Here are the images as promised of the beautiful felt vessels that Margaret and Bridann made with me at the beginners felt workshop on Saturday. Because they had learned how to make a piece of flat felt in the morning it was a simple step forwards to try out three dimensional work in the afternoon. If you are new to felting and working by yourself or learning from a book I definitely would recommend practicing the flat felt for a couple more times but as I was there to help keep an eye on the edges of the vessels and any other likely trouble spots we just progressed naturally into this type of work. Margaret decided to work in natural coloured wool, a soft white for the inside and a gray on the outside. The outside was embellished with white mulberry silk and although this blended in very well with the grey wool it would show up much more clearly if the finished piece was shaved with an electric razor.
Bridann's striking felt vessel
Bridann decided to use a round resist to creat a bowl shaped vessel. She worked in shades of blue and teal highlighting the outside layer with yellow merino and light blue mulberry silk. This was a very good colour composition and I am sure you will agree that both ladies created amazing work for their first day felting!
Blue felt rings
Also as promised here is an image of my new design felt ring, more images in my Flickr images. I am also going to be uploading these rings (and hopefully) a lot more pieces to my Etsy shop over the next day or so. I have a mountain of work just waiting to go up online but it seems to take forever to get it sorted out and I have to say that I have been procrastinating a bit! Now that I am felting full time I really need to get a regular income so have just decided that I REALLY need to my online sales sorted out as soon as possible.
I have never found felt cords and balls as simple and easy to make as everyone else! When Sigrid and Ingrid Bannier were in Ireland at the end of November I asked Sigrid how she was able to make her cords so strong and even, here is the method that she uses as I understand it. It certainly works for me!! Lay out a horizontal line of wool to whatever depth you want (depending on the thickness of cord required) with all the fibres running in a vertical direction, as most of us would do anyway when making cords. The big difference is in the rolling, if you are right handed start at the left hand end, if left handed start at the right hand side. Roll the fibres on the diagonal instead of in the normal straight line. It is a tiny bit more difficult when visualising it but quite simple to do, rolling in this way really allows the fibres to form a tight cord. Dry roll for a minute or so, wet lightly with warm water and olive oil soap, roll some more and then wet out as required. Keep rolling and dunking in hot soapy water until the cords are to your satisfaction then rinse and leave to dry. If you want to have curly cords just shape the wet rolls around a metal knitting needle, tie with cotton thread to secure and place in the oven on low to dry. If you check out my Flickr images I have a blue necklace in the necklace set that I curled using this method.
Great news, I got a phone call today and learnt that I have been accepted for ‘Craft in the Classroom’. I am going to be teamed up with a National School in Ballinamore, Co. Leitrim (a very rural area for those of you not familar with the Irish countryside) which is brilliant, Alan’s father is actually from the area and his uncle still lives on the edge of town overlooking the canal. Alan owns a small derelict cottage a couple of miles from Ballinamore and we have been stripping it out in preparation for a major restoration job on a budget, is there such a thing?? Anyway, as soon as I know some more details I will contact Alan’s aunt and uncle and book my bed, they run an excellent farmhouse B&B specialising in providing accomodation for keen fishermen and women.
Last night I staged a MAJOR battle with my sewing machine, I might even go so far as to say that I HATE the thing! Two pieces of beautiful nuno felt later and I vowed that it would never see the light of day again. I ruined the felt; my intention initially had been to sew some simple lined diary covers (for the 10 2009 diaries waiting in my studio) but after I wrecked the first piece I ammended my plan to some nuno wrist cuffs I had seen a pattern for in a great American quilting magazine. No go. More felt ruined. I am now going to forget about sewing totally except for some easy beading, instead I am going to ask my friend Remmy to line a couple of bags if necessary and concentrate on making things that need NO stitches!
I have put some more images up on Flickr this morning but the battery on my camera is on charge again, I have nearly worn the poor thing out. As soon as it is charged fully I will be able to load the images to my Etsy shop, for some reason they need to go directly from the camera and not from the web and that seems to be using a huge lot of battery power. If you want to check out some of the items on Flickr I can say that the nuno scarfs will range in price from E30 (frothy neckpiece) to E60 (bronze nuno felted scarf) and the brooches and necklaces from E12 (pink and orange brooch) to E40 (reversible necklace). To order any of these pieces before I put them up on my Etsy shop please email me directly, I would be happy just to charge you whatever it costs to post them instead of the Etsy charges but you would need to let me know asap!
I have just finished packing my work for the Kozo Winter Exhibition and am off to deliver it and meet a friend for coffee. Hopefully Tunde will be happy with what I am bringing, several necklaces, several vessels and 2 beautiful (I think!) and glamorous neck wraps with matching pins. These were made from some of the amazing silk jewels (recycled sari silk) that I got from Susan at Essential Textile Art in Australia. I nuno felted them with a very small amount of merino and they crinkled up beautifully as you can see if you look in my Flickr photostream, although the light was not great when I took the images so imagine a lot more sheen!
Tonight is the second class from my beginners course, last week they made amazing pieces of flat felt and tonight we are going to make small felt vessels. It was great seeing their amazement last week as the felt came together, tonight should be interesting!!
I ended last night and started this morning by stringing a few more simple but stylish felt necklaces. Some of them were made entirely from felt beads or balls, some were felt and vintage buttons and one was felt with a beautiful hand painted African button as the feature piece. Probably I am putting off starting to tidy my studio but unfortunately (or fortunately as the case may be) I am going to have to get stuck into it in the next half an hour or so. Carmen is arriving just after lunch and I want to do a serious afternoons work, nuno scarves call, so really I need to clear the long table soon if I want to lay the fibres out on it!
I also spent some time setting up a new Flickr group called ‘Clasheen Crafty Swaps’ this morning, check it out and if you have been participating in our Autumn Swap please take the time to join Flickr (if you are not already a member) and upload photos of your swap packages. My image of the amazing painting and other goodies I received from Anna is already there, it is really great fun to see what everybody has sent and received, it just adds another dimension to the swap. For friends who would like to join in the discussions that we will have through the group please feel free to join even if you are not intending getting involved in the swaps. I know that not everybody has the time to engage in the swaps, my only request is that members only post images of their current work if they actually do join the varaious swaps and this way I can moniter the group content without too much difficulty.
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?
It is very interesting keeping tabs on the different searches people do to get to this blog and something that comes up time and time again is nuno felting. Obviously there is great interest in this technique so I am just going to post a picture of a piece I made recently for everyone to see. The silk fabric that I used was from the sari loom ends I had ordered from Essential Textile Art in Australia a little while ago and I must say that it was a pleasure to work with. I have been debating whether to add a few beads or embellishments as highlights but have not actually made my mind up yet as the end piece is beautiful just as it is! Sewing is one of my all time pet hates (even adding a few beads!) and I am really trying to get over myself on this issiue. Recently I joined several groups on Flickr and have just signed up to make a bag on ‘bag ladies swap’ , check out the discussions on this group and maybe some of you will want to join, if seems GREAT FUN!! sorry that this post is really short, I will be back in full swing next week as soon as the Irish Green Gathering is wrapped up.