Check out this felt!

Annette Quentin Stoll's workWow, I am so excited to be attending a two day workshop with Annette Quentin Stoll!  The following text is taken from Feltmakers Ireland’s info re the workshop ….. ‘We will prefelt points, bumps, folds, pockets and tubes and add them to a sqare felt piece. The aim is to get straight edges and standing points, folds and tubes growing out of the felt. We will make a second piece – perhaps a bag with handle and small bag inside or a hat with grass growing on it, points will become grass and flowers, bumps will become hills, pockets become caves and all sorts of magical things.’  I can’t describe how much I am looking forward to this, thankfully my virus appears to be clearing up and I really want to be in the full of my health to get the most from the two days!  There will be a second workshop with Annette over the weekend making an art project for indoors or outdoors.  Carmen will be participating for the two days (I am tutoring at another fibre day in Tinahely on Saturday) and I will get to be a helper on Sunday.  Initially I was a bit disappointed that the dates were clashing but realistically I need to earn some money and I can pick up all the info from Carmen next week, hopefully a win, win situation!  Tinahely was FANTASTIC last time and I must say it will be nice to work with some of the women from the previous session and meet some new felters as well, maybe even a few new men.

Felting, dyeing and weaving, three inspirational books to buy!

After the Feltmakers Ireland get together on Wednesday I popped into Borders bookshop in the Blanchardstown Centre, Dublin.  Carmen introduced me to the shop and it is really great, loads of magazines, plenty of craft books, big squishy leather arm chairs and a Starbucks on the upper level!  I was really looking for something inspirational to buy with either new felting ideas or some crochet patterns that were funky and would work up quickly.  Nothing jumped out that I didn’t already have in my library so after about half an hour of browsing I  decided to cut my losses (especially in the current financial climate) and head for home.  Luckily I glanced in the discount section on the way out and imagine my absolute surprise and delight when I found three of the most inspirational books, each reduced from £12.99 to E4.99!  I am going to give you the names and authors of each book, I can’t recommend them enough if you are looking for fun, colourful and interesting books to add to your library and I think that the ideas in each book would be great to try out with both adults and children alike.  The books are all published buy Gaia Books and are …..

  • Creative Felting by Lizzie Houghton
  • Creative Weaving by Sarah Howard and Elisabeth Kendrick
  • Natural Dyeing by Jackie Crook

I am off now to try out an idea that I have had since studying the Creative Felting book, results to be published here complete with pictures probably on Sunday or Monday as soon as I return from the Irish Blog Awards.

Felted jewellery, tourism course, blog awards, wrapping up the jacket saga …

Just a short post to say that I will wrap up the jacket saga over the next few days, time is not in big supply until Sunday and I have been having huge internet connection problems yesterday and this evening.  This morning I spent a great time with members and friends of Feltmmakers Ireland in Dublin, we discussed and made various items of felted jewellery and it was great to have a loom at other people’s work, enjoy a chat and have a good exchange of ideas.

Tomorrow I am starting a course in tourism development allied to Waterford Institute of Technology.  I thought that it could be a good idea to help me really progress my felting workshops/residential courses and network with other business people in the South East.

On Saturday I travel to Cork for the Irish Blog of the Year Awards, unfortunately I didn’t make the short lists but best of luck to all those who did, watch your backs for next year!  Luckily Alan will be here to mind the dogs over the next few days so I have decided not to stay in Cork for the night although I will arrive early enough to participate in the pre event ‘Ladies Tea Party’ (with alcoholic beverages!!) coupled with a crochet and knit stitch and bitch.

As soon as I get a minute I will wrap up the jacket saga, hopefully sometime on Friday internet permitting.

Craft fairs, felting, open house this weekend…….

Wow, how the time flies!  It seems that I have been continuously on the road over the last two weeks and coupled with that have been having internet connection problems, hence the lask of posts for which I would like to apologise.  Anyway, here goes with a bit of an update (including a caution!) and things should be back on track from now on.

