I’m busy felting and writing today but I wanted to share some more pictures of our first CRAFTed session from Rathnure NS, thanks Taragh for forwarding these on to me.
Building up the design in layers
Teacher Taragh contacted me yesterday and said that the children were delighted with their first pieces of felt and are really looking forward to our next hands on session, I am too. In addition to the actual felting our intention was for the children to document our progress through words (in a journal), images (for themselves and the blog) and film (to be shown to the parents), because of the large numbers involved (35 six and seven year olds) the only people taking any pictures last week were Taragh and me!
Rubbing through the bubble wrap
Their first pieces of felt are now proudly displayed on the front of their new journals, I’m looking forward to seeing these books and reading about what the children enjoyed most (or didn’t!) handling wool and flat felting for the first time. We’re just waiting for the final permission slips to come back from the parents and when they do I’ll be able to show you some happy smiling faces, for the moment you can just imagine them!!!
Some of the first pieces of flat felt from senior infants and first class at Rathnure National School
It’s very busy here this week and will be until Dawn Edwards and Chrissie Day arrive so I’m going to post briefly with bullet points today!
I’ve just confirmed my flights a few minutes ago for my U.S. trip in May. I can’t wait to be back facilitating workshops in Lexington KY with Jan Durham on Friday 11th and Saturday 12th May, at the Kentucky Sheep and Fiber Festival on Friday 18th, Saturday 19th and Sunday 20th May and in Plainwell MI with Dawn Edwards on Friday 25th and Saturday 26th May. Visit the workshop page for all the details.
Karin and I now have participants from the U.S., Hong Kong, the Netherlands and Iceland arriving to participate in the week long felting extravaganza in Portugal so there are only a few places left now! Here’s a link to the flyer with all the details. Flyer Felt workshop
Niki has personalised where requested and packed our first batch of felting tools and they are now en route to their new owners, thanks Rem (Niki’s husband) for bringing them to the post office yesterday. This first flush of orders came from Ireland, England, Austraila, right across the U.S. and Canada, wow!!!
While our ‘niki & niki’ tools went out in the post yesterday other felting materials came in by courier! I had placed an order with Wollknoll recently so the merino roving for Dawn’s two ‘Fantastic Felt Hats’ workshops in Borris on Saturday 21st and Sunday 22nd April has now arrived as has the short fibre merino I need to bring with me to U.S., wool that I ordered for my current CRAFTed project came too and lastly I got some more ponge silk in chocolate brown for myself. I need this to nuno felt some more scarves for the new retail outlet which is opening shortly at Duckett’s Grove.
My collaboration with students at Rathnure NS for CRAFTed for the Crafts Council has changed shape somewhat. I was meant to have 26 six and seven year olds to work with but the school principal didn’t want one class to be split up so now I’m working with 35 pupils!!! It’s a very big group of little bodies, I think that Taragh (their teacher), Mary (a wonderful helper) and I will have our work cut out for us but it’s definitely going to be fun in the process! I’ll leave you with a picture from our first session last Wednesday, the pupils had never felted or handled wool before so were amazed at how it came together to form a strong fabric. These first pieces were all laid out on needlefelt; the children choose a couple of colours of wool to lay on top of the needlefelt, then added shapes of mohair off cuts and/or metallic fabric, some added swirls of natural and artificial knitting yarn and then all but one child added a generous sprinkling of shiny firestar!
Some of the first pieces of flat felt from senior infants and first class at Rathnure NS
My neck is really tingling now (from an old injury) so I know it’s time to call it a day and stop felting and/or using the computer! Thankfully I’ve had a full day working, the market in the morning (very quiet today, no sales but definite workshop bookings), felted 2 nuno scarves this afternoon, a bit of catching up on the computer and a nice pot roast in the oven for later when Alan arrives. I promise some pics in the next post but for now I’m off to gather a few samples of my work and catch up on a bit of reading. I’ve been lucky enough to be selected as one of the artist/makers for the Crafts Council’s CRAFTed programme 2012 so I want to show a representative selection of my felt to the teacher of the class that I’ve been paired up with.
Thanks to everyone who has been suggesting names for the new felting tools and to everyone who has been ordering them, I’ll let you know the final descision next week!!!
On Wednesday evening we had a fantastic open night at Presentation PS in Kilkenny. The girls displayed all their amazing work from our CRAFTed project and screened the video footage of exactly what was achieved during our time together and with their teacher Mairead in the classroom following our last felting session. I was blown away by the sheer scope of what we had achieved, it was incredible to think that the body of work produced arose from a project with in effect 8 hours of actual hands on felting time. The video footage (which the girls and their teacher Mairead had all taken turns filming and editing) was broken up into 4 short films, our initial meeting and introductory session, the first hands on session where everybody made a piece of flat felt for their journal covers, the start of the individual projects and the finishing of these pieces coupled with the embellishment of our group wall hanging, awesome!!! I spoke a little about what the project had entailed, how we acquired the funding etc. (thanks to Kilkenny Education Centre and the Crafts Council!) and then we had a great time answering questions and showing the parents, relations, teachers, pupils and other guests present the beautiful and tactile results of all the hard work. It was fascinating to delve into the journals and realise how much the girls seemed to enjoy felting, everyone mentioned how much hard work it was but all agreeed it was well worth the effort! The positive energy in the school hall was infectious and I am delighted to say that I have been speaking to Marie from the Irish and International Sheep Shearing Championships this morning and we will be displaying our work to a wider audience when the 2011 Sheep and Wool Festival comes to Kilkenny on the June Bank Holiday weekend, congratulations girls, we are going on tour!!!
