At last ‘Cascade’ is installed and Clasheen Autumn Swap

Well at last ‘Cascade’ is installed in the Great Palm House at the National Botanic Gardens thanks to a lot of help from Alan!  Thanks also to everyone who sent me emails and comments with suggestions about the stringing and transportation of the felt flowers.  I eventually wound the strands around old election posters of Alan’s and secured both ends with packing tape, it worked a dream!  I must say that we nearly came to blows on Wednesday night and I was beginning to wonder if the project would ever come to fruition but come Thursday morning everything looked a lot more hopeful and all went extremely smoothly in the actual installation thank goodness.  We arrived at the Botanic Gardens a little after eleven in the morning and Ana Duncan, Beatrice and everyone concerned with the organisation of the exhibition was a great help as were the horticultural staff working in the Palm House area itself.  We had no problem accessing the gantry and Alan ended up lying way up overhead dropping down a piece of string through the gantry floor weighted with a small fishing weight!  I then attached individual strands of flowers by means of a swivel hook before Alan pulled the whole thing up from above.  Although he needed to be careful not to pull to quickly or else the strands would wrap around each other this only happened once during the whole process and we managed to sort the problem out without too much fuss.  By about half past two we had the bulk of the long strands installed and had a welcome break for a spot of lunch.  (If you do go to see the exhibition the restaurant/coffee shop is excellent, I actually had never had anything to eat there before and realised that I had been missing out on some really great home cooked food and cookies!)  Feeling refreshed we then went back to the Palm House and I started attaching shorter strands of flowers from some of the surrounding foliage.  The main body of the installation is approx 3.5m long and the lower strands just serve to continue the cascade down to a level where everyone will be able to view and enjoy the felt including the many children who have great fun running around in the garden.  We finished the work by about five o’clock when I positioned some loose felt flowers amongst the lowest plants to ground the whole installation.  Alan thought that the flowers could be a bit bigger but overall I am pretty happy with the result.  I think that the masses of small flowers do what I proposed in my submission but obviously I will need to let the public be the deciders of that!  I was so wrapped up in installing the work that I didn’t think to take any photos but Sculpture in Context opens on Wednesday night and providing I locate my camera (which I have mislaid since last weekend) I intend taking images which I will then post to the blog and Flickr.

Clasheen Autumn Swap  – sign up today!

Sorry about the really late notice for those of you not checking the Clasheen Crafty Swap group regularly on Flickr but sign ups for this swap close tonight as I want to get partners assigned before I leave home on Tuesday afternoon for our holidays.  This swap is all about spoiling your partner on a budget, a little bit like a Green meets New Year de-stash swap with a difference! We will create a thoughtful but inexpensive package using mainly items that we already have in our homes or can buy locally and add in a little hand made gift that we have created ourselves for our swap buddy. Using the list below for guidance select at least five items that you already have at home and then let your imagination do the rest ……..

Old craft magazines or book you no longer need
That gorgeous soap or body lotion that you have never opened
Buttons and beads
Fibre (the more the merrier!!)
Hand made paper
Greeting cards
Jewellery that you have never worn
Ribbons and bows
Scrap leather
Your favourite tea
etc., etc., etc.

If you want to sign up for the swap please go to our sign up page on Flickr and make sure to also add your likes and dislikes to the relevant page.  Packages then need to be sent by Friday 16th October (any earlier is a bonus!) giving everyone plenty of time to make their hand made gift and put together their package.


Felt vessels and Autumn swap reminder

Yesterday I made two more felt vessels, one tall and one a kind of funky shape, it was inspired by a pumpkin!  I took a few photos of them and hopefully will upload them here tomorrow if the uploading tool decides to work OK.  The fibre that I used was Bheda wool from De Witte Engel and both of them were decorated with silk, the tall one with mulberry silk and the pumpkin one with tussah silk.  I think that I definitely have an Autumn theme going colourwise at the moment with these new vessels as you will see when the images are posted!

Today I shaved the vessels from yesterday and then I made a felt picture/small wall hanging using the mountains outside as inspiration.  A friend had said that she would love a felt picture with mountains hence the trial run for her Christmas present!  I used a backdrop of green prefelt (which I had made a couple of weeks ago) and laid out merino, bheda wool and torn up prefelt over the top in a design of sky, mountains and fields.  Wanting  texture and an uneveness of the piece to play an integral part of the picture I decided not to actually felt and full the work as much as normal.  Firstly I sanded the design as laid out (could I becoming addicted to the sander, by the way thanks Joni for the interesting tip via the comments section and welcome back to blogging!) and then I cut up some scraps of wool and prefelts and sprinkled them on top of the mountains and fields to add depth.  I think that this worked although I will reserve judgment until the morning.  The picture is now drying on top of the Rayburn and tomorrow I shall get the camera out and take some shots weather permitting.