Last weekend I had a stand at a small rural craft fair which Carmen organised, this was to raise funds locally for the community development project in Raheen, Co. Wexford that she is involved with.  Stands cost only E20 (luckily!!) and some bright wit from another Christmas event kindly removed all Carmen’s road signs.  The roads were absolutely treacherous when I set out, my intention was to reach the venue a couple of hours in advance but unfortunately, signs lacking, I actually arrived to the parish centre about 15 minutes after the proposed opening time of 10am.  Carmen will never know how close I was to turning around and just going home when I couldn’t find the venue, she had left her phone in the car and I was trying to contact her continuously once I had got lost but eventually I found a man who gave me directions and all was well again.  Some of the teenage members of the Youth Club that Carmen works with were on hand to help everything run smoothly and to man the tea and coffee stand.  Attendance was dreadful, 37 people work in the centre, Carmen herself was the ONLY worker who actually attended and she was running the show!  Anyway, the public were definitely conspicuous in their absence and by about 3pm I had only sold one scarf.  I wanted to stick things out for Carmen’s sake (other exhibitors had gone home) and thankfully a couple of people arrived who really related to the felt and I sold several items in quick succession.  I definitely picked up a few new people to teach, covered my costs and went home with a couple of extra Euro in my pocket so the day turned out to be a much more positive experience that I had at first expected.  Not so the 2 day house event that I attended on Monday and Tuesday.  This took place at Ballyhealy House, a comfortable old guest house a couple of miles outside Kilmore Quay in Wexford.  My friend Betty owns the house and for the last 4 or 5 years has been running a Christmas Gift Fair at home so we were expecting a big croud.  I felt sorry for Betty because she had put a lot of effort into inviting people, advertising and promotion on the radio.  All I can say after 2 disasterous days is that it is definitely apparant to me people are affected badly by the current economic situation.  On the Monday afternoon/evening a friend and I counted only 23 actual customers (none of whom bought any of my items!) and the following day not 1 person came when they had dropped their children to school (this was a busy time previous years) but about 38 customers did come sporadically during the day.  I met a few  nice people who were very much into hand crafted products and by the end of the day had made sales to customers who really appreciated the felt.  Again I made contacts interested in lessons after the New Year so from that point of view it was worthwhile but in this instance the stand cost E150 and I definitely didn’t cover my costs when you put travel expenses etc.  into the equation.  LESSON LEARNT  I will not participate at craft fairs ever again unless the space costs E20 – E50 and it is really to support a cause that I believe in and/or the current economic climate takes a turn for the better.  It is really soul destroying to sit hour after hour when no customers are even in the building!  Felt is a very definite niche market and I had no problems selling my work whenever interested customers came to my stand, the problem was a lack of customers through the door and this is something that I had no control over.  I hope that this summation does not sound too depressing but I really want anyone else thinking of going down this route to plan their participation carefully and learn from my experience.

On to happier days, or should I say difficult but happier days!!  I returned home from Ballyhealy House late on Tuesday evening and was due to set out for a Feltmakers Ireland get together and Crafts Council training in Dublin at 7am the next morning.  The weather was so cold that night and the roads so covered by ice that I took the decision to leave a bit later than planned.  My vehicle is a long wheel base pick up truck and it is not the best in icy conditions being only 2 wheel drive and very light unless fully loaded.  Anyway, it took me an hour and 25 minutes to drive a distance that usually takes less than half an hour so I did not arrive to Dublin until after 11am, a total travel time of over 3 hours.  What a nerve wracking journey but it was great to finally arrive, grab a Starbucks coffee and head into Blanchardstown Library to meet the other feltmakers.  There was a big pile of work on display and instead of actually making Christmas Ornaments as I thought we were going to do everyone discussed the items that they had made recently and on the recent Sigrid Bannier workshops.  I was wearing the necklace that Sigrid gave me as a present and the ring which I made with Ingrid to match it, these got many admiring glances!  We all went next door to the Driocht cafe for a light lunch (very tasty!) and then were joined by some other crafts people for an afternoon session with a Crafts Council sponsored mentor.  This session was dealing with sales and I must say following on from the previous 3 days was quite an interesting experience.  It reinforced my belief that unless you get the foot fall past your stand you will not have a good show but if you were in any way unsure how to get a sale with a LIVE customer this was the afternoon for you!  When we had networked and said our goodbyes it was almost 6 o’clock but I wanted to take a quick run into Inspiring Ideas, a craft shop in the Blanchard Centre before setting out for Clasheen once more.  A heavy fog was blanketing everywhere so I tried not to delay, some beads and cord later I have to confess that I then grabbed a large Big Mac meal to set me up for the journey ahead!  Lucky I did this, my trip home took 2 hours and 45 minutes, usually I can do it in approx 2 but the fog was just like pea soup.

