Image of my felt collar from ‘Breaking Out’

Just a quick post tonight after an excellent day, taught all morning and won my golf match this afternoon!  I have finally found out how to save images that have been emailed to me as jpegs, for some reason a lot of them converted to btmps and I have not been able to post them here or to Flickr.  Anyway, here is the image of my felt collar that was exhibited in ‘Breaking Out’ at the National Craft Gallery, photo by one of the Crafts Council photographers. 

'Yearning'

'Yearning'

Felt at exhibition, Etsy shop

Just a quick post today as I have a mountain of tidying to do before my first evening course starts tomorrow!!  The opening of Breaking Out was fantastic, thanks to everyone who came and to all of you who have left comments on the blog.  It was very interesting to see that there was work from 3 felt artists on display, it really seems to be the up and comming craft at the moment.  Marika Miklosi Manning had very sculptural pendants and vessels, Nicola Farrell showed 3 large discs of felt (hung on the wall) and I had 4 neck pieces and the rug I made with Mehmet Girgic in September.  Overall the exhibition was brilliantly curated by Ann Mulrooney and it is well worth a visit if you are anywhere near Kilkenny.  As Micki has mentioned in her comments, Kilkenny Castle is definitely a place to see and the 2 exhibition galleries are housed in the old coach yard of the Castle, beautiful light filled spaces.  Other selected exhibitors include ceramicists, jewellery makers, textile artists, wood workers, reclycled paper artists, metal workers and glass makers so it would be true to say that there will be something to excite everyone interested in cutting edge craft. 

On Saturday I am going to pop down and take some images of my work on display, then I will upload them to the blog.  I actually did an interview with a reporter this morning (her paper was emailed an image of me with my work at the opening) so I am going to be featured in the Carlow People next week, yipee!

My Etsy shop WILL be up and running early next week I promise.  My biggest problem over the last week and a half is the sheer volume of organising I have had to do to get my tax returns sorted (not exactly sorted yet) and to prepare the house for my first class of students.  This has all been on top of trying to prepare work for my next exhibition, the deadline for this work is mid next week so I am sure you can all imagine how hyper I am!!

Breaking Out opening

Today is the official opening of ‘Breaking Out’ at the Craft Gallery in Kilkenny.  Alan and I will be aiming to arrive there at about 1 o’clock, have some lunch with friends and family and then go on to the opening at 3 o’clock.  I am really looking forward to seeing how the curator has hung/displayed my felt pieces although obviously I am nervous as well!

Felted beads, exhibition and Christmas Craft Swap

I have been making a series of felted beads to incorporate into some new necklaces that I am making for another exhibition that I will be participating in.  Yesterday I was contacted by Tunde from KOZO studio and gallery to say that my submission had been successful for the Winter/Christmas exhibition that she is organising so I was very excited.  Twelve selected artists have been chose for this well organised event which is running at the KOZO Gallery in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny from 19th November until 31st January.  This means that both this exhibition and ‘Breaking Out’ run at the same time which is brilliant for me, hopefully it will also mean that more people may be interested in learning the fascinating craft of felting!

Christmas Craft Swap and Autumn Swap update  Everyone should have posted and received their Autumn Swap packages by now, please can you make sure to photograph your goodies and post them to our group pool on Flickr?  It is really important that everyone’s effort is aknowledged and it is brilliant seeing how many talented members we make friends with around the world.

Our new swap is the Christmas Craft Swap and to make sign ups a simpler process for me to organise and monitor from now on please sign up through Clasheen Crafty Swaps.  If you are not a member of Flickr it is really simple to join up (follow the instructions) and you will also be able to express your likes and dislikes in the discussion section of the group.  Our swap will consist of either a hand made Christmas ornament OR a handmade Christmas gift, a seasonal receipe and a small little extra.  Please say whether you would like an ornament or a gift when signing up to the swap and make sure to sign up before the closing date of Saturday November 15th.  Swap partners will be assigned on Sunday 16th and packages need to be posted out by Friday 5th December, this gives everyone 3 weeks to come up with the goodies!

Felting courses, pictures, exhibition and mention in Press!

Where do I start.  It has been a busy couple of days finishing my work for ‘Breaking Out’, delivering it to Kilkenny, organising 3 felting courses and discovering that my blog has been mentioned in an article by Marie Boran for Silicon Republic and the business section of the Irish Independent today, thanks Marie!! 

Adjustable spiral neckpiece

Adjustable spiral neckpiece

I am delighted to report that my work is now finished for ‘Breaking Out’ and that I met the curator Ann Mulrooney yesterday for a chat and to deliver the pieces to Kilkenny.  Ann has been a great help with all sorts of advice; which items are suitable to exhibit, which are ‘product’, how to present your work to a gallery, how to package your work and label it, all sorts of things that I am new to so thanks Ann for the advice and support.  The images above and below are of ‘Sea Breeze’, one of the neckpieces which I left with Ann and the one that I almost burnt to a cinder in the Rayburn on Tuesday!

