Posted in Exhibitions, Felt, tagged Clasheen, Craft's Council, exhibition, Felt, Felting, Nicola Brown, sea slug, Seascapes on September 9, 2011 |
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I returned home yesterday evening after being treated by my mother to 3 wonderful nights at Fort Royal Hotel in Donegal, thanks mum!!!
Shells glistening in the water
Here’s a picture of some shells at the edge of the shoreline, don’t they just glisten in the water as the light catches their colours?
This morning it was back to business: the first of 5 workshop sessions with Carlow Wheelchair Association (it went brilliantly!), a visit to a friend in hospital, yet more tidying and washing/drying clothes and now trying to catch up with a few things on the internet.
Tomorrow and Sunday I need to finish my latest nudibranch (sea slug) because it needs to be delivered to the Crafts Council on Monday morning. Fingers crossed everything will work out over the weekend and the sculpture will make the final selcetion process and be exhibited at ‘Seascapes’ later in the winter, I’ll keep you posted!
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Posted in Book, Book with Chrissie, Exhibitions, Felt, tagged Clasheen, Dawn Edwards, exhibition, Felt, Felting, from felt to friendship, Grennan Mill Craft School, Nicola Brown on August 15, 2011 |
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Yesterday evening our 10 days exhibiting at Grennan Mill Craft School was over. I had such fun over the last two weeks, spending time with Alex (director of the craft school), the other artists and everybody helping them set up and invigilate the show, I think we all had a ball! Welcoming visitors to the ground floor space Clive Nunn had a wonderful exhibition exploring his journey through Irish furniture over the last 30 years. It was fascinating to read his story boards and see examples of venacular furniture side by side with the stylish modern designs that he now makes to commission from his studio a stones throw down the road from Grennan.
Detail from my favourite of Trini's batics
Moving up the stairs to the mezzanine gallery, Trini Kenny’s amazing batics drew gasps of admiration from all our visitors and many people were tempted to put their hands in their pockets and bring one of these beautiful framed pieces home with them. My work was on this level too in the first floor gallery and two flights of stairs higher saw wonderful leather work from Brendan Brennan and an amazing photography exhibition from Kirsty O’Keeffe. Finally up a further two flights of stairs to the top floor gallery where Maire Gartland had a fabulous exhibition of paintings and beautiful hand made books. This is the largest gallery in the mill and Maire’s work really showed off the space to the best advantage. The public appreciated her work too and it was great to see people not afraid to invest in a bigger piece of art, some of the canvases were huge!
Turquoise, white and hot orange felt vessel
I was very happy to sell 4 of my vessels and 4 framed seascapes. It was good too to get a comission for another framed piece and potentially 2 more comissions for small vessels, fingers crossed they both pan out. Many visitors are interested in felting workshops so all in all it was a very successful experience for me sharing my work and meeting other like minded individuals!
Today I have been battling in my kitchen and other areas of the house in preparation for Chrissie and Nigel Day’s arrival on Thursday. Most of you probably know by now that the wonderful Dawn Edwards and I both attended the same university of housework, unfortunately I was a dropout so there really is a LOT of work to get done before Chrissie and I have our launch party for ‘From Felt to Friendship’ next Saturday!!! Speaking of Dawn, please, please, please head on over HERE, check out her amazing hat and vote for her if you would like to see a fellow felter win the design opportunity of a lifetime. She needs 100s of you to click that vote button so don’t be shy, the leader at the moment has over 1000 votes so let’s see if the power of our textile network can really push Dawn up that list fast, there are only 2 days left!!!
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Posted in Book, Book with Chrissie, Exhibitions, Felt, Free machine embroidery, nuno felt, workshops, tagged Clasheen, exhibition, Felt, felt seascape, Felting, Grennan, Grennan Mill Craft School, Merridee Smith, Nicola Brown, nuno felt, nuno felting, stitched felt, The Tin Thimble, wet felt, wet felting on August 11, 2011 |
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It’s been very interesting and revealing invigilating at Grennan Mill Craft School, each of the 6 artists needs to either man the show for 3 full days or 6 half ones, I have chosen to do 3 full days. If I wanted I could nominate someone else to do my stints but for me a lot of the pleasure at this stage of the process is to meet the public and see how people engage with all the work on display. It has become increasingly obvious as the days go by that people either love the felt or hate it (maybe hate is too strong a word!), there doesn’t seem to be any middle ground at all. I love watching everyone’s expressions when they first enter my space, many people are totally surprised when they discover the vessels and sculptures are wool, they know that they appear tactile but they often think that they are ceramic none the less!
