Our beautiful felt rugs (and bag!)

A happy group of felters!

A happy group of felters!

At last my internet connection is working again and I can show you the beautiful results of our first rug making workshop with Mehmet Girgic.  We spent a fantastic weekend working and learning the Osman technique and I am sure you will agree from the accompanying photo that all our effort was time well spent.  One of the most fascinating aspects of the workshop was that you can give everyone the same raw materials, in this case a 2100mm X 1900mm rug base and different coloured carded wool, but no two people end up with remotely similar pieces.  Traditional rug making motifs did come through in several different people’s work but due to all the various colour permutations each of these rugs had a totally individual style.  Matthew, who had no previous experience made a fantastic rug and really everybody regardless of how long they had been felting left the weekend with a great sense of achievement. 

Because of the space constraints with 8 others working on such a large scale I decided to make a smaller piece at the weekend workshop and a bigger rug this week.  In actual fact this proved to be a great choice as Mehmet showed me how to convert my smaller piece of flat felt into a strong and attractive seamless carpet bag.  I will explain the process over the course of my next couple of posts, now I am off to upload a few more images to flickr and prepare myself for tomorrows felting and fulling of my bigger rug!!

Mad days, last chances and thanks!

Well, today was a mad day and I definitely think that yesterday must have set the target for a totally crazy week!  I completed my submission for ‘Organic Geometry’, an upcoming exhibition at the National Craft Gallery.  My new laptop wouldn’t send either documents or jpegs to the printer or to a cd, my old one took 25 mins to boot up and my Rayburn decided that it was time to have a seizure, possibly the result of letting my oil get to a dangerously low level recently.  Got the Rayburn serviced, (thanks a million Michael and Philip of Nolan Heating Services, super fast service) eventually got my proposal printed off, drove to Kilkenny and brought my memory stick to the chemist to get the necessary images printed and on disc.  Finally got sorted with the proposal and got stuck in dreadful traffic on the way home where the new Kilkenny bypass is under construction.  While stuck in traffic had a phone call from a logistics company based out the far side of Dublin saying that a package had arrived for me from Turkey but that Customs would not release it until the paperwork was personally signed by me, a fee paid and the correct documentation processed by them.  They emailed me the paperwork and naturally my internet connection decided to pack up before I had details of where I needed to send the thing.  Talked to my sister over the phone and got her to log into my email account, got the details and then had to take the decision to get up before 5am this morning in order to drive to the company (they seem to work 24/7) as I needed to be in Tallaght, Dublin for a 10am start, my first day of Child Protection Training in preparation for Craft in the Classroom!  Eventually got all that sorted out, hopefully Customs will release the parcel as I need it for this weekend’s rug making workshops!!  Another day of training in Dublin looms tomorrow and then I need to finish sorting the house out for Thursday evening, does this sound like a more relaxing day???

Tonight is the last chance to sign up for the Clasheen New Year Stash Swap and if you are enjoying following any Irish blogs from anywhere in the world please consider nominating them in the relevant catagory before 6pm Irish time tomorrow.

A big thank you to fellow fibre artist Nancy from Enee Fabric Design for her lovely post recommending my blog.  After the 2 days that I have had it was a fantastic boost!  Thanks also to all of you who have taken the time to either comment or send me an email wishing me fun and luck with Mehmet Girgic’s rug making workshops.  I am going to take oodles of pictures for you all to drool over so please forgive the lack of felting content today, I am about to drop into bed!!

Rug making workshops and submission

Yesterday I was down in Woodbrook House with Giles organising the layout of the room for Mehmet Girgic’s rug making workshops.  The bases that he is bringing over from Turkey are actually a lot larger that we used in Germany so while this has the advantage of a much bigger finished rug it meant a bit of a headache getting the room set up.  More tables, countless measuring sessions, moving things around and hopefully we are ready to roll.  I am really looking forward to his trip now but due to a couple of unavoidable cancellations need to get 3 or 4 more people booked in for the second workshop in order to cover my expenses bringing Mehmet to Ireland.  I will be under quite a bit of financial pressure unless these places are filled so if you think that you might know anyone interested at this late stage please ask them to contact me asap!

