Yesterday morning I worked with 70 four and five year olds then in the evening I started a course of four sessions with an art group in Myshall, a busy day you might say. I'll be posting before and after pictures of all the wonderful felt pictures to FB later this afternoon but here's a little taster for you to enjoy now!
I think that the participants did amazing work, none had ever felted or handled wool batts before, it was a wonderful night!
Here is an image of some recently carded fibres, don’t the colours just glow! These particular rolls are a mixture of merino, alpaca and mulberry silk. The orange coloured one was a particular favourite of mine, now it has been incorporated into the BIGGEST felted vessel that I have made to date and I am delighted with the result. Tomorrow morning, weather permitting I am going to take some shots of it and post them up, it is a very organic shaped ribbed vessel in orange/green/brown tones and I think I feel a series coming on!
Tonight I teach the first in a series of beginners feltmaking classes, back off to tidy again, will it never end. One other thing that I am going to do before I resume the tidying up is to upload more images to my Flickr account, click here to check out images of some great swap packages that I have received and another image of recently carded fibres.
Started today with a big clean up around the Rayburn, maybe it didn’t like me putting my felted coils in it or something but on Friday the range decided that enough was enough! Anyway, I had just got a delivery of oil so maybe the last dregs were a bit dirty or something but it cut out on Friday afternoon just when the new oil had arrived. To be honest it was a good opportunity not to relight it and take the opportunity to give it a good ‘Spring’ clean. Right now it is recieving a service and by this evening it will be as good as new, hot food and water at last.
Anyway, once I had cleaned the range I was able to start felting. I had already decided that today was going to be the day when I tried my big floor sander out on a trellis scarf. Carmen lent me a small mouse sander previously but although it did work the experience today was a 100 times better! I laid out my wool on the smooth side of bubble wrap, wet it out as usual with warm water and olive oil soap (making sure not to over wet) and then laid a piece of laminate floor underlay on top of it. The main thing to remember when using a sander is that electricity and water don’t mix so you must be CAREFUL. I then placed the sander on top of the underlay and turned it on at the full setting, WOW, the fibres almost blended together instantly. The sander just replaces the need to rub your hands over the bubble wrap loads of times before you start rolling, it doesn’t replace the rolling or the hand made nature of the felt when you are felting and fulling. It also wouldn’t be suitable for every item you wanted to make but for the trellis scarf it was brilliant at getting the sections where the wool crossed to felt together. In the morning I am going to take a few pictures, weather permitting and I will post them to the blog.
Several friends have asked me about running evening classes so I am happy to say that I have decided to run a 5 week beginners course starting on Thursday 30th October at 8pm. Give me a call on 087-2789740 or email me if you are interested in attending the course. All materials to make at least one item each evening are included in the price, tea and coffee will be on tap and each class will cost E25. I can guarantee that they will be fun! You might even get inspired to create all your own Christmas presents or a few special ornaments to hang on your tree. Other times and days by arrangement.
A big thank you to Joan Casey, Mary Scott and Nicola Henley, the inspiring felt makers who helped make last weekends Irish Green Gathering such a big success. We had a great long weekend and for once the weather Gods seemed to smile on us for most of the time. Joan demonstrated felt making in the walled garden as part of the CELT group, these are a wonderful collection of people who demonstrate traditional crafts and teach people how to develop skills in self sufficiency. Mary showed examples of her work and gave felt making demos in the Lower Barn and Nicola hosted a very successful felt making workshop on Sunday in the childrens area. Nicola is actually participating in an exhibition at Grennan Craft Mill which is currently running in association with the Kilkenny Arts Festival, why not pop along and check it out.
This afternoon I am going to be helped by my friend Joan FitzGerald to try and do a major ‘Spring Clean’ on my studio and ground floor at Clasheen, not an easy task!! I hope to really get to grips with sorting things out now that the Gathering is over and this will enable me to get my felting classes up and running before the end of the month. Main tasks that need to be done (excluding the actual cleaning!) include tidying up the outside of the house, painting the studio, clearing the utility room to enable more fibre storage and weighing and repackaging some of the beautiful merino and other fibres that I have here from Wollknoll. My intention is to offer participants at my workshops the oppportunity to purchase these products at a very realistic price before they head home. I was bitten by the felting bug the first time that I tried it and was delighted to be able to buy wool and silk from Carmen to practice and experiment with so I am sure that others will appreciate the same service. Wish me luck as I head off to clean and tidy!