Beading and adding the flowers to the wall hanging

Today was my final day at the Gaelscoil, the wall hanging in now finished, hallelujah! I did run into a bit of a problem with the method we were going to use to hang it but after a bit of brainstorming have a solution, thanks Mona for your input, all is now well!!!

Eight sixth class pupils did a sterling job beading the flowers, at the beginning we weren't exactly sure how many we would attach but once we were underway they decided that less would be more. Stitching and sewing is definitely not my forte, these boys and girls however enjoyed the day so thanks guys for a job well done! The felt still needs to hang outside for another couple of days to dry fully (thanks Tony) and Mona is going to supervise the stitching on of more hooks for hanging. I'll call in to the school on Monday morning when I'm in Carlow, after that the next time I'll see the piece is when it's hanging in its permanent position beside Bridget Flannery's beautiful abstract landscapes depicting the four seasons! Here's a close up of some of the flowers, next post, the completed wall hanging.

 

Drying the large wall hanging is taking some time

I'm amazed how long the large wall hanging is taking to complete. I called in to the Gaelscoil after I'd finished felting with the Goleir group yesterday morning to discover the art room was a bit smelly and humid because of the drying felt. Now that it's not so wet and heavy I decided to bring the piece home with me and try to get it dry outside, at least this way I can move and turn it regularly.

At the moment it's draped over one of my felting tables at the front of the house. I'm a little nervous that Rex might lift his leg on a corner of it but unless the wind and possibly the sun gets to the felt (hopefully not rain, look at that sky!) I'm not sure how on earth I'll get it ready to iron and attach the flowers. The school have put a picture of the wall hanging in progress online, once we're finished I'll collate all the picture and videos I've taken myself and post the best images here on the blog.

I'll leave you today with a picture of the beautiful flowers felted by the Goleir group yesterday, next week we'll take pictures of all the work created during this fun and creative four week series of workshops!

 

 

A lovely afternoon felting!

I spent a great afternoon facilitating a 'Fun Felt Flower' workshop for Geraldine and her lovely granddaughter Orla at Duckett's Grove yesterday. During the course of the two hours, Geraldine and Orla felted two flowers each (the first without a stem the second with) while I felted two myself and finished a commission of a flower bolo which I'd started earlier in the morning. Instead of felting a third flower each the ladies went for a stroll around the gardens then headed home with wool and embellishments to have for another day.

They'll felt together again and show Orla's mum how the flowers are made, what a great birthday gift from any granny to her granddaughter!!!

I haven't forgotten that some of you are asking for instructions about how the stems are made and attached, it's been CRAZY here with mum's move and the Gaelscoil project etc. but I do promise to try and get it done for you sometime later this week! Now I'm heading to the bath, then Duckett's Grove and then back home to do yet more organising. I've been up since early this morning and already have the truck full of useful items that I don't need to deliver (to a friend who works in the community) and yet more boxes to bring to the recycling centre. Onwards and upwards……. emails, flights to Portugal, Facebook messages and other online stuff will be dealt with later tonight!

 

Felt flower workshop at Duckett’s Grove tomorrow

I’ve had a late booking for a felt flower workshop tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 20th) between 2 and approx 4pm at Duckett’s Grove. The cost is €25 per person including all materials and participants can expect to make three beautiful flowers each to take home with them. Please let me know if you’d like to join us as I have a couple of places available, it should be FUN and I have some gorgeous new colours of both silk and merino for everyone to work with!!!

Louise and her mum with the beautiful flowers they felted during one of my workshops!

Louise and her mum with the beautiful flowers they felted at Duckett’s Grove during one of my workshops!

Just to prove it!

Two pictures from the Gaelscoil from yesterday and this morning, just to prove that I am working with actual, real, enthusiastic pupils!!!

 

Once we were happy that the felt was starting to shrink nicely we began rolling it up on itself…….

and this morning we were able to roll it in the opposite direction…..
….. and some teams even sang while they worked! Great work everyone, we're going to do some more rolling now then in the morning start rinsing and removing the soap.

 

 

 

Upcoming MI and KY workshops plus a couple of pictures from the Gaelscoil

I love teaching!!! Although I would like to have time to felt samples to bring on my upcoming US trip currently I have to concentrate on finishing the wall hanging at the Gaelscoil, help my mother prepare for moving house this Friday and facilitate my ongoing four session felting course with the Goleir group in Carlow. Once the wall hanging is finished I can really knuckle down and get some more pieces felted to bring with me on my travels, in fact I find it hard to believe I’ll be heading off for the first leg of my journey on 7th May. Plainwell MI, Lexington KY and Loomis CA, you’ve been warned!!!!! More about my MI and KY workshops further down this post, to start with I’ll share some news and pics from last week and this morning.

The wall hanging is starting to shrink at last!

The wall hanging is starting to shrink at last!

Firstly, it’s been so rewarding to work with the pupils at the Gaelscoil, their faces were a picture last week as they all returned into the art room to have another felting session with me, this time everyone was really working hard to start the fulling process and get this large baby shrinking! No matter how clear their understanding of the process we are engaged in is, seeing the fully laid out and partially felted wall hanging for the first time was amazing for them. Faces lit up as they could identify their own prefelt pieces in the overall landscape, the younger junior and senior infants (4 to 6 year olds approx) did wonder where their pink, red and purple felt had disappeared to but were soon delighted to discover that they would be adding silk and shaping it into three dimensional flowers!