It has also been interesting to discover that even if people do like these non functional pieces they may not have a place in their homes to display them. After I sold my only stitched seascape on the first day several people said that they were interested in hanging this type of work in their home, in fact I actually got a commission for a framed piece during the course of the opening evening. As a result of this I decided to spend Monday and Tuesday working and finishing some more wall pieces, I framed them yesterday morning at Grennan and two of the four sold during the day, actions speak louder than words sometimes!
Today I spent a lovely time at Carmen’s with her and an Argentinian fibre friend Patricia, we started with a big breakfast, felted all morning, had a delicious stew for lunch and then stuffed ourselves on pancakes before more fibre related fun in the afternoon!!! Getting totally away from vessels and seascapes for the day I planned and felted a large wrap using some of the beautiful silk my Auburn friend Merridee dyed for me at The Tin Thimble in Loomis, CA recently. This was an experiment using the tumble dryer method, a technique I want to work on further before offering it as an option for workshops but this might be a good time to say that it entails NO rubbing or rolling making it perfect for larger projects and anyone who might find the methodology of traditional nuno a little time-consuming or dare I say it even boring! I would like to stress though that I don’t find rubbing and rolling boring, relaxing and therapeutic would be my personal take on this process but I suppose it’s horses for courses isn’t it and who doesn’t want to make a larger piece but with a lot of the effort removed and in a fraction of the time??? I’m not going to blog further about this method until I have fine tuned my timing but I will definitely include a couple of projects in the next book Chrissie and I are publishing (nuno clothing, out before Christmas!), for now here is a picture of todays finished wrap.
Nuno felt wrap
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Posted in Exhibitions, Felt, tagged Clasheen, exhibition, Felt, Felting, felting exhibition, Grennan, Grennan Craft Mill, Kilkenny Arts Festival, Nicola Brown, Sea Shapes on August 8, 2011 |
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Looking back over the pictures I have taken over the last few days during the set up and start of the exhibition it is obvious that I need to take some more because my phone/camera is having some difficulty adjusting to the whiteness and the light in the space. I am however, just going to post a few here today to give you a little idea of what I have been up to and share what the atmosphere is now like in the room.
Walls and radiator prior to filling and painting, no lights fitted yet
Each of the 6 artists exhibiting in Grennan Craft Mill were allocated their space approx 2 years ago (there is now a 4 year waiting list to exhibit here for the festival!) and for me the room I am in is the perfect size for my felt, not too big and not too small, it serves as the students dining room during the teaching year. All the levels of the mill were painted prior to the students show in June at the end of their two year course which meant that the paint on the walls was fresh. I did need to remove nails and screws etc. from where paintings had been hung and as well as filling and painting the resultant holes etc. I decided to paint the radiator as it definitely looked grubby and took away from the freshness of the white walls. Usually I mix up my own filler when doing any repair jobs but for ease of convienience and in an effort to get everything done in time for the weekend I bought a ready made tube of a propriatory brand only to discover once I was using it the paste was grey and not white. Hmmm, it did dry in 5 minutes as it promised but unfortunately needed several coats of paint in order to hide the underlying colour therefore meaning more time after all, you live and learn but it definitely didn’t say on the outside that the paste was not white, I checked!
Radiator painted, walls and plinths finished, lights installed
Once I was happy with the walls and the radiator I painted another couple of coats onto Eileen’s plinths and then was ready for Alan’s help setting up the spotlights. Really he did a great job, SO many people have been asking about the lighting, we used little spotlights on a simple industrial looking silver track, the lights can be positioned anywhere on the track but our difficulty was that we were restricted to the length that actually came in the box! A lot of thought later, positioning the black transformer and wiring in the kitchen, running new white flex around the roof etc. we got everything sorted to our satisfication, it was 11.40 at night before we left that night but definitely this work has made a big difference to the overall feel of the room and how the felt may be viewed.
