FORM photo shoot and exhibition news

Things are starting to fall into place for the upcoming FORM exhibition in Carlow, it’s going to be the first time that the new look lineup has participated in a public event together. We’ll also be launching our new concertina style brochure for the group and the Local Enterprise Office are profiling Ariane Tobin, Martin Marley and me in a larger promotional publication for the county too, exciting times ahead! As a result, I’ve been busy sampling and felting a large wall hanging to show at the exhibition. I had promised to share some pics of eco printing from the new brass preserving pan but I’m going to reserve those for another post. Instead here are a few images taken by Rory Moore recently, thanks Rory, John and Tomomi for all your hard work organising such a successful FORM photoshoot!

The wall hanging here is not the one I’ll be showing in Carlow, it’s a much smaller forerunner but like the exhibition piece it’s felted from a variety of different eco printed silks with a base of fine quality merino.

Felting, eco printing and upgrade at Clasheen (the final one!)

Rather later than planned, here’s the final post about the current upgrades at Clasheen and a little pictorial review of the last few weeks. As mentioned previously, I’ve been working on creating a library area in the room which links the guest bedroom and the guest bathroom making it a comfortable suite for friends to stay and workshop participants to relax and refresh. It’s also a lovely bright area for me to read in when I have a minute, at last I have more than enough shelving (combined with the shelves already downstairs) to store my reference books and thrillers. Here’s a picture of one small area as I started to add the books, the little cupboard Jonathan created is specifically sized to store my printer and paper.


On the work and friend side of things April has ben a very, very busy month, what’s new!


I’ve been felting and printing a lot as I work towards creating pieces for my solo show in August and the FORM photo shoot which took place yesterday. Here’s an example of eco printed silk combined with fine black merino, it won’t be one of the pieces I display but it is good to be back in the studio getting my hands soapy! I’d also like to say a big thank you to the new FORM designmade in Carlow lineup for electing me as their new chairperson.


Wonderful textile artist and great new friend Kim Thittichai  visited Clasheen for a fun few days. Aren’t these beautiful flowers that she brought me so cheerful? I love them.


I absolutely loved being a helper at the first Lyda Rump workshop organised by Maureen Cromer in Dublin on behalf of Feltmakers Ireland, such fun during the day and a delicious meal and company in the evening!!! Lyda is a wonderful felt maker and textile artist, we’ve spent time together now in Germany, Denmark, Ireland, Denmark again and now Ireland again, it was great to catch up, thanks Maureen and Terry for your hospitality too!


After spending time with Kim and Lyda I finally managed to get some intensive sampling done in advance of my ten day residential felt and eco printing retreat this summer. One of the things we’ll be covering is the possibility of mordanting fabric using natural materials, as opposed to using more traditional metallic based powders. Here are two samples using the same printing materials but different pre treatments prior to bundling and printing. The piece on the left was mordanted with Symplocos and the one on the right with pomegranate, both bundles were boiled in the same pot at the same time, used the same big leaves, are exactly the same lambswool fabric and the results couldn’t be more different! Join me from 15th to 25th July to learn more!


Thank you Klara and Irish Country Magazine for selecting one of my blackberry and rose printed silk cushions for your feature ‘Outside In’ this month, I’m delighted!


Thanks also to Dorota for your impeccable sewing as usual, I love the sample apron you made me and I’m looking forward to printing it and seeing how it comes out. I’m also very happy with the latest batch of cushions, this one is blackberry on Symplocos mordanted lambswool.

Finally for today, here’s a lovely picture of great buddy Dawn Edwards who’s just arrived from Michigan on her third visit to Clasheen, it’s great to have her back!!!









Australia, Hong Kong and back to Ireland, part 1!

The time I spent abroad in Australia and Hong Kong with my sister Suzanne was truly fantastic, I’ve arrived home to Clasheen refreshed and raring to go. What made it even more special was catching up with family and friends along the way. A huge thank you goes out to my Aussie relatives and their in-laws, Pam and John de Groot, Terriea  and Todd Kwong, Cheung On, Florence, Loretta and Pauline, spending time with you all was the icing on the cake!!! Here are two collages from the Australian leg of the trip to share the memories, next time I’ll post some wonderful pictures from Hong Kong.

This first collage contains a couple of pictures of Jackie, the reason that we made the trip in the first place! Jackie (on the right in the top picture and at the head of the printing table) is our first cousin once removed (our father’s cousin) and was celebrating her 90th birthday with a wonderful evening meal and trip on the lake. Family and friends gathered together the following day and I shared some eco printing tips as we printed silk scarves and watercolour paper.

Our adventure continued on the west coast at Exmouth where we spent many hours snorkelling at the Ningaloo Reef. From there Suzanne and I headed for a couple of nights to beautiful Sydney before finally hiking and exploring part of the Blue Mountains. While there it was fantastic to catch up with Pam de Groot and see some of her amazing artwork in her beautiful home, thanks Pam and John for being so generous with your time!!!

