Good news, disappointing news and some beautiful felt too!

I’m sorry I didn’t get to blog yesterday. The morning just seemed to rush past and in the afternoon I started a new series of workshops with Borris Active Retirement, Leiko arrived back mid day too and what with one thing and another I never got to fire up the computer at all. I’m now waiting at Duckett’s Grove for one of my US blog readers to arrive (Hi Mary!) and after that I’ll try and pick up a winter jumper (sweater) in Carlow and see if I can find some more props for the studio.

The big news I’d like to share with you all today is that I received a call yesterday confirming that my submission for an exciting school arts projects has been selected subject to confirmation of the funding!!! This was the submission that I frantically worked on last week, it’s a fantastic opportunity to work with 480 pupils plus teachers creating 4 large textile panels, felt based but with plenty of other materials too I think! I don’t want to jinx anything at this stage but as soon as we get the financial go ahead I’ll let you know the full details.

On the opposite side of things I didn’t have my work selected for the Crafts Council’s upcoming ‘Beauty in Nature’ exhibition. This was a big disappointment but a good lesson not to count my chickens before they’ve hatched!

I’ll leave you today with two images, Joan, Mary and Mary with their beautiful first flat felt pictures and Dorothy modelling the amazing sleeveless jacket she felted during our last series of workshops and stitched during the summer. Congratulations ladies!

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Establishing a routine and felting to the max!

The last few weeks have been interesting and fruitful, I finally feel that I’ve established a sustainable routine and am starting to both felt a lot more and feel a bit more creative. It’s always difficult when you work both for yourself and from home, external demands can be difficult to ignore (others find it difficult to believe if you are at home you actually are working!) and it’s been a learning process adapting to a new studio space and creating work to display there. Working from Duckett’s Grove on Friday, Saturday and Sundays has meant that Clasheen isn’t as untidy as it would usually be (I’m not saying that it’s tidy because unfortunately it’ll never be that!!!) but it does mean that on Mondays it’s easier to continue with or start another project because there are not 101 things to clear away first!

Little three dimensional experiment from Friday

Another big advantage of being in a different setting for part of the week is that I have a lot more time to reflect and think. Up until now I’ve had so many ideas that I’d like to develop swirling around in my brain but never seemed to manage to get the head space and time to think them out properly. Attending Dagmar’s workshop in July allowed me discover different ways of achieving the results that I want and this weekend I had another eureka moment about how I could make a particular shaped vessel that I’ve been wanting to felt for ever so long! The Crafts Council have a call out at the moment for a textile exhibition titled ‘Beauty in Nature’ and I’ve decided to submit three pieces, a large vessel in this new shape (created using the open resist method), a sculpture loosly based on the same shape and some eco printed nuno felt, no pictures yet until I’ve finalised everything and heard back about the submission.

Louise and her mum with the beautiful flowers they felted yesterday!

I did upload pictures from yesterday’s ‘Fun Felt Flower’ workshop this morning to my personal page on FB, for some technical reason I can’t link to the album or share them between my actual FB pages at the moment but if you’d like to see more of Louise and her mum’s fun afternoon yesterday head over there and check out the relevant album!

Well, that’s all for now. I need to head downstairs, wrap and steam a scarf for another eco print experiment (a pale pink pashmina that mum gave me to be printed with a large bundle of eucalyptus leaves from her garden!), felt the sleeveless jacket that I laid out last week in preparation for a fitting tomorrow morning and then light the stove and relax for the evening!!! Wish me luck, I’ll try and post pics to FB as I go along but doubt that I’ll manage to get to emails until tomorrow.

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!!!

Showcase snippets and back online at last!

It’s only been 29 hours since I stupidly headed for an overnighter to Dublin and mistakenly left my phone at home charging, it feels like YEARS!!! I’m back now and trying to catch up with blogging, comments, emails, Etsy orders and FB as well as trying to collate all the entries to the felt kit giveaway so that I can let the random number generator choose the winners! I’m guessing it’s going to be tomorrow morning before I finally have everything sorted (I also need to get food in the oven and do a bit of work in the kitchen and studio) so please bear with me if you are waiting for the giveaway results or expecting a response to a comment or an email.

