Today has been an excellent day for seeing several of the book projects through from start to finish. Firstly I tackled a highly textured nuno felt scarf, then a 50% silk 50% merino scarf/neckpiece (need to think of a new name for this!), next I felted a really striking but simple raw silk and merino lampshade and finally by combining the waste left over from this project with some raffia and a spare Bodum coffee container I made the easiest felt candle holder imagineable! Now I am just going to spend a few minutes looking up something on the computer (no, it is not fixed yet, more work remotely tonight hopefully) and then back to get on with my next item. I think it must be the fact that we put our clocks forward one hour last Sunday because I am really motoring along with the felting these last few days although unfortunately I need to do some paperwork urgently, ugh. I also need to sort out a materials lists for my US workshops (do you know how EXCITED I am getting about these?????) and I also need to update everyone about Horst’s workshop here as well! No electricity here tomorrow for the whole day so guess it’s felting again for me!!!
This morning I finished the last of the 36 felt flowers for my sister’s lamp and as the latest batch are drying on the range I thought it would be fun to take a picture of some scattered amongst the leaves of my beautiful purple burning bush!
I didn’t find the flowers as tedious to felt as I had been expecting. Maybe it was the fact that I was only working on 36 and not 450 as previously for Sculpture in Context but anyway I enjoyed playing around with the colours and I hope that Suzanne will be happy with the result. This afternoon I am intending on punching a very small hole in the centre of each flower then unscrew the bulbs and refit them around the felt. I am consistently amazed at how versatile and wondrous a fabric felt is, the fact that wool is fire resistant means that these little lamp shades will be perfectly safe. When the lamp is fully assembled I promise to take some pictures before it wends its way to Suzanne in Dublin!
Thanks to Anna for organising such an artistic and fun group of people for the beginner’s felting workshop in Mullingar on Sunday. I am going to finish blogging about my large felt sculpture but until I get time to finish shaping and fulling the piece after Lyda Rumps’s vist and workshops this week the next stage of documenting the process will have to go on hold! For the Mullingar workshop we were lucky enough to be able to use the facilities at the Educate Together primary school, in exchange I facilitated a felting morning for the sixth class pupils on Monday, more about that and a picture later.
After I had explained the basic felting principles and shrinkage rates etc. participants decided what flat felt project they wanted to create. We had several felt wallhangings, two pairs of stitched slippers, one folded and stitched bag to match a new coat, one experimental felt lampshade (which made a stunning but delicate light felt wrap!) and then one interesting felt pod which was designed to be a sun glasses case but could in fact be purly decorative or used to protect a variety of small treasures.
I wanted everyone to work at their own pace and in their own style, the finished work far exceeded my imagination and it was amazing to think that this was actually a beginner’s workshop and not an advanced class! Anna had said that Sunday’s participants were all artistic, check out the full batch on photos on Flickr and I think we will have to ammend that to VERY artistic!!!
The following morning I was back at the school, the full compliment of 24 sixth class pupils were in attendance and felted an OUTSTANDING wallhanging, there must be something in the water in Mullingar! This class will be the first to graduate since the school was opened six years ago so for them it was an exciting opportunity to create a lasting memento which will now be embellished and hung for posterity somewhere in the public area of the building. Each pupil created a beautiful and individual piece of felt to signify something personal and of meaning to them. They then decided how we would lay out the work and the mammoth task started of laying out a white wool background and felting the whole piece together. Realistically this was a very ambitious project for anyone nevermind 11 to 13 year olds who had never handled raw wool in their lives before! Interestingly one of the pupils was from Mongolia and as a younger child had seen her grandmother felting, brilliant to think that she can move to another part of the world and actually participate in the process as a united class activity.
Because of parental consent etc. I am not going to put up pictures of the pupils actually making the hanging (they will follow if all the parents are happy to give permission), here is the completed hanging however and I am so pleased looking back through the pictures at all we achieved on a cold and frosty Monday morning! Triona (their class teacher) is now going to work with the pupils embellishing the hanging with stitches, beads and various found objects before adding a pole and hanging the work for all the other staff, pupils and parents to enjoy. Although we didn’t measure the finished work at a rough estimate is measures 4′ X 6′, each individual pupils work is almost 1′ square!
Following on from the felt piece I made for Sculpture in Context I had a big bag of extra flowers sitting in my studio. I have been toying with the idea of incorporating them into some kind of felt rug but yesterday I raided the stash to steal 45 to use with an Ikea lamp as a kind of floral Christmas decoration! The lamp is one that I used to use in a previous house but had put in storage since moving here to Clasheen, it has a tall silver base and 45 long flexible ‘arms’ with a small bulb at each end. Reassembling the lamp was simplicity itself, I literally punched a hole in the centre of each felt flower, unscrewed the little bulb, positioned the felt at the end of each arm and then screwed the bulb back in creating a great focal point in the centre of each flower! Even Alan commented on how successful the revamp was, pictures to follow tomorrow.
I can’t believe that it is a few days since I wrote my last post. Time seems to be absloutely flying here and I really need to get a couple of things finished today before preparing my ‘fashion’ item for the fashion show at the ‘Felt in Focus’ symposium that I will be attending in Denmark at the beginning of July. Over the last few days I have decamped each morning to Carmen’s studio for a full days felting as here is still not totally tidied up after Alan’s election thank you party on Sunday. I made two wallhangings and one large vessel that was pretty difficult to felt as I used my rubbish bin lid for the template (but obviously drew it in the plastic underlay) and it was hard to get the felting process started for such a big piece and roll the package gently. Because of this it took a LOT of rubbing before I could start rolling, in fact the first time that I started rolling I thought the edges might come apart and I had a major panic as it had taken so long to lay out the fibres! Anyway, all’s well that ends well and eventually I had everything holding together well and was able to get on with the rolling and shaping. The bowl is drying now and tomorrow I hope to deliver my work to the gallery in preparation for hanging and positioning on Friday afternoon/evening.
Now I really need to start advertising Sigrid Bannier’s workshops here at Clasheen, they will be taking place during the first week in August and should be great fun. At least two days will be taken up with felt lampshade making and this is something that I am really looking forward to myself.
Sigrid is great at being inventive and I especially like her work incorporating grasses and sticks, mounting or finishing items is not my strong point so I will be on the look out for any tips and tricks to make this job easier!