Please bear with me through internet problems!

Sorry about the lack of posts over the last few days, I seem to be having internet problems coupled with almost no time to investigate the cause!  For some reason my gmail is up the creek so I am having problems with comments and this morning I had problems accessing WordPress.  Anyway, if you want to have a look at an experimental piece that I made recently check out my Flickr images, it is a small ‘rug’ made using the Osman technique but emphasing the bumps and ridges formed where I laid out less wool.  I like the effect and am planning a much larger scale piece, this one was designed using swirling water as inspiration and for the larger rug I am debating creating a mountain inspired abstract landscape.  Hopefully tomorrow morning I will get time to write a proper post, off to get ready for another day on the road!

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Valentine’s Day rug and yesterday’s workshop.

Valentine's Day rug

Valentine's Day rug

Here is an image as promised showing my completed Valentine’s Day rug.  When I say completed, I still need to shave the piece to sharpen up the colours and hopefully this will allow the mulberry silk on the bird, heart and borders to really glow when catching the light.  If you check out my Flickr photos you can also see a close up shot of the bird.

I had a fantastic day yesterday at Tinahely Arts Centre participating in the brilliantly organised ‘Pick up your needles’ event organised by Irene from Wanda’s Wonders and Stephanie of The Yarn Room fame.  We met at about 9.15am and organised our relevant areas, felting, crochet, knitting and spinning.  A lady had travelled all the way from Co. Westmeath to tutor the spinning group and it looked absolutely fascinating but amazingly slow, something I would definitely like to try in the future but I guess I mightn’t have the patience for it!!  My group of ladies (where were the men??) numbered 12, initally the maximum was meant to be 10 but 2 more people BEGGED to join and we decided that I could try with 12 as Maria, Stephanie’s sister could help me out if things got out of control.  In the event everyone was very interested and I really enjoyed the experience.  We started the morning with a piece of flat felt, a couple of the participants had some previous experience but most of them had never felted before!  I paid particular attention to how everyone was laying out their fibres; I really believe that if sufficient attention is spent learning a few simple techniques when starting to felt it is so much easier to progress to more difficult projects as time goes by.  WONDERFUL pieces were made and I think that everyone was delighted with the morning’s work, pictures will be emailed to me and I promise to put some up on the blog as soon as I get them.  In the afternoon we progressed to 3 dimensional felt and again it was just fantastic to see how everybody’s pieces turned out.  We had several bowls and many bags, all created using the resist method and using either oval or circular templates.  During the week I am going to write a post explaining how to make cords for handles, some of the ladies made clutch bags but some want to add handles at home.  I know that we will have some follow up sessions and I am definitely looking forward to sharing more techniques and tips with the ladies.  It really was a GREAT day, such fun and enthusiasm!

Keep an eye on the blog this week, I announce more workshops here at Clasheen, new services on offer and International tutors programme for the Spring.

Felted sign and Happy Holidays!

This evening I am planning on making a felted sign to hang at the top of my lane.  I have been debating for some time what to put on it, Clasheen, Felting Studio, Studio, Nicola Brown, Felt, any ideas???  I would like to hang it up whenever I have an open house or a workshop happening, just something personal that would be a marker for people trying to find my rural retreat!  The technique that I am going to use is the Osman technique, basically what Mehmet Girgic teaches at his workshops but I will not full the felt to the degree necessary for a rug, just enough to have a large piece suitable to hang outside in all that the Irish weather can throw at us. 

Happy Holidays to everyone, whether you celebrate Christmas as we do or just take a few days break to recharge the batteries!  Thanks to my sister Lizzy, husband Paul and my nephews and niece for a great couple of days spent celebrating the occasion at their comfy house in Co. Wicklow.  My mother and I travelled up together and we all met at my other sister Suzanne’s house for Christmas day.  Lizzy and Suzanne live aout 5 minutes apart so the few days were spent travelling between the two houses, catching up on all the news, giving out our Christmas presents and of course eating some great food!  Lizzy and Paul’s children are now old enough to really enjoy the buzz around Christmas but not too old to be cynical about all the hype so it was nice to see them all so excited about the whole experience.

I really tried to make most of my own presents this year, felted scarves, home made cranberry relish, chicken curry, covered notebooks etc. and bought other craftspeople’s work if I felt the recipient might already have an overdose of my felt!  The response that I got to the hand crafted presents was great, it definitely is nice to make something personal for someone and I think that most people also appreciate the effort that you go to when selecting the gifts.  From the other perspective I was really happy with the presents that I recieved myself, thanks to everyone for the great things that you gave me, I am actually writting this post on the new (secondhand but very fast!) laptop that I got from my mother.