Submissions close this week for an exhibition called ‘Organic Geometry’ and I was hoping to finish mine this morning.  I know that I am putting myself under a lot of pressure this week (HSE child protection training on Tuesday and Wednesday) with Mehmet’s arrival on Thursday and all the work involved before he actually gets here but I really hope to get my submission completed and in on time.  Ann Mulrooney is curating the exhibition for the Crafts Council and it is to be held at the National Craft Gallery in Kilkenny, opening mid April.  Wish me luck!!

Procrastinator’s Challenge!

One of the blogs that I regularly follow is Jo-Anne Carter’s ‘The Carter Clan’.  Jo-Anne is running a great surprise give away and has cleverly linked it in to a challenge running on the  ‘A Hole in the Basket Primatives’ blog.  Well, I know that I am really up to my eyes organising Mehmet’s trip next week but this was just the jolt that I needed to get me to finish some projects. 
Procrastinator's Challenge!

Procrastinator's Challenge!

As a result I have entered Jo-Anne’s give away and Ann’s challenge so here goes with the projects that I want to finish during January ……..

  1. Handle and closure on large green/lime/white bag.
  2. Handle on small green bag and possibly some beading.
  3. Handle on small blue/purple/navy/white bag.
  4. Handle on natural bag with goat hair.
  5. Handle and closures on the small mixed blue saddle bag.
  6. Wet and re-felt the brown and cream vessel so that I can use it as a bag instead of a desktop tidy.  Add a handle, poss leather.
  7. Make a closure for the red and pink mosaic neck wrap.
  8. String felt beads to make tactile outdoor and indoor mobiles.
  9. String beads to make jewellery.
  10. Decide how to finish and hang my batiked circle fabric, been waiting a long time for this one!!
  11. Possibly make something with the blue/purple nuno felt you can just see peeking out from behind the bags.
  12. Possibly add a handle and closure to the nuno felted bag just visable to the right of the nuno neck wrap.

I also placed a large order with Wollknoll this afternoon for the wool that I need for the 2 rug making workshops with Mehmet Girgic.  He is making the rug bases in Turkey as we speak and sending the special enormous plastic woven mats that we will be using to roll the rugs in tomorrow.  These courses will be such great fun, I am tossing around so many ideas in my head for the two rugs that I intend making (I will be doing both workshops) but have still not settled on any one style yet!  We are SO lucky to have a feltmaker with such a worldwide profile travelling here to Ireland that I am amazed more people haven’t confirmed their booking yet, only one week to go!!

Off now to get stuck into those projects!

Felted road sign in progress, keep the comments coming!

Sign before filling in with wool

Sign before filling in with wool

As blogged about yesterday I continued creating my new felt road sign yesterday afternoon.  This is going to be a prototype so please keep the comments coming!  Thanks to Micki and anyone who left helpful suggestions on Flickr, I need a selection of ideas for the wording, whatever I make needs to be clearly seen as you drive around the corner near the top of my lane.  For this reason my first attempt simply says ‘Studio open’ and the writing is quite big.  Although the image might not show it clearly the wording and wavy outline around it is in a deep maroon, the oak leaves in the corners are outlined in dark green and the border is a bright orange. 

The sign ready for a lot of hard work!

The sign ready for a lot of hard work!