SWAP REMINDER The deadline for posting our Autumn Swap packages is 21st October, only 3 days away!  Mine are just about ready to go but if you are having any problems meeting the deadline you need to let me know and also your swap buddy.  I really want this to work and it needs everyone to pull together to have a bit of fun, enjoy the last few days and wait ’till your swap arrives for you!!  Remember we are sending one item made by you, one seasonal receipe and one little extra.

Pictures of felt rug and Autumn swap buddies!

As promised I have uploaded some images of my rug in progress at the workshop I attended with Mehmet Girgic at Wollknoll in Germany.  Please click here to access my Flickr photostream and see how the rug was made.  We started with a base of ‘kicked’ wool and cotton fabric and built up our outlines using thin strands of wool.  Mehmet had prepared the bases at his workshop in Turkey (carded wool, fabric, water and kicked together by foot to form a surface similar to prefelt) but a couple of the girls wanted to make bigger rugs so they laid out their design directly onto bubble wrap, by choosing this method they ended up with rugs where their image was reversed.  Once the outlines were laid (mine took 1 and 1/2 days!) we started to fill in with various different coloured wools.  Memhet had brought various hand dyed wool with him and we also had a free rein at Wollknoll, we just took what we wanted from their fantastic range and weighed it as we worked.  At the end of the workshop everyone bought the wool that they had used but to be honest if really did not use up a huge amount if you started with the prepared base.  The girls that choose to lay directly onto the bubblewrap then had to place fabric on their design followed by a thick layer of carded wool and therefore had to buy quite a bit more.  Then the fun started!  The rugs were rolled up in a long plastic carpet, about 5 at a time, the bundle was tied tightly and then kicked by foot for a minimum of an hour.  More details to follow in the next post and as soon as I am at my own computer I will upload a couple of pictures to the blog, unfortunately I can’t do it from here! 

The Autumn swap buddies are hereby announced! 

Carmen and Sylvia – Anna and Nicola – Jo-Anne and Ruth – Martina and Nicola – Sherry and Niki – Pam and Micky

Please can all involved check your email, I have sent you the contact details of your partner and you need to email them as soon as possible with your postal address and your preferences.  I have decided to extend the deadline for posting the packages to 21st October, I am really tied up at the moment so I hope another week will suit us all!  Please remember, the theme is Autumn, we will swap one hand made accessory, one seasonal receipe and one little extra.    Good luck and enjoy!!

Congratulations to Feltmakers Ireland

Just a quick note to congratulate Feltmakers Ireland on their great new blog!  Check it out and whether you are an experienced feltmaker or just starting out in this fascinating field I would encourage you all join our group.  Earlier in the year I participated at a weekend ‘Felt In’ with some of the members and it was a really fantastic experience, great crack and very informative.  I know that another weekend away is on the cards so why not join up, come along and participate in the fun!

Autumn swap update

I just realised that of course we are not all in the same time zone therefore I will wait until tomorrow morning to do the draw for our first ever swap!  If you would like to join in the fun you have just a couple of more hours to either reply to this post or send me an email.

Images from my course with Mehmet Girgic will be posted tomorrow!

Home from fabulous felting course!

Hi everyone, I have finally returned from a week in Crete followed by the most fantastic rug making workshop with Mehmet Girgic at Wollknoll in Germany!!  What can I say?  Mehmet is a master Turkish feltmaker and every minute spent participating in his workshop was an amazing experience.  Twelve of us gathered from as far afield as Spain, the Netherlands, Ireland, Germany and Austria to learn the traditional way to make our own rug and I must say that it was worth every Euro spent.  The knowledge that we gained from our own work and watching others was invaluable.  Mehmet is exceptionally generous with his time and experience, everyone felt he was the most generous teacher and facilitator that they had ever had the chance to work with.  I can’t wait to get some images up for you on the blog but it may be tomorrow before I actually get them downloaded, I have been up for 36 hours without sleep and counting!  Keep an eye on the blog tomorrow or late this evening, I promise to have a taster on view and also the Autumn Swap partners go up tomorrow!!