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!)

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Felt book, felt jewellery, pricing work and Clasheen Crafty Swap update …..

Following on from yesterday’s post about Carmen’s great new book ‘Dutch Felt’, I did an internet search this morning and discovered that it is available directly from the publishars Zijdar.  When I get a few spare hours (whenever that is!) I am planning on trying out Ria’s ‘Heart rug’ project incorporating raw sheep’s wool, silk fabric and merino fibres amongst others.  This looks like the perfect time to try once more some of the gorgeous Jacobs fleece kindly given to me by some neighbours this summer, I will keep you posted!

Orange and grey punched felt necklace

Carmen came over yesterday afternoon and her visit provided an excellent excuse to stop tidying the studio in preparation for the weekend workshop and sit down together and string some felt jewellery.  I pulled some of the colourful felt beads that I have made over the last while out of hiding and then spent some time selecting seed beads that would most do the felt justice.  I always find it difficult to finish projects like these and definitely it is the little things that make the difference, it was SO much easier to have a drink and a chat while putting some of these items to bed once and for all! 

The pictured orange, grey, black, white and hot pink necklace put some of my punched beads to really good use.  Normally I would not seperate these type of felt beads with anything, just string them together in a line but for some reason these screamed out to me to use cheery orange seed beads as dividers.  I like the effect and went on to make some earrings with the other punched beads that I had in my stash, you can check them out on Flickr and some are already up in my Etsy shop.

Speaking of Etsy, how do you price your work???  I am totally aware of the current financial situation globally and while I don’t want to undervalue what I am making I also definitely don’t want to overprice pieces and make them unaffordable to buy.  With this in mind I am constantly comparing dollar prices with euros, hopefully you will agree that $45 (E30.33 at todays exchange rate) is not too expensive for the necklace above, it does have 22 layers of merino in every bead and the felt pad which I punched them from took a full day to make! 

Turquoise and coral felt and bead necklace

The other style of necklace that I uploaded today is retailing at $40 (E26.93), I am trying to reflect the time and skill that went into each various piece as well as the artistic merit and uniqueness or sameness of each design.  These prices are an online special and only available through my Etsy store.  If I am attending a craft fair or other event the prices are a little higher to reflect the extra costs accosiated with participating and travelling to shows.

And finally for today ….. partners are at last assigned for the Clasheen Winter Swap.  Many apologies for the week long delay, things are just hectic here and I think that we will extend the posting deadline to accomodate everyone and allay frustrations!  There is still plenty of time to get your packages prepared, after all we are trying to destash as well as make a personal gift so hopefully there will not be too much shopping to do.

Exciting news re. felting wool, Clasheen Autumn Swap and last chance to view Sculpture in Context

There never seem to be enough hours in a day to fit in all the things that I really want to do.  Luckily my flu is now 90% over so I am starting to plough through all the paperwork and outstanding letters/emails etc. that built up over the 4 weeks while I was away from home.  My exciting news of the day however concerns the Icelandic wool that I will soon be selling from my Etsy store, I haven’t linked through this time because I need to wait until the wool arrives and get the images uploaded first!  The colours are fabulous and as well as offering different weights of the wool for sale I also intend putting some fun kits together with clear (hopefully!) instructions on how to make various different items.  The Icelandic wool is superb for structural work, bags, vessels, sculpture, light shades etc. and also could be used for warm scarves although would not be as soft as merino when worn directly against the skin.  Please let me know what you think about putting felting kits together, I was thinking along the lines of …..  beginners flat felt, simple felt vessel, felt purse, felt flower, felt necklace, felt brooch etc. and then a kit with instructions for a first nuno felt scarf using the fantastic short fibred merino I import from Filzrausch.  I would include all the raw materials including embellishments and any findings, clear but simple instructions and enough bubble wrap and resist where necessary to complete the project.  All comments gratefully received!

This Thursday is the deadline for all Clasheen Autumn Swap packages to be on their way across the globe!  If you have been one of our gang participating this time please remember to get your goddies out and then to leave a message of thanks and pictures to the Clasheen Crafty Swaps pool on Flickr as soon as you receive your own package.  If for any reason you are going to be a day or two late getting to the post PLEASE just leave a message on our message board.  Everyone understands if a delay occurs (so long as it is not every time!) and it just relieves the pressure on both ends of the swap.

Next Monday I will be taking down my felt ‘Cascade’ from Sculpture in Context so if you have not yet visited the Irish National Botanic Gardens in Dublin to view the exhibition now is your last chance.  Check out this article from the Irish Times.

Article in the Irish Times

Article in the Irish Times

Felt necklaces, Autumn Swap and Flickr

I ended last night and started this morning by stringing a few more simple but stylish felt necklaces.  Some of them were made entirely from felt beads or balls, some were felt and vintage buttons and one was felt with a beautiful hand painted African button as the feature piece.  Probably I am putting off starting to tidy my studio but unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) I am going to have to get stuck into it in the next half an hour or so.  Carmen is arriving just after lunch and I want to do a serious afternoons work, nuno scarves call, so really I need to clear the long table soon if I want to lay the fibres out on it!

I also spent some time setting up a new Flickr group called ‘Clasheen Crafty Swaps’ this morning, check it out and if you have been participating in our Autumn Swap please take the time to join Flickr (if you are not already a member) and upload photos of your swap packages.  My image of the amazing painting and other goodies I received from Anna is already there, it is really great fun to see what everybody has sent and received, it just adds another dimension to the swap.  For friends who would like to join in the discussions that we will have through the group please feel free to join even if you are not intending getting involved in the swaps.  I know that not everybody has the time to engage in the swaps, my only request is that members only post images of their current work if they actually do join the varaious swaps and this way I can moniter the group content without too much difficulty.