If I didn’t have my phone I actually think that I would have thrown in the computer towel yesterday. My computer is now in Dublin for some serious doctoring, thanks for all the messages of suport, yes, I definitely wish I had invested in a MacBook last year and Paul, what I have been working is actually my new laptop, not a PC! Thank goodness I can upload images directly to Flickr from my phone and then steal the code to insert them here in the blog, Alan’s computer is about 4 years old and amazing I don’t seem able to upload them directly there or download Blurb because of some scripting problem, at least I think that’s what the problem is! Update ….. I have just discovered that I can’t actually steal the link code and upload the images here for some reason so please head on over to the CRAFTed set on Flickr to see more images from Wednesday, I will be drip feeding uploads from my phone all day today so bear with me, it may take some time! A lot of the pupils had their cameras too so I am hoping we will have a great variety of fun pictures to share over the course of the next few days.
US, Irish and Horst workshop updates – I know I promised to get the materials list together for my US workshops and also contact Horst workshop participants with B&B info, please be patient, it is in the works but this computer stuff really has my head addled! Last night I called in to The Yarn Room in Ashford, Co. Wicklow, don’t think I was skiving I was delivering the laptop to my sister. We put two dates in our diaries for July, these will be for a kind of felting orientation day followed by a wonderful nuno felting workshop, more about these when I get the specs written up but if you live within striking distance and would like to learn or improve your felting skills July 16th and July 23rd are the dates for you! I also have a workshop booked here at Clasheen for Saturday 23rd April, the last time I will be teaching here before heading off across the water! If you have already got some felting experience and would like to join me for the day to explore some interesting ways of adding detail to the surface of your felt (I will write up this class spec too and add it to the workshop page) please email me asap, I have a couple of spaces left.
Unfortunately there has been an unexpected scheduling problem at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco, rather than cause endless problems for myself, Jamie and Blas we have decided to change our 2 day Spring workshop to the Fall instead. I am really sorry for any inconvienience to potential participants, without going into the details (because obviously it’s not my place!) a surprise event had been organised by Jamie’s mother to take place in the studio the weekend I was booked to teach and for some reason wires got crossed, I guess because what she was organising was meant to be a surprise to all!!! Anyway, Dawn and I now have the perfect venue booked for our Michigan workshops, a wonderful large room at the Plainwell Presbyterian Church, tomorrow I will post the full details of what we will be covering and get cracking with the advertising. Our dates are confirmed for Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May and I am so looking forward to meeting up with old friends and making some new fibre buddies too!
I am trying to lock myself away for the next few weeks and concentrate on my book with Chrissie. Yesterday I managed to get two new designs finalised so now I need to make one more of each taking pictures at each step of the process. Hopefully I will blog in the evenings instead of the mornings but I don’t want to give to much away about the contents of the book otherwise how will it be a surprise???
Over the next few days I hope to upload pictures from our last CRAFTed session in Kilkenny. Some of the girls have taken more images and these will be send to me on a disc but for the moment here are 3 pics from this morning, didn’t they do WELL?????
Brilliant felt vessel
The class split up into different groups today and everyone got their individual pieces fulled, most of the bags now have handles, flaps and buttons and everyone also got to start decorating their squares on the joint wall hanging. I am so pleased with how well everyone completed their personal pieces, really the quality of the work was excellent especially considering nobody had ever handled wool batts before the beginning of our first session!
Mary's FIRST piece of felt, a gorgeous bag!
Mairead will now work with the girls over the coming couple of weeks and all the rest of the stitching, embellishing and other final touches will be completed in class and at home. I am really looking forward to calling into the school to take a group photo with the finished felt, then all we have to
do is invite the parents and press to the open evening, I bet we get a good turnout!!! More pictures to follow on Flickr over the next few days but I have to sort out my studio yet again for a workshop in the morning so for now, adieu.
Our final joint session for CRAFTed takes place tomorrow morning but I am not saying that our collaboration ends there, rather it moves into a new phase. By lunchtime the girls will have finished their individual projects and hopefully be well underway embellishing their squares for the group wall hanging. After that Mairead will help them finish these over the next few weeks while I will wrap up documenting our progress here, the girls will edit their video footage and then, we will all meet up again for an exhibition, video screening and chat with their parents!!!
Spring lambs in the late afternoon
I wanted to leave you today with this evocative picture I took yesterday afternoon when I was walking down the lane from collecting my post. The light was fading but the spring lambs were having a lovely time in the fields, one of my favourite sounds at this time of year is when I hear them bleating and see them skipping around!