Following on from my first vessel of 2014 I've felted two more since the beginning of the week, this time they've been naturally printed. I had some lovely pomegranate skins and pith left after I cooked a big lamb, date and pomegranate tagine, what better use than to add them to a pot and let their colour influence a couple of bundles?
Here's a picture of the first vessel prior to printing, it's a combination of Portugese merino, mohair locks and a silk/linen blend for surface embellishment. On FB earlier in the week I mentioned that the fibre was bamboo, not so as I discovered once I printed it, I thought it felt a little different laying it out! Anyway, the giveaway was the fact that it appeared to take colour from the pot well. Bamboo, being a cellulose fibre, usually remains white after printing adding an interesting look to the felt (which I like), silk on the other hand is a protein fibre and takes the colour well so even thought this was a silk/linen blend it didn't really achieve the effect I had intended. Not to worry, here's the finished vessel.
I like the reverse
and side views better.
The second vessel is more of a bowl shape, I used the same Portugese merino with loads of Firestar on the outside (for sheen) plus the same silk/linen blend embellishing the inside.
I used a combination of different eucalyptus and blackberry leaves for this one, you can see a blackberry leaf in the inside centre with this birds eye view.
I particularly like the strong contrast of the reddish eucalyptus against the golden tones of the pomegranate on the base. Next time I'll bundle differently but use the same materials, I'd like to get those colours on the top of a bowl!
I've been super excited for the last two days. Firstly, I've been invited to teach a workshop in Dallas at the end of April and secondly, wonderful friend and felt hat maker extraordinaire Dawn Edwards of Felt so Right fame will be teaching in Ireland at the beginning of the same month. Exciting times ahead!!!
- If you're interesting in attending a two day nuno felting and natural printing workshop with me in Texas the weekend of 26th and 27th April please shout out loud ASAP. We need to make sure that the numbers stack up by next Monday if at all possible, if they do the workshop goes ahead!
- If you're interested in attending a one day fantastic felt hat workshop with Dawn Edwards at Clasheen (or a nearby venue) on Saturday 5th April please shout out loud ASAP also. It may be that we will have two days of classes but I need to confirm everything with Dawn so for the moment I'm starting to take bookings for the Saturday.Please email me or comment here to express your initial interest or provisionally book for either workshop!
Yesterday I ordered the raw materials to fulfill the trade orders from Showcase and got some dreaded paperwork out of the way early in the morning. This left me free to felt my first vessel of 2014!
Every day when I walk up the lane and through the fields at Clasheen with Rex, my eyes are drawn time and time again to the beautiful lichen, moss and fern strewn dry stone walls which are a constant source of inspiration for me. It was interesting to see the night before that I was very attracted to an unusual polymer clay necklace online friend Jaroslava Zikmundova posted to FB and Etsy, I then discovered when I left a comment that it too was inspired by mosses and lichen!
Anyway, yesterday I wanted to work on an idea that I had had for a while, a felt vessel with plenty of texture and some craters. I'm planning a series of vessels incorporating some natural printing but for yesterday I just wanted to break my duck and get back to felting three dimensionally. I also wanted to use some of the lovely Portugese merino I bought at the wool factory in Guarda on a trip we made last year at the wonderful residential felting holiday at Dominio Vale do Mondego. Just as an aside, if anyone is interested in joining us for this years extravaganza don't forget to check it out and contact Karin ASAP, spaces are filling very quickly!
Here's a picture of the vessel during the early laying out stage…..
and one after I've laid out all the surface embellishments and started to felt, thanks Sue (GlitterGirl Feltworks) for the funky yarn!
Here's a picture of the almost finished vessel sitting on top of the wall, I still need to do a little work to firm up the shape. Overall I'm happy with the result, the craters would have been much better if I'd used a different method for creating them, the Portugese merino batt gives a lovely pebbly texture when felted but was a little uneven to lay out, all in all it was a pleasant way to start felting vessels for the new year.
