Niki’s stunning wrap photographed in the urban landscape

I spent a wonderful time with friend Niki Collier, her husband Rem and their beautiful children Coral and Tanya in Dublin yesterday.  Niki and I had a felt filled day planned, inspiration, discussion, chat and action, it certainly lived up to and surpassed all my anticipation!

Striding out in the urban landscape

During the day we walked to collect the children from their respective pre-schools and this was an opportunity for me to wear and Niki to photograph the stunning piece she felted at the recent Dublin Pam de Groot workshop organised by Feltmakers Ireland.  Initially this softly draping nuno piece was designed to be worn as a long shift, once I tried it on and looked at myself in the mirror I asked Niki would she mind if I tried it on with the intended neck opening as an armhole, voila, this incredible wrap was born!!!  We had great fun chatting and pausing as we walked along and it was totally fitting that the wrap was photographed in the urban landscape that was its inspiration.  Congratulations Niki on a very special piece!!!

Out and about in Dublin

During the afternoon Rem took the children out for a while and Niki and I settled down to our felting.  I’m thrilled with the two new bracelets I made and promise photos tomorrow, they are the first in a new series of work I’m creating inspired by Irish dry stone walls.  In the evening our felting friend Sheila Ahern joined us right on time to watch this weeks episode of Craft Master, a current Irish television series focusing on craft in Ireland.  Sheila is involved in the production of the series and her official title is ‘Craft Advisor’, Niki and I thought the programme was excellent!!!  Alan travelled up from Bagenalstown to join us for dinner and we had a wonderful meal, the highlights included a yummy salad accompanied by a Bulgarian speciality drink (unfortunately I can’t remember the name, maybe I drank too much!), stuffed aubergines, seasonal vegetable stir fry, roasted tomatoes with garlic and a fantastic tasting fillet steak for the meat eaters, it was a meal fit for a king!

Little Tanya is making me smile!

Today I headed back to Niki’s in the morning to collect my truck and have a good cup of coffee (I stayed in Alan’s Dublin pad for the night), after that I drove to Ikea to make some final choices for my utility room/back kitchen.  This part of the house has just not been working in its current layour so over the next week I am going to dismantle all the units, drag them out to the garage and reinstall, then I get to have fun putting together and finally fitting what I hope will be the work space from heaven, I’ll update you as it progresses!  Unfortunately this does mean that I won’t be going away for a short holiday with Alan as we had planned, he just can’t get next week off but luckily we hadn’t booked to take account of this eventuality occuring.  Ah well, he did suggest he MIGHT wrangle two weeks off at the beginning of November so I’m not totally ruling out a holiday yet, for the moment I’ll live in hope!

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Wow ….. thanks and upcoming workshops at Clasheen

Wow, thanks to all of you who have been commenting and leaving such great suggestions about my current woes and successes with free machining on felt, I am going to take everything on board, promise!  Yes, I know that I have always sworn off stitching but since my class with the wonderful Lisa Klakulak this summer I seem to have lost some, but not all of my inhibitions!!!  Investing in my super-duper machine obviously has helped and in order to justify the cost I am thinking that I will be sewing for a little while yet.  I had forgotten Pam that you had problems with some of your thread at Felt in Focus, the thing that I found strange is that I had already successfully stitched another piece of felt with my shiny rayon and viscose threads, it just seemed to be the slightly squishy felt of the yellow vessel that defeated me this time.  Anyway, I will keep persevering and hopefully with time, improve!

This morning I finalised dates for some Autumn workshops here at Clasheen.  I am definitely going to be adding more workshop titles and dates (felt accessories, nuno felt, complex bags etc.) over the coming weeks but since Alan and I are still planning a week away I don’t want to jinx things and book anything for the middle/end of September just yet!  If you are a beginner or improving felter interested in honing your flat felting skills or wanting to experiment with three dimensional shapes check out the workshop page and get in touch with me asap, places are strictly limited to a maximum of 6 per session.  If clicking the workkshop page link seems one step too far, here is the info pasted below!

Saturday 17th September 2011 and Saturday 8th October WET FELTING – the basics

At this one day workshop beginners and improving felters will discover the magical world of wet felting!  Working with a selection of colourful wool and adding beautiful silk, linen and other vegetable fibres to enhance and embellish the surface design participants will each create a beautiful piece of flat felt to bring home with them at the end of the day.  Improvers will have the opportunity to learn new techniques such as adding inclusions like glass, stones and other found objects into the layout of their felt. The emphasis throughout each day will be on solid techniques learnt in a fun and creative environment.  Participants will leave with the confidence and knowledge to duplicate the process at home, learning the basics of flat felting leads to all sorts of exciting three dimensional work and nuno felting in the future!

