My super soft yak scarf and preparing submission for an Arts Act Grant

I seem to have picked up a bad cold over the last few days and it didn’t help that I had three individual meetings at the golf club today which were totally necessary to attend.  Following on from another excellent ‘Pick up your Needles’ at the Courthouse Art Centre in Tinahely yesterday (more details and photos to follow from my felting participants over the next day or two as soon as my cold abates) I decided to stay in my p-js this morning and not get dressed until just before my first meeting at 2pm this afternoon!  To wrap myself snugly I wore the yak and silk scarf that I felted with hand dyed fibres purchased from Urban Fauna Studio in San Fransisco and at the risk of boring everyone this fibre is an absolute dream to work with, beautifully soft, warm and flexible to wear.  If any of you have access to Blas and Jamie’s wonderful studio/shop do look out for this stunning yak fibre.  I know that it had only just arrived in stock for the first time when I visited last September but I guess that Blas should have it regularly now considering there must be a big demand for such a beautiful fibre.

Tomorrow I am going prepare my submission for an ‘Arts Act Grant’ from Carlow County Council.  Last year they awarded me E200 for professional development and this was extremely welcome funding which went towards my expenses for the international symposium Felt in Focus.  Finances are very tight here in Ireland and it is brilliant that the local authorities are still prepared to fund certain individual and group artistic indeavours to benefit our local community.

Check out this felt!

Annette Quentin Stoll's workWow, I am so excited to be attending a two day workshop with Annette Quentin Stoll!  The following text is taken from Feltmakers Ireland’s info re the workshop ….. ‘We will prefelt points, bumps, folds, pockets and tubes and add them to a sqare felt piece. The aim is to get straight edges and standing points, folds and tubes growing out of the felt. We will make a second piece – perhaps a bag with handle and small bag inside or a hat with grass growing on it, points will become grass and flowers, bumps will become hills, pockets become caves and all sorts of magical things.’  I can’t describe how much I am looking forward to this, thankfully my virus appears to be clearing up and I really want to be in the full of my health to get the most from the two days!  There will be a second workshop with Annette over the weekend making an art project for indoors or outdoors.  Carmen will be participating for the two days (I am tutoring at another fibre day in Tinahely on Saturday) and I will get to be a helper on Sunday.  Initially I was a bit disappointed that the dates were clashing but realistically I need to earn some money and I can pick up all the info from Carmen next week, hopefully a win, win situation!  Tinahely was FANTASTIC last time and I must say it will be nice to work with some of the women from the previous session and meet some new felters as well, maybe even a few new men.

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.