Anyway, as soon as the image was laid out to my satisfaction I placed it on a bamboo mat and wet it thoroughly with hot soapy water.  Next I rolled the package tightly and tied it up with strong cotton string.  When learning the Osman technique with Mehmet we rolled the rugs up in a large plastic woven mat and then stamped and rolled them on the floor.  This had been my intention with the bamboo but it was obvious immediately that it was not going to stand up to such rough treatment.  My next move was to put on a Jack L cd and roll on my kitchen table for as long as I could having already decided that rolling by foot on the floor was killing my legs!  Does anyone roll by foot and is there a secret?  I know that some people say it is very relaxing and much better for large projects but how do you do it???  The cd played for 52 minutes (notice that I was counting!) and I made myself get into a rhythm and refused to stop until the last notes of the music died down.  Revealing the half felted sign was a big moment, would the words have shifted, had I laid out enough wool, would the fact that I couldn’t stamp on it ‘a la Mehmet’ mean that it wouldn’t felt at all?  The reveal was interesting …. the words hadn’t shifted although a few small gaps appeared where I hadn’t filled in with quite enough wool, the orange looked great and overall the sign appears to be shaping up nicely.  Now I am off the have a quick hot drink and am ready to rock and roll again, another couple of hours rolling and fulling in varying directions and I hope that I will have a large piece of felt ready to hang!

Felted rug workshop and beginners feltmaking course

The dates for the 2 felted rug workshops with master Turkish feltmaker Mehmet Girgic have now been set.  The first dates are Friday 16th to Sunday 18th January and the second workshop takes place from Tuesday 20th to Thursday 22nd January inclusive.  Places are limited to 10 participants per course so if you are interested please contact me as soon as possible.   Check out the workshops page for information re costs and venue.

Please also note that the 5 week beginners felting course that I am teaching will now start on the first Thursday of November.  Apologies for any confusion caused, I forgot that I would be working on the Feltmakers Ireland stand at the Knitting and Stitching show at the RDS next Thurdsday!

Felting courses, pictures, exhibition and mention in Press!

Where do I start.  It has been a busy couple of days finishing my work for ‘Breaking Out’, delivering it to Kilkenny, organising 3 felting courses and discovering that my blog has been mentioned in an article by Marie Boran for Silicon Republic and the business section of the Irish Independent today, thanks Marie!! 

Adjustable spiral neckpiece

Adjustable spiral neckpiece

I am delighted to report that my work is now finished for ‘Breaking Out’ and that I met the curator Ann Mulrooney yesterday for a chat and to deliver the pieces to Kilkenny.  Ann has been a great help with all sorts of advice; which items are suitable to exhibit, which are ‘product’, how to present your work to a gallery, how to package your work and label it, all sorts of things that I am new to so thanks Ann for the advice and support.  The images above and below are of ‘Sea Breeze’, one of the neckpieces which I left with Ann and the one that I almost burnt to a cinder in the Rayburn on Tuesday!

Waterfall of spirals

Waterfall of spirals

EXCITING NEWS RE. FELTING COURSES I am thrilled to announce that German feltmaker Sigrid Bannier, Turkish maestro Mehmet Girgic and English felter supreme Sheila Smith have all confirmed that they will come to Ireland and hold workshops in the Clasheen area!

Sigrid Bannier will be facilitating a felt jewellery workshop and a nuno felting workshop at Woodbrook House, Killanne, Co. Wexford on 29th and 30th November 2008. 

Mehmet Girgic will be teaching felt rug making in several three day courses between 15th and 27th January 2009 here at Clasheen, full details and dates of the different courses to be confirmed.

Sheila Smith will be here at the end of April, beginning of May, dates to be confirmed this weekend! 

I am putting up a new page on the blog this weekend with resumes of the tutors and links to their websites.  Please email me immediately if you are interested in provisionally booking a spot to learn from any of these exciting masters.

 

Fibres at last!

Today I tracked down the parcels that Carmen and I have been waiting 2 weeks for, they had got bogged down in Gorey of all places!  Anyway, instead of spending a full day felting I hot footed it to Gorey this morning and was thrilled to discover that all the books, fibre, bits and bobs from Wollknoll and the RUGS had finally made it safely to Ireland.  A big relief. 

I decided when I eventually got home that I really needed to tidy the studio up a bit (more than a bit if truth be told) before I could even get the box into the room.  A couple of hours later I spent a really enjoyable time unpacking and sighing over all the wool and little extras that I had bought on my recent trip to Germany.  Obviously I then needed to actually try out some of the wool, a scarflet, couple of corsages and a piece of flat felt to be made into a bag for ‘Bag Lady Swaps’ later and I am ready to call  it a day. 

