long review of the workshops but suffice to say Dawn’s lovely calm, knowledgeable and fun manner of teaching ensured that everybody learnt or honed their skills and left with a beautiful new creation to enjoy and show off! Both Dawn and I are uploading photos to our facebook pages but as I say time is short for me at the moment and I do want to enjoy myself with Dawn now and welcome Danish friend Kirsten to Clasheen at the weekend so it may be another few days before they all are uploaded and titled.
Sisters Babs and Helena wearing their beautiful flower decorated hats!
Friday is going to be hectic, since Dawn’s arrival I have also been running around and frantically preparing a lot of felt which needs to be delivered to Duckett’s Grove tomorrow (I had the wrong deadline) and amazingly I was in the right place at the right time and have secured a new studio place there as well! There are 4 artist’s studios in the renovated courtyard and one of the artists had to back out at the last minute, enter me!!!
Andrea shaping and fulling, Niki and Dawn near the end of the first workshop
We’ll be measuring it up tomorrow when we deliver the felt to the new retail unit there and then planning what to set up for the official opening with a government minister on Friday morning, Dawn’s been invited to display her hats too so it sounds as if it will be an action packed and fun day!
After a lot of technical issues ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ is now available to order as an ebook for iPhone, iPod and iPad touch. Currently Blurb don’t offer it for other forms of digital readers but hope to do so before too long has elapsed. I did have to make it available in a wrap around hard back too in order to get it online but I’ve priced highly just to ensure nobody orders it by mistake, of course if you do happen to want a hard back copy that’s another thing entirely!
We’re having the most fantastic time here, Dawn’s workshop yesterday was a big success and now she and Chrissie are having breakfast while I try to write this from the bath!!! I’ll try to upload more photos to Facebook throughout the day and post properly tonight or tomorrow night, it’s just too manic now and we need to get on the road again!
Well, it’s been an absolutely whirlwind 36 hours. Luckily I checked my emails while I was trying to tidy the house in preparation for Dawn’s arrival only to discover I’d made a mistake with the time she was landing. I had to actually get up at 4am yesterday in order to leave for the airport at 5am and then when I got to Dublin her flight was early, thank goodness I checked or else she could still be wandering around the airport!!!
Dawn and Eileen MacDonagh are dwarfed by Eileen's amazing installation 'Cathedral'! Eileen has over 40 tonnes of stone and amazing other sculptures on exhibition at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow Town, miss it at your peril!!!
I do want to keep everyone up to date with what’s happening here at the moment but honestly it’s just so action packed it’s really difficult to know where to start and there are not enough hours in the day to write everything down, I also want to relax and enjoy the next couple of weeks! Dawn and I will both be taking pictures every day so do check out Dawn’s new FB album and when Chrissie Day arrives on Friday evening I’ll expect we’ll both have no voices left.
Last night Chrissie and I finally put our new book to bed, ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ is now officially available to order in soft back, we’re just sorting out logistics (IBSN numbers etc.) and then it’ll be available in hard back and an eBook version for iPads and iPhones, please bear with us! One set of downloadable templates for 5 of the tops featured in this book are available free to order in a size of their choice for each purchaser of ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown‘, instructions for accessing these are in the book. Starting with the basics, topics covered include adding design to fabrics using deconstructed screenprinting, the use of an electric sander and discovering how to utilise a tumble dryer in order to eliminate the traditional rubbing and rolling stage of the nuno felting process altogether. Here’s the link to preview or order the book, we hope that you like it!
Last night I finally finished as much of the book as was humanly possibly and pushed the button to start uploading the files to Chrissie, pity I didn’t realise that I had previously set the computer to switch off after 5 hours, hmm! Anyway, it’s back on now and hopefully by tonight the book will be ready to publish!!! I’m off for another session of CRAFTed today and then I’ll be shopping and organising in preparation for Dawn’s arrival tomorrow morning, I’m so excited!!! I can’t imagine how difficult her packing must be, check out this picture of the wonderful hats she’ll have at Borris Town Hall on Saturday and Sunday for our two ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops!!!!!
