ArtL!nks project started and pretty hectic week ahead once more!

You may remember that I was lucky enough to recieve a E1000 ArtL!nks bursary earlier in the year and yesterday morning I started the project which should result in two large felt sculptures, one columnar and about my own height, one pod shaped.  I have 4 weeks (broken down into 28 days as I do have some other committments to fit in as well) in which to complete the pieces and will be documenting everything on a seperate blog which still has to be set up, I hope to have that live by the middle of next week!  For the moment I am just keeping my head above water until next Monday is out of the way, in brief I have the project to work on, am attending a three day workshop with Hungarian felter Vanda Roberts at Carmen’s studio from Thursday to Sunday, will be co-hosting the Captain’s Dinner Dance for the Golf Club on Friday night, starting another felting project with Borris Active Retirement on Monday afternoon and then chairing the Ladies Club AGM at the Golf Club on Monday night, whew, I am tired even thinking about all of this! 

Fun felt bag, possible shape for one of my first felting kits!

Once this is over however and I hand over the Lady Captain’s position I should have a little more head space in which to finalise my new felting kits, blog properly, enjoy my felting and enter proper discussions with US friends about some exciting workshops which may be happening in the Californian area during Spring 2011!!!  I knew that I couldn’t keep away from US for very long, exciting times ahead!

Next post will contain pictures of the initial days of my ArtL!nks project, until then adieu.


Sea creature out and about!

This afternoon I have finally been able to take a couple of pictures of my completed sea creature! 

Home at Clasheen

I had planned blogging more about Charlotte’s wonderful workshop and the fabulous jewellery session I participated in with Evelyn Refshal but time is just slipping away and felting my large rug is taking up every spare minute at the moment.  Over the next few days I will be short on writing but heavy on pictures so please bear with me!  Suffice to say that I ran into some MAJOR issues when felting my sea creature.  The gauze stretched amazingly due to the high raised bumps and I eventually needed to add some judicious stitching on the inside before working the felt to the finished stage.  Note to self, use silk in future for any similar projects, already have ideas swirling around in my head!  I also had planned adding coral-red points on top of the bumps (check back to see the picture I used for my inspiration) but now that the sea slug is home at Clasheen I rather like the turquoise and white just as it is. 

Disappearing into acanthus


I would like to acknowledge the generous support of Carlow Co. Council who helped fund my participation in Grima’s event through the award of a 2010 Arts Act Grant, your support was much appreciated!

Another wonderful package and incredible news in the post!!!

I had intended blogging about the wonderful package I recieved yesterday from Gill aka tisserande for my second bite at the Clasheen Crafty Swap but as I have not been able to take photos today (totally tied up finishing pieces for the RDS National Craft Competition) I promise to post everything tomorrow and reveal the AMAZING and BEAUTIFUL woven silk scarf.  Thanks so much Gill, everything is fabulous and I really feel lucky to have some more gorgeous fibres to experiment with as well, just wait until I have some time next week to play, my head is full of ideas!

This morning I felted a sea shore inspired nuno neckpiece using some gorgeous hand dyed silk from Lyda Rump and combining it with short fibred merino and white bamboo tops.  I had intended on felting a white closure adding some fish skin, a piece of abalone and some mohair locks as embellishment but for some reason I just can’t seem to get it finished to my satisfication so I decided to leave it for the moment and take a quick break, walking up to the top of the lane with Rex to collect my post. 

I am SO excited as guess what was waiting in the post box to brighten up my day???  A letter saying that I had been awarded the 1000 Euro ArtL!nks bursary that I applied for recently, the news is still just sinking in!!!  Those of you who have been following my blog for a while now  will know that ArtL!nks is a 5 counties initiative that has been instrumental in helping me build my felting practice since taking up the craft almost 3 years ago.  I am really honoured that the independent panel assessing the applications thought my work was of sufficient merit to recieve a bursary and will blog about what the funds will be used for next week when I get my RDS submission out of the way!!!

