Fun afternoon Felting!

I have just finished a fun afternoon felting and chatting with Carmen!  I needed to complete some pieces to show the curator how I am progressing towards my work for ‘Breaking Out’, an exhibition with the Crafts Council and really had to get stuck into things this weekend.  Because of being totally tied up with the organisation of the Irish Green Gathering recently and having had that accident with the glass I have really not been actively creating as much as usual.  It was great to get stuck in and work towards a couple of pieces that I have had in mind for some time.  When I was up in Enniscrone recently I collected shells, stones, seaweed and driftwood from the beach.  I also managed to find a great piece of polished horn which takes pride of place in a chunky necklace that I finished this afternoon.  Hopefully tomorrow I will get a couple of pictures of the work up on the blog, fingers crossed that my photography will be passable after the beautiful images that Bernie McCoy took not so long ago!

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!

Nuno Felt

Sari Loom ends and Merino

Sari Loom ends and Merino

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.

1722 hits and counting

1722 sounds like a date but in actual fact these are the number of hits to date on this blog since I posted my first ramblings on 10th April ’08!  I am really delighted that numbers are multiplying month on month and have now added a counter at the bottom right hand side of the blog.

Because of my injured hand I have had plenty of time to think about my work and what I will be preparing for the Crafts Council.  To date I have made several pieces since I got selected to participate in ‘Breaking Out’, but as I really want to ‘wow’ them I still need to strive for that special piece to materialise.  I am intending on incorporating some found items into my work as well and hope that when I find those special items the piece will just come naturally, fingers crossed!  I have also been working on some designs for a couple of new bags and a vessel with some shibori elements, hopefully my hand will be healed enough next week to put them into action.  The Irish Green Gathering is also in the final 10 days of preparation so probably it is a good thing that I don’t have as much time to felt.

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.

Fun felting afternoon

Yesterday afternoon Carmen, Polly, Joan (a New Zeland friend) and I got stuck in to some serious activity.  Joan and I had been working on the Irish Green Gathering all morning and felting was just the way to spend the afternoon.  Carmen brought along a gorgeous selection of felt beads that she has been working on and decided to string a couple of necklaces, very funky.  The rest of us were working with resists and I was showing the girls how to proceed as neither had actually done a seamless piece before.  In fact Joan has only felted one flat piece with me before and she made an amazing quality vessel which I hope she will allow me to photograph.  Polly fell in love with the idea of felt slippers as soon as she saw a pair that I had make a couple of weeks ago.  Obviously they take a lot more work so things were progressing nicely when she had to take them home with her.  Hopefully Polly will have time to work on them today or tomorrow and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product!

I decided to make a vessel and incorporate some of the scrim that I waxed and dyed last week at the batik course in Grennan Craft Mill.  The fabric had taken the dye really well and was a pleasure to work with yesterday.  Later in the week I am going to try nuno felting a larger piece of this scrim and use less wool, I expect to get a highly textured fabric for my end result.