Sent this really soft scarf with organic edges and dreadlocks off to a secret swap partner this week, felted from 16 micron merino and using the storm clouds overhead as my inspiration. Unless you live in Ireland it’s quite impossible to describe how an otherwise sunny and warm day can have this stormy looking sky too!!! Speaking of swaps, many apologies for being so behind with the Clasheen Crafty Swap on Flickr, hope to pick up the reins on Monday but been just so tied up with computer and the book, sorry.
Swap partners are now up for the Flickr Clasheen Crafty Swap so if you are one of the current participants please ENJOY!!! These swapping events are meant to be fun and I just want to take this opportunity of thanking everybody who has participated to date and welcoming new swappers to the experience, I think you are going to love it!
Before I write a little about the warm shawl I felted yesterday (could this be nuno felt???) I just want to address some questions which pop up quite regularly about the swap both as comments or private emails here to me at Clasheen. I hope you don’t mind but I am just going to write the sallient details as bullet points, I know you will get the gist but for anyone needing more info please take a look through previous swaps on the discussion board and in the group pool of pictures to see the type of packages we share around the world. Here goes …..
- Everyone is welcome to join wherever you may live in the world
- We usually swap one main item (hand crafted by you for your partner!) and a selection of other smaller items.
- Our participants come from all walks of life so all we ask for the hand crafted goody is that you put some thought into it and make sure it is something that you would like to recieve yourself! Ideas include wearable accessories (scarves are probably our most popular items to swap), a small painting, notebooks, jewellery, hand made cosmetics, bath products etc.
- The additional items are often lovelies from our own stash, fibre, fabric, buttons, beads, upcycled, recycled, old books, magazines, findings etc., anything that we may personally like but have never managed to find a use for ourself or know that our partner would particularily like.
- I assign each participant a number and when I do the draw put these numbers into a container and pair them up as the numbers are drawn out. This does mean that it is a lottery and sometimes a participant is teamed up with the same partner twice although I don’t think that has been a big issiue to date.
- The swap is not a competition or meant to be in any way stressful but it is nice to check through the discussion board to see exactly what makes your partner tick and try to put together a parcel that will please. What colours do they like, are they girly or practical (I know that I’m not girly anyway!), do they read English, salty or sweet, tea or coffee, ground or beans, you get the idea.
- You do need to join our group on Flickr in order to participate, this is just the only way for me to monitor the swap without getting boggged down in paperwork from this end of things!
- Full names and addresses obviously need to be swapped with me as moderator of the group and with your swap partner. We do this through Flickr mail and not publically on line so there is no need to worry about private details becoming visable to everyone on the internet.
- For new or potential participants just take the plunge! Really we have some good fun and it is fantastic to get to know people from all around the world and share a little of our own hand made goodness and wonderful to get a little something in return!
Now on the that shawl! I am always on the look out for unusual fabrics to incorporate into my nuno felt and other wearables or to cut up and use as surface decoration for items such as vessels or bags. A while ago I picked up a very unusual and lightweight mohair/metallic thread shawl that just seemed to be crying out to be felted into a beautiful and warm shawl. It was like a gossamer piece of cobweb, beautifully soft and warm with a really interesting knitted pattern. Nuno felt is the process of combining a lot of fabric with a little fibre to create a totally new fabric, in this case although technically the shawl I started with could have been called fabric it was probably machine knitted and not a woven fabric like silk or cotton so can I call the end result nuno felt??? I had been having a bit of a mental block about what colours to use with this piece but for some reason yesterday white and baby blue just jumped to mind and that was what I decided to work with as a backing for the shimmering indigo shawl. The knitted square had subtle colour variations changing from silvery white in the centre through to deepest indigo at the edges. The whole piece was also threaded with a silver metallic thread and I am now thinking that there must have been some elastic somewhere in the yarn because the fully felted end shawl almost appears to have a slight ‘give’ or stretch to the fabric. Because I really wanted to keep the beautiful drape of the knitted shawl I decided to lay only one light layer of short fibred merino on the reverse, I did succeed pretty well although in some places the felt is a little patchier than I would have liked optimally. Probably that is to do with the fact that I never (well almost never except for bags and vessels!) weigh my wool out in advance and I didn’t realise how little blue I had in stock so ended up using every last scrap no matter how unevenly laid out it was! For some reason I can’t upload any more photos to the blog today (oh the restrictions of the internet!) but you can have a good look at the close ups on Flickr to see how well the fabric ‘melted’ into the merino backing. You can also see from a shot of the rear view how different stitches and colours in the base layer result in subtle variations of colour in the finished shawl.