Yesterday morning Carmen called over and we got stuck in for a very enjoyable morning’s felting.  I made some more punched beads ‘a la’ Sigrid and then strung them in the evening with some nice lime green beads that I have, Carmen made a beautiful felt and linen necklace.  I then had the pleasure of watching Carmen prepare the most devine paella (anyone who knows me knows that I just LOVE good home prepared food) complete with fresh squid, monkfish and huge prawns.  We had a glass of sherry, very refined and then got stuck into the paella, not so refined!  It was fantastic, a great combination of tastes and textures.

This Sunday I am opening my house between 2 and 5pm sharp for a display and sale of my felt and hand made Christmas ornaments.  Quite a few friends were asking me about buying felt as presents so this seemed an ideal opportunity to gather everyone together at the one time and have a bit of a social event at the same time.  We are going to enjoy a glass of spiced apple punch and some canapes and I would love for any of you within striking distance to come along if you would like to attend and please tell your friends!  If anyone needs directions please just email me and I will forward them on.

Felt, fibres and findings

Yesterday I had a great day at the Knitting and Stitching Show at the RDS in Dublin.  Carmen and I left at 7 o’clock to beat the worst of the traffic and we arrived at the RDS by about 9.30am.  Because we were both doing a stint helping and demonstrating on the Feltmakers Ireland stand we were lucky enough to get in free!  It was a great day.  I had never actually been to any big fibre event before being so new to felting but Carmen had prepared me well!!  What surprised me the most was that I did not go too mad buying things, I have a habit of jumping in like there is no tomorrow and I could have ended up with a truck load of bits and bobs that never would have been used had I not restrained myself.  The absolute best stands for me to pick up more unusual items were Art Van Go and Twisted Fibres, both had BEAUTIFUL fibres for felting (or any other type of textile art) and I was smitten.  It was great to see Stephanie from the Yarn Room in Co. Wicklow absolutely snowed under with customers, I really didn’t get any time to chat to her properly as obviously sales take priority over everything else!  So, what did I buy?  Pink Pig notebooks to embellish with felt for Christmas presents, handmade paper to make gift tags and cards, 2 beautiful wooden stamps, gorgeous hand dyed silk roving, seed beads, 2 huge buttons, a piece of coarse scrim to felt into a wall hanging, some findings for jewellery making, wire for using with beads and finally some more Pink Pig notebooks!  The Feltmakers Ireland stand was totally mobbed for all of the day.  If people have never seen felt being made before the attraction is usually instantaneous, many new people joined up and many old friends visited the stand.  I was delighted to meet some people local to the South East and I think that all the upcoming courses on the workshop page are going to be totally full before long judging by the interest at the show.  It was lovely to met some people who are following my activities on this blog, I hope that you all had a great day in Dublin!

Felted rug workshop and beginners feltmaking course

The dates for the 2 felted rug workshops with master Turkish feltmaker Mehmet Girgic have now been set.  The first dates are Friday 16th to Sunday 18th January and the second workshop takes place from Tuesday 20th to Thursday 22nd January inclusive.  Places are limited to 10 participants per course so if you are interested please contact me as soon as possible.   Check out the workshops page for information re costs and venue.

