Forgive me if I don't post many words over the next two weeks. It's full steam ahead at Clasheen trying to finish the studio re-organisation plus felting new work to bring to the Glucksman Gallery for the craft fair taking place from 8th to 10th November. If you'd like to attend the opening (or indeed any day of the fair) you can download and print your free admission ticket directly from the Glucksman, if you don't it'll cost you €5 on the door! The following weekend I'm facilitating a two day felt jewellery class inspired by the textile collection at beautiful Berkeley Forest House (outside New Ross, Co. Wexford), details about this workshop in my next post but if you're interested in learning more and/or booking a place please email Alexis directly.
Currently I'm making some jewel coloured nuno felt scarves for the festive season. These are inspired by my recent visit to Vancouver and Winnipeg and incorporate some of the stunning saree silk that I brought home. This silk is wonderful to work with, I love how it melts like butter into the merino and unusually for me I love the bling as seen here at the end of one of the scarves!
The day has gone pretty quickly to date. I was under a little pressure to get set up at Mount Juliet, possibly because I needed to make some fresh cranberry salsa to send home with Alan as well as catch the bank before coming here. It’s also Alan’s birthday today and tonight’s the last night we’ll see each other until the new year so loads to do and almost NO time to get it done in! Anyway, I changed a little of our display here and now all we need are customers to arrive.
Emma manned a joint stand at Borris this morning as we didn’t want regular visitors to miss us for the last market of the year. I don’t know yet how that went, hopefully better than last week though!
I’m just home now after the first day at Borris House, Santa made an appearance too and will be coming back tomorrow to visit some more lucky girls and boys. Leiko and Norma (my current work experience aide) manned Mount Juliet and while neither venue made brilliant sales we all did a little better than other days. Tomorrow should see a much bigger crowd in Borris so fingers crossed they’ll be in a buying mood!
Emma, Leiko and I have had an active and fun day for the start of the Mount Juliet Christmas Village experience! It’s another early morning tomorrow as I need to finish setting out my wares at Duckett’s Grove, we’re expecting over 7000 for the annual craft fair based on last year’s numbers. It’s been cold but not freezing here all day, I’m glad though that I brought my felted fleeces to sit on, they make for a much warmer experience whenever we get a chance to sit!
The silly season has officially opened! Yesterday Emma Jane Champley and I set up the bones of our Christmas display at Mount Juliet, tomorrow along with Leiko Uchi we’ll add more lighting and fill it with stock. Today I’m starting the morning with a radio interview with Sue Nunn at KCLR 96fm, then catching up with work experience student Norma at Borris Food and Craft Market, thanks Norma for setting up for me. Once that finishes we’re off to set up Duckett’s Grove for Sunday’s Christmas Fair, I hope this weekend sees the start of a fruitful if somewhat crazy 16 days!!!
It’s been another busy weekend for me! On Friday morning I set up my stand for the first time at Borris Farmer’s Market, it’s always easier to repeat a display so I wanted to get in early and have time to decide exactly how best to show off the felt. Flowers proved to be the favourite seller on the day, I priced them at E15 each, 2 for E25 or 3 for E30. This didn’t allow much profit per unit but keeping the price down meant that I sold more overall, I think it was the right way to go and worth remembering for the future!
On Sunday Alan gave me a hand unloading and setting up my space for ‘A Taste of Carlow’ before heading off to catch up with some paperwork. The weather was HORRENDOUS while we were unloading the truck, wet, cold and very windy! It was a little chaotic at the beginning when setting up, I chose to display my felt in an open sided marquee which was definitely colder there than in the individual wooden huts available. My reasoning was that the open sided display area would hopefully attract more browsers.
I was sited opposite the band area, beside the christmas tree and next to the wonderful organic food vendors, also the toilet was close by and when you are manning a stand by yourself this is a BIG consideration!!! Once I had set up everything to the best of my ability given the weather constraints the organisers came around and apologised, several stand holders had arrived late and there was no space left for them. Some of us who had come early in order to set up properly had to shift sideways and allow them cram in beside us so that was a bit of a pity, but live and let live, it wasn’t the end of the world! Luckily the rain had eased off by about 2.30 so although the beginning of the day started badly for some people (several display stands blew down, one actually shattered!) the public did come out to support the event, all was well that ended well. It took a while before anyone started buying but by the end of the evening I was very happy with the event. There was a great Christmas atmosphere and bustle about the place, quite continental in feeling. Obviously I wanted to make sales and I did, the biggest benefit however was meeting potential students and making contacts with sheep breeders, it was also great to catch up with old friends! Check out this picture of Roisin modelling the felt snood her sister treated her to for Christmas! Roisin learnt to felt with me recently and is really looking forward to participating in one of the hat making workshops I will be organising at Clasheen for Dawn Edwards. Watch out Dawn because Roisin is a very talanted felter with a great head for design, it will be interesting to see what sort of concepts she has dreamt up by April!!!
Yesterday I travelled to Dublin to help my mother with prep for some more hospital tests. Before travelling home this afternoon I had to call in to Sylvia and effect some running repairs on her large felt rug. Followers of my blog will remember that Sylvia commissioned a big rug from me last year, unfortunately her new rescue dog found some very interesting smells worth investigating recently but luckily only pulled off a bit of surface wool, no irrepairable damage was done!!! I managed to needle felt (I know!) matching wool into the few damaged areas and Sylvia is now going to spot wash, hoover and steam clean the entire rug. By the time this is done I don’t think that anyone will be able to tell where the new areas of wool are, hopefully the steaming will remove any other attractive scents so I’m guessing that this is the only repair I will have to make, fingers crossed anyway.