This weekend, internet connection permitting, I am going to finish my posts about the rug making workshop with Mehmet Girgic.  Next on the adgenda is to put up a page about the classes I am running for the winter and then I need to put up some items on my Etsy shop, ah well, it is best to be busy!!

Felt rug and Podcamp Ireland

Some of you have been having problems with the link in a previous post so please click HERE if you would like to see some pictures of my rug in progress at the Mehmet Girgic course I took at Wollknoll in Germany last week.  For those of you still unable to click through here is an image of the completed and fulled rug prior to shaving.

Rug prior to shaving!

Rug prior to shaving!

Podcamp takes place tomorrow in Kilkenny and I am going to be participating by contributing to a session in the morning.  I promise to write a proper post about felting on Monday but obviously I am very busy this weekend.  What is Podcamp you ask?  Well I have copied an item from the Podcamp Ireland website explaining what it is all about (hope they don’t mind the copying)and here it is sounding a lot more complicated that I expect it really is!

“A PodCamp is a usually free BarCamp-style community UnConference for new media enthusiasts and professionals including bloggers, podcasters, YouTubers, social networkers, and anyone curious about new media. The first PodCamp was held September 8-10, 2006 in Boston, Massachusetts. PodCamps are now being held worldwide.

PodCamp isn’t just about podcasting! If you’re interested in blogging, social media, social networking, podcasting, video on the net, if you’re a podsafe musician (or want to be), or just someone curious about new media, then please join us – and bring a friend or colleague.”

If you are in the South East of Ireland why not pop along and join in the fun.  To extend the weekend even further progress then to Tinnahinch in Graiguenamanagh where we are having the first revival of the old Michaelmas Festival which took place in the area for over 300 years but died out in the 60’s.  I am on the organising committee of the festival so what with talking at Podcamp and working in Tinnahinch I think that it is going to be a very busy weekend!

Pictures of felt rug and Autumn swap buddies!

As promised I have uploaded some images of my rug in progress at the workshop I attended with Mehmet Girgic at Wollknoll in Germany.  Please click here to access my Flickr photostream and see how the rug was made.  We started with a base of ‘kicked’ wool and cotton fabric and built up our outlines using thin strands of wool.  Mehmet had prepared the bases at his workshop in Turkey (carded wool, fabric, water and kicked together by foot to form a surface similar to prefelt) but a couple of the girls wanted to make bigger rugs so they laid out their design directly onto bubble wrap, by choosing this method they ended up with rugs where their image was reversed.  Once the outlines were laid (mine took 1 and 1/2 days!) we started to fill in with various different coloured wools.  Memhet had brought various hand dyed wool with him and we also had a free rein at Wollknoll, we just took what we wanted from their fantastic range and weighed it as we worked.  At the end of the workshop everyone bought the wool that they had used but to be honest if really did not use up a huge amount if you started with the prepared base.  The girls that choose to lay directly onto the bubblewrap then had to place fabric on their design followed by a thick layer of carded wool and therefore had to buy quite a bit more.  Then the fun started!  The rugs were rolled up in a long plastic carpet, about 5 at a time, the bundle was tied tightly and then kicked by foot for a minimum of an hour.  More details to follow in the next post and as soon as I am at my own computer I will upload a couple of pictures to the blog, unfortunately I can’t do it from here! 

The Autumn swap buddies are hereby announced! 

Carmen and Sylvia – Anna and Nicola – Jo-Anne and Ruth – Martina and Nicola – Sherry and Niki – Pam and Micky

Please can all involved check your email, I have sent you the contact details of your partner and you need to email them as soon as possible with your postal address and your preferences.  I have decided to extend the deadline for posting the packages to 21st October, I am really tied up at the moment so I hope another week will suit us all!  Please remember, the theme is Autumn, we will swap one hand made accessory, one seasonal receipe and one little extra.    Good luck and enjoy!!