Istvan and Trees arrive in Ireland, a special 4 days of felt related activity is underway!

It’s official, felt masters Istvan Vidak and Trees Coussement have arrived in Ireland!  Carmen and I returned from collecting them at the airport last night at 11pm and then I spent until 2.40am cooking at Clasheen, whew, I will sleep well tonight.  This morning I drove back to Carmen’s to collect Istvan and Trees and we went together to meet up with Jeremy Hill at the wonderful Norman Gallery where an exhibition of their work will open later tonight.

The Norman Gallery is the perfect setting to show off these beautiful felt bags

I helped Vidak and Trees organise the felt and I have to confess to buying one of Istvan’s stunning decorative bags too!  After meeting the workshop participants and grabbing a quick lunch it was back home for me to finish fitting the units in the back kitchen.  Now I just need to tidy the bedrooms where 3 of my friends will be staying then it’s off to the train station for me and flying to Birmingham at 6.30am with Alan for the weekend!  Tomorrow while Alan is at a meeting I am going to head to a textile market I discovered on a search for saris and the like to nuno felt with!  On Monday I will meet up with Carmen, Istvan and Trees again and get the chance to see some of the beautiful work felted over the next 4 days.

While I am away Rex will be in seventh heaven with all the house guests and loads of walking.  Possibly I won’t get to do much over the internet until Monday evening but I do promise to upload a few pics via Facebook if I get a chance to catch my breath and find some yummy fabric!

Istvan and Trees joking in front of the beautiful bag I bought

Busy, busy …

It’s been a very busy week so far and I am just grabbing the chance to write an ultra quick update on the run. The ladies I felt with in Borris Active Retirement Group completed outstanding pieces in our session on Monday afternoon and if you check out my recent Facebook updates I have uploaded all the current pictures there, sorry I haven’t yet mastered the art of doing this using the phone. My back kitchen/garage/larder restructure is almost complete so by Monday I hope to be back in the studio and felting like crazy once more!

Tonight I collect Istvan Vidak with Carmen and tomorrow I will be cooking lunch for everyone and helping with the exhibition opening, I am really looking forward to seeing Istvan’s beautiful felt.

Studio restructure almost underway and interview with Carmen re. Istvan Vidak’s upcoming visit to Ireland!

For those of you who have been following my back kitchen and garage restructuring project on Facebook I am sure you’re not surprised I haven’t posted here to the blog for a few days, for those of you who are not following the progress I hope to be back to blogging normality some time over the next week!!!  Basically I have taken out ALL the old presses from what was the utility room, refitted them in the garage (I’m loosely using the word refitted here!), painted the walls in what I call ‘Virgin Mary Blue’, assembled gorgeous stainless steel topped freestanding units to go in the old space, put together cupboards and drawers to fit underneath them, added a wall mounted cupboard with funky plastic sliding doors and without further ado I now have a beautiful working back kitchen for storage, washing up and laundry duties, woo hoo!!!!!

Back kitchen underway

On Tuesday Patsy and James return to finish the plumbing and then it’s time to change around and remove some of the furniture and storage solutions from the studio, now that I have the space in the garage to fit them that is.  When that is done I will have a spacious, easy to move around studio to work in, that’s the end goal anyway and I can’t wait to get stuck in to some serious felting them!

On the felting side of things I will be driving Carmen up to the airport on Wednesday to collect master Hungarian felter Istvan Vidak, he will be staying with Carmen for a master class, an exhibition and an artist’s talk.  Carmen came over for dinner the other evening and I interviewed her about the trip, this article has been the first I have had published online at Technorati, have any of you ever written for them yourselves???  For those of you who are interested in what we discussed below is a copy of the interview and if you do like the text please visit the article on Technorati and hit the FB like button, share it on FB and maybe retweet it too if you don’t mind, thanks!

INTERVIEW WITH CARMEN SANCHEZ PARDON

Between 13th and 16th October 2011 Carmen Sanchez Padron will welcome Hungarian master felter Istvan Vidak to Guatastudio in south east Ireland for an exhibition, evening talk and a 4 day hands on felting workshop. I invited Carmen to join me for dinner at Clasheen in order to find out more about this exciting series of events.

One of Istvan's beautiful and decorative bagsCarmen explains that by working with dyed and undyed natural wool, Istvan will share the techniques used to create traditional Mongolian bags; wet felting, embroidery and finishing with braided horsehair or wool cords and tassels. Designed to be hung on the wall and hold household items, these beautifully decorative bags add a colourful and dramatic twist to any traditional or contemporary interior.

Participating in workshops with visiting international artists provides a fascinating insight into how felt is currently made in other countries with a longer felting history than Ireland. I asked Carmen where one might view some of Istvan’s work and to this end she has organised an exhibition in The Norman Gallery, Rathnure, Co. Wexford opening at 6pm on Thursday October 13th and continuing until 5pm on Sunday 16th.  This is an excellent opportunity to see top quality pieces felted by an aknowledged master and Carmen adds that an artist’s talk titled ‘Following the Felt Route’ will take place in the same venue at 7pm on Saturday 15th, all are welcome.
During the 4 day felting workshop participants may choose to embellish their bags with Mongolian designs as taught by Istvan and I think that it will also be interesting to see if anyone is inspired to work with traditional Celtic motifs. This is what I did myself at a workskhop Carmen hosted last year with Vanda Roberts, another expert felter from Hungary. Vanda’s workshop focused on the creation of strong functional felt which was then stitched carefully leading to either raised or depressed areas in the felt. I used a wonderful piece of bronze age rock art sited locally at Rathgeeran near Clasheen, Ballybrack, Co. Carlow as the spring point for my design, the bag was felted in charcoal and grey to echo the colour of the granite and simple black leather handles were attached to compliment the felt.

I asked Carmen why she had chosen to invite these particular felt artists to Guatastudio and she explained that she was initially attracted to this style of felting after participating at a symposium titled ‘Gift of the Lambs’ in Hungary during July 2010 and again during July 2011. Attending classes with both Vanda and Istvan led her to invite them back to Ireland where we are lucky to have the opportunity to view their work have the opportunity to participate in the workshops.

I wrapped up the interview by thanking Carmen for her time and wishing her a successful experience hosting this fascinating felting master.