So, that’s it for today. This is the first time that I’ve posted to the blog directly from the website, I hope everything uploads without any trouble! Next time, Hong Kong in pictures.


Knitting & Stitching Show ticket winners!

Congratulations Mary Shirley, Rowena Reid and Linda Murphy, you have all won a pair of tickets to visit the Dublin Knitting & Stitching Show! Because the physical ones haven’t actually arrived the organisers will have your tickets ready for you to collect on either Thursday, Friday or Sunday at the box office in the RDS, you are not able to use them on Saturday. Enjoy………… and do let us know how you get on!

The Knitting & Stitching Show’s in Dublin next weekend, ticket giveaway!

That time of year has returned at last, next weekend sees the return of the Knitting & Stitching Show in the RDS, Dublin, from October 30th – November 2nd. More than 25,000 visitors are expected to attend the show, which will feature a unique combination of inspirational galleries, workshops and exhibitors selling everything from stunning fabrics, wools and threads, through to sewing machines, patterns and books.

Sea Slug II (photographed by Rob Lamb)

Sea Slug II (photographed by Rob Lamb)

Some of you may remember my Seaslug on exhibition several years ago at the event, others may have participated in the felting taster session I facilitated with Clodagh McDonald via Feltmakers Ireland, you can actually get a link to Holly’s felt brooch tutorial which we were teaching on that occasion by clicking here!

Learning Curve at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

Learning Curve at the Knitting and Stitching Show 2011

Thanks to the organisers I’m delighted to offer blog readers the opportunity to claim three pairs of tickets to the Dublin show, they need to be used on either Thursday (if you can pick them up from me), Friday or Sunday and I’m hoping that I’ll be able to post them out to you in time, I think that Friday or Sunday would be the best days time wise! Sooooooo, if you live in Ireland (or will be travelling to Dublin for the show!) and would like to enter the draw for a pair of tickets please just comment on this post and let me know what you are most looking forward to checking out at the Knit and Stitch, the exhibitions, the vendors, the taster sessions, the PicKnit, the artists in action??? You get the idea so please leave your comments now and email me your postal address, I’ll make the draw first thing on Wednesday morning (hence the email address, no email = no tickets) and post the tickets out asap. Here’s a taster from the organisers of what will be happening at this years event…………..

A new attraction will be The PicKnit, brought to Dublin by the UK Hand Knitting Association. Under the theme of ‘Knit One, Hook One and Pass it On’, visitors to The Picknit can learn, create and share their knitting and crochet skills with other visitors. There will be free one- to-one knitting and crochet tuition for beginners, and a chance for the more adventurous to experiment with some exciting new designs.

Helen Marriott, The Knitting & Stitching Show, said: “For decades, knitting has been a sociable pastime with knitters happily chatting over coffee and yarn. PicKnits takes that idea to the next level, combining a love of food with a love of knitting, stitching and craft. Knitting PicKnits don’t have to be big formal occasions though – all you need are needles, some snacks, a few friends and some space. Importantly, Knitting PicKnits, like the one coming up in the RDS, help keep the traditional skills of knitting and stitching alive.”

Thanks to celebrity knitters such as Cara Delevingne, Ryan Gosling, Kate Moss and Lily Allen, organisers have noticed a huge increase in interest in knitting and sewing. “Knitting and sewing have both been around for centuries, but celebrity knitters and sewers are helping to bring the hobby and craft to a whole new audience.” added Helen Marriott.

Visitors to the show, which is Ireland’s largest textile and craft event, can also look forward to:

  •   Artists at work in the ‘Artists in Action Studio’
  •   Learning a new skill at one of the 100s of ‘Learning Curve’ workshops
  •   Professionally-curated galleries including one featuring the 1913 Lockout Tapestry, designed by Cathy Henderson and artist Robert Ballagh
  •   An exhibition marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of World War One
  •   An inaugural display by the students from the CIT Crawford College of Art and Design.
  •   An exhibition of new textile artwork exploring relationships between commemoration and memory by Nigel Cheney of NCAD
  •   A Design & Crafts Council of Ireland exhibition, called ‘Entwined Memories’
  •   ‘Explorations’ by the Irish Patchwork Society.
  •   116 hours of workshops ranging from Beginners’ Crochet to Embellishing Bed Linen to Sewing a Vintage Clutch Bag.
  •   A student showcase from various colleges and academies, such as the NCAD, The Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the National Tailoring Academy at Louis Copeland.