Although I really could have done with my phone for taking pictures and jotting notes yesterday I did have a wonderful time attending Showcase at the RDS with Niki Collier and Leiko Uchiyama. Japanese felter Leiko and I have missed connecting with each other during her last two visits to Ireland so I was really lucky this time that she was stopping over for one one night on her way back to Japan from U.S., it was great to finally meet up in person!  I spent from lunchtime browsing the trade stands with the girls and getting ideas (or clarifying ideas!) about the direction in which my felting could potentially be moving in order to make my business more financially viable in the future. I particularly enjoyed the Crafts Council exhibits and the ‘Year of Craft’ wrap up reception as well as meeting up with friends and fellow textile artists/producers Kate Ramsey (Fabulous Felt), Philip and Mary Cushen (Cushendale Woollen Mill), Breda McNelis and Camelia Shanahan (Meli Bondre). Bernadette Fox also had some interesting new fibre and mixed media pieces while Astrid Tomrop-Hofmann of Bombyx Mori had some lovely felt hats, clothes and accessories.

My favourite of Kate's designs, a wonderful silk and merino wrap

Shells and sea slugs!

I returned home yesterday evening after being treated by my mother to 3 wonderful nights at Fort Royal Hotel in Donegal, thanks mum!!!

Shells glistening in the water

Here’s a picture of some shells at the edge of the shoreline, don’t they just glisten in the water as the light catches their colours?

This morning it was back to business: the first of 5 workshop sessions with Carlow Wheelchair Association (it went brilliantly!), a visit to a friend in hospital, yet more tidying and washing/drying clothes and now trying to catch up with a few things on the internet.

Tomorrow and Sunday I need to finish my latest nudibranch (sea slug) because it needs to be delivered to the Crafts Council on Monday morning.  Fingers crossed everything will work out over the weekend and the sculpture will make the final selcetion process and be exhibited at ‘Seascapes’ later in the winter, I’ll keep you posted!

Pretty snowed under …..

I promise a proper post tomorrow but for this evening I am pretty snowed under metaphorically speaking and with a change in temperature and colour outside (the colour over the mountains is always an indicator!) I wouldn’t be surprised if we had a fall of snow sometime this evening too.  Plenty of felting from Monday and Tuesday to document and report followed by a full day training with the Crafts Council yesterday (very exciting, more anon), golf club meeting yesterday evening and then a full day teaching today coupled with a TOTALLY bunged up sink downstairs (now unblocked thanks to Carmen’s turbo style plunger) mean all I am fit to do now is put some food in the oven and relax for a while!!!

Rug making workshops and submission

Yesterday I was down in Woodbrook House with Giles organising the layout of the room for Mehmet Girgic’s rug making workshops.  The bases that he is bringing over from Turkey are actually a lot larger that we used in Germany so while this has the advantage of a much bigger finished rug it meant a bit of a headache getting the room set up.  More tables, countless measuring sessions, moving things around and hopefully we are ready to roll.  I am really looking forward to his trip now but due to a couple of unavoidable cancellations need to get 3 or 4 more people booked in for the second workshop in order to cover my expenses bringing Mehmet to Ireland.  I will be under quite a bit of financial pressure unless these places are filled so if you think that you might know anyone interested at this late stage please ask them to contact me asap!

Submissions close this week for an exhibition called ‘Organic Geometry’ and I was hoping to finish mine this morning.  I know that I am putting myself under a lot of pressure this week (HSE child protection training on Tuesday and Wednesday) with Mehmet’s arrival on Thursday and all the work involved before he actually gets here but I really hope to get my submission completed and in on time.  Ann Mulrooney is curating the exhibition for the Crafts Council and it is to be held at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny, opening mid April.  Wish me luck!!