Amazing Clasheen Winter Swap update, no water, no central heating and in lock down mode with weather alert!

The first pictures are now being uploaded to our Clasheen Swap group on Flickr and I have to say that there have been amazing packages winging their way to swap partners all around the world.  Many of the participants decided to wait until 25th December to open their goodies and boy does it seem as if the wait was worthwhile!  Check out the discussion board to read what people sent and recieved and then search through the group photos to see some of the great images of packages in various stages of unwrap.  Once all the thank yous and photos are posted to the group I will upload details of our first swap for 2010!

I didn’t post yesterday about my lack of water but today the situation is even worse so I am now officially entering Clasheen lockdown mode!  On returning from my sister’s on Sunday I discovered that the water supply had stopped, probably from ice somewhere along the line from the well to the water pressure tank.  The ground temperatures have been as low as -9C which is totally unheard of for Ireland so it probably is not surprising that this situation has occured.  Unfortunately my central heating has now gone on the blink this morning but luckily I have the range and a great small wood burning stove so cooking and huddling in front of these are my best bet for now!  The weather outside is currently exceptionally windy and wet and heavy snow is forecast for the next couple of days.  I am praying that the rain will defrost the ground sufficiently for my pipes to unfreeze and then I will be able to fill both baths prior to all the snow, bleed the radiatiors, run the washing machine and have a warm and relaxing bath to round off the day.  Failing a thaw I will just keep the stove lighting as much as possible and get water from my neighbours farmhouse, if I have no water tomorrow I will also beg a bath!  I have rigged up a duvet cover over the front door to try and eliminate the draft and now I have discovered that I don’t have enough putty around one of my upstairs window panes so I have some towels held in place by toiletry bottles to help with the draft and soak up some of the water that is making it’s way inside the window.  My french doors on the north east side of the studio are also leaking badly (this is the current direction of the wind) so overall I will be glad if it actually snows and this horrible windy rain stops, at least then it might be dry but cold!

Felting has obviously taken a backseat due to lack of water and total chaos in the kitchen but if things are not better tomorrow I am going to start some kind of project and use a bucket of water which I will collect from my neighbours.  Withdrawal symptoms have definitely set in on the textile side of things as I prepare for the snow but possibly things will get back to some kind of normality if my water returns this afternoon!

Check out some of the great fibre related blogs that I follow!

Kreativ Blogger Award
Kreativ Blogger Award

Thanks so much to my friend Irene Lundgaard who has given me this Kreativ Blogger Award.  The rules for receiving this award mean that you link back to the person who nominated you, list 7 things that you love, link to 6 more kreative bloggers and leave a comment on their site to let them know how to keep the award going.  Irene and Stephanie (from the fabulous Yarn Room) are the main organisers of the ‘Pick up Your Needles’ series of workshops which take place regularly in the Tinahely Arts Centre.  Although crochet is really Irene’s thing she recently won the fastest knitter competition at the opening of Stephanie’s new yarn store in Ashford, Co. Wicklow, way to go Irene!  Receiving this award made me realise that I really need to update my links here as I actually follow 84 blogs through Google Reader, many of them textile and fibre related.  To whet your appitite here are six of my favourites (some of which I have linked to before, others not) ….. Florcita by Mariana, Sheep Thrills Yarn by Cedar, Ginga Squid by Vicky, Felting Your Soul by Yvette, Her Majesty Margo by Margo and Deb Seeger by the wonderful Deb Seeger!  Each of these special people I consider especially creative, they blog regularly about their passion for art and textiles and invite us through their writing to share the experience (sometimes wonderful and sometimes frustrasting!) of their arts practice.  Now for 7 things that I love excluding felting, fibre, teaching and participating in felt workshops, you already know that I LOVE all of these things so I am going for things that you may not already know about me (as if!) ….. Strong black coffee with no bitter aftertaste, dark chocolate (with/without natural orange and cardamom or with chilli), supporting local business (especially my butcher and the many wonderful art and craft practitioners in my immediate area), cooking comforting food and entertaining our friends with Alan, long hot baths filled with natural scented products, walking my collie Rex around the fields at Clasheen followed by a hot toddy in front of a nice warm fire and last but definitely not least, meeting and making friendships through this blog, our swaps, Flickr, Ravelry, ArtL!nks and other social networking sites such as Linkedin!

Another question, is felt an art or a craft?

Recently I submitted my interest in participating in a particular exhibition this summer but was not actually sure if ‘felt’ would be an acceptable medium for the event in question.  I did give the organisers my blog address and links to my Flickr photos, yesterday I got their response; I am welcome to exhibit ‘art’ as opposed to ‘craft’, their definition of craft as being something functional.  Now some of you might be a bit annoyed not to be free to exhibit whatever you like but in fact I did find their definition of craft as very interesting and by extension helpful.  Time and time again I feel that ‘craft’ takes a second place to ‘art’ yet textiles in some form or other may be on display in a fine art exhibition and I am never sure where the boarders cross.  Thanks to Brandon and Mary for making the distinction clear as far as their show is concerned, I now know exactly the direction to take when preparing my work for submission!

Fun felting afternoon

Yesterday afternoon Carmen, Polly, Joan (a New Zeland friend) and I got stuck in to some serious activity.  Joan and I had been working on the Irish Green Gathering all morning and felting was just the way to spend the afternoon.  Carmen brought along a gorgeous selection of felt beads that she has been working on and decided to string a couple of necklaces, very funky.  The rest of us were working with resists and I was showing the girls how to proceed as neither had actually done a seamless piece before.  In fact Joan has only felted one flat piece with me before and she made an amazing quality vessel which I hope she will allow me to photograph.  Polly fell in love with the idea of felt slippers as soon as she saw a pair that I had make a couple of weeks ago.  Obviously they take a lot more work so things were progressing nicely when she had to take them home with her.  Hopefully Polly will have time to work on them today or tomorrow and I am really looking forward to seeing the finished product!

I decided to make a vessel and incorporate some of the scrim that I waxed and dyed last week at the batik course in Grennan Craft Mill.  The fabric had taken the dye really well and was a pleasure to work with yesterday.  Later in the week I am going to try nuno felting a larger piece of this scrim and use less wool, I expect to get a highly textured fabric for my end result.

Fabulous sari silks and threads!

FIBRE ALERT I have just recieved some amazing products from an excellent Australian site http://www.essentialtextileart.com .  I discovered them on line whilst doing a search for nuno felt and boy am I glad I did!  Thanks Susan, for your prompt and friendly service, I will definitely be recommending you to my friends.  My order consisted of  packets of sari loom ends, sari silk fibres, sari ribbon (basically strips of sari fabric) and a mixed packet of coloured suede fish skin, great for embellishing!!.

Needless to say I just had to get stuck in immediately to some felting.  I decided to use one of the sari loom ends and a sari ribbon to create a beautiful long wall hanging in nuno felt.  This is really a piece that needs to be lit from behind to fully appreciate the textures and I think that I need to experiment with a simple light box and see how this works for me.  I promise to post a picture on this blog as soon as I have mastered the concept!