Please also note that the 5 week beginners felting course that I am teaching will now start on the first Thursday of November.  Apologies for any confusion caused, I forgot that I would be working on the Feltmakers Ireland stand at the Knitting and Stitching show at the RDS next Thurdsday!

Funky felt neckpieces, button magic, interesting poll

Enjoyed a busy but fun couple of days and still only 15.53 Irish time!  Carmen and I drove to Dublin yesterday morning to join in the Feltmakers Ireland Wednesday session, my first time actually managing to attend.  It was great to catch up with old friends and meet new like-minded people who all love their felting.  Because we were helping with some paperwork in preparation for our stand at the 2008 Knitting and Stitching Show not much actual felting was created.  Elenor did make a beautiful bowl to demonstrate what we might be asked to do on the stand, why not come along between Thursday 30th October and Sunday 2nd November to check out the Feltmakers stand and stock up on all the goodies on offer at the show?  It takes place at the RDS in Dublin and if you click here you can get all the details and information about the wonderful demos and workshops that are on offer.  I will be doing my bit on the stand from 12.30 until 3 o’clock on Thursday and would love if you called over to introduce yourselves!

Once we said our goodbyes to the rest of the gang Carmen and I had a wander around a few of the shops in Blanchardstown.  Coming from the country I have to say that although I prefer shopping locally in a more boutique type setting it is nice once in a while to catch a few of the larger chains.  We browsed a couple of the bigger stores, had a bite to eat and then hit Borders book shop!  First we had an after dinner coffee upstairs in Starbucks, then we headed downstairs to look at the magazines and explore the craft and textile sections.  Carmen bought a book with some crocheting patterns and I found an absolute darling book called ‘A Passion for Buttons’!!  One of my biggest problems with felting is that although I enjoy looking at other peoples embellished work I find that for me it is the felt that counts.  Obviously other people might want a bit more embellishment and I do have a great stash of beautiful vintage buttons so I am going to do my best adding a few to some select pieces for Christmas.  Visit my Flickr account to see the necklace I made last night copied from an idea in the book, for some reason I am having problems uploading images directly to the blog this afternoon. 

Today I got up early and I had the whole morning to work on some funky new styles of neckpieces and also to make two vessels.  I actually made 4 neckpieces, 2 lattice type and 2 from an idea that I saw in a book recently, any of them would make very nice presents for a friend or even yourselves!  This weekend I intend putting a new page up on this blog showing images of work for sale or else linking to the same work on my Flickr account.  Because I am still waiting for my Etsy shop to be operational I think that this is the simplest way of allowing everyone to see what I have for sale at any given time and if you then see an item that you like but would prefer another colour scheme than all you have to do is ask!  If I have the fibre available then I will be able to make a commissioned piece for the same price.

Vessels and seamless bags are my absolute favourite items to make along with anything in nuno felt.   Why not take the poll below and let me know what you are most interested in?

Congratulations to Feltmakers Ireland

Just a quick note to congratulate Feltmakers Ireland on their great new blog!  Check it out and whether you are an experienced feltmaker or just starting out in this fascinating field I would encourage you all join our group.  Earlier in the year I participated at a weekend ‘Felt In’ with some of the members and it was a really fantastic experience, great crack and very informative.  I know that another weekend away is on the cards so why not join up, come along and participate in the fun!

Autumn swap update

I just realised that of course we are not all in the same time zone therefore I will wait until tomorrow morning to do the draw for our first ever swap!  If you would like to join in the fun you have just a couple of more hours to either reply to this post or send me an email.

Images from my course with Mehmet Girgic will be posted tomorrow!

Felting update

I have just returned from an inspiring weekend workshop (organised by Feltmakers Ireland) with Australian sculptor and feltmaker Anita Larkin.  We were learning several different techniques, making balls, making cords, covering an item and creating pieces with multiple layers (via multiple resists).  If this sounds like work that you may already have done WAIT UNTIL MY NEXT POST!  Because of the need to conserve water in Australia Anita works in a slightly different manner, so obvious once you see it in action and I will explain a bit more tomorrow as soon as I have caught up with some urgent work on the Irish Green Gathering.