To complete the set up I added a lightweight white and blue curtain to cover the kitchen door and Kilkenny Arts Festival provided very nice posters for us to use as part of our publicity materials. I added one to the door of my room beside where I have my name, interestingly the door is painted orange and the colours in the poster are mainly turquoise, two of the highlight colours from my felt vessels! A simple jug of miscanthus and teasels on the radiator, business cards, festival brochures, book for comments, price list and my artist statement finished the room.
Entrance to Sea Shapes
Reflections on the opening weekend and more pictures to follow next post.
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Posted in Exhibitions, Felt, Free machine embroidery, tagged exhibition, Felt, Felting, Grennan, Grennan Craft Mill, Grennan Mill Craft School, Kilkenny Arts Festival, wet felt, wet felting, Wikio on August 5, 2011 |
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This morning I made the final adjustments to my space at Grennan Mill Craft School and decided enough was enough, 7 vessels, 2 sculptures and 1 framed piece with a little free machine embroidery. It’s always nerve wracking but exciting participating in any show and since this is actually my first solo exhibition the stress and worries about the felt I am showing and how the work is displayed are amplified about a thousand fold! Alan was brilliant setting up smart little spot lights on industrial looking tracks for me and Eileen’s plinths look great now that I have given them another couple of coats of paint. The little holes in the wall are all filled in and painted again as is the radiator and this morning I finished cutting up hundreds of business cards which I printed last night, of course if my house and studio were tidy and organised it would be possible to locate my beautiful professional cards which are just lurking somewhere in all their pristine glory, that’s another story!!! Fellow exhibitior Brendan Brennan and I helped Grennan Mill director extrodinare Alex Meldrum put up directional signs in Thomastown and now all our fingers are crossed for warm weather tomorrow afternoon to get everybody in a good mood for the official opening at 5.30! I’ll try and take some pictures then but hopefully we’ll be run off our feet and they might have to wait until another day.
I’m delighted to say that I am still in the top 10 for the latest Wikio knitting blog rankings, here is the sneak preview for this month …..
Ranking made by Wikio
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Posted in Book, Book with Chrissie, Exhibitions, Felt, tagged exhibition, Felt, Felting, Grennan, Grennan Craft Mill, Kilkenny Arts Festival on August 1, 2011 |
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At this stage I am totally addled and don’t know whether I am coming or going as regards the finishing of my work for Kilkenny Arts Festival. Thanks to Carmen, Jean and Cristina who all have kept me sane over the last couple of days and Dawn and Chrissie who have put up with some depressed and frustrated emails, you guys are the best!!! Constructive and objective advice from good friends is just what I needed, now I am felting one last piece today then tomorrow I head over to my buddy Eileen‘s house first thing in the morning. Eileen really stepped up to the plate today when I discovered that the plinths I had been going to use are not actually available after all, big panic that is thankfully all sorted out now, thanks Eileen!
On another note I was blown away by all the birthday wishes I recieved on Saturday, amazing the power of the internet!!! It just goes to show that we really can make true friends online and once the fuss of getting my show set up in Grennan dies down I am really looking forward to spending a week or so tidying up around the house and doing some weeding (not sure how effective that will be, it’s like a jungle outside with all this rain we are getting!) in advance of Chrissie’s trip here later in the month. Imagine this will be the first time EVER that Chrissie and I will actually meet in the flesh!!! We are planning a party to celebrate the launch of our book, please keep Saturday 20th August free in your diary if you would like to visit Clasheen and have a chance to meet Chrissie yourself!
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Since Saturday I have enjoyed a very successful Lady Captain’s Day at Borris Golf Club, uninstalled my work from the Blueprint exhibition, played 18 holes in Castlecomer as practice for Wednesday’s golf match, delivered my work for the final round of judging in the National Craft Competition and attended a ‘Lease and Legal’ meeting at the golf club! Whew, I am making myself tired so off to bed now in prep for my match tomorrow, felting resumes on Thursday!!
