I’m having an early night tonight in order to be in top form for the first of three days teaching at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, CA tomorrow. This morning I woke up at 3.40am and just couldn’t get back to sleep, too many ideas sparked by the wonderful supplies from the studio and obviously a little bit of jet lag doesn’t help the cause either. Already I’ve been having a fantastic time catching up with old friends. In the morning I’ll be meeting some good online friends in person for the first time, that’s going to be exciting too!!! I’ll try and post some pics to FB as we go along during the workshops.
I just can’t believe that I need to get packed, have a bath and leave for ‘The Tin Thimble’ in Loomis via Dublin in the space of 1 hour and 5 minutes, my targeted tod (time of departure)!!!
I’ve been totally crazy this morning trying to check my ESTA status (Visa requirements), travel insurance, boarding passes, long term car park, catch up with emails and online stuff as well as get two loads of washing into the machine and dried in time to pack, CRAZY!!!!!
Rami headed up to the airport last night after another busy day felting and discussing suppliers etc., I’m uploading a couple of pics here but I’m sure you can appreciate I don’t have a minute left in which to write a longer post. I really enjoyed out time together, he’s a very creative designer and now I’m so looking forward to seeing the window displays he puts together for the winter season. They’re due to be unveiled at the beginning of December and I love the fact that they will be based around textile art prmiarily using wool as a raw material!
Now I’m off to the studio to load up some felting supplies, tools and samples, watch out Emma, Sharon, Lisa and Mark, Tin Thimble here I come!!!
I’ve NO time to blog now because we’re just finishing our last afternoon of Rami’s intensive week long felting workshop. Pics tomorrow and a longer post, adieu for now…..
Yesterday Rami completed two great sculptural shibori pieces, both were laid out and felted to the prefelt stage then tied and felted again until they were finished. I’d be happy to call either piece my own especially since one features my FAVOURITE colour combination (some might say obsession), light green and black!!!
Today we concentrated on big boy toys. By this I primarily mean electric tools to help hasten the felting process or achieve specific end results easily, obviously we’ve been using the ‘niki & niki’ felting tools daily but I think that goes without saying by now. I really don’t have time to write up each method we used, thanks must definitely go though to Horst for sharing his method of felting using a combination of sander, washing machine and tumble dryer, check out Rami’s sample below to see the soft and tactile end result. We also tried out Horst’s way of utilising a plasterer’s float to felt cords and if you’re interested in the tumble dryer method for nuno felting large pieces ‘Nuno Felting with Chrissie Day and Nicola Brown’ gives step by step instructions! At the moment there are a string of felt beads in the washing machine (another technique, pics later maybe) and I’ve got to rush to write up my submission to ‘Beauty in Nature’ and pack the relevant pieces to deliver to the Crafts Council tomorrow.
Rami and I’ll be heading to Borris Market in the morning then visiting Philip at Cushendale Woollen Mill, Alex at Grennan Craft School and then going to Kilkenny where we’ll check out the National Craft Gallery, stroll around the grounds of Kilkenny Castle and in general have a browse and a bite to eat!
Rami arrived safely to Ireland on Saturday night/Sunday morning, bed time 4.25am!
Yesterday was spent chatting about the basics of feltmaking, laying out and felting his first piece of flat felt, exploring a lot of different natural and manmade surface embellishments, checking out images of work he is inspired by and discussing the large fibre related project that Rami will be working on once he returns to the Lebanon.
Today we explored felt balls, cords, loops, working with raw wool, creating texture, basic needle felting and including resists within the lay out of a piece. This may sound like a lot of different techniques to cover in one day but during the course of our intensive week together Rami wants to learn how to create specific end results and is not concerned with heading home with a perfect, artistic ‘finished piece’. Rather he’s been creating samples and learning about the various ways of achieving the look he wants, it’s exciting seeing how things come together, intensive work but invigorating and creative!
I really don’t have time to write much this week, instead I’ll just try and post pictures as the time progresses, enjoy them.
As part of my own preparation for 7 days of intensive teaching I wanted to have the materials gathered for my personal work during this time. Obviously I’ll be working one to one with Rami but while he’s laying out pieces and generally discovering all the joys of the various felting techniques I’ll get a certain amount if time to do my own thing. At the beginning of the week I’ve attachments to prepare for a large sculptural piece and some Eco printing and dyeing to do then I plan to lay out a large nuno felt garment incorporating some of the silks and prefelts that I’ll already have printed. The workshop proper will run from 10am until late afternoon each day and after we’ve eaten each evening I’ll be back in the studio felting, Rami will be free to join me if he’s not already mentally and physically exhausted, I also have a list of reading material for him to go through so I think I’ll be keeping him on his toes! I’m going to leave you today with a picture I love, me and my god son Jack gathering eucalyptus leaves and bark (from a variety of different trees) in his grandparents garden, thanks Sharon, Jack, Betty and Jack senior for all your help and the gift of the wonderful vegetation!!!
Ooh, I just love hearing the delivery man pulling up outside especially when I know that the box he’s brought for me is full of new materials and felting supplies! Unfortunately the silk organza that I wanted to try was not in stock but everything else I ordered is present and correct. When I mentioned that I wanted the delivery asap in advance of a workshop which had been organised with a tight time frame Wollknoll pulled out all the stops and the box arrived less than a week after it was ordered, thanks for a great service and great products guys! Rami arrives late on Saturday night all the way from Beruit, we’ll have 7 full days together exploring flat and three dimensional wet felting, nuno felting and a little bit of needle felting too.
Those of you who know me well understand that I don’t practice needle felting as an art form although I definitely find that the needles can sometimes help if I’m trying to secure inclusions during the layout stage of some bags and vessels as well as build up the bumps on my ‘Seashapes’ series of sculptures and vessels. Here you can see a picture of one of my nudibranch inspired sculptures ‘Sea Slug II’ photographed by Rob Lamb and included in Sylvia Tompson’s wonderful new book ‘Hands On‘. Up to now I’ve always used upholstery foam or kitchen sponges behind whatever I’m stabbing but they’re definitely a little bit grotty at this stage so I actually ordered some proper foam and a selection of different sized needles to have here for Rami to play with.
Anyway, I better stop procrastinating and head downstairs to get stuck in and continue my studio tidy up! Adieu.
I had a lovely weekend filled with fun, felt and friends both old and new.
Here are two pictures that sum things up, firstly Jack and Denis with their beautiful felt pictures from Duckett’s Grove on Saturday and then the ladies from Killoughternane Social Club with their fabulous felt from Sunday. Thanks Anna for organising such a great workshop, the food at lunch was fantastic too and I look forward to returning for a felt jewellery session before Christmas!!!
I’ve another busy but satisfying day ahead at Duckett’s Grove today. This morning I’m going to continue felting more jewellery to bring with me as samples to The Tin Thimble later this month and in the afternoon I’ll be giving my god son Jack and his friend Denis their first felting session! The new flower bolos that I designed recently have already been a success from a sales point of view, I love the fact that they’re fun to make and I haven’t seen anyone else making them yet so that’s another plus. I’m just going to pop in to Madeleine in the tea rooms and grab a take out coffee and then I’ll start felting, where would I be without a good cup of joe?