Beautifully decorated flowers ready to wet out and felt

Beautifully decorated flowers ready to wet out and felt

These will be stitched on to the bottom portion of the piece later this week, I really hope to be able to show you completed pictures before too long, tomorrow we start to roll in a widthways direction. I also want to check with the principal tomorrow to see if I can put some pictures of the children online, I have some great action shots of them all working together as a team.

Now on to my US trip, it’s a hard life for a busy Irish felter!!! I’ll be delivering my new workshop ‘Wrapped in Nature’ in Plainwell MI on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May and Lexington KY on Friday 24th and Saturday 25th May. I’ll follow this on with three individual days teaching at the Felt Fest in Loomis CA on Friday 31st May and Saturday 1st and Sunday 2nd June, it’s all SO EXCITING!!!!! In the middle of all this I’ll be facilitating a nuno felt workshop and a felt flower workshop at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival on Saturday 18th and Sunday 19th May respectively, full details of all these events and links to book your place are over on the workshop page. I’m going to post the shortened version of the MI and KY workshop info here again for you to look over in case you haven’t already seen it, I hope to see you soon at one of these fabulous venues!!!

‘Wrapped in Nature’ – beautiful felt inspired by the natural landscape

During this two day workshop participants will design and create their own unique and beautiful wearable, functional or decorative piece of felt using the natural landscape as a starting point. Some participants may choose to felt a purely decorative art piece such as a large vessel, sculpture or wall hanging while others may take the opportunity to work on a nuno felt wrap, vest, complex bag or jewellery. Over the course of the two days there will be time to explore and discover techniques or materials that you may have never considered using in your felting before and we will also have the facilities to make some small experiments naturally printing/dyeing on silk and felt.

Wonderful Tin Thimble!

On Sunday I promised to update you on all my upcoming May workshops in the States, today I’ll start with the wonderful Tin Thimble in Loomis CA, next post I’ll be writing about my workshops with the marvellous Dawn Edwards in Plainwell MI and the final post of the week will be about Lexington KY where I’m staying once again with great friend Jan! You’ve probably guessed by now how much I’m looking forward to this trip by the number of superlatives and exclamation marks in recent posts, forgive me if they seem a bit excessive but I am so excited to be heading back to stay with Dawn, Jan, Emma, Sharon and Mark!!!

This is the first time that I’ve actually managed to time my visit to The Tin Thimble to coincide with their annual fibre extravaganza, as a result I’m delighted to be included in the line up for Felt Fest 2013. I’ll be facilitating three full days of workshops with individual topics each day, obviously participants attending for 2 or 3 days may expect to tackle larger and more challanging projects over the duration of the festival. Full details of all the workshops are on The Tin Thimble’s website, I hope to see you there!!!!!

Felt Fest 2013

Felt Fest 2013

Felt bag workshop

I had a lovely day today in the studio at Duckett's Grove catching up with Eliska (on the left) and Zoryana, the temperature may have been cold but their bags are going to be HOT!

We hadn't met since Dawn's great 'Fantastic Felt Hat' workshop in Borris last year so as you can imagine we had a lot of catching up to do. Good friend Tanya, who I don't see very often, also called in for a chat complete with one of her friends and gorgeous puppy as did Christine, a super new felting recruit from Myshall. Liga popped in to say hi too and brought me back my felt from the Creative Carlow shop when it closed, if you don't know Liga's beautiful polymer clay jewellery you can check it out here on Etsy. I guess you could say it was a busy day at the studio!
Here's a picture of Zoryana's bag after the handles and flaps were cut, the turquoise swirls are hand spun banana fibre and there are blue and green silk hankies over both sides of the bag. Zoryana also included one glass marble in the bottom left hand corner but this won't be revealed until the bag is totally felted and fulled.
Eliska's bag has a black inside and a hot red outside. In this picture she's sealing all the cut edges, sometimes I work on this stage of the process for an hour, it might sound like a long time but it makes such a difference to the quality of the edges!
I'm heading to bed now as I've got to have my wits about me in the morning, I'll be starting a series of four workshops with 13 ladies in Carlow so want to be in top form and not tired and bleary eyed. Over the next few days I'll be posting updates about all my US workshops and Portugal, watch this space.

 

Blowout sale of felt at Borris Market tomorrow!

I've decided to have a spur of the moment blowout sale at Borris Food and Craft Market tomorrow morning! In my efforts to update stock at the Duckett's Grove design shop and my current ongoing attempt to wrestle my house into some kind of order it's become apparent that I have some lovely smaller items of felt that have either been hidden away unwittingly or haven't sold from the shop or studio for one reason or another. It's tempting to have an extended post mortem as to the reason for this, are they priced incorrectly, is the quality not good enough, did I felt too many of the one item, have they not been displayed well, how did I manage to hide them away in my spare bedroom etc., etc., the questions could go on and on.

Anyway, rather than spend days pondering the answers I've decided to have a blowout sale at Borris Market tomorrow then bring whatever's left to display at my stand for the Creative Carlow pop up shop for the rest of the weekend. This shop is part of the Pan Celtic Festival, so far we've had a variety of local and foreign visitors come to check out our work and I was lucky enough to sell several of my pieces yesterday so I do have enough space on my table to replenish with more stock. The picture above shows two embroidered phone/camera/change purses and three beaded bracelets, I'm letting all of these and many other similar pieces go for the bargain price of €10 each, please come along if you're in Borris tomorrow morning and pass the word on to all your friends!!!