Fun, friends, food and felt!

I’m just grabbing a minute at the end of a very busy but satisfying second day of our residential workshop at Dominio Vale do Mondego to jot this post, the atmosphere is one of fun, friends, food and felt! Internet connection is a little sketchy and for once my phone doesn’t seem up to the task, I’d love to post some pictures but I think it will be tomorrow before I get a chance to upload them via computer to the net. Everyone has arrived now and it’s just been such fun meeting up, starting out felting and eating and drinking all around us!!! The people, food, scenery and wool are all amazing, everyone yesterday and today completed amazing projects. Tomorrow we start to work with the raw wool,’till then, adieu!

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I’m addled after adding buttons, lables and a handle to some raw fleece and merino bags!

I’m totally addled now having spent the last number of hours adding finishing touches to some raw fleece and merino bags in preparation for the farmer’s market in Borris tomorrow morning.

Raw wool and merino bag with adjustable shoulder strap

If it wasn’t for the fact that I really like the bag I was trying to attach the handle to I probably would have taken my sissors to it and cut it up into shreds!  How anybody enjoys sewing is beyond me!!!  Apologies to all of you who find it relaxing but honestly, at this stage you might think that I would be getting a little more proficient, scrap that thought totally.  My only consolation is that I have decided to contact Ken Foley after Christmas and see if he would be interested in making and attaching handles to my designs, this way I can concentrate on the felting and leave the leather work to the master!  The relief I feel after taking this descision is amazing, it may make the bags a little bit more expensive to buy but thinking of the time I’ll be saving I feel that it is going to be worth it in the long run.  I also got to use some of my stash buttons; the bag pictured has a stunning horn button that I picked up in the United States two years ago and I also found the perfect vintage closure for a handy purse that has a loop at the back to wear around your waist with a belt.  Head over to visit Clasheen on Facebook if you would like to see pictures of all the finished bags!

Gorgeous horn button nestling amongst the raw wool locks!

CRAFTed project underway and a couple of great magazines!

This morning I had the pleasure of meeting all the girls who are collaborating with me and their teacher Mairead for our CRAFTed project in Kilkenny, we had fun!  We started the session with a look at some of my work and then passed around different raw materials so the girls could both handle and smell raw and processed wool.  Mairead and the class had spoken previously about what we might be getting up to and everybody had questions they wanted to ask and journals ready to write the answers down in, along with video and photography these journals are a way for them to explore and document our project.  Three of the girls (at least I think it was three!) had brought in video cameras and we also had photographers amongst the pupils which is just as well, I was talking and demonstrating so much that I never remembered to take even one photo, definitely a first for me!  Once I explained the felting process I laid out a piece of flat felt and then everyone took turns rubbing and rolling so they would have a clearer idea of what they would be doing over the course of the next three sessions.  They then started to jot down ideas and sketches for their main pieces, our theme is ‘exploring transision’ and we are making one collaborative wall hanging and at least one individual piece each.  The wall hanging is going to have 32 pockets (one for each pupil) and each girl will both decorate the outside of their pocket and select an item (or items) to place inside this.  When completed the wall hanging will be displayed in the school and the items left there as a memory when they move forward to secondary school later this year.  As I am writing this I am wondering should there also be a pocket for Mairead as their teacher and me as the facilitator???  The individual projects will also have some way of holding a special item, maybe this will be a pocket in a piece of flat felt or a three dimensional object such as a vessel or a bag.  These pieces will be for the pupils to carry with them as they leave the school and the idea here is that the items they put inside these pieces will have meaning for them and be something that they want to bring with them into their future.  Anyway, I had a great time and hope that the girls did too!  Next Wednesday they will all make their first piece of flat felt (which will be stuck onto the journal covers) as well as designing the templates for their individual projects.  I hope too to have prefelted a base and pockets for the wall hanging prior to the session, if this is the case the girls can also start decorating the pockets and surround next week.

Green Craft
Haute Handbags

The latest issue of my all time favourite magazine has just been published by Stamptington.  I ADORE Green Craft!!!!!  Such fun, inspirational and new ways of looking at incorporating recycled, upcycled and found materials into ones work, I defy anybody not to like this publication!  The other Stamptington magazine that really grabs my fancy is Haute Handbags, this is the one I spoke about a couple of weeks ago that inspired me to add leather leaves and beads to the top of one of my felt vessels, picture of this vessel to come soon I promise!