Sunday, April 29, 2007

Wales - Day 3and 4 Finally!

Saturday morning after a walk on the beach, we had breakfast and went into our next workshop. Liz Clay, paper maker and book binder, showed us how to make felt by using paper making techniques. We finger carded brown Alpaca, Black Gotland and White Shetland onto templates and slid them onto a paper making screen. She then applied a type of wallpaper paste to them and allowed it to dry. Then we did the same samples in the usual felt making process. We ended up with about 10 samples to then make into a book. The feel and finish was interesting that the same fibres had with the two different techniques.

After lunch was spent doing landscapes. We were sent to draw a few quick scetches on the University grounds. By early afternoon, a thick, dense fog had moved in, followed by heavy rain. Most of the campus was cloaked in a thick grey blanket. Not much to draw, so we used our imagination. I have to say, I didn't love doing landscapes that day. I did like her technique though. It was all made of prefelts cut into shapes and the placed end to end and felted again. Can't say what mine looks like, but I remember the initial drawing. I'll leave it up to you to decide what it is.

Sunday was the last morning and one of the workshops I was looking forward to. Needle Felting. I don't do any, other than to tack down something that doesn't stick. Our instructor was Birgitte Krag-Hansen from Denmark. I'd been looking at her hair bob since we arrived in Wales and was interested in how she got such detail in her works. She has done work with the Royal Theatre making Puppets for drama productions. They're quite amazing and large. Almost life size. I loved this workshop. We started out with the basic egg shape and worked by adding layers to achieve the nose, eyes, cheeks and so on.

Here it Harold. The children have named him. I wouldn't be into trolls or pixies myself, but he was great fun to make.

From there we gobbled down our lunch, submitted our projects, got our luggage and headed towards the airport. With several extra bags of fibre related goodies, one person very ill and another on crutches, we landed safe and sound with lots of fun behind and ahead of us.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Mama, Your Famous!

Out of the mouths of babes. Mama's on the TV. A few weeks ago I was contacted about doing a TV piece on knitting for RTE. Sure, let's make sure it's about knitting and not just me. Don't really want the attention! Kind of an odd thing to think after I've just agreed to do filming for the countries people show. Anyway, we all gathered around and watched in anticipation tonight. Great job to all the ladies that participated and have had input into my knitting life since coming to Ireland. Thanks a million to you and to Laura Fletcher who was a great interviewer. Have a peek and see what's happening in my neck of the woods!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Return of the Urn

Today, when I returned from the Supermarket, tea with friends and shopping for school picture outfits, I noticed a parcel on my desk. I don't remember ordering anything! I know I didn't. Trying to downsize, not add more. Opened it up and it was the urn/water jug from the IFA competition in Wales. Good, I'll use it tomorrow for the demo on 3D objects. Package seems a bit heavy for a bit of wool. Hey, there's a book in here. Did I volunteer to pass this on to someone? Can't remember, but I will. Little note inside says "You are one of the Winners."

HA!!! I wasn't even going to enter! Glad I did and I'm glad I didn't buy this book the last 2 times I looked at it! Now it's Mine!! I think I used most of the fibers that were given to us. The inside is lined with bright blue. Didn't like the colour, so I used it as a base. Used a resist for the basic shape then hand felted it to retain the shape. Got into a bit of trouble when the urn shrunk around the neck and I had to soap up my wrist well to get it out. Needle felted on the stripe and flower in the wee hours. Good thing I respond slightly to guilt or persuasion.

Friday, April 13, 2007

How Time Flies - Day 1 and 2 in Wales

Well, it's been several weeks since the IFA conference in Wales. We had an amazing time and were worn ragged. Up at 7 with workshops starting at 9 til 1. Bit of lunch, then back to felting from 1:30 til 6ish. We had 5 separate workshops over the 2.5 days and the AGM.

