Felt hat, group photo from Annette’s first workshop, blogs …..

I have had some really busy days in a row (what’s new) and another five days of madness to follow before I can settle down to a couple of exhibition proposals that I need to get written before the middle of April.  Last week I participated in two different workshops relating to blogging and social media one of which was organised by my friend Cathy, the director of ArtL!nks.  I know that I have mentioned ArtL!nks before but if you live anywhere in counties Carlow, Wexford, Waterford, Wicklow or Kilkenny I urge you yet again to register as a practitioner, the service is brilliant, the support on offer is great and everything is FREE or in the case of workshops heavily subsidised!  The intermediate blogging course was brilliantly facilitated as usual by Ken McGuire and hopefully I now have discovered even more ways to have fun whilst blogging!  Now off my hobbyhorse and on with the felting …..

Working the hat inside out once the resist was removed

Working the hat inside out once the resist was removed

Continuing on with my felt hat, once the ‘envelope’ of fibres started to curl up and I could feel everything coming together nicely I cut open the bottom edge of the package and removed the resist.  After this it was just like working and fulling a vessel, sealing the cut edges, working the section where the fibres had encircled the resist, shaping and shrinking.

Clare modelling my hat!

Clare modelling my hat!

I now need to just full it a little more on my head in order to get a perfect fit.  Probably I am either a week too late or nearly a year too early because it strikes me now that it would have been perfect for our local St. Patrick’s Day parade, ah well, there is always next year! 

Happy felters at the end of Annette Quentin-Stoll's first workshop!

Happy felters at the end of Annette Quentin-Stoll's first workshop!

The completed tactile felt play mat

Felt attachments on my tactile play mat

Felt attachments on my tactile play mat

We started the felting process by gently wetting and working the fibres around the edges of the various components before wetting out the whole piece and rolling, rubbing and working the felt as normal.  The biggest difference in the way that Annette works compared to how all of us had learnt was that she lays out all her fibre and works everything on a towel instead of a piece of bubble wrap or a bamboo blind.  This is one of the most interesting aspects of any workshop, seeing how every visiting tutor preferrs to work and then adapting aspects of their practice to suit your own.  I did start all my work on my towel but then changed to work with the bamboo blind as soon as my fibres were holding together well.  Because I had no chair at Alan’s house (a long story!) I worked the piece for a couple more hours on Wednesday evening, pulling at the sides to get a sharp edge, rolling and throwing, here is the result. 

Finished at last!

Finished at last!

Putting what we had learnt on day one to the test everyone had the oportunity of making either a felt bag or a hat incorporating bumps, tubes, points or flowers.  Obviously I decided to go down the hat route, a great opportunity to have a successful experience after all my previous failed attempts!!  Green being one of my favourite colours I planned out a simple beanie style with loads of felt dreadlocks emerging from the top of the crown.  Here is an image of the hat being laid out, more details to follow in my next post. 

Adding dreadlocks when laying out my hat

Adding dreadlocks when laying out my hat

First images from Annette’s workshops

Ready to get inventive!

Ready to get inventive!

As promised here are the first images from the workshop that I did with Annette Quentin-Stoll.  Our first project was to create attachments that we would incorporate into a tactile play mat for a child (or child like adult!) and after a brief demonstration Annette got us started on designing and making a mat of our choice. 

Felt tube with ball on end and moveable rings

Felt tube with ball on end and moveable rings

Once we had all our components made we then laid out two rectangles of merino, three alternating layers to each rectangle.  Slits were cut in the top piece (after both had been dry felted slightly to firm them up) and then the ends of the various attachments were inserted through the slits and the dry fibres fanned out between the two wads of merino.  Each individual attachment was then felted by seperately to start the felting process and ensure that they would stay in place before the whole package was wet out fully and the heavy rolling and rubbing got properly underway.  To be cont ….

Check out this felt!

Annette Quentin Stoll's workWow, I am so excited to be attending a two day workshop with Annette Quentin Stoll!  The following text is taken from Feltmakers Ireland’s info re the workshop ….. ‘We will prefelt points, bumps, folds, pockets and tubes and add them to a sqare felt piece. The aim is to get straight edges and standing points, folds and tubes growing out of the felt. We will make a second piece – perhaps a bag with handle and small bag inside or a hat with grass growing on it, points will become grass and flowers, bumps will become hills, pockets become caves and all sorts of magical things.’  I can’t describe how much I am looking forward to this, thankfully my virus appears to be clearing up and I really want to be in the full of my health to get the most from the two days!  There will be a second workshop with Annette over the weekend making an art project for indoors or outdoors.  Carmen will be participating for the two days (I am tutoring at another fibre day in Tinahely on Saturday) and I will get to be a helper on Sunday.  Initially I was a bit disappointed that the dates were clashing but realistically I need to earn some money and I can pick up all the info from Carmen next week, hopefully a win, win situation!  Tinahely was FANTASTIC last time and I must say it will be nice to work with some of the women from the previous session and meet some new felters as well, maybe even a few new men.