Exhibition preparations and retreat update, in brief

Only one week to go and the first ten day residential Irish felting and eco printing retreat will have started, I’m so excited!!! All the preparations are well underway and last week the merino and silk arrived, the last of the actual workshop supplies.

From now until the end of August it’s full steam ahead at Clasheen, I need to have all my solo show preparation completed before 8th July (actually that is tonight!) because I’ll not get a minute free from then until I have to hang the exhibition. I’d be delighted if some of you were able to come to the opening reception or indeed visit any day during the course of Kilkenny Arts Festival.

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The title of my show is ‘Perennial: From Plant to Print’ and it’s a new collection of luxurious silk, linen, felt and locally woven lambswool, eco printed with leaves, onion skins and hedgerow vegetation. Please just let me know if you’re planning a visit and I’ll be able to tell you at that stage whether I’ll be free to meet up for a quick coffee and a chat!

 

 

 

Musings from the exhibition to date and new nuno felt wrap today

It’s been very interesting and revealing invigilating at Grennan Mill Craft School, each of the 6 artists needs to either man the show for 3 full days or 6 half ones, I have chosen to do 3 full days.  If I wanted I could nominate someone else to do my stints but for me a lot of the pleasure at this stage of the process is to meet the public and see how people engage with all the work on display.  It has become increasingly obvious as the days go by that people either love the felt or hate it (maybe hate is too strong a word!), there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground at all.  I love watching everyone’s expressions when they first enter my space, many people are totally surprised when they discover the vessels and sculptures are wool, they know that they appear tactile but they often think that they are ceramic none the less!

Stitched seascape

It has also been interesting to discover that even if people do like these non functional pieces they may not have a place in their homes to display them.  After I sold my only stitched seascape on the first day several people said that they were interested in hanging this type of work in their home, in fact I actually got a commission for a framed piece during the course of the opening evening.  As a result of this I decided to spend Monday and Tuesday working and finishing some more wall pieces, I framed them yesterday morning at Grennan and two of the four sold during the day, actions speak louder than words sometimes!

Today I spent a lovely time at Carmen’s with her and an Argentinian fibre friend Patricia, we started with a big breakfast, felted all morning, had a delicious stew for lunch and then stuffed ourselves on pancakes before more fibre related fun in the afternoon!!!  Getting totally away from vessels and seascapes for the day I planned and felted a large wrap using some of the beautiful silk my Auburn friend Merridee dyed for me at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, CA recently.  This was an experiment using the tumble dryer method, a technique I want to work on further before offering it as an option for workshops but this might be a good time to say that it entails NO rubbing or rolling making it perfect for larger projects and anyone who might find the methodology of traditional nuno a little time-consuming or dare I say it even boring!  I would like to stress though that I don’t find rubbing and rolling boring, relaxing and therapeutic would be my personal take on this process but I suppose it’s horses for courses isn’t it and who doesn’t want to make a larger piece but with a lot of the effort removed and in a fraction of the time???  I’m not going to blog further about this method until I have fine tuned my timing but I will definitely include a couple of projects in the next book Chrissie and I are publishing (nuno clothing, out before Christmas!), for now here is a picture of todays finished wrap.

Nuno felt wrap

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…

Felting and stitching …..

I have been flat out this week trying to finish my work for Kilkenny Arts Festival which opens next weekend.  Most of my pieces are totally wet felted but a couple have some free machine embroidery to add surface detail, I know, I can’t believe I am actually writing that!  The exhibition takes place in Grennan Mill Craft School, Thomastown and I am one of 6 individual artists who all have solo shows under one roof, the setting utilises the various floors of a wonderful grain mill poised on the banks of the river Nore.  For anyone within striking distance of Thomastown please do call in during the exhibition and say hi, I will be envigilating on some days (not sure when yet) so if you are interested in meeting up please do email me in advance and I can let you know my schedual!!!

Exhibition Invitation

Apologies to those of you waiting for the final review of the new printing techniques I learnt at Felt in Focus, it is going to be a week or so before I can really relax and get stuck into writing posts properly!