Just organising the swap partners tonight for our first Clasheen Crafty Swap of 2011! Welcome to all returning swappers and a big hello to our new members, you are going to love this event!!! I am almost back to normal today, probably about 90% of my usual self with just a bad cough periodically but nothing much else to worry about. There were two meetings (golf club, what else!) I should have been attending tonight and another tomorrow evening but I have put in my appologies because an early night snuggled up in front of the stove calls, not a drive in the current wild wet and windy weather. This morning I felted a highly textured nuno scarf and then knuckled down to felting a one off wrap, a bit more unusual this one but you will have to wait for more details and some pictures tomorrow! My ArtL!nks vessels are really calling out to me but I just want to get a couple more smaller projects out of the way tomorrow and then from Wednesday onwards I can start the really large vessels and get a good run at them. ‘Till then …..
Thankfully my proposed Saturday workshop has been moved until next weekend as this flu, while getting a little bit better is still a long way from over. It is so frustrating to go from hot to feverish and bathed with sweat in the blink of an eyelid and tired to exhausted in the space of those same few seconds! I have been trying to stay in bed for most of the day (memory foam is a LOT more comfortable than lounging around on the couch) in an effort to shift this dose asap but yesterday evening I just had to do something fibre related (must have been feeling a BIT better!) while watching some mindless television in front of the stove.
Recently I received a skein of gorgeous handspun ‘pancake and lulu’ merino in one of my all time favourite colours from Suzy (aka Hollyhill) in a swap on Ravelry. I wasn’t totally sure if there would be enough yarn to knit a cozy cowl for myself but happily things worked out just perfectly and this afternoon I have been able to keep my neck snug. Do excuse the bug eyed photo but it was the best I could do taking a photo of myself with my phone camera, in fact I think my eyes look more swollen in reality after the last few days anyway!
Clasheen Crafty Swap update ……. Promise to get partners assigned by Monday at the latest, just give me one more day to recover from this dose. Anyone wanting to sign up this late pop over to our group on Flickr and I will include you in this round. Thanks Kirsten for jogging my dozy memory!
I am still waiting for my delivery of Icelandic wool to arrive in preparation for the large rug I am felting my father’s cousin Sylvia, hope there is no charcoal getting in the way! In the meantime my sister commissioned me to create 36 small felt flowers to adorn her new Stranne table light from Ikea. This is a spin off from my own lamp which I updated at Christmas by adding stylised flowers to surround every little light bulb, everyone seems to like it for some reason. Anyway, I used flowers left over from my Sculpture in Context piece so just added whatever I had left over but for Suzanne’s lamp I am making them from scratch in colours that she choose on Sunday. Yesterday I started the production by felting two 8 flower batches and this morning I intend felting 16 more before loading the truck and heading of to a teaching engagement this afternoon.
On Friday I recieved a wonderful swap package from Suzy aka Hollyhill in the New Year Secret Scarf Exchange on Ravelry. It included this fantastic hand painted roving from the Dancing Farm which in addition to looking forward to felting with it has inspired me to try out spinning with a spindle for the first time in an attempt to add some handspun yarn to me freestyle kniting! Not having any spindle myself I have adapted one (using a piece of bamboo, a CD and some rubber bands) and this evening when I am back from teaching I am going to have a try armed with Gaia traditional crafts beautiful book Creative Spinning. This is such a wonderfully bulky amount of gorgeous fibre to recieve and in my mind’s eye I can see several beautiful and light felted scarves and some yummy yarn all created from the one gift from Suzy, thanks for this great swap package!!!
Exhausted ….. wrists tired, brain worn out, plinths to paint and work to finish for the Blueprint exhibition in Eigse.
Elated ….. felt delivered for the South East Textile exhibition which opens on Friday 11th June between 6 and 8pm in the Watergarden, Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny, all welcome! The show continues for two weeks and features a mixture of textile disciplines and styles showcasing the work of both experienced and new members of this exciting group; been called for an interview to a panel I am very interested in; adult and child felting workshop confirmed as part of the Cashel Arts Fest in November.
Frustrated ….. spent approx 4 hours yesterday trying to finish my final piece for Eigse but in order to get the finished dimensions I wanted fulled it so firmly that the really complex series of resists inside became one with the felt, eventually just cut it up into tiny pieces in frustration!
Lastly ….. don’t expect any sense from me for a couple of days until my work is delivered and installed. Next week I am taking some time to relax without deadlines and will be in touch with everyone re work, emails, swap buddies, potential American workshop hosts, in short all of you waiting for a little slice of my time!
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 http://tinyurl.com/25h2cy9 (there is a 100 euro book voucher to be won too!)
I discovered to my horror over the weekend that I only have until the end of this week to finish three sculptural pieces ready for a joint exhibition in June (need to get to the venue beforehand) and complete my submission for the RDS and Crafts Council of Ireland National Crafts Competition. This has really put me under tremendous pressure especially as yesterday the large piece that I was working on turned into a total disaster and eventually I just cut it up in frustration. Imaging then my delight with this beautiful upcycled box of gifts from Jasmine aka Natures Whispers that I recieved as part of the Spring Clasheen Crafty Swap, it really made my day seem brighter! It is hard to describe how perfectly Jasmine captured my personality and likes and dislikes when preparing this amazing swap package to post to me so I am just going to let some pictures do the talking and will blog properly about the AMAZING and unusual fibres (vicuna, possum, cashmere and angora!!!!!) as soon as I get a chance to try them out!
