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 http://tinyurl.com/25h2cy9 (there is a 100 euro book voucher to be won too!)

My first experiment podcasting about my felt!

This is not a proper movie I know but here goes with my first experiment adding both an audio and a visual element to this blog, please have a look and let me know what you think!  Thanks again Ken, John, Alan and Cathy for facilitating such a great ArtL!nks event yesterday and thanks also to friend and professional photographer Bernie McCoy for the beautiful images of my bag!

Felt and driftwood ring

By the time I had finished my proposal for Cashel Arts Fest, had a chat and some lunch with Carmen, Mariate and Alan it was four o’clock and we (with the exception of Alan!) were all ready to get down to a bit of felting (or sewing in the case of Mariate) for the rest of the afternoon.  Carmen laid out a gorgeous scarf and I started to decide exactly how I was going to make a ring using merino and a well worn piece of driftwood collected on a recent trip to the beach.

Felt and driftwood ring

It took ages deciding which piece of driftwood to use as when you are a confirmed hoarder like me it is difficult to use anything from your stash in case you mess it up and end up wasting the piece!  I had a couple of minutes trying to work out how to attach the bit to Alan’s small drill but eventually decided just to run with my own Makita and not worry about the concequences in the event of any misadventure!  Choosing the colours for the felt was easy, the dark patina of the wood lent itself to orange, yellow, wine and green Autumnal colours, no surprises there.  Overall I was very happy with the end result and plan on wearing the ring tomorrow when I go to a podcasting course organised by ArtL!nks.  I also felted another ring using bone and merino and then made an experimental cuff using merino and some very sequined jersey fabric that Carmen got as waste from an Irish dress designer.  Unfortunately it will be Tuesday or Wednesday before I get to felt again but now that I have got started combining felt and found objects I will be planning some more pieces of jewellery and then hopefully some bigger three dimensional projects which are floating around in my head at the moment.

Exciting news re. ‘Breaking Out’!

I am really excited today as I have just recieved a letter from the Crafts Council informing me that I am one of the emerging makers that have been selected for inclusion in ‘Breaking Out’.  This means that I get the opportunity to work with the curator in creating a body of work that potentially will be included in the ‘Breaking Out’ exhibition, opening at the National Craft Gallery, Kilkenny in October 2008.  Thanks a million to everyone who supported and encouraged me when I was preparing my application especially Alan, Cathy and Bernie.  I would also like to mention again how helpful I found all the great Artlinkspersonal development courses I attended and really recommend that all creative practitioners in the South East join up immediately.

Free to Felt!

After months of hard work for the Green Energy Fair I am almost free to concentrate on a series of small sculptural vessels incorporating silk and wool.  I just arrived back from Dublin today and was too exhausted to face in to any paperwork until the morning.  Carmen gave me a call to see if I was around as she wanted to use my long table and make a baby’s blanket as a present for one of her friends.  Great excuse to do a little felting myself and very theraputic!!!  I promise that over the next few weeks I am going to create and photograph some of my work in progress and publish it to this blog.

As mentioned in my last post I created a necklace for Cathy (director of Artlinks) and thanks to Martin her husband for forwarding me on some great images, hope you like them.  Here is one and you can check out the other on my Gallery page.

Exciting times!

Wow, so much has been happening of late that I don’t know where to start.  I’ll try to get this in some sort of order but guess it might just become one big long ramble.

My addiction to felt continues!  Last weekend Carmen (my friend who is responsible for getting me started) and I travelled to Dublin for the agm of the Feltmakers Federation.  Such a nice group of talanted and sharing people is a rare thing to come accross.  After the nitty gritty of the meeting was dispensed with we had an interesting presentation from Una Parsons, the CEO of the Craft’s Council followed by an excellent discussion by Sheila Smith.  Sheila is a master at the art of felt and has written to my mind the definitive book on felting called ‘Felt to Stitch’.  We oogled her wonderful creations and I am really looking forward to her next book, watch out for it in the late summer.  Today, Carmen and another friend Jean came to my studio and I showed them how to create cobweb scarfs, they made very beautiful creations.

As a result of the encouragement and advice received to date I have decided to offer workshops at Clasheen titled ‘Fleece to Felt’.  Aimed primarily at the beginner, these days will offer an ideal chance for stressed out individuals to get in touch with their creative side amidst the beautifull surroundings of the Blackstairs Mountains.  Browse my books, gain inspiration from the landscape and leave at the end of the day with a masterpiece that you have created over the course of the day. 

The purchase of the land surrounding my old farmhouse has been completed a couple of weeks ago so I guess you could say that I am a small holder now!  Brilliant if a bit scarey, at present I have the land rented out to a friendly local farmer so now I can gaze out on horses and young cattle every day.  This week I had an appointment with Chris, our brilliant local forrester to discuss my plans about planting several acres with broad leaved trees in the next dormant season.  Chris has gone home armed with my wish list, natural looking planting, indiginous trees, damson, crab apple and other wild fruit trees mingled in etc. etc. and he will be preparing a plan for me, almost like the floor plan of a house!  I am really looking forward to seeing what he will come up with, we are also exploring the different possibilities of applying for a grant to cover some of the expenses.  My vision is to have a really special amenity area, woodland walks planned from the start and a spring at the top of the land will be included in the ‘floor plan’ as an area of special interest and bio-diversity.

A big note of thanks to Artlinks for the wonderful service they offer.  Last week I attended two of their professional development courses, ‘Business Mentoring for your Creative Practice’ and ‘Marketing your Creative Work’.  This week I am booked into ‘Photographing/Documenting your Creative Work’ and ‘Blogging for Beginners’, guess that is the one I really could do with tonight!

Better go now, my job as competition secretary at Borris Golf Club steps up another gear in the morning, the President’s Prize to the ladies beckons!