Waterfall of spirals

Waterfall of spirals

EXCITING NEWS RE. FELTING COURSES I am thrilled to announce that German feltmaker Sigrid Bannier, Turkish maestro Mehmet Girgic and English felter supreme Sheila Smith have all confirmed that they will come to Ireland and hold workshops in the Clasheen area!

Sigrid Bannier will be facilitating a felt jewellery workshop and a nuno felting workshop at Woodbrook House, Killanne, Co. Wexford on 29th and 30th November 2008. 

Mehmet Girgic will be teaching felt rug making in several three day courses between 15th and 27th January 2009 here at Clasheen, full details and dates of the different courses to be confirmed.

Sheila Smith will be here at the end of April, beginning of May, dates to be confirmed this weekend! 

I am putting up a new page on the blog this weekend with resumes of the tutors and links to their websites.  Please email me immediately if you are interested in provisionally booking a spot to learn from any of these exciting masters.

 

Felting crazy

Had a great day today on the felting front.  First thing this morning I called over to Carmen and thankfully she was a little better although not fully recovered from her virus or whatever.  As a result we had a spot of breakfast and I was home and ready for action by about 10am.  The first thing that I got stuck into was shaving the rug I made at the Mehmet Girgic workshop and then the felted lariat with the spirally bits that I mentioned in my post yesterday.  I made some more long cords, very thin and then worked further on all the cords to make sure that they were fully compacted before winding them around the metal knitting needles and putting them in the oven of the Rayburn (oil fired range).  A great lunch later I recieved a call from a friend and I decided to go in to Borris for a quick coffee with them and to visit the bank.  About an hour later I suddenly realised that the spirals were still in the oven, boy was I lucky that they were not burnt to cinders!!  Anyway, I finished that lariat, made two more nuno felt neck pieces and then assembled another lariat, this time two thickish cords with flowers on either end.  Tomorrow morning I am going to photograph all the work and then I need to go to Kilkenny and meet with Ann Mulrooney, the curator of Breaking Out.

Exciting news re felt and ‘Breaking Out’!

I am so excited today as my felt is definitely going to be on display at ‘Breaking Out’, the Crafts Council Exhibition to be held in Kilkenny from October 19th until mid January 2009.  The curator Ann Mulrooney and I met this afternoon so that she could have a look at the current work I have been making.  I have to say that I was very unsure how the meeting would go as it is always difficult to be critically assesive about your own work, especially if like me you have no formal art college training.  Anyway, Ann was really nice and supportive, one of my pieces has been selected for photographing on Sept 18th (merino wool neckpiece with loads of spikes!) and the rest of the work needs to be delivered by the beginning of October.  I can’t tell you what a relief it is to know that my work was up to scratch and I really am looking forward to inviting all my friends who have supported me develop my practice to the opening!  Another knock on effect of being selected has been the fact that I am now registered as a maker with the Crafts Council and have a profile page complete with images on their website.

Stiffening felt and exchanging handmade items.

Many thanks to Nancy in San Francisco who suggested using either dissolvable interfacing or cellulose paste as a stiffener for felt.  It is great to be able to pose a question on this blog and get an answer almost immediately from the other side of the world! 

Speaking of the other side of the world, would anyone be interested in signing up to a craft swap if I organised it, exchanging something simple and hand made possibly with a festive theme?  I thought that we might get a group of us together and make an item or two for a swap buddy (think I am becomming obsessed with swapping) and possibly include a recepie, obviously the idea would be to receive something nice in exchange!  Please reply to this post if you think that it would be a good idea and I will put a challenge together if at least 10 people want to swap.

Continuing the handmade theme, check this out, I have just signed the pledge. I Took The Handmade Pledge! BuyHandmade.org

On the felt side of things I have been doing a few experimental pieces incorporating either cords or tails and will post a couple of images here tomorrow or on Tuesday.  I really need to knuckle down to the felting as Alan and I will be going away for a couple of days soon and I need to complete my work for ‘Breaking Out’.  It is still not sure if my work will be in the exhibition yet and I must say that I am a little worried in case I do not make something that the curator is happy with.  Anyway, I am delighted to have got so far in the process but have to admit that I will be really disappointed if my work is not included. 

Sylvia, my swap buddy from ‘Bag Lady Swaps’ has now received my package and thankfully seems to be happy with the colours and bag, this is despite my dreadful sewing.  Click here to view the images that she has posted to the group forum.

1722 hits and counting

1722 sounds like a date but in actual fact these are the number of hits to date on this blog since I posted my first ramblings on 10th April ’08!  I am really delighted that numbers are multiplying month on month and have now added a counter at the bottom right hand side of the blog.

Because of my injured hand I have had plenty of time to think about my work and what I will be preparing for the Crafts Council.  To date I have made several pieces since I got selected to participate in ‘Breaking Out’, but as I really want to ‘wow’ them I still need to strive for that special piece to materialise.  I am intending on incorporating some found items into my work as well and hope that when I find those special items the piece will just come naturally, fingers crossed!  I have also been working on some designs for a couple of new bags and a vessel with some shibori elements, hopefully my hand will be healed enough next week to put them into action.  The Irish Green Gathering is also in the final 10 days of preparation so probably it is a good thing that I don’t have as much time to felt.

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.