Unveiling Irish Designers and Tailors of the Future – Student Designer Showcase announced for the Knitting and Stitching Show (#knitnstitch), October 30th – November 2nd at the RDS

Up-and-coming Irish textile designers and tailors will be unveiling their talent at the Knitting and Stitching Show in the RDS, Dublin, at the end of the month.
The talented designers will be showcasing spectacular creations – including a steel-boned bodice red dress, a 60 metre-long braiding coil and a zipped patchwork armchair – at the show which takes place from October 30th – November 2nd.
This year’s show is expected to attract a record number of knitting and hand craft enthusiasts, with 25,000 expected to pass through the doors of the RDS over the four days of the show.
The student creations will be displayed at various curated galleries during the show. “A Room of One’s Own” is the theme of the National College of Art and Design in Dublin gallery, featuring one-of-a-kind artefacts like chairs, wall hangings and screens for a contemporary interior space.
Sixteen students from CIT Crawford College of Art and Design in Cork will be making their show debut with works such as “Big Bad Braid”, involving 60 metres of braiding coil and “A Journey Through Emotion”, highlighting the traditional Korean technique of Bojagi.
And students from the National Tailoring Academy at Louis Copeland will be demonstrating their bespoke tailoring skills with garments such as a 1930s-style frock coat, a steel-boned red bodice dress, and a tailcoat with a hidden tail pocket.
Meanwhile, the Graduate Showcase gallery, which will challenge notions of stitching and surface embroidery, is set to feature the work of students from the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology and the NCAD.
Student Mary Brady, from the National Tailoring Academy at Louis Copeland, created a hand-sewn fairytale ballgown with a steel bone corset, inspired by dresses worn at Masquerade Balls in Vienna.
“The dress took me three weeks to finish. I started with the steel bone corset and then I draped raw silk over it and finished by sewing the skirt by hand. This was an amazing experience and really helped me develop and hone my hand tailoring and corsetry skills,” said Mary from Co. Meath.
“We have invited some of Ireland’s most promising young textile designers and tailors to showcase their skills and creations at this year’s Knitting and Stitching Show, which is expected to attract 25,000 visitors,” said Helen Marriott, the show’s organiser. “Through the Student Designer Showcase, we want to put Ireland’s young designer and tailors at the very heart of the show and into the national spotlight.”

FeltUnited @ Clasheen invitation and pictures of new felt wraps

I'd like to extend an invitation to everyone within striking distance of Clasheen, please come along on the afternoon of Saturday 4th October and help celebrate FeltUnited Day 2014 in style. My plan is for us to felt a collaborative wall hanging, swap tips and stories, show and tell, enjoy a pot luck supper and for those that want, it's an open opportunity to set up a selling or swapping table and stash bust!!! Check out the invitation flyer for more details and don't forget that total beginners are very welcome to attend too, the only prerequisite is a love of felt and fibre plus I would appreciate if people stick to the time plan and RSVP prior to the day!


Stag's horn sumac

On the felting side of things I'm busy preparing new work to bring to my first seasonal event of the festive season, the annual Glucksman Craft and Design Fair which is taking place in Cork from 7th to 9th November inclusive.

Side A - eucalyptus bark

In the mornings I'm trying to felt two wraps and then either printing them in the afternoon or tryng to keep things progressing in advance of Creative Island (@Showcase in January), there's a lot of work to do!

Side B - eucalyptus bark and leaves

This week I was particularly happy with the two wraps pictured in this post, both were printed at the same time in the same pot. It's always fascinating to see how incredibly different the end results may be, differing vegetation (and sometimes pre-treatment) makes such a big contribution to the end result.






Ordering felt and naturally printed pieces online!

Although I don't have a store devoted to selling my work online please don't hesitate to contact me if you've seen a piece you like at a show or anywhere here on the web! I'll happily package gifts and post worldwide. Here's a picture of how I presented my scarves and wraps at the Glucksman, Kraft boxes, a hand printed gift tag and tied up with natural coloured linen or twine.

As a guideline, gift boxed naturally printed silk chiffon or ponge/habatoi scarves cost €45 each, etamine (finely woven merino) or silk/wool blend scarves cost €65 and large printed nuno felt wraps are priced at €120 upwards depending on size, all excluding postage. Simple nuno felt scarves start from €40, simple saree silk nuno scarves from €80 and more complex mosaic nuno scarves and wraps start from €120, again all prices excluding postage. Hopefully the SumUp attachment for my phone and iPad will arrive this week (similar to Square in the US) enabling me to take credit card payments over the phone or in person, I can also bill via PayPal for those who prefer.

Anyway, I'm now debating taking the rest of today off! Emma and I arrived home from Cork at lunchtime and I'm definitely a little tired now. I'll collect some sloes while out walking Rex (for sloe gin), then I'm going to put a stew in the oven, while that's cooking I'll have a bath and wash my hair. I had been planning to felt another saree silk scarf this afternoon, at this stage I think I might leave that until tomorrow!