I had intended posting pictures to the blog every day of Showcase, poor Internet connectivity coupled with tiredness in the evenings unfortunately made this an impossibility. Instead, I'm going to reflect on how everything went and give you a peek into my thoughts as I debrief, if I get it all written down now then I can move on and make some new felt. I'd especially like to say a massive thank you to everybody who supported and encouraged me in advance of the show and over the five days of the event itself, the Showcase and Crafts Council teams who did an incredible job, the electrician who changed the wiring on my stand with such good humor, twice, all of you both here and on Facebook who blew me away with your good wishes and finally, my buddies in crime at the neighbouring stands, thanks for being such a pleasure to spend time with! Obviously it's impossible to name everybody (and I don't want to leave anyone out inadvertently!) but a special thanks go to Ariane Tobin, Cornelia McCarthy, Roisin Markham, Kate Ramsey, Emma Jane Champley, Lesley Round, George Stafford, Anita Marnell, Niki Collier, Mary Whelan, Nicola Doran and to Lorraine Bowen who gave me great advice about agents and JobBridge.
Now for those reflections, it paid to……….
- Have clear signs (thanks Ger and Joe from Carlow Sign Management)
- Have good photography (thanks Greg Dorney)
- Send out email invitations to prospective stockists letting them know which stand I was on and what my collection consisted of
- Keep the display very simple
- Pay for additional lighting
- Offer a show special
- Ask for a sale
- Have a slide show of images looping on the MacBook meaning whenever I got a confirmed order or a lead I could quickly update my notes by typing them up
- Be on the stand myself as much as possible but have good knowledgeable friends to help me too, thanks a million George and Anita!
- Wear one of my scarves
- Eat!!! The first day I didn't eat any lunch, bad move! From then on I tried to get a hot meal or snack regularly on dates and fruit, one needs ones energy at these shows.
I was thrilled to get orders from galleries and high end shops in Ireland, Northern Ireland and the UK. America will be on stream in a couple of months while Canada is also a possibility. In addition to the confirmed stockists I've several exciting projects coming up in both Ireland and Northern Ireland over the spring/summer period, all in all exciting times ahead! I've now got to finish unloading the truck and order more raw wool and silk. I'll leave you today with a picture I took earlier this afternoon, somehow a glittery leaf from a Christmas arrangement ended up on a pile of spent natural printing material and was sparkling in the rain, weird but fun.
Ready for the off, can't sleep, let the Showcase fun begin on stand A285!
My mantra today has been ‘less is more’! Although I’d love to get a few more wraps felted before the weekend I’ve realised that I’d be better occupied making sure everything else is organised in advance of Showcase. Today George came over and we worked out a mock stand set up, hence the less is more theme. I really, really wanted to have a printed wall hanging displayed but working within a 2m x 2m space it’s more important to leave stuff out than cram it all in I think!
Large naturally printed wall hanging
Obviously I’ll bring a couple of wall hangings with me and store them in the magic plinth, I’ll reserve the final judgement about whether to display one or not until I set up the stand on Saturday. I’m in the ‘Home & Gift’ hall, stand A285, please can you share this info with anyone you know who might be attending, thanks! Tomorrow I collect my new signs, a couple of plinths, try to get a top or two and have my hair cut, plenty of other things need to be done too but for now I’m going to have an easy night and get a few more invitations to buyers emailed then call it a day.
Today has been mentally consuming work but satisfying. I started early this morning on my long awaited website and blog overhaul, although unfortunately I couldn’t afford the professional help I had intended I’m happy with how it looks now so fingers crossed the functionality will be ok too. One of the main changes aside from the more streamlined look is a static homepage and the drop down menu for the gallery, hopefully those of you following this blog will get your updates too by email as per normal, I’d like to say notify me if you don’t but it you don’t get it how will you know to shout at me!
Showcase preparation continues apace. I’m collecting the first batch of silk and wool cushions from the local seamstress tomorrow morning and I’ve a pile of freshly ironed fabric to drop off at the same time. This fabric was printed in my largest aluminium pot, for those of you who’ve messaged me asking what the pot looks like with bundles inside, here’s a picture of it in all it’s glory!
A bundle simmers in a large pot of eucalyptus, onion skins and water