Now, I have a message direct to you all from Cathy Fitzgerald, director of ArtL!nks and would really appreciate if those of you who the message is relevant to take the time to fill out the survey, I have already done it!

Attention all those involved in the Arts in the South East:

In the last few years ArtLinks have organised the first local arts training opportunities in the South East. ArtLinks is now 3 years old with close to 1500 members. ArtLinks is now currently reviewing its programme and is be conducting the online Survey from Mon 10 -26 May 2010, to all its members. We would invite all  who are passionate about the development of the Arts in the South East region to contribute to the future direction of this programme by taking 5 mins to complete this survey at (there is a 100 euro book voucher to be won too!)

‘Convergence’, ‘Obviously Felt’, exciting news and my latest felt vessel!

Two international felting events taking place worth noting in your diaries are the 11th Southern Hemisphere Felting Convergence (a bi-anual event happening from 2nd to 7th October 2011) and the ‘Obviously Felt’ symposium (28th July to 1st August 2010) organised by the Danish Felting Association Grima in honour of their 20th anniversary. My exciting news this weekend is that Carlow Co. Council have confirmed that they are awarding me E400 under the Arts Acts Grant scheme meaning that I will be able to participate at ‘Obviously Felt’ in Silkeborg, Denmark this summer, I am thrilled!!!  On the other side of the world expressions of interest are being sought from tutors interested in running workshops at Convergence 2011 so if you live anywhere within striking distance of Bunbury, Australia it could be an excellent opportunity to become involved in an international symposium and a brilliant way of show casing your work. Check out their excellent blog and email to submit your ideas!

Felt vessel

Yesterday I felted this simple but striking (to my mind!) vessel using Norwegian C1 wool and luscious locks of Wenslydale.  At least that’s what I ‘think’  they are because unfortunately I mislaid whatever information I had describing the locks so this is just a wild guess!  I used a round resist and once I had covered it with 50g C1 on each side I laid a further round resist on top of one side, this resist had a hole cut out in the centre to allow me to lay and attach the gorgeous curly fibres.  To start the felting I was very careful to rub gently but firmly over the raw locks but as soon as I was happy they were starting to combine with the other wool I just rubbed, rolled and felted as normal.  At the beginning I worked with coolish water and loads of soap (Anna Gunnarsdottir does this and the felt doesn’t shrink very much) but for the fulling process I rinsed it in hot water and made sure to seal the cut edges where I removed the resist very well.  Over the summer I am taking part in several exhibitions where I have to show sculptural pieces.  This piece is the starting point for a series of vessels combining C1 or Icelandic wool with raw locks and fibres from Irish and rare breed sheep.

Alan has been pretty sick this week and today was no exception.  He did join my mother, Suzanne and I for lunch (local chicken, leeks, potatos and the first rhubarb of the season) but has headed off to his own house now and is hopefully tucked up in bed having a sleep.  As a result I have been a bit frustrated trying to pin him down re. my planned felting trip to US in the Fall but eventually this afternoon he told me to go ahead and finalise my dates leaving him out of the equation so for those of you waiting for me to confirm dates, I am on to it!

Playing catch up, planning tomorrow, blog awards and some inspirational blogs for you to enjoy

Thanks to all of you who have either emailed me directly or left comments here and on Facebook wishing my sister Suzanne a speedy recovery, I will pass your messages on.  Both she and my mother came to Clasheen late yesterday afternoon for our delayed Mother’s Day dinner, asparagus, free range chicken with all the trimmings and an Irish whiskey laced fruit triffle, a good time was had by all!

This morning I am loafing around in my PJs and dressing gown, trying to catch up on all my internet mail and various other computer related tasks before heading over to welcome a new member to the Golf Club early this afternoon.  I have two meetings tonight as well so please forgive me if you are waiting for a response to a query or an answer to an email, I am trying to get to everybody as quickly as I can but it is definitely a battle hard fought from a time perspective at the moment!  Tomorrow is St. Patrick’s Day and as Alan will be away with his family and Carmen is also free we have planned a stress free and active day of fun, fibre and felting.  I am going to try and have the studio and kitchen in some kind of order before I go to bed tonight making way for nothing but pleasure tomorrow, still not sure if I am going to continue with my series of cobweb scarves (thanks for the tips and comments), play around with some nuno experimenting or start on one of my planned sculptural pieces, will wait and see what the mood is in the morning.

