Australia, Hong Kong and back to Ireland, part 2!

At the end of three and a half magical weeks in Australia Suzanne and I spent one last memorable day in the Blue Mountains. We golfed, ate, cleaned our very comfortable ‘off the grid’ Airbnb accommodation and popped in briefly to say goodbye to Pam and John. The following morning we headed for Sydney Airport and headed onwards for the last leg of our trip.

What can I say about Hong Kong and the warmth of Terriea’s welcome? From the lovely and thoughtful gift of traditional sweets and maps waiting at our hotel to spending our days with Terriea friends and family, each day was filled with special sights, food, fun and laughter!!! We had a wonderful time. This first collage shares pictures from our first full day together, everywhere I looked there were spectacular views and inspiration for new work. We started the day with a walk at The Peak to view the iconic Hong Kong skyline, travelled down on the Victoria Tram then met up with Florence and Pauline to catch the ferry to scenic Lamma Island (Pok Liu Chau). This island is where Terriea spent some time as a child, it’s a very special place and I can quite see why she loves it!!! Before heading for a trek around the island we started out with a delicious feast at one of the fish restaurants overlooking the floating village. The food was so fresh and delicious, needless to say I was in culinary heaven!!!!! In the evening Terriea, Florence and I headed to visit the flower market in Kowloon and sample street food in the Ladies Market, the sweet bean filled dumplings were to die for!!!!!!! Here are a few images that capture our time together at The Peak and Lamma.

On the second day, Suzanne and I met up with Terriea and Todd again and Terriea’s son very kindly brought us for a drive up the mountains looking down on Kowloon. We then met up with her brother Cheung On and headed off to explore the New Territories. It was absolutely fascinating, beautiful scenery, great company and food (yet again!) plus the opportunity to take pictures right up at the Chinese border. One little surreal episode was meeting a saxophonist practicing his music right on the edge of the shore in the middle of nowhere, magical!!! I also particularly loved all the red kites caught up in trees and was delighted that the traditional Irish flat cap we brought Cheung On from Cushendale Woollen Mill fitted perfectly! In the late afternoon we headed with Terriea to the fabric district in Kowloon then finished the day having a delicious meal with Loretta back near our hotel in Causeway Bay on Hong Kong island. Thanks Loretta and Terriea for organising our hotel, wonderful comfort and luxury right in the middle of the action! Here’s a collage from day two.

On our final day Terriea and I headed to Stanley while Suzanne initially explored more of Causeway Bay. We checked out the beautiful beach, bustling market and old fishermen’s houses, I gathered some shells and wave washed ceramic pieces on the sand then was lucky enough to visit Terriea’s studio and see her wonderful working space filled with art and textiles. Although I’d already seen pictures of a little up-cycled chair covered with eco printed fabric online, in reality it was just so much more beautiful. Such a cool idea and absolutely perfect!!! If you’re not already following Terriea’s textile adventures online here’s a link to her Facebook page. Thank you for sharing your private space with me Terriea, I really appreciated it and now I can close my eyes and see you there!

The last afternoon holds one of my most precious memories, eating dim sum in a restaurant with hundreds of locals, if it hadn’t been for Terriea I’d never have managed to navigate the Chinese menu and coped with the system of ordering! The food was superb. In case you haven’t already guessed I was absolutely in my element with the freshness of ingredients, the contrast of texture and taste, the whole experience of eating local food in local settings!!! Hong Kong more than exceeded my expectations. The contrast of old versus new, east versus west and towering high rises versus prestige unspoilt landscape, catching up with old friends and making new ones. I’m totally captivated with the beauty and culture, I will return!

The final part of this post is my arrival home to Clasheen, to say the weather was a shock is definitely a bit of an understatement. Having spent approx 4 weeks in temperatures ranging from the low 20s to the early 40s snow at the airport and damp, freezing conditions made our first day back rather cold to say the least! The light over the Backstairs was absolutely gorgeous as I drove through Scullogue Gap and approached Clasheen, here’s one of the pics I stopped to snap.IMG_9718

Thank you so much to kind neighbours Joanne, Brian and James for thinking of lighting my boiler and leaving delicious fish, bread and milk in my larder. Thoughtful friends and a wonderful welcome home!!!

