The silly season has officially begun!

The silly season has officially opened! Yesterday Emma Jane Champley and I set up the bones of our Christmas display at Mount Juliet, tomorrow along with Leiko Uchi we’ll add more lighting and fill it with stock. Today I’m starting the morning with a radio interview with Sue Nunn at KCLR 96fm, then catching up with work experience student Norma at Borris Food and Craft Market, thanks Norma for setting up for me. Once that finishes we’re off to set up Duckett’s Grove for Sunday’s Christmas Fair, I hope this weekend sees the start of a fruitful if somewhat crazy 16 days!!!

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New display stuff has just arrived

My pop up banner, Christmas sign and new tent cards have all arrived thankfully, I’ll be setting up in Mount Juliet this Thursday so had been keeping my fingers crossed that nothing would delay them! The banner is a lot taller than I was expecting, often in Ireland the base starts at ground level so I’m really pleased my blog details should be easier to read from a distance.

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Felting frustration…

I’ve had a pretty frustrating morning on the felting front, two failed attempts at a new style bracelet and only one relatively successful result. My plan had been to get a lot of smaller jewellery items felted this weekend as I need to think of splitting my stock for both the Christmas Village at Mount Juliet and the Duckett’s Grove Christmas Fair next week. I’m actually going to call it a day and start a massive tidy up instead. While I totally suck in the household department (with the possible exception of cooking in fact!) I so need to get sorted in advance of Christmas, once next weekend arrives it’s outside events right up until the night of 24th. Starting afresh on Monday morning with a clean and tidy house should help get the creative juices flowing!

Duckett’s Grove update and more display ideas

It was incredibly cold at Duckett’s Grove this weekend, not surprising since I discovered a 2″ gap with no glass in one of the window frames in the back wall and a smaller gap above the other window too. Don’t even ask how I didn’t see these before, it’s to do with the old window fittings and I had  to climb up high before it became possible to feel the gaps. You can’t actually see them at all from the ground but you sure can feel the results. Following on from this discovery I’ve decided to spend next weekend at Clasheen felting instead of freezing my —– off, I need to get more stock made before the Christmas Fair on 9th so this seems like to best soloution until the council get some new windows fitted or an additional seal of some description.

This evening I splashed out and ordered a pop up banner with stand to match my new tent cards (folded business cards) as well as a Christmas style sign from Vistaprint. I can’t afford to waste the pennies so I’m definitely hoping that they’ll add to my display this festive season, I also want customers to both see my stand and remember my name! Here’re some pics with the relevant links if anyone else is thinking of updating their display materials.

How much felt is enough, stock that is!

How much felt is enough for a display table or booth, enough that is to create a good display, have a selection of different items in different colours yet not have so much out that things look messy and don’t create a good impression???

Katie dyed her hair to match the gorgeous flower she felted yesterday, FUN!

Because of the various different events I’ll be participating in over the next 5 weeks I’m very conscious that I need to have stock to replace sold items too. I’m not however going to do as someone suggested and hold items back for the bigger fairs, the last thing that I want to do is presume people will buy at these and not offer everyone at my regular gigs an equal opportunity to buy my items. After all, they’re the customers who support me throughout the year so if anything they deserve the pick of the crop in my opinion! A sale is a sale is a sale, all money gratefully recieved and the sooner the better as far as I’m concerned!!!

Katie’s finished her week with me as part of her transition year (4th year in the school she attends) work experience. It was interesting having her with me as I usually work totally on my own and a second opinion was definitely a help at times. In addition to being out and about facilitating two sessions with Borris Active Retirement, a birthday party for a 9 year old and Borris Food & Craft Market this morning we managed to naturally print/dye over 24 scarves on Tuesday and have a big pot of cochineal on the go yesterday, a busy and satisfying week I think! Thanks Katie for all your help, it was a pleasure having you at Clasheen.

Cochineal dyed nuno felt

A hectic couple of months teaching, making and being on the road lies in store!

I don’t think it’s going to be possible to write long posts over the next couple of months, please bear with me during this time, short and snappy will be the name of the game! I’m crazy busy at the moment thankfully and don’t want to miss the opportunity of having a successful time selling this festive season, I really need to keep the cash flow moving. In addition to my regular gigs at Borris Food and Craft Market each Friday and Duckett’s Grove at the weekends I’m teaching a lot and taking up my duties for FeltUnited, I LOVE doing this so all is good but it’s just that I then need another 12 hours every day to felt and produce new work!!! From 8th December to 23rd December inclusive I’ll be participating in the Christmas Village at Mount Juliet, On Sunday 9th December it’s the Duckett’s Grove Christmas Fair (link below), on Saturday 15th and Sunday 16th December I’ll be at the annual fair in Borris House and then for approx 2 weeks in the run up to Christmas as a member of Creative Carlow I’ll also be participating in their pop up shop, phew!!!!!

Last Friday design student Norma joined me for work experience, she’ll be helping for 10 days totally over the coming weeks and her next session is the weekend after next. Katie joined me yesterday for work experience this week, she’s a 4th year transition student and actually my great friend Sharon Jackson is her art teacher! She’s definitely choosen a week where we’ll be out and about a lot, 2 sessions with Borris Active Retirement, one birthday party for a group of 9 year olds and then the market on Friday, I’ve then got the weekend at Duckett’s Grove to myself.

Thanks to you all for your lovely messages, comments and emails about Dawn’s and my promotion to FeltUnited, we hope to do you all proud and really appreciate the support. I’ve got to fly now, bundles to unwrap and a nuno felt wrap to throw!