The Sunshine Blog Award

Thanks to Angela Barrow and Chrissie Day who both recently awarded me the Sunshine Blog Award and I hope that you both don’t mind that I am accepting them simultaneously probably breaking some unwritten blogging rule in the process.  As far as I can understand it the sunshine award is awarded to bloggers whose positivity and creativity inspires others in the blog world so thanks a million to Angela and Chrissie, it’s lovely to think that my ramblings go some way towards brightening your day!  The rules for accepting the sunshine award are (although you should feel free to ignore these rules and just enjoy the award!) put the logo on your blog or within your post, pass the award onto 12 bloggers, link the nominees within your post, let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog and share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.   

Tribe Talk

Before nominating some inspirational blogs for you all to check out using the Sunshine Blog Award guidelines I would also like to say thanks to Nic from NicKnits who via the Tribal Talk banner on It’s a Hodgepodge Life nominated me as one of her blogs to check out!  The blog that I would like to add to this fun group is That Artist Woman by Gail Bartel.

Irish Blog Awards

I have also discovered that I have made it to the long short lists for the Irish Blog Awards so thanks to the judges, sponsors, organisers and everyone who nominated me again this year, you all rock!

Now for some of the inspirational blogs that I follow myself and by the way, please don’t be offended if your own blog isn’t here.  Probably Angela, Chrissie or Nic linked through themselves or else I did myself somewhere in a recent post so I am not deliberately ignoring you, just trying to point you in a potentially new fibre direction (with the exception of Anna’s gardening blog) which I hope will light you your day today!  In no particular order …..

Check out some of the great fibre related blogs that I follow!

Kreativ Blogger Award
Kreativ Blogger Award

Thanks so much to my friend Irene Lundgaard who has given me this Kreativ Blogger Award.  The rules for receiving this award mean that you link back to the person who nominated you, list 7 things that you love, link to 6 more kreative bloggers and leave a comment on their site to let them know how to keep the award going.  Irene and Stephanie (from the fabulous Yarn Room) are the main organisers of the ‘Pick up Your Needles’ series of workshops which take place regularly in the Tinahely Arts Centre.  Although crochet is really Irene’s thing she recently won the fastest knitter competition at the opening of Stephanie’s new yarn store in Ashford, Co. Wicklow, way to go Irene!  Receiving this award made me realise that I really need to update my links here as I actually follow 84 blogs through Google Reader, many of them textile and fibre related.  To whet your appitite here are six of my favourites (some of which I have linked to before, others not) ….. Florcita by Mariana, Sheep Thrills Yarn by Cedar, Ginga Squid by Vicky, Felting Your Soul by Yvette, Her Majesty Margo by Margo and Deb Seeger by the wonderful Deb Seeger!  Each of these special people I consider especially creative, they blog regularly about their passion for art and textiles and invite us through their writing to share the experience (sometimes wonderful and sometimes frustrasting!) of their arts practice.  Now for 7 things that I love excluding felting, fibre, teaching and participating in felt workshops, you already know that I LOVE all of these things so I am going for things that you may not already know about me (as if!) ….. Strong black coffee with no bitter aftertaste, dark chocolate (with/without natural orange and cardamom or with chilli), supporting local business (especially my butcher and the many wonderful art and craft practitioners in my immediate area), cooking comforting food and entertaining our friends with Alan, long hot baths filled with natural scented products, walking my collie Rex around the fields at Clasheen followed by a hot toddy in front of a nice warm fire and last but definitely not least, meeting and making friendships through this blog, our swaps, Flickr, Ravelry, ArtL!nks and other social networking sites such as Linkedin!