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I have been really busy this week catching up with all the jobs left undone over the last while and preparing for my Lady Captain’s Day at Borris Golf Club which is taking place tomorrow! On Wednesday I had an interview at the Crafts Council which might lead to me being on a panel of makers called on if residencies or projects are looking for textile artists in this area although because I have already participated in a project last year they have said that new makers will get preference. Today Carmen and I are giving a felting demo at our local country market in the morning and this afternoon I am invigilating at the Blueprint show in Carlow. Yesterday night I as I followed the latest matches of the World Cup I cast on for Jane Thornley’s stunning Feather and Fan organic wrap because I wanted something to do while I was sitting in the exhibition space minding the work. Yes, this is knitting I know and I never thought that I would be enjoying getting stuck into any knitting project except something chunky worked with recycled fabric or plarn! Purely by chance as I was searching the internet seeking patterns for torn fabric worked on huge needles I managed to stumble into Jane’s site and info re. a knitting retreat in Taos, one of my all time favourite places in the world!!! I became totally hooked instantly. The organic mix of yarn and fibres which Jane champions really appeals to me and the freestyle shapes she has designed look a perfect match for some of my Blue Fish linen and hemp! Still no word from the American Embassy re. my vias requirements so I am planning on trying to actually see someone when I am in Dublin next week delivering my piece for the final round of the National Crafts Competition judging. Ordering the wool today for the rug that I have been comissioned to felt, should have probably ordered it a week or so ago but just don’t seem to have had the time to settle down and deal with the ordering process!
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Posted in Exhibitions, Felt, tagged Blueprint, Colour Swap, Eigse, exhibition, Felt, felt pod, Flickr, Ravelry, swap on June 14, 2010 |
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Unfortunately the photos I took of my work on Friday evening as the Blueprint opening got underway are not good quality.
Blueprint Exhibition for Eigse
I thought you might like to see a shot of my set up however and when I am in Carlow during the week invigilating I am going to bring my bigger camera and try to take some better more detailed shots. The two larger wall hangings and a small framed piece are hung on the wall to the right and overall I was happy enough with how the felt looked on the night. I don’t think from this photo that you can get any idea what the inside of the grey pod (on the plinth) is like but I felted some ovals of black sequined fabric into the light grey inside and these pick up the colours in the large grey wall hanging and the small grey textured piece on the front of the other plinth. Thanks to my friends who made the effort to attend the opening, it was much appreciated!
Today I am unwinding a bit, answering a few emails, uploading a few images to Flickr, hoping and waiting for a call from the American Embassy re. what exact visa I need to travel on this Fall and since the postman came (or woman as it was today) drooling over the most AMAZING package I received from Jayne as part of the Ravelry Colour Swap number 7. Head on over to Flickr if you would like to see the full package and to Clasheen Uncut to see a close up of the most LUSCIOUS fibre and hand made button but for now be prepared to admire the amazing ’Ishbel’ that Jayne dyed and knitted especially for me !
Ishbel - dyed and knitted for me by Jayne!
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Posted in America 2010, Exhibitions, Felt, workshops, tagged American workshops, Blueprint, Eigse, exhibition, Felt, felt rug, workshops on June 11, 2010 |
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Just about to hop into the bath before heading to Carlow for the opening of both the Eigse Carlow Arts Festival and more specifically to finish hanging (or draping!) my pieces for the Blueprint exhibition, one of the fringe events. I did bring most of my felt in on Wednesday but took it home in the evening (didn’t want the undyed pieces to get filthy until all the tidying up was finished) and also the plinths that friend and sculptor Eileen McDonagh was kind enough to lend me for the show. Once I saw the space I had been allocated it became obvious that I would only be able to hang two wall hangings and not three as planned but instead I have been allowed to drape one on the ground (this particular piece is actually a rug anyway!) beside my plinths and I actually think that this livens up the space nicely and provides a splash of colour in the centre of the room. My worry about this had been that some of the members of Blueprint might consider it craft (as obviously it is, the criteria for this group is non functional items) but anyway all’s well that ends well and the rug stays on the ground! I gave both plinths a fresh lick of white emulsion and overall was happy enough with the lay out of my space, will take photos today hopefully and let you all be the final judges!! Because this is a non-curated event participants are free to show what they want within the confines of their own area. The art work on display is therefore both interesting and varied. Although not everything is to my taste it will never be at any exhibition, this is part of the excitement and I do feel that the group will have a positive response from the public when we open tonight at 6pm!
A VERY short American update, everything will be sorted next week I hope ……. Michigan dates 9th, 10th and 11th October, Loomis probably 25th, 26th and 27th September and San Fransisco and Berkeley between 29th September and 7th October!!! I can’t wait!!!!!!!!!
Next week I am going to put up quite a few items in my new online shop and have a very special sale. I will be donating a large percentage of every purchase to a really good cause so please tell your friends as soon as I have all the info announced!
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