Christmas at Duckett’s Grove!

 

Weekend fun and felting news, I’m off on my travels!!!

Although I still have a mountain of things to get finished before I head off on my US travels later this evening I have been having a wonderful action packed art and felting weekend! On Saturday night Alan and I joined Eileen MacDonagh and close friends old and new at a really great wrap up party to celebrate the success of her fabulous exhibition LITHOSPHERE at the Visual Centre for Contemporary Art in Carlow. It was a wonderful evening spent among the towering trees of ‘Cathedral’, yummy food and wine (which I couldn’t drink as I was the designated driver!), great craic and the best music I’ve heard in a very long time!!!

Music amongst the trees!

Local musician Joe Cleere has just been signed to a record deal in the US and although he had never played with them before he came along to join a trio of Eileen’s friends and their playing just seemed to compliment each other perfectly, we had an eclectic mix of traditional and alternative rock tracks, brilliant, thanks Eileen!!!!!

Yesterday I had a very busy day at Duckett’s Grove, I had intended taking loads of pictures of the new studio but to be honest I was so busy demonstrating and talking to visitors that there was almost no time to snap anything. Thanks to everyone who came in especially to see me, I really appreciated it and hope you enjoyed the day! My plan now is to bring my big studio tables from Clasheen to Duckett’s Grove, move the shelving and plints around in the space and set up one half as a display area and the other as a zone for felting and teaching from. The response to the demos was fabulous.

Visitors to the new studio

I now have a long list of contact details from people interested in trying felting for themselves, I’ve actually put Sunday 4th June in my diary for a beginners and improvers felting day and have only space for one more participant if anyone is interested, E75 including materials working from 10am until approx 4.30pm! Please email me asap if you would like the last slot!

Plenty of people came for the music, food and craft!

This evening I’ll be handing over everything at Claseheen to good friend George and hope everything goes well in my absence. It’s lovely here at the moment, foals in the fields, birds singing and wild flowers everywhere in the hedges and down the lane so I think that George will manage to have a restful and fun time with Rex! Don’t expect a lot of blogging over the next few days but I will be posting up to date pictures and notes to facebook as I progress along my way to Kentucky, take care and I’ll be back blogging about the Lexington workshops which take place on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May from 10am – 5pm at the Beaumont Presbyterian Church, 1070 Lane Allen Road!!!

 

 

Lovely day yesterday, Borris Market and felt flower tutorial is on the way …..

Alan and I had a lovely day yesterday, thanks for all the best wishes for his birthday!  This morning has been spent making all the last purchases for Christmas (as opposed to last minute purchases!)  and driving into Bagenalstown to hand deliver a present.  Now I have the stove lit, a chicken to go in the oven and some flowers to felt for my mother.  I also need to make a nice piece of flat felt which will then be cut and stitched into a ‘smart phone’ cover as requested by my sister Lizzie.  I am planning to take some pictures of the flowers in progress and then I’ll post my felt flower tutorial as promised, that’s the plan anyway!  As things stand I doubt that I’ll get to any emails or similar today but once tomorrow and the final selling opportunity for my felt is over Saturday is a new day.

Tomorrow morning I will be back in Borris Farmer’s Market with more 3 for E30 specials, please call in and say hi if you are in the area!

Reflections on another day at Borris Farmer’s Market

Well I’m home, fed and watered now, so is Rex!  It was a beautiful but icy day when I headed in to Borris this morning to set up my stand, luckily the heaters were working overtime in the hall so it was nice and warm inside even if the fish man was freezing outside.

Setting up my stand beside Emma Jane Champley

The dynamics of our potential customers appeared slightly different today, almost without exception everyone who came to the market was primarily interested in stocking up on seasonal food, the people who also had a look at the various art and craft stands only purchased if they were totally sure that they needed the items.  It’s very obvious that there are no snap descisions being made or impulse buys as would have been commonplace a few years ago.  For this reason I’m happy with the descision I took a couple of weeks ago to offer good value on felt flowers, rings and brooches, today I extended the offer to include my latest phone/camera covers and needle filled cases too.  I did sell a handfull of these during the course of the morning but no sales totalling more than a collective E30 for 3 items, I don’t think this way of selling product can be classified as a get rich quick scheme, do you?  Overall however, I still feel it is a good local venue to promote my workshops, sell some stock, meet friends and enjoy a warm drink while munching delicious home made cookies.  Next week is the last Friday before the big day itself, will we have a big rush of last minute buyers looking for some artisan stocking fillers?  I for one, certainly hope so!!!

Sewing little pouches, cases and covers for Borris Farmer’s Market on Friday

Yesterday I had a marathon sewing session, stitching little purses and/or phone/camera covers, Kindle covers (or large clutches!) and a handful of needle cases too.  Don’t be mislead into thinking that I enjoyed the process, it was very satisfying however to see the ever increasing pile of work finished and sitting at the end of my kitchen table!

Needle cases

Some of the pieces have vintage button closures, others hand made buttons while the needle cases have the most incredible find ever, ‘jeans buttons’ which I picked up for a song at Kiernan’s in Borris.  I can’t believe how easy these were to fit, no sewing just tapping with a hammer!  I have tried a whole variety of grommets and snap fasteners over the last year or so usually NOT to my satisfication (funnily enough I one of my favourite felters, Andrea Graham, has also been experimenting with these lately!) but these jeans buttons are just the business, I will definitely use them again!!!

If you are interested in some progress pics from yesterday check out Nicola Brown – Clasheen on FB, my personal page has some images of the other completed pieces so if we’re not already friends please send me a request!!!