I am not going to bore you with details of all my technical problems at the moment but suffice to say I am off to try and buy a new laptop immediately I upload this post otherwise I am going to need serious counselling for computer rage and anger managment! Yesterday I managed to finish my arts grant submission thanks in no small part to the fabulous printer (cheers for the simplicity of Epson ) I invested in on Wednesday afternoon. You may well ask yourself how I am going to fund all these new technical products but the way I feel today if I have to spend another 50 minutes starting a computer, half an hour trying to access gmail, over an hour writing and uploading a blog post and if 20 images of my felt cost E98 in hard copies (I nearly passed out!!!) new equipment will save me both time and money so I have to find the money somehow. I know that Carlow Co. Council may not have many funds to grant the arts this year but fingers crossed they will send a little my way and hopefully this will help fund my intended trip to the international felt symposium ‘Felt, Naturally’ in Silkeborg, Denmark from 28th July to 1st August 2010. This symposium sounds fabulous and I really would like to attend to further my studies in various aspects of sculptural felting. The Danish felting group Grima are organising the event to celebrate their twentieth anniversary and if you are interested in finding out more click the word Engelsk Brochure when you link through to their excellent website.
As promised here is a photo from my felting students at last Sunday’s ‘Pick up your Needles’ workshop in the Courthouse Arts Centre, Tinahely.
Fun fingerless mittens
Our first project in the morning was a piece of flat felt so that participants could see how the felting process actually occurs (most participants had never felted before) and then in the afternoon everyone made themselves a gorgeous pair of warm and comfortable fingerless mittens. Unfortunately I really was not feeling 100% on Sunday (cold was in full flow) and think that I needed to make the resists for the mittens a little bit wider. We only discovered this when everyone got to the stage of putting the mittens on for the final felting and working to size. Some of the mittens were extremely tight but luckily heating them up in the microwave helped stretch them a little and everyone was very understanding and delighted with their work so all in all a good day was had by everyone!
Now that my heat is operational again I find out that for some reason my workshop page here on the blog was on the blink, it never rains but it pours! Anyway, I have just spent the last 90 minutes (yes, the computer is slow as well!!) uploading info on my first January workshops and letting people know the dates, titles and price for the two Lyda Rump workshops taking place from Friday 5th – Sunday 7th February. I have decided for my own workshops to start with simple fingerless mittens on Saturday 16th January and this will be followed up by an introduction to nuno felting the following week, Saturday 23rd. The mittens are an excellent three dimensional project and the nuno felt introduction is a great way to try out various natural fabrics and see how they interact with wool during the felting process. The last Saturday of the month I am thinking of a full day workshop, probably a warm winter scarf using the softest merino or else a nuno felt scarf as a follow on project to the nuno felt experimenting session. Lyda Rump will be with us at the beginning of February and I am extremely excited to be able to felt with her once more . I urge you not to miss these dates if you want to improve your felting, Lyda is a BRILLIANT artist and teacher! More information about these workshops will be uploaded by the end of the week, just sorting out the final details.
Today I made a reversible wrap/mini skirt and I am thrilled with the result. For ages I have been looking at some gorgeous deep purple fabric which I have had sitting in my stash but was just too nervous of having a disaster and wasting it that I never got into gear using it at all! It was part of the lining from a lovely silk and cotton skirt that I had (but was not wearing) and when I deconstructed the garment I had a neat semicircular piece of fabric perfect for today’s project. I used this as the base for my wrap and incorporated short fibred merino, silk fibre and some of the gold printed purple silk/cotton skirt material into the top layer. Due to the semicircle shape of the fabric it was a little difficult to roll, tomorrow I will upload some pictures and explain the process further. Off now to light my stove!
One of the highlights yesterday was being able to complete my first felting project of the New Year thanks to the resumption of my water supply! Due to the really cold spell of weather we are in the middle of, coupled with my lack of heat, I have been wearing a pair of knitted fingerless mittens around the house a lot and been thankful for the extra warmth that they are providing. With this in mind I decided to make a simple pair in felt and post them to a friend in Slovenia as a thank you for a wonderful surprise Christmas present.
The fingerless mittens laid out
Bearing in mind that the Icelandic wool dosen’t shrink quite as much as merino appears to I used a simple rectangular resist which was just a bit wider and a little bit longer than I wanted the finished mittens to measure. I laid out two layers of fibre around the resist and then added a simple swirl in pink, blue and green yarn for decoration, unfortunately my camera hates photograping raspberry for some reason so you will just have to imagine a rich deep raspberry wool for the background. The mittens really didn’t take too long to felt, once I was sure that the fibres had entangled well and were felting together I opened the resist and cut the rectangle in two down the centre.
Resist removed and gloves cut in two
I continued to roll and full the mittens together and when they were almost the right size cut out the thumb hole and then fulled each one individually. This is a really nice project as an introduction to felting around a resist and I am now planning to offer it as my first felting workshop of 2010, details to follow of dates and times tomorrow!
Close up of the finished mittens!
As you can see from my dry looking hand, I need to apply some of the gorgeous natural beeswax hand cream that was a great present from Ann and Alison at our last felting session before Christmas!
My water is running, thanks so much to Joe Power who came over on New Year’s day to make my day! The luxury of turning on the tap, flushing the toilets, felting some fingerless mittens, washing some clothes, the list goes on …….
It’s a couple of minutes before 7pm here in Ireland and I thought that just before I rush off to put some food in the oven I would share two of the photos that I took today. Tomorrow I will post about the fingerless mittens that I made but for now here are some pictures of the start of a new decade here at Clasheen!