OK, it’s not totally blowing up a gale outside but it is pretty difficult to take pictures of completed pieces for the book without everything almost heading over the fence and into the field, nuno felt can be so lightweight, help! I’ve been trying to wrap up so many things today, I’m not finished by a long shot and in fact can’t see much light at the end of the tunnel yet. I have however managed to get some washing done and out in the wind to dry and shortly I’ll be taking a break before returning to the computer in the evening. I feel like I’m tied to the thing at this stage and would love to be in the studio felting instead, not a hope this weekend unfortunately!!!
I'm offering a large collaged nuno wrap in colours of their choice to the winning bidder in the Helping Herd auction. This image is just to illustrate the sort of wrap I'm talking about!
For those of you following me on FB you may have seen that I’m part of the Helping Herd, a group set up to raise funds and help Chris and Christina Silver of Earth Art Cashmere to get back on their feet after a fire devestated their farm in Novia Scotia. An online auction is currently underway (until midnight on April 27th) for some beautiful hand made goods and supplies that have been donated, I’m offering a large collaged wrap which I will felt to order for the winning bidder. Please consider donating something to help this worthwhile cause or placing a bid on one of the items that are already online, I wouldn’t blog about this if I didn’t feel it was important to support other fibre producers and artisans when something as dreadful as a fire has impacted on their livelyhood.
Finally for today I’m heading back outside to try and take some photos again, wish me luck!
This morning I brought some framed landscapes, two vessels and two of my new felting tools to Borris Food and Craft Market. I wanted to have a fresh display for regulars to browse and it’s nice for local feltmakers to see and hold them in the hand as opposed to on Etsy where I think we only have one ‘Big One’ left. Our second order is being made as I write so Kim you may have that prodder before you know it!
The Modest and Minimalist debut at Borris market this morning!
I’m totally tied up otherwise trying to finish the nuno felting book before Dawn arrives next Tuesday, Chrissie and I are really hoping they will be ready to order sometime on Sunday evening. You’ll have to forgive my lack of words today, I’ve none left over from the book!!!
Yesterday morning I felted the piece which will actually be the first in my section of the new book with Chrissie, it’s a beautiful but simple scarf and I think the perfect project for anyone wanting to try nuno felting for the first time. I’m not going to have much time to blog for the next few days as I’m teaching, felting, writing, at the market and preparing the house for Dawn Edwards to arrive this day next week!!!
Using my 'niki & niki' roller directly on top of the bubble wrap
I will however post a few pics as I go along, the one today shows me using my felting roller on the top of the bubble wrap at the early stages of making my scarf yesterday. Instead of rubbing with my hands as I usually would before starting to roll, I simple rolled back and forwards with my ‘niki & niki’ felting roller all over my package 20 times on each side and the short fibre merino was already starting to migrate through the heavy silk fabric! Half the rubbing replaced with this rolling and a lot faster result, yay!!!
I’m busy felting and writing today but I wanted to share some more pictures of our first CRAFTed session from Rathnure NS, thanks Taragh for forwarding these on to me.
Building up the design in layers
Teacher Taragh contacted me yesterday and said that the children were delighted with their first pieces of felt and are really looking forward to our next hands on session, I am too. In addition to the actual felting our intention was for the children to document our progress through words (in a journal), images (for themselves and the blog) and film (to be shown to the parents), because of the large numbers involved (35 six and seven year olds) the only people taking any pictures last week were Taragh and me!
Rubbing through the bubble wrap
Their first pieces of felt are now proudly displayed on the front of their new journals, I’m looking forward to seeing these books and reading about what the children enjoyed most (or didn’t!) handling wool and flat felting for the first time. We’re just waiting for the final permission slips to come back from the parents and when they do I’ll be able to show you some happy smiling faces, for the moment you can just imagine them!!!
Some of the first pieces of flat felt from senior infants and first class at Rathnure National School