Sea Shapes, the first pictures and reflections from setting up the exhibition

Looking back over the pictures I have taken over the last few days during the set up and start of the exhibition it is obvious that I need to take some more because my phone/camera is having some difficulty adjusting to the whiteness and the light in the space.  I am however, just going to post a few here today to give you a little idea of what I have been up to and share what the atmosphere is now like in the room.

Walls and radiator prior to filling and painting, no lights fitted yet

Each of the 6 artists exhibiting in Grennan Craft Mill were allocated their space approx 2 years ago (there  is now a 4 year waiting list to exhibit here for the festival!) and for me the room I am in is the perfect size for my felt, not too big and not too small, it serves as the students dining room during the teaching year.  All the levels of the mill were painted prior to the students show in June at the end of their  two year course which meant that the paint on the walls was fresh.  I did need to remove nails and screws etc. from where paintings had been hung and as well as filling and painting the resultant holes etc. I decided to paint the radiator as it definitely looked grubby and took away from the freshness of the white walls.  Usually I mix up my own filler when doing any repair jobs but for ease of convienience and in an effort to get everything done in time for the weekend I bought a ready made tube of a propriatory brand only to discover once I was using it the paste was grey and not white.  Hmmm, it did dry in 5 minutes as it promised but unfortunately needed several coats of paint in order to hide the underlying colour therefore meaning more time after all, you live and learn but it definitely didn’t say on the outside that the paste was not white, I checked!

Radiator painted, walls and plinths finished, lights installed

Once I was happy with the walls and the radiator I painted another couple of coats onto Eileen’s plinths and then was ready for Alan’s help setting up the spotlights.  Really he did a great job, SO many people have been asking about the lighting, we used little spotlights on a simple industrial looking silver track, the lights can be positioned anywhere on the track but our difficulty was that we were restricted to the length that actually came in the box!  A lot of thought later, positioning the black transformer and wiring in the kitchen, running new white flex around the roof etc. we got everything sorted to our satisfication, it was 11.40 at night before we left that night but definitely this work has made a big difference to the overall feel of the room and how the felt may be viewed.

To complete the set up I added a lightweight white and blue curtain to cover the kitchen door and Kilkenny Arts Festival provided very nice posters for us to use as part of our publicity materials.  I added one to the door of my room beside where I have my name, interestingly the door is painted orange and the colours in the poster are mainly turquoise, two of the highlight colours from my felt vessels!  A simple jug of miscanthus and teasels on the radiator, business cards, festival brochures, book for comments, price list and my artist statement finished the room.

Entrance to Sea Shapes

Reflections on the opening weekend and more pictures to follow next post.

Exhibition set up at last and sneak look at latest Wikio rankings

This morning I made the final adjustments to my space at Grennan Mill Craft School and decided enough was enough, 7 vessels, 2 sculptures and 1 framed piece with a little free machine embroidery.  It’s always nerve wracking but exciting participating in any show and since this is actually my first solo exhibition the stress and worries about the felt I am showing and how the work is displayed are amplified about a thousand fold! Alan was brilliant setting up smart little spot lights on industrial looking tracks for me and Eileen’s plinths look great now that I have given them another couple of coats of paint.  The little holes in the wall are all filled in and painted again as is the radiator and this morning I finished cutting up hundreds of business cards which I printed last night, of course if my house and studio were tidy and organised it would be possible to locate my beautiful professional cards which are just lurking somewhere in all their pristine glory, that’s another story!!!  Fellow exhibitior Brendan Brennan and I helped Grennan Mill director extrodinare Alex Meldrum put up directional signs in Thomastown and now all our fingers are crossed for warm weather tomorrow afternoon to get everybody in a good mood for the official opening at 5.30!  I’ll try and take some pictures then but hopefully we’ll be run off our feet and they might have to wait until another day.

I’m delighted to say that I am still in the top 10 for the latest Wikio knitting blog rankings, here is the sneak preview for this month …..

1 pennies per hour of pleasure
2 needled
3 Daisie Days
4 Confessions of a YarnAddict
5 ysolda
6 The Woolly Adventures of a Knitting Kitty
7 Clasheen by Nicola Brown
8 Wendy Knits
9 Little Cotton Rabbits
10 Lixie Knits It
11 The mogs blog, the meanderings of a cat through yarn and life
12 Dyed in the Wool
13 glittyknittykitty
14 Northern Lace
15 Carolee Crafts
16 Chatiryworld
17 mooncalfmakes
18 Art Yarn
19 Quelle Erqsome
20 Purlpower

Ranking made by Wikio

Addled …..

At this stage I am totally addled and don’t know whether I am coming or going as regards the finishing of my work for Kilkenny Arts Festival.  Thanks to Carmen, Jean and Cristina who all have kept me sane over the last couple of days and Dawn and Chrissie who have put up with some depressed and frustrated emails, you guys are the best!!!  Constructive and objective advice from good friends is just what I needed, now I am felting one last piece today then tomorrow I head over to my buddy Eileen‘s house first thing in the morning.  Eileen really stepped up to the plate today when I discovered that the plinths I had been going to use are not actually available after all, big panic that is thankfully all sorted out now, thanks Eileen!

