Preparations underway for FeltUnited @ Clasheen!

The base is sorted and I'm putting aside wool and various embellishments to adorn our collaborative wall hanging next Saturday for FeltUnited Day 2014! We'll be laying out our design on what remains of a large roll of rug base I bought from Mehmet Girgiç quite a number of years ago. Mehmet is a marvellous felter and teacher, do visit him and Teresa May O'Brien in Turkey for a workshop if ever you get the opportunity, alternatively take or organise a class with him in your own studio. Here's a close up of the first rug I ever made using this base, felted with Mehmet at Wollknoll in Germany and still one of my favourite pieces!

Thanks a million to those of you who've confirmed you'll be here at Clasheen (George, Ruth, Anita, Karen and Samantha), if you've indicated via Smore or FB that you're coming but NOT emailed or spoken to me personally please just do so sometime this week. The reason that I'm asking you to drop me a quick line is that SO many friends worldwide have said they're coming and obviously won't all be able to make it, I'd like to have a guideline of numbers so that I can make sure I've enough drinks and food organised!!! The plan was to have a pot luck supper after the wall hanging was finished but maybe it'll work out best if we start the food from mid afternoon onwards, we'll play it by ear.
Finally for today, please don't forget that you are encouraged to bring along any stash items you'd like to swap, sell or give away, this will all add to the fun atmosphere on the day! For example, I'm going to have items like plenty of excess bubble wrap and laminate floor underlay to give away (cut pieces perfect for smaller projects and brilliant if you teach) and black velvet necklace stands, large plastic rolling mats, hanging storage, packs of 10 Jiffy bags, large wire baskets, pool noodles and tonnes more items to sell at knock down prices. Alan always says that I buy storage solutions to store my storage solutions, he may be correct unfortunately!!!

 

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Beading and adding the flowers to the wall hanging

Today was my final day at the Gaelscoil, the wall hanging in now finished, hallelujah! I did run into a bit of a problem with the method we were going to use to hang it but after a bit of brainstorming have a solution, thanks Mona for your input, all is now well!!!

Eight sixth class pupils did a sterling job beading the flowers, at the beginning we weren't exactly sure how many we would attach but once we were underway they decided that less would be more. Stitching and sewing is definitely not my forte, these boys and girls however enjoyed the day so thanks guys for a job well done! The felt still needs to hang outside for another couple of days to dry fully (thanks Tony) and Mona is going to supervise the stitching on of more hooks for hanging. I'll call in to the school on Monday morning when I'm in Carlow, after that the next time I'll see the piece is when it's hanging in its permanent position beside Bridget Flannery's beautiful abstract landscapes depicting the four seasons! Here's a close up of some of the flowers, next post, the completed wall hanging.

 

Drying the large wall hanging is taking some time

I'm amazed how long the large wall hanging is taking to complete. I called in to the Gaelscoil after I'd finished felting with the Goleir group yesterday morning to discover the art room was a bit smelly and humid because of the drying felt. Now that it's not so wet and heavy I decided to bring the piece home with me and try to get it dry outside, at least this way I can move and turn it regularly.

At the moment it's draped over one of my felting tables at the front of the house. I'm a little nervous that Rex might lift his leg on a corner of it but unless the wind and possibly the sun gets to the felt (hopefully not rain, look at that sky!) I'm not sure how on earth I'll get it ready to iron and attach the flowers. The school have put a picture of the wall hanging in progress online, once we're finished I'll collate all the picture and videos I've taken myself and post the best images here on the blog.

I'll leave you today with a picture of the beautiful flowers felted by the Goleir group yesterday, next week we'll take pictures of all the work created during this fun and creative four week series of workshops!

 

 

Just to prove it!

Two pictures from the Gaelscoil from yesterday and this morning, just to prove that I am working with actual, real, enthusiastic pupils!!!

 

Once we were happy that the felt was starting to shrink nicely we began rolling it up on itself…….

and this morning we were able to roll it in the opposite direction…..
….. and some teams even sang while they worked! Great work everyone, we're going to do some more rolling now then in the morning start rinsing and removing the soap.

 

 

 

First pics from Gaelscoil and help, my Internet connection has broken!!!

A very brief post today…… I'm busy working on my project with the Gaelscoil and unfortunately an essential connection to my modem has broken, NO Internet at home for a few days. Thanks Dawn for putting a message on Facebook saying I was out of cover, I've just logged in for a minute to upload this picture via a hotel's connection, cheeky! This gives a good idea of the scale of the wall hanging I and the pupils are working on, it's huge!!!

 

Wall hanging and felt vessel on days three and four of Dagmar’s workshop

Being inspired by Dagmar’s fine art wall hangings on exhibition in Odense, Denmark during ‘Felt in Focus’ 2009 I swore then that I’d take a workshop of hers when this was one of the projects that would be offered for participants to explore.

Working on the back of my natural white wall hanging with ‘The Modest’ felting roller from ‘niki & niki’

Thanks to US friend Susan (who didn’t manage to get into Dagmar’s 2 day Irish workshop!) who alerted me to the 6 day masterclass at Big Cat Textiles, I booked asap and in turn alerted our mutual US friend Merridee, the die was cast and the three of us all had a marvellous time!!! I knew before I headed to Scotland that I wanted to make my wall hanging in natural white with various undyed fibres for the surface decoration, this left me free to make decisions about what attachments to add and how I wanted the piece to appear structurally after I had time to mull over all the different options. The soya, silk, linen, milk protein and sea cell fibres that I used on the surface gave a nice tone on tone effect and opting for a simple style meant that I was free to try a complimentary vessel with a spiral attachment on day four.

The almost finished wall hanging, sorry about the poor quality photo

Working with an open rather than a closed resist for my vessel was a eureka moment for me!!! Strange isn’t it? Dawn uses this method almost always for her beautiful hats and it never once occurred to me to do so for a vessel. It’s a hang over from reading somewhere (a beginners felting book I think, early in the days) that it was always preferrable to totally cover the template, something to do with the pressure the edges are put under during the felting process. Well anyway, chatting to Dagmar and actually trying an open sided resist has totally changed my perspective on how I’ll felt vessels in the future, I loved the way I could manipulate the shape and the quality of the open edges was very uniform and smooth! I’m not saying that I’ll always use this method but I can now see my way clearly to felting some vessels that I’ve been itching to try but to date have only existed in my imagination, watch this space. Finishing my vessel by the time day four’s advertised time was up meant that I had several hours free that evening to measure myself (with help obviously!) and work out how large I needed my template to be for the sleeveless vest with attachments that were scheduled to be felted during the fifth and sixth days of this marvelous workshop. I’ll leave you with a picture of the finished vessel, note the subtle colour and texture from soya fibre inside the neck. Next time, the vest.

My large felt vessel with spiral