More CRAFTed pictures

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

U.S. flights booked, residential workshop in Portugal filling up nicely, felting tools posted, Dawn’s materials have arrived and CRAFTed is underway!

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

Quick update and thanks

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!!!

Our CRAFTed project is going on tour and US, Irish and Horst workshop updates!!!

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.

American workshop updates, book, more CRAFTed pictures …..

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???

I leave you with two more pictures from CRAFTed!

Having fun at our CRAFTed collaboration

    

Wonderful detail revealed!

Wonderful felt completed by the girls today for CRAFTed!!!

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. 

The wall hanging starting to take shape

CRAFTed continues tomorrow and spring lambs at Clasheen!

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!

CRAFTed news, Michigan workshops open for booking and general workshop information

Laying out merino for the inside of a beret

Friday’s CRAFTed session was chaotic but fun, all the girls are going to have beautiful items to take home with them as a reminder of this transitional year at the school.  Working with 32 inexperienced felters is definitely a challange, I love the enthusiasm with which everyone is attacking their work, it does mean that Mairead (6th class teacher) and I are running all over the art room however during each session and I really hope that I am able to give each girl enough individual attention to ensure the process is an enjoyable one for everyone!  These individual projects will be completed in our last session (they include bags, cell phone covers, vessels, flat felt with/without little pockets, two scarves and one beret!) where we will also work on our collaborative wall hanging, this will be hung in the school when the girls graduate later this summer.  Because of the logistics when working with 32 beginners I am thinking that we will divide the class into three distinct groups next time, each group will rotate and have their turn to finish their individual project, create twisted yarn cords to add to their bags as well as select a square from the group piece which they will then embellish, add a pocket to or otherwise decorate with something of significance which they would like to leave behind as they leave for secondary school and move forward in life.  Not sure if this will work but I am predicting it will be easier and more sensible than having everyone working on the same task at the same time, it will also avoid me running all around the art room all the time, more concentrated effort but less stressful I think for all envolved! 

MICHIGAN WORKSHOPS – I am delighted to say that our Michigan workshops on Friday 20th and Saturday 21st May are now open for booking!  Please email the wonderful Dawn if you would like to reserve your place, I am just going to have another go uploading  the full details and descriptions to the workshop page (having problems yet again today!) so in case of further technical issues the Friday workshop is titled ‘Simple vessels, purses and other three dimensional objects’ while Saturday will be dedicated to the fascinating art of ‘Nuno Mosaic’.  One workshop will cost $140 or if both are taken the cost will be $130 per day, for more about what can be covered over two days check out the general workshop information further down this post. 

Wonderful vintage printed silk and chiffon create Marni's gorgeous textured nuno mosaic scarf!

The nuno mosaic technique was taught to me by German felter Sigrid Bannier and is a wonderful way to create memorable wraps, scarves and yardage for incredible one off pieces of clothing.  To refresh your memory (or if you are only visiting this blog for the first time!) here is an image of Marni’s amazing scarf incorporating vintage silk and chiffon from one of the Tin Thimble’s workshops last Fall, this was actually the first time ever that Marni had felted a nuno piece!  If this has not whet your appetite enough there are some more nuno mosaic images from The Tin Thimble workshops here, some from the previous Fall at Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco here and a few of my own nuno mosaic skirt and matching wrap here.

GENERAL WORKSHOP INFORMATION – I like to think of my workshops as a place where I share information and provide a recipe for felters to follow or adapt as they see fit!  When I am teaching I always explain that there are many ways possible to reach a similar end result, I will be sharing the methods and tips which I find work best and usually guarantee me a successful outcome, it is up to each individual participant to determine whether they want to follow exactly or adapt the steps to suit themselves.  Although each of my upcoming workshops has a title representing the main technique/techniques covered on that particular day, it will be possible for participants choosing to attend for both days to felt larger more complex projects that may not be specifically mentioned in the titles.  An example would be someone who wanted to felt a complex felt sculpture or bag using several stitched resists, another would be a person wanting to create a reversible nuno felt shrug.  If you have any queries in this respect please don’t hesitate to email me personally, I want to provide all the necessary information in order for people to make an educated descision.  As previous experience has demonstrated most participants at my American workshops are regular felters, it should be noted that all the workshops are open to total beginners so please don’t feel you can’t attend if you are just starting out learning this fascinating craft, I would love to have you come along!!!

Finally, at the risk of sounding pushy, the Kentucky workshops are now provisionally full for Saturday and only have 4 places left on Friday, if anyone is having a little think about things please don’t think for too long!!!

Kentucky workshops now booking and some great CRAFTed felting!

Well, finally I have managed to upload new information, class descriptions etc. on the workshop page about the felting on offer in Kentucky this May but after almost two hours of trying I am almost at my wit’s end!!!  I had hoped to have all the info for both days in KY as well as the two days in Plainwell MI online for you this afternoon but forgive me at this stage, it will be the morning before I have another tangle with the formatting (what on earth was wrong, it just kept going MAD???!!!) so apologies to Dawn and everyone in Michigan, your time will come tomorrow!  Anyway, Kentucky is now open for booking and if you want to reserve your spot please email Jan as soon as possible.

For those of you who might be debating whether you would like to attend a workshop with me I am going to post tomorrow about the sort of experience you can expect!  I will also explain a little bit more about the workshop titles, they are not written in stone but rather indicative so don’t panic if the titles are not exactly what you are looking for, more on that as I say tomorrow.

Beautifully felted journal cover

Now I am just going to suggest a little visual journey over at Flickr, this morning I had my third session with the girls who are participating in our CRAFTed project and managed to take some great photos of the work they have all done to date.  I was blown away by their wonderful first pieces of flat felt, during the week their teacher Mairead helped them embellish these further (if they wanted to) and now each girl has a beautifully decorated journal in which to record our progress!  Please do leave them some comments if you like their work as much as me, photos of today’s session working on three dimensional pieces should be uploaded over the weekend!!!

First pictures from CRAFTed project!

Only a few words today because I used most of them up with sixth class this morning!!! 

Having fun adding the surface decoration

 

I was blown away by how creative everyone was.  Each pupil was asked to choose two colours to use as a base, then they could select from all sorts of yarn, fibre and fabric to add to the surface layer.  A lot of the girls had brought in beads, buttons, pipe cleaners and all sorts of glitzy embellishments with them and these will be stitched on next Monday before the felt gets stuck to the front of their journals.  A tip for anyone wanting an easy way to decorate a copy, why not stick velcro to the book and then just press the felt to the barbed side of the velcro???  No sewing, I like that! 

Anyone see a favourite colour combination here???

Some of the pieces were fully felted by the end of the session but others will need a little more fulling at home before they are ready to embellish with stitches, beads and buttons.  It is always interesting to see how different people felt at different speeds, one of the last girls to lay out her wool was in turn one of the only girls who ended up with a fully felted piece at the end of the session!

Metallic mesh fabric, thick and thin merino, little buttons to be stitched on afterwards

There is no right or wrong way to felt either as many ways to end up with a good finished result but I always like to share with pupils what I was shown when I started because I feel it gives a good foundation to build upon.  You can check out my flat felt tutorial if you want to see what we did today.