On another note I was blown away by all the birthday wishes I recieved on Saturday, amazing the power of the internet!!!  It just goes to show that we really can make true friends online and once the fuss of getting my show set up in Grennan dies down I am really looking forward to spending a week or so tidying up around the house and doing some weeding (not sure how effective that will be, it’s like a jungle outside with all this rain we are getting!) in advance of Chrissie’s trip here later in the month.  Imagine this will be the first time EVER that Chrissie and I will actually meet in the flesh!!!  We are planning a party to celebrate the launch of our book, please keep Saturday 20th August free in your diary if you would like to visit Clasheen and  have a chance to meet Chrissie yourself!

a meeting of minds…
By Chrissie Day and N…

Felt making at the Irish Green Gathering

A big thank you to Joan Casey, Mary Scott and Nicola Henley, the inspiring felt makers who helped make last weekends Irish Green Gathering such a big success.  We had a great long weekend and for once the weather Gods seemed to smile on us for most of the time.  Joan demonstrated felt making in the walled garden as part of the CELT group, these are a wonderful collection of people who demonstrate traditional crafts and teach people how to develop skills in  self sufficiency.  Mary showed examples of her work and gave felt making demos in the Lower Barn and Nicola hosted a very successful felt making workshop on Sunday in the childrens area.  Nicola is actually participating in an exhibition at Grennan Craft Mill which is currently running in association with the Kilkenny Arts Festival, why not pop along and check it out.

This afternoon I am going to be helped by my friend Joan FitzGerald to try and do a major ‘Spring Clean’ on my studio and ground floor at Clasheen, not an easy task!!  I hope to really get to grips with sorting things out now that the Gathering is over and this will enable me to get my felting classes up and running before the end of the month.  Main tasks that need to be done (excluding the actual cleaning!) include tidying up the outside of the house, painting the studio, clearing the utility room to enable more fibre storage and weighing and repackaging some of the beautiful merino and other fibres that I have here from Wollknoll.  My intention is to offer participants at my workshops the oppportunity to purchase these products at a very realistic price before they head home.  I was bitten by the felting bug the first time that I tried it and was delighted to be able to buy wool and silk from Carmen to practice and experiment with so I am sure that others will appreciate the same service.  Wish me luck as I head off to clean and tidy!

Scrim ready to nuno felt

I am really looking forward to experimenting with the scrim that I batiked (is that a word?!) last week during the course that I participated in at the Grennan Craft Mill, Thomastown.  The fabric took the dyes brilliantly and I intend to make a couple of vessels or bags tomorrow when Polly and Carmen call over for an afternoon of felting.  The batik was really great fun and has given me a whole lot of new ideas for experimentation, will keep you updated as to how I progress.  I will also post some images here showing a couple of the finished pieces I completed, also a bag or two when I get them felted with the scrim.  Some of my clothes are still at the Mill as I took the opportunity on the last day of the course to wax and dye a couple of items!  I will be picking them up next week when Alex is there and hope that they boil out well.

This coming weekend I have been luck enough to be picked by lottery to attend a sculptural weekend course in Dublin with Australian feltmaker Anita Larkin.  This weekend is organised by the Feltmakers Federation and should be a really fun time, as well as a great opportunity to pick up some new skills.

Nuno felt incorporating batik, exploring options

Work in progress

This week I am on an excellent batik course at the Grennan Craft Mill in Thomastown, Co. Kilkenny.  Facilitated by Alexandra Meldrew, our diverse group are basically having a crash course in different techniques and applications of this facinating craft.  My idea was that after the week, skill peremitting, I would be able to incorporate some of my pieces into some nuno felt work.  Here is a selection of my work in progress.

The fabric that we are working with is quite tightly woven so I have waxed and dipped on a piece of scrim today to see what that will turn out like, just realised that I left it in the bucket of dye when I finished this evening!!  I find that scrim is great to nuno felt with so hopefully this experiment will work out and I can have fun next week incorporating it into some bags or vessels.

Tomorrow I am going to bring along a couple of white silk scarves which I got from Wollknoll, I am intending on waxing them with simple designs and dipping in just one colour of dye.  I probably will keep one as is and then use the others in pieces of felt as well, will just wait and see how I feel next week.

African image inserted into felt

African InspirationHere is a photo as promised of the wallhanging I made last Saturday after Jean’s workshop by inserting the piece of printed muslin I created into a larger piece of felt.  I was very happy with the result although after Bernie’s beautiful photography not a bit happy with the image I took!  This week I am up to my eyes with the batik course I am taking at Grennan Craft Mill and Open Week at Borris Golf Club.  Images to follow tomorrow of work in progress with the batik.