Back in the felting saddle at last!

Horrah!  At last I had an uninterupted day’s  felting with Carmen and it was really great to get back in the saddle at last!!  I seem to have been on the road almost constantly over the last 5 or 6 weeks and now I need to get a couple of proposals together before the middle of next week, do the deadlines never finish?  Carmen was working on some punched felt necklaces and once I had made handles for a gorgeous silk and merino tote (destined for an American swap partner) I was able to try out the beautiful merino from Treetop Colour Harmonies that I got as a gift from friends and members of Feltmakers Ireland.  Thanks again Sheila, Holly, Elizabeth and Maureen for my fantastic pressie, I made a beautiful cobweb scarf and tried out an experimental piece in ‘blimey limey’, one of my new all time favourite colours!  Carmen had prepared some amazing sushi and we gorged ourselves at lunchtime before heading back to her new studio to continue felting for the afternoon.

Sparkly felt corsage

Sparkly felt corsage

This evening I have uploaded a few finished items to my Etsy shop including this unusual coloured corsage and over the next few weeks my goal is to have at least 50 items uploaded to the store.  What I would really like to do is offer a selection of interesting and funky gift ideas with a large percentage of items costing under $20 (approx 15 Euro).  I have also started posting about my last ‘Craft in the Classroom’ sessions on the Drumlea blog so check it out if you are interested in seeing how the wall hanging actually progressed.  The pupils love getting comments especially from far away places so if any of you feel the urge please leave them a message, it means a lot to them!

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Craft in the Classroom project almost over

Our wall hanging after the first rolling We had an excellent two sessions to wind up my contact hours at Drumlea for  the Craft in the Classroom project.  The first of the images are up on Flickr and over the next few days I will blog about things properly and get some more images online.  Just as a taster here is a picture of our wall hanging after 3 hours of stamping, kicking and rolling in the large plastic mat but priorto going through the washing machine and more hand rolling by me!  At this stage it had not shrunk much but all the fibres were holding together well and it was ready for some more ‘serious’ fulling!!

Busy preparing for last ‘Craft in the Classroom’ sessions

This morning I have had to cancel my proposed training with Failte Ireland in order to concentrate on preparing for my last sessions in the ‘Craft in the Classroom’ project and to finish designing the race card for our Green Party fundraiser this Thursday night.  Because I was so shattered the last time that I drove up to Drumlea early in the morning I have decided to travel up at my leisure this afternoon, spend some time with friends (thanks a million Nigel and Jackie for giving me a bed!) and be bright and bushy tailed tomorrow morning ready for our big session rolling the wall hanging.  My plan is to arrive a couple of hours before I am due to start working with the pupils, wet out the hanging myself and give it a good working over with my sander BEFORE letting the pupils loose rolling, felting and fulling.  The problem is that I always use an electric sander (carefully) not a cordless but obviously would not be able to let the kids use it as it could be constituted as an electrical hazard.  Knowing how much a design can shift if not worked carefully I really want to make sure that the text is fully secure before the pupils start to stamp and kick the rolled up package.  I also need to find some thin but strong cotton cord today that I can use to tie up the large plastic mat that we will be enclosing the wall hanging in, hopefully I can pick some up in a hardware along the way as I travel to Carrick-on-Shannon this afternoon.  I am off now to start packing the truck and hope I will have some great images on Wednesday to post here showing some of the completed projects from our last two sessions including the finished wall hanging.

Nuno felt, workshops, Drumlea …..

Still think that I have a touch of a virus but thankfully I was a bit livelier today so got the Drumlea blog updated and made two pieces of nuno felt.  The first was a kind of experiment in silk chiffon and merino worked in a strong yellow silk and a sparkly yellowish wool.  It is interesting enough but not really as nice as I thought it would be especially since the sparkly merino has gorgeous glittery fibres carded into the tops!  My second piece was a much bigger success although I still need to decide on it’s final conception.  For this piece I used a base of a silk jewel in shades of deep purple and shocking pink!  I order my silk jewels from Susan at Essential Textile Art and have never been disappointed with anything that she has sent me to date.  I laid out my wool a bit thicker that usual as I wanted to create a stiffer than normal fabric and might try to create a lamp shade from it or use it as a base for a wall hanging.  The colours worked beautifully, deep purples and pinks so now it is lying out to dry just waiting for a little bit of inspiration!

This week I will be attending a two day workshop with Annette Quentin Stoll and I am really looking forward to learning some new techniques.  I also had a LONG chat with Sigrid Bannier at the weekend and am delighted to say that she will definitely be over here with me this August and we have a great line up of workshops planned!  Details will follow early next week but definitely we have some interesting things planned.

Still recovering from frenetic felting sessions!

Design laid out and ready to fill in on our wall hanging

Design laid out and ready to fill in on our wall hanging

Gosh, we had some action packed sessions in Drumlea this week!  I am still recovering and expect it is going to take a couple more days before I fully recharge!!  Our game plan had been to divide the pupils up into 3 different groups, one to start work on the collaborative wall hanging, the second to make vessels and the third to work on felt balls.  The idea behind this was that I would never cope with all 26 pupils working on their first 3-d project at the same time and obviously we needed to get working on the wall hanging or else we would never get it finished!  Well the vessels went very well, so did the balls but we nearly had a mutiny about the subject matter for the wall hanging.  At the beginning of the session we had taken the top 5 suggestions from everybody, I wrote them down on a sheet of paper and then every pupil voted for their favourite 3 items.  Problems, problems, problems.  I had already explained that in order for the design to stand out when felted in the landscape format that the pupils preferred (taking account of how much the base we were using would shrink) I only wanted to incorporate the top 4 items from the wish list.  In order of preference these were the name Drumlea, the school crest, a football and in joint fourth place either a sun or a rainbow.  Discussion ensued about how we would make our descision and it was agreed by the pupils that everyone’s name would go into a hat, one name would be drawn out and that this pupil could choose the final item to be depicted on the wall hanging.  The name was drawn, the pupil was choosen and he in turn choose the rainbow (or was it the sun), mayhem ensued!  The pupils who were actually meant to start laying out the design didn’t want the rainbow (or sun) and pretty much stuck in their heels.  Eventually after a lot of discussion I showed them how we could incorporate both items if we changed the layout of the hanging from landscape to portrait, agreement at last!  The school crest morphed into a leafless tree, the rainbow is huge and the whole thing looks great now that the colours have been filled in.  Clare should be emailing me some pictures of the next stage and I will post them here as soon as they arrive.  Next time I go to Drumlea we are going to add a date to the piece, wet it out and then roll for several hours wrapping it tightly in the large plastic woven mat that I got from Mehmet.  Happy hours!

Over the weekend I will write a little bit about our 3-d work and post images of some of the super vessels the pupils created, check out my Flickr account if you simply can’t wait!

Quick post …..

Just a really quick post to say that I have been felting mad over the last few days and also writing up the ‘Craft in the Classroom’ blog for Drumlea.  Thanks Deb for leaving a comment for the children, they were absolutely THRILLED!  I know that they would really appreciate any feedback from all around the world, it really excited them that a textile artist from America would take the time to look at their work and leave a comment.  This afternoon I felted the most gorgeous tote bag, my first larger bag project worked in silk chiffon and merino.  Unfortunately it is not for me!  I am going to try to get some images up tomorrow (Dawn, the hat/bowl will be one of them) but I am extremely busy until Monday morning so please bear with me if I don’t get many posted.