And so …..

And so I thought that Tuesday would be my last golf club duties for the year, little did I know I woule be totally tied up until Saturday afternoon at the least.  To keep your felt interest alive I have now got quite a few of my photos from Vanda Robert’s marvellous felt bag workshop up on Flickr (link to the right) and tomorrow (I promise!!!) to blog about it and then the following post will be about my favourite vendors from Rhinebeck, next week will be devoted to the continuation of my ArtL!nks project.

First photos from my ArtL!nks project

I am just taking a quick break from organising bedrooms (my two sisters and a friend are staying here tomorrow night in honour of the golf club dance!) to post the first pictures from the start of my ArtL!nks project.  After all the planning that went into my proposal it was actually quite hard to start the work  for some reason, sometimes I think that pondering, plotting, planning and worrying too much can have a very detrimental effect on my actual felting! 

Fitting and stitching some of Mehmet's rug base around a plastic resist with the intention of ending up with a freestanding tube

Anyway, I decided that instead of playing around with samples exploring surface detail as I had initially intended I would actually try and make a free standing column, measure the shrinkage rate, see how strongly I could felt it and assess how stable it would be without additional internal support.  This has been the aspect of the project that I have been having the most concerns about and I wanted to be sure that my ideas would work before studying images of nudibranches further prior to finalising the design and cutting out the first resists.  You may remember the piece I felted this summer during Charlotte Buch’s workshop in Silkeborg, the images we used for inspiration were the trigger for me to explore the wonderful and colourful world of nudibranches (aka sea slugs) and it would be safe to say I am thoroughly hooked by now!

I decided to stick with a tonal grey colour combination that I enjoy working with leaving me free to feel how the base of my piece was felting and determine how successfully the structural aspects of the column were working.  I stitched some of Mehmet’s rug base into a tube and inserted a plastic resist into the middle to make sure that the wool didn’t all just felt together into one big thick carpet!  Next I laid two colours of Icelandic wool (both grey) on the surface leaving a couple of areas free of wool and also adding a few splotches of apple green C1 for contrast. 

Working the soap and water downwards through all the layers of wool and fabric

A lot of rubbing and sanding later the surface wool was starting to migrate through the thick cotton well and everything was starting to felt together into one cohesive piece, now I was ready to start with rolling.  Because of all my recent work on Sylvia’s rug I knew that the cotton fabric Mehmet uses for his rug bases would add stability to the column but at this stage I wasn’t sure exactly how evenly I would be able to shape the final piece and whether the top and bottom would stretch a little as had happened with some tentative experiments earlier in the year.

Ready to start rolling

To be continued …..

ArtL!nks project started and pretty hectic week ahead once more!

You may remember that I was lucky enough to recieve a E1000 ArtL!nks bursary earlier in the year and yesterday morning I started the project which should result in two large felt sculptures, one columnar and about my own height, one pod shaped.  I have 4 weeks (broken down into 28 days as I do have some other committments to fit in as well) in which to complete the pieces and will be documenting everything on a seperate blog which still has to be set up, I hope to have that live by the middle of next week!  For the moment I am just keeping my head above water until next Monday is out of the way, in brief I have the project to work on, am attending a three day workshop with Hungarian felter Vanda Roberts at Carmen’s studio from Thursday to Sunday, will be co-hosting the Captain’s Dinner Dance for the Golf Club on Friday night, starting another felting project with Borris Active Retirement on Monday afternoon and then chairing the Ladies Club AGM at the Golf Club on Monday night, whew, I am tired even thinking about all of this! 

Fun felt bag, possible shape for one of my first felting kits!

Once this is over however and I hand over the Lady Captain’s position I should have a little more head space in which to finalise my new felting kits, blog properly, enjoy my felting and enter proper discussions with US friends about some exciting workshops which may be happening in the Californian area during Spring 2011!!!  I knew that I couldn’t keep away from US for very long, exciting times ahead!

Next post will contain pictures of the initial days of my ArtL!nks project, until then adieu.

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.