Cut finger and shaving the rug

Not many words today either, I almost cut the top off my right index finger earlier this morning so typing difficult and I still don’t like to think of all the blood …..

Shaving of the rug proceeds very slowly, then it is a question of some final ironing, steaming, stretching and hopefully admiring!

Almost finished fulling the rug …….

Pictures speaking louder than words again, hope to finish the fulling process later this afternoon!  Please excuse the poor quality of the photos taken inside but I did want to share the various stages of this project and it has proved difficult to get clear pictures depending on what time of day the images were taken.

Ironing to heat, flatten and work the rug

Felting mouse and wash board for spot fulling

 

Rex guarding the almost finished rug

Almost there fulling the rug!

At last I feel as if I am starting to get somewhere fulling Sylvia’s large felt rug.  Measurements as of this afternoon are 1.67m X 2.67m so 17cm width ways and 17cm lengthways and finally the rug will be the required size!!!  No time to write any more but picturers to follow tomorrow morning and answers to some of the questions people have been asking me here and on Facebook.

One more day to go!

Only one more day of canvassing and then the electorate vote in the local elections from 7am – 10pm tomorrow. Felting has really taken a back seat over the last couple of weeks but as soon as the weekend and the count are over I will be fully up to speed again, hurrah!! My biggest concern then will be preparing work for 2 upcoming exhibitions (one to be hung next Thursday!) and sorting out my wrap up presentation about my Craft in the Classroom project which takes place on Saturday 13th June. Although I ususally work pretty well to a deadline I definitely will need to prioritise over the next week and don’t want to feel rushed when creating the work for either show. My plan is to create some small and medium sized felt pods which I will suspend in a cluster and I also need to make a large rug/wall hanging expanding the concept of ridges and bumps as with the swirling water sample piece. Off now to get on the campaign trail again, I look forward to properly continuing with this blog next week!!

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!

Busy preparing for last ‘Craft in the Classroom’ sessions

This morning I have had to cancel my proposed training with Failte Ireland in order to concentrate on preparing for my last sessions in the ‘Craft in the Classroom’ project and to finish designing the race card for our Green Party fundraiser this Thursday night.  Because I was so shattered the last time that I drove up to Drumlea early in the morning I have decided to travel up at my leisure this afternoon, spend some time with friends (thanks a million Nigel and Jackie for giving me a bed!) and be bright and bushy tailed tomorrow morning ready for our big session rolling the wall hanging.  My plan is to arrive a couple of hours before I am due to start working with the pupils, wet out the hanging myself and give it a good working over with my sander BEFORE letting the pupils loose rolling, felting and fulling.  The problem is that I always use an electric sander (carefully) not a cordless but obviously would not be able to let the kids use it as it could be constituted as an electrical hazard.  Knowing how much a design can shift if not worked carefully I really want to make sure that the text is fully secure before the pupils start to stamp and kick the rolled up package.  I also need to find some thin but strong cotton cord today that I can use to tie up the large plastic mat that we will be enclosing the wall hanging in, hopefully I can pick some up in a hardware along the way as I travel to Carrick-on-Shannon this afternoon.  I am off now to start packing the truck and hope I will have some great images on Wednesday to post here showing some of the completed projects from our last two sessions including the finished wall hanging.

Still recovering from frenetic felting sessions!