There were eight of us that came from Ireland to represent the Feltmakers Ireland Guild. Elizabeth, Cloudagh, Eleanor, Susan, Colleen, Kathrina, Sheila and myself. We secured our rooms, shopped a bit at the supermarket for supplies, unpacked our things, had a bit of dinner and headed over to the museum for a quick look at the Egyptian exhibit. Since it was an early start Thursday morning, we were all tired and got in bed. It would be the last of that until Sunday.
Egypt was the theme for the competition that was being sponsored by several wool and fibre vendors. The IFA group was aloud in after hours to draw and gain inspiration for the competition workshop.

Upon arriving Friday morning at the first workshop, we each got a goodie bag and were to use any or all of the contents for the competition. Each bag contained basic fibre in neutral colours, silks and coloured fibres that were selected along the theme. Can't say I was overly inspired and the workshop was the first one for me. Let's see, what to make?

I have no photo of the burial urn/water jug. Not organized enough, wasn't done enough and didn't like it enough for a photo. I was really just in it to meet and chat with the other felters. I did a lotus blossom and needle felted it onto the jug on Saturday night, due to the guilt that was felt by me to finish and submit something. OK, OK, so at 12:30 I was finishing it. Stuffed it with bubble wrap and put it on the radiator to dry.

Friday afternoon was an amazing workshop on Nuno Felting. May Jacobsen Hvistendahl does incredible nuno felt wearables. Using fibre in different directions, she taught us to make garments that would pull in and flare out in fantastic ways. It shrinks by 50% at least, but what a transformation in the last 5 minutes!!
This is the last few moments before it shrinks to the gorgeous, crinkle of nuno. The pattern, as you can tell is pretty block shaped, but by placing a thin layer of wool over the silk and roll it a bit, it really transforms. The sleeves and waist of the little dress are made by laying the wool fibre on the bias or diagonally to the rest. I'm raving, I know, but this woman's creations are breath taking and all in one piece!

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The State of Things

Due to some unexpected news a couple of weeks ago, we are moving house. I haven't been in a slump on the crafting front, just a bit sidetracked with boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape. Fairly soon, I will have a moment to tell about our amazing long weekend in Wales and the IFA (International Feltmakers Assoc.) Until then...

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Happy Easter

Today and yesterday have been busy with preparations for tomorrow. Our family tries to celebrate the meaning of this day in our everyday life, but it is a great reminder.
I've had a long life of seasonal celebrations and the children especially love getting involved with making egg and rabbit decor. I'm not sure how it all started with the relation of bunnies and eggs to Easter, but we love that part of it too.

I still remember as a child, the lovely Easter baskets that would magically appear in well hidden places when I was a small girl. The joy of the egg hunt that has been carried on for generations by my father and the memory of delicious coloured coconut rabbits that my Grammy brought especially for the 3 girls on Easter Sunday after church.
The first year that we were in Ireland at Easter time and the questions about egg hunts, dyeing eggs and making baskets began, I thought I'd try and be prepared. So off I went to the Supermarket to pick up goodies for the baskets... Where are all the jumbo bags of Easter candy?? Where are all the seasonal stuff that would stock up the baskets. All I found were HUGE chocolate eggs. Now I don't mind a bit of chocolate for the children, but these would take us 6 months to get though.
I had a very eye opening experience. REMEMBER!! I am not in the US. I do not have to succumb to the plastic, sugar coated, advertisement driven ideas of what Easter is. Huh? I guess I'll have to work on that. We did survive and the children didn't need counseling. I had a bit of withdrawal, but it is GOOD! It's an easy thing to get sucked into.
Next... Eggs! After searching for a week for white eggs, I had to call and friend and ask her "Where do you find white eggs for dyeing?" You don't she said! Huh? In the US most eggs are white, except for organic brown eggs and you have to pay more for them. How do you get pale pastel colours. You don't! I have learned to love dyeing brown eggs. The depth of colour is beautiful. Rich and lovely, so I learned to deal and love those eggs. Enough about my past.
Happy Easter everyone.