Felting workshops postponed

I am really sad to say that master English feltmaker Sheila Smith’s husband has passed away unexpectedly and her planned workshops here on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th April are indefinitely postponed.  Obviously I know that everyone who had booked (I will be contacting you all individually) wishes Sheila all the best at this awful time and hopefull we will be able to reschedual later on in the year.  For those of you who had booked for 26th if you haven’t already bought Sheila’s new book ‘Embellish, Stitch, Felt’ I urge you to do so now, you won’t be dissapointed.  This is a great read if you are interested in experimenting with the needle punch embellishing machine but if you are a confirmed felter my favourite and best read book is Sheila’s masterpiece ‘Felt to Stitch’.


Felting, embellishing, ‘Craft in the Classroom’

FELTING AND EMBELLISHING COURSES Check out my new workshops page for all the information and to book your place at the upcoming Sigrid Bannnier, Mahmet Girgic and Sheila Smith workshops.  Both Sigrid’s and Sheila’s dates are confirmed and places are limited so please move quickly if you want to reserve a spot!

Over the last few days I have made a couple of new style scarves using some pencil roving that I bought from Wollknoll.  The merino actually costs quite a bit more per kg when bought this way but more than makes up for this extra expense by the time saved when laying out the wool.  I am really looking forward to getting stuck into things this week, it will actually be the first week in my new found career that I can devote totally to felting.

Yesterday I attended an information day in Tallaght organised and run by the Crafts Council explaining an initiative they organise titled ‘Craft in the Classroom’.  This is an excellent scheme offering to partner artists and craftspeople with schools and teachers in primary schools.  The selected schools offer residencies to the selected artists/crafts people and then they work together with the children to explore and create some amazing art work across the various disciplines.  I am definitly going to apply to the scheme and try to obtain a residency, it would be a  great way to expand my practice and I would really enjoy working with young children and see what ideas develop from there.  This year the residencies will take place in either the West Dublin area or in Co. Leitrim, watch this space to see how I progress!

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.


Exciting times!

Wow, so much has been happening of late that I don’t know where to start.  I’ll try to get this in some sort of order but guess it might just become one big long ramble.

My addiction to felt continues!  Last weekend Carmen (my friend who is responsible for getting me started) and I travelled to Dublin for the agm of the Feltmakers Federation.  Such a nice group of talanted and sharing people is a rare thing to come accross.  After the nitty gritty of the meeting was dispensed with we had an interesting presentation from Una Parsons, the CEO of the Craft’s Council followed by an excellent discussion by Sheila Smith.  Sheila is a master at the art of felt and has written to my mind the definitive book on felting called ‘Felt to Stitch’.  We oogled her wonderful creations and I am really looking forward to her next book, watch out for it in the late summer.  Today, Carmen and another friend Jean came to my studio and I showed them how to create cobweb scarfs, they made very beautiful creations.

As a result of the encouragement and advice received to date I have decided to offer workshops at Clasheen titled ‘Fleece to Felt’.  Aimed primarily at the beginner, these days will offer an ideal chance for stressed out individuals to get in touch with their creative side amidst the beautifull surroundings of the Blackstairs Mountains.  Browse my books, gain inspiration from the landscape and leave at the end of the day with a masterpiece that you have created over the course of the day. 

The purchase of the land surrounding my old farmhouse has been completed a couple of weeks ago so I guess you could say that I am a small holder now!  Brilliant if a bit scarey, at present I have the land rented out to a friendly local farmer so now I can gaze out on horses and young cattle every day.  This week I had an appointment with Chris, our brilliant local forrester to discuss my plans about planting several acres with broad leaved trees in the next dormant season.  Chris has gone home armed with my wish list, natural looking planting, indiginous trees, damson, crab apple and other wild fruit trees mingled in etc. etc. and he will be preparing a plan for me, almost like the floor plan of a house!  I am really looking forward to seeing what he will come up with, we are also exploring the different possibilities of applying for a grant to cover some of the expenses.  My vision is to have a really special amenity area, woodland walks planned from the start and a spring at the top of the land will be included in the ‘floor plan’ as an area of special interest and bio-diversity.

A big note of thanks to Artlinks for the wonderful service they offer.  Last week I attended two of their professional development courses, ‘Business Mentoring for your Creative Practice’ and ‘Marketing your Creative Work’.  This week I am booked into ‘Photographing/Documenting your Creative Work’ and ‘Blogging for Beginners’, guess that is the one I really could do with tonight!

Better go now, my job as competition secretary at Borris Golf Club steps up another gear in the morning, the President’s Prize to the ladies beckons!