I’m off now to put some food in the oven, walk REX and hopefully catch up on a bit of felting too. I would like to have some new work ready for my second week at Borris Farmer’s Market this Friday!
I’m felting like crazy now in order to have a nice supply of stock for the craft fair on December 4th. Taking the descision to limit my range of products has been beneficial I think, I’ve decided to concentrate on flowers, a series of bags/accessories combining raw wool and merino and lastly several framed landscapes. Also mum is not well at all now and I need to work whatever hours I am not visiting her in Dublin. Yesterday I drove her up there after discovering her own GP was away and the blood tests he ordered last week not back from the lab. She was seen really quickly by a triage nurse then the ER consultant, had an ECG and chest a X-ray and then was admitted into hospital. We saw the consultant neurologist last night and today she in undergoing a barrage of tests to confirm the preliminary diagnosis. Over the last few weeks her muscles have got a lot weaker than usual and several other slight but unusual indications lead to the conclusion she may have a very rare disease, we should know more today or tomorrow. For now I’ll leave you with an image of some flowers, sorry the colours are not hectic, the sun was shining too brightly at Clasheen this morning!!!
Since I last posted here on Friday it seems that at least two weeks worth of work has actualy taken place so apologies for my lack of communication over the last few days.
On Saturday morning as I was preparing for the first of my two planned felting workshops I managed to shear the copper water pipe leading from my well in half with my bare hands (hands made stronger from felting???) leading to no water supply for the day! Luckliy I have the key to my neighbours farmhouse and was able to let myself in and carry enough water for the felting home in a basin, thanks to Alan the supply was reconnected in the evening and allowed me to have a bath and prepare for Sunday’s craft fair. I packaged my new felting kits, gathered my felt scarves, jewellery and a couple of vessels, loaded the truck with all these as well as my large folding table, bath bags and tonnes of books which I had assembled during a monsterous house tidying session!
Sunday dawned dry for a change (my 13,000 decidious trees had not arrived on Friday due to horrendous weather) and I got to Raheen Family Resource Centre with plenty of time to set up before the public was due to arrive. From a selling point of view the day was not a great success (although I did just about cover my costs) but as regards supporting a good cause, making contacts and promoting my workshops with International artists it definitely helped get the message across about what I am doing. I do think that Carmen did a great job organising the fair and decorating the hall, people just didn’t seem to have any money to play around with and possibly are holding on to what they have until our Irish Budget which takes place tomorrow! It was nice however to catch up again with sculptor Gilly Thomas, last December Gilly bought one of my silk and merino neck pieces at an exhibition and was actually photographed wearing it recently and in the paper during the opening of her exhibition for the Wexford Opera Festival!! I also had a good chat with Gayle Coleman from Palace Gems (our tables were side by side!), visual artist Mary Wallace, excellent holistic therapist Barbara McAteer and textile artist Blanka-Silviane Davare, a new member of the Enniscorthy Knitting Group. Blanka-Silviane has moved to the Enniscorthy area of Co. Wexford from Switzerland via Dublin and doesn’t have a website at present, if you are interested in viewing her hand knitted and fulled stylish headwear she may be contacted by email. As well as buying some Christmas presents Barbara and I did a fun swap, one of my cowls in exchange for a half hour head and back massage, a great deal for both of us!
Yesterday morning my trees arrived at last and in the afternoon Alan helped Chris (the forester), Dennis and Paul plant the first of the Ash. I had to prepare for the Golf Club Ladies AGM and in the evening I officially took over as the new Lady Captain, this is a position I will hold for my sins until the beginning of December 2010. Today I am trying to organise and collate all the paperwork needed by Chris in order to successfully get my grant cheque for the woodland, I am planting approx 8.5 acres so I need to make sure everything is in order as it does involve quite a lot of money!
Tomorrow morning I am getting my hair cut (newsworthy as it is only the second time this year I will have had time to make the journey!) and then I need to deliver some felt jewellery and scarves to Earthworks, a gallery and studio in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny. After that I will make some lunch for the guys planting and then Carmen is arriving for an afternoon of feltmaking, roll on the time because I feel withdrawal symptoms in the air!
Just a quick post today as I continue preparations for Saturday’s workshops and Sunday’s craft fair at Raheen. Yesterday I made two sweet scarflettes using some of the gorgeous printed silk that I bought recently at Threads of Green in Kilkenny. The print is in a light turquoise and rust so I was debating whether to use turquoise for the wool on both of them or try a totally different colour on one as an experiment. Eventually I decided on turquoise for one and a hot orange for the second. Hopefully the weather will be fine in the morning and I will post the results so you can see the difference, it is astonishing how the same fabric ends up with a totally different look!
My kitchen is beautifully scented this afternoon as I have just finished making 36 bath bags to add scent and colour to my display on Sunday. It was really difficult not to make any more felt but I am totally determined to try and sell a lot of what I have already made and get a bit of space free in the studio and around the house. Carmen is up to ninety getting everything organised and hopefully the Fair will raise loads of funds for the Raheen Family Resouce Centre. Please pop in at any time during the day if you are within striking distance of Wexford and make sure to introduce yourselves to me, it is always a pleasure to meet any of my blog followers!