Next time I’ll post about felting and eco printing, Ireland and Portugal, workshop dates and some surprise pictures! Until then….. adieu.

 

 

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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.

 

Canadian and Australian adventure in pictures

Many apologies, I'm so late posting pictures from my recent Canadian and Australian workshops that I almost don't know where to begin, I had a fantastic time! Three wonderful eco print or felt classes in Canada then a week long residential felting workshop at Geelong Fibre Forum followed by ten days holiday with my sister. Each and every aspect of the trip was a delight and pleasure, internet connectivity was very sketchy though during these adventures hence the lack of blog posts. I met so many wonderful people and made so many new friends along the way, thanks 1000 times to each and every one of you and a massive shout out to all my wonderful hosts, workshop organisers and students!!!

Here's a tiny flavour of the trip in pictures, now I just need to beat the jet lag and resume felting and printing before the week is out. Fernie, Lethbridge, Calgary and Geelong……… I love you and will be back!

 

 

Felting techniques and swap update

It is amazing how many ways there are to felt a ball.  Today I needed to make a couple of felt balls and although they are always trotted out as a beginners project for me they are far from it!  I always seem to have difficulty starting them off without getting creases but no more, Australian feltmaker Anita Larkin’s way worked a treat.  You lay a few very light layers of wool down on a bamboo blind (I used merino) at right angles to each other and then dry felt for a few seconds.  This dry felting is done by placing the palm of your hand of the fibres and moving it gently away from you and back towards you, then do the same from a 90 degree angle.  You now have a flattish square of fibres which you fold over at the corner to make an angle, exactly like folding a won ton.  Starting from this angle now fold and roll the whole wad of fibres into a ball making sure that the last wisps are as smooth as possible on the outside.  Dunk very quickly and very gently into hot soapy water (I use natural olive oil soap) and start to rotate LIGHTLY in your hand.  Almost immediately you will feel a skin forming on the outside of the ball, the inside will still be dry and any small creases can now be covered with a light wisp of wool.  Work the ball in your hand and on the mat dunking it a couple of times in the hot water as you progress to start working the inside as well.  Before you can say ‘felt’ you will have a great ball, amazing!  Make sure to rinse it out in hot water and there you go.

Speaking of Australia I mentioned before a great Australian website for felting and sewing supplies, Essential Textile Art.  Today I placed another order for various types of sari fabric to incorporate in my nuno felting.  I am going away on a felting course to Wollknoll in a weeks time and hope that the fibres will be here on my return.  My new Etsy shop is now set up and I will be frantically making some nice pieces to sell as Christmas presents, as soon as I have the items up I will post a link here on the blog!  Remember, sign up to Buy Handmade if you want to support artists and craftspeople from around the world.

Swap update: We now have swap participants from Ireland, Germany, Spain and Denmark to join in the upcoming exchange that I am organising.  To keep it simple for the first swap the theme will be Autumn and the deadline to join will be 21st September.  Swap buddies will be allocated then and your package needs to be posted to your buddy by the 14th October.  We will exchange one handmade accessory, one seasonal receipe and a little something extra.  Obviously everyone is into different forms of craft so you may make your handmade item anything that you would like to recieve yourself using Autumn at the theme.  If you don’t work with textiles there is no problem, just let me know if you would prefer to exchange a piece of art (hand made cards, wall hanging etc.) or some hand made edible goodies and I will pair you up with someone who would like to receive there items.  To sign up and for those of you already signed up please email me with your likes and dislikes and let me know if you would be happy to receive gifts other that textiles if necessary and I can forward your preferences on to your swap buddy when the draw is made.  If this swap goes according to plan we might consider Christmas as our next theme!  To check out other current swaps visit SwapDex, be careful you don’t get hooked.