It is also incredible to think that Jasmine only started starting felting her amazing nuno scarves earlier in the year having followed my tutorial here on the blog and to say that what she sent me blew me away is an understatement. The wonderful scarf is felted from merino, bamboo, silk tussah and angora; the silk, angora and bamboo were dyed with daffodils and the merino with lilac twigs from Jasmine’s garden. Each end of the scarf has beautiful embroidery and shisha mirror work (instructions enclosed so I can try it myself!), I really, really must try stitching again as this extra detail totally finishes the scarf beautifully. I don’t know if Jasmine has ever seen a picture of me in one of my Blue Fish linen pieces but I have collected a whole collection of pieces in combinations of straw and green and this scarf compliments them perfectly! Check out my Flickr photos to see more pictures of this fantastic bundle of gifts and see what else was enclosed in the beautiful upcycled box but for now I leave you with a couple of images of my amazing new scarf!!!
I am just finalising the Michigan leg of my felting trip in October and hopefully over the weekend will be putting everything together for the West Coast side of things. This is such an exciting time for me and I can’t wait until I meet many of you in the flesh as last!!! As soon as things start to get confirmed I will be updating the workshop page here (boy does it need an update!) and I will also be launching my new online boutique over the next few days, busy, busy times as per usual!
Spring Swap Partners are now assigned over at our Clasheen Crafty Swap group but if I have left anyone out by mistake please Flickr mail me asap so that I can add you to the swap! If this is your first time swapping with up why not check out parcels given and recieved in previous swaps to spark your immagination?
Please remember that for this seasonal swap we will make one special gift for our swap buddy using Spring as our inspiration. Let your imagination run wild sparked by all the freshness of the season, ideas to consider include light weight scarves, jewellery, hand painted cards, homemade floral scents or body products, fabric covered art journals, anything at all with a spring theme or colour.
We will also include a couple of inexpensive extras (possibly from our stash) and a receipe for a light and appealing main course dish which we enjoy cooking ourselves at this time of year.
Don’t forget to update your likes and dislikes and please contact your partner directly during the swap to touch base and check their address.
Now for the list – have FUN!
tisserande – Clasheen
jschubertdesigns – feltangel
makeyourpresentsfelt – Seldom Scene Farm
annabie – ChrissieD
Elise-Filt – edwardsdawn41
Woollove-Fiberart – lorena ferreira
kerryfelter – villagefiberworks
brenna42001 – AKPeacecat
viltalakim – Waschbear
tolu2005 – taylynnsbean
budda seed – sew.vanilla
vashonsnooze – Marian Florcita
(Natures Whispers – Clasheen as well, just waiting for you to sign up to Flickr Jasmine!)
The weather here is FABULOUS today, hot, sunny and not a breath of wind. OK, I am going to have to ammend that to hot, sunny and loads of wind because of course as soon as I nipped downstairs (my ‘office’ is upstairs as is my dining room!) the wind had picked up tremendously and I wasn’t able to photograph my latest nuno scarves as planned.
I was however able to take some pictures of this beautiful nuno wrap which I created by felting merino and silk fibres into a base of cool crisp linen. The linen is in graduated shades of apricot through to cream and to my mind this would be a wonderful piece to accessorise a simple outfit as the style is sophisticated yet subtle. I can just imagine throwing it around my shoulders over a cream or terracotta ensemble and feeling cool and comfortable at a wedding or other such Spring or Summer function. It took me ages to make up my mind what to actually do with the linen as I have had it for ages in my stash but had been waiting for the ‘perfect’ project to use it for. Last week I was checking out some small balls of merino tops I got recently from Wollknoll and suddenly realised that there were some great shades of apricot and teracotta that would work brilliantly with the colours of the fabric. This was my first nuno experience working with linen and I must say that I loved felting with it. I wear a lot of linen myself (which I order from Blue Fish in Taos, New Mexico) and love the feel of the fabric, the casual elegance and comfort which it lends to any outfit totally suits my personality (ha, ha) and I adore the fact that it drapes well and washes brilliantly which is a big bonus. I did find that it shrunk a lot during the felting process and I really like the crinkly texture in the finished wrap.
Apologies to everyone who was waiting for their partners this weekend for the Clasheen Spring Swap, I am running a couple of days behind time so just wanted to let you all know everything will be organised on Wednesday, I promise, I promise! As a result of my total sloppiness (aka totally snowed under as usual!!) if any of you would like to join in at this very last minute sign ups will now close tomorrow so you have a few hours left tonight. Click through to our Clasheen Crafty Swap Flickr Group, read the rules, sign up and welcome to the Swap!!!