All materials are included in the cost of E75, tea, coffee and soft drinks are provided throughout the day, participants are asked to bring their own packed lunch with them.  The workshop will start at 10am sharp and run until approx 4.30pm.   Everyone is asked to arrive about 20 minutes before the kick off time in order to meet the other participants, relax and have a welcoming hot or cold drink!  Please contact Nicola asap if you would like to reserve a place on either 17th September or 8th October, each class size is strictly limited to 6 people.

Saturday 22nd October 2011 SIMPLE VESSELS AND BAGS – the basics of seamless, three dimensional wet felting

At this one day workshop beginners and improving felters will learn and experiment with the fascinating technique of wet felting around a resist.  Working with a selection of colourful wool and adding beautiful silk, linen and other vegetable fibres each participant will have the opportunity to felt either a simple vessel or a small seamless bag.  Improvers will have the opportunity to learn new techniques such as including internal pockets and integrated handles into the layout of their felt. The emphasis during the day will be to create strong, seamless three dimensional felt in a fun and creative environment and participants will leave with the confidence and knowledge to duplicate this process at home.

All materials are included in the cost of E75, tea, coffee and soft drinks are provided throughout the day, participants are asked to bring their own packed lunch with them.  The workshop will start at 10am sharp and run until approx 4.30pm.   Everyone is asked to arrive about 20 minutes before the kick off time in order to meet the other participants, relax and have a welcoming hot or cold drink!  Please contact Nicola asap if you would like to reserve a place on 22nd October, class size is strictly limited to 6 people.

First pictures of my finished work from wonderful Felt in Focus!

I spent a wonderful time with old and new friends at Felt in Focus and the journey continues with Kirsten Lund, her husband Niels and Pam de Groot in Roskilde, Kirsten and Niels’s beautiful home in Roskilde near Copenhagen.  On Monday I return home so for now I would like to share pictures of the first felt I stitched (I know, STITCHING!!!) using free machine embroidery in Lisa Klakulak’s fantastic workshop, this was originally intended to be a wrist pices but due to miscalculating the shrinkage rate I now have a lovely piece to hang on my wall!!!!!

OK, I need to backtrack slightly because I don’t seem able to upload them from this computer but I will upload them to my Facebook page directly from the phone so fingers crossed you are all buddies of mine there and will be able to view them in a couple of minutes!  OK, I don’t know what is happening but now I can’t upload anything to Facebook, have patientce and I will try again tonight.

It’s 12.30 at night ….. and surprise meeting this afternoon!

It’s 12.30 at night and I have finally made Horst and Gina’s beds, Kirsten’s will just have to wait until tomorrow evening!  I still have about another hour of organising/tidying to go but I must say that Dawn’s ultimate method of shoving everything into a closet or chest of drawers when you run out of time is getting more appealing by the minute, my only problem is that I don’t have enough storage to hold everything, pity, hmm!!!!!

I did get to have a lovely lunch and chat with Cristina earlier in the day (lunchtime I think but the hours are now blurring into one) and then had a surprise phone call from the wonderful Australian felter Pam de Groot.  Would you believe that Pam was at Cushendale Woolen Mill in Graiguenamanagh at the same time that Cristina and I were sorting out a lot of the logistics for Horst’s workshop?  We did manage to meet for a coffee and a chat however in Kilkenny and discovered that we are both booked in for Lisa Klakulak’s workshop at Felt in Focus!!!

Pictures from the wonderful Sheep and Wool Festival, Horst at Clasheen and Pam de Groot in Kerry!

Today has been another exceptionally busy day so far, shortly however I am off for a relaxing bath then heading in to Borris for the opening of the ‘9 Stones Artists’ current exhibition.  I am really at the pin of my collar trying to get everything organised for Horst and Gina’s visit to Clasheen (Gina is his youngest daughter), find the sanders, plastic, dye pots and other stuff for the workshop, sort the house out, unpack from both my US trip and Enniscrone, unload the truck after the Sheep and Wool Festival, prepare for my Danish buddy Kirsten to arrive (can’t wait Kirsten!) plus 100 other every day things that have been totally neglected in the mad whirl of the last week or so!

AAGH, seem to be having problems uploading images to WordPress this afternoon, wouldn’t you know it?  I do have a selection from the weekend up on Flickr now (titles and descriptions to follow later I’m afraid) so pop on over there if you want to have a look, will try to upload them here again tomorrow but for now I have run out of time yet again!

Lastly, I am SO EXCITED that Horst will be arriving in less than a weeks time.  Sharon Crandall is feeling the same way too I am sure because amazingly she has organised super felter Pam de Groot to facilitate a felting masterclass in Kerry the very same dates we will all be enjoying Horst’s instruction in Bennettsbridge!!!  There are 2 places left for Sharon’s workshop with Pam so please check out this post on her blog if you are interested in booking.  For those of you attending Horst’s event I promise to be in touch over the nexgt day or so just to confirm everyone knows exactly what day they are arriving on and where exactly they will be staying!  It is truly going to be an international event because we have participants arriving from Denmark, England, Portugal and Germany not to mention those of you attending from Ireland, Irish or otherwise!!!