Design laid out and ready to fill in on our wall hanging

Design laid out and ready to fill in on our wall hanging

Gosh, we had some action packed sessions in Drumlea this week!  I am still recovering and expect it is going to take a couple more days before I fully recharge!!  Our game plan had been to divide the pupils up into 3 different groups, one to start work on the collaborative wall hanging, the second to make vessels and the third to work on felt balls.  The idea behind this was that I would never cope with all 26 pupils working on their first 3-d project at the same time and obviously we needed to get working on the wall hanging or else we would never get it finished!  Well the vessels went very well, so did the balls but we nearly had a mutiny about the subject matter for the wall hanging.  At the beginning of the session we had taken the top 5 suggestions from everybody, I wrote them down on a sheet of paper and then every pupil voted for their favourite 3 items.  Problems, problems, problems.  I had already explained that in order for the design to stand out when felted in the landscape format that the pupils preferred (taking account of how much the base we were using would shrink) I only wanted to incorporate the top 4 items from the wish list.  In order of preference these were the name Drumlea, the school crest, a football and in joint fourth place either a sun or a rainbow.  Discussion ensued about how we would make our descision and it was agreed by the pupils that everyone’s name would go into a hat, one name would be drawn out and that this pupil could choose the final item to be depicted on the wall hanging.  The name was drawn, the pupil was choosen and he in turn choose the rainbow (or was it the sun), mayhem ensued!  The pupils who were actually meant to start laying out the design didn’t want the rainbow (or sun) and pretty much stuck in their heels.  Eventually after a lot of discussion I showed them how we could incorporate both items if we changed the layout of the hanging from landscape to portrait, agreement at last!  The school crest morphed into a leafless tree, the rainbow is huge and the whole thing looks great now that the colours have been filled in.  Clare should be emailing me some pictures of the next stage and I will post them here as soon as they arrive.  Next time I go to Drumlea we are going to add a date to the piece, wet it out and then roll for several hours wrapping it tightly in the large plastic woven mat that I got from Mehmet.  Happy hours!

Over the weekend I will write a little bit about our 3-d work and post images of some of the super vessels the pupils created, check out my Flickr account if you simply can’t wait!

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.

Pictures of finished rug and ‘Creative Blog Award’

The finished rug!

The finished rug!

This morning as promised I was able to take a photo of my completed rug!  I know that this type of angled shot distorts the shape somewhat but I think that it is quite obvious how the sky area has shrunk more from left to right than the bottom section demonstrating clearly that the way we lay down the fibres makes a huge difference.  You should also be able to see how textured the areas are that were left uncovered with the coloured wool, the inside of the leaping animal for example is really crinkly and textured.

Close up of leaping animal

Thanks Irene for honouring me with this ‘Creative Blog Award’ !

For those who bring unique and creative elements to their blogs. For those who incorporate art, music, creative writing, photo’s, and other beautiful visual effects into their website. For those who put a unique spin on things and come up with new ideas. This award is for the artsy, the funky, the inventor, and even the rebel. This award is for those creative individuals who stand out from the crowd.”

The rules are:

1. The winner must copy this Award to their own blog
2. Link to the blog from whence you received the Award
3. Nominate a minimum of 7 other bloggers
4. Link to the nominated on your blog
5. Leave comment about the award on the nominated blogs.

The blogs that I would like to nominate are Deb Seeger, The Wolly Way, Her Majesty Margo, I’m a Ginger Monkey, A Hole in the Basket Primatives, Pretty Ditty and Jane Bo.

Second rug making workshop over and Mehmet returns home

Yesterday our second rug making workshop with Mehmet Girgic ended and another happy bunch of novice and experienced feltmakers went home with completed projects.  Again it was really interesting to see how everybody’s style was totally individual, over the weekend I will upload more images and you will all see exactly what I mean.  At this workshop I had the opportunity, space and time to make a large rug myself and took the decision to work using a style totally alien to me!!  My inspiration came from a book about Mexican houses that I have with pictures of some beautiful pottery tiles  and my central motif is a large leaping animal, possibly a deer.  Other motifs from the tiles surround this central animal but the background is pure Clasheen, a mountainous scene executed using the colours that I see around me very day!  The result is a very naive scene that I am both very happy with and strangely undecided about, it is SO unlike anything that I have previously done that I am really not 100% sure what I think of it.  Anyway, I will get the images up over the weekend when I have time to take breath and you can all make up your own minds!  Mehmet and I had an uneventful trip to Dublin airport this morning and discussed our planned group trip (which I will organise) to his workshop in Konya which I hope will take place in the Autumn.  Watch this space!