I finally finished my first 'official' felt and polymer clay necklace last night, I'm happy with some of its aspects and less happy with others. On the plus side of things I love the combination of textures, the soft organic shape of the beads, the smoothly burnished large polymer clay bead contrasting with the tactile felt beads, the black rubbery tubing I used to tie everything together with and I'm definitely happiest with the roughly textured polymer clay beads and the matt black spacers.
I think that the finished necklace looks lovely against the textures of my recent nuno felt so I'm happy that I'll be able to create a collection of accessories that will add another dimension to my craft practice. On the negative side of things I'm least happy with how symmetrically I strung everything together, my only excuse is that I had a very limited selection of felt and polymer components to work with, hopefully that'll change as I get more pieces made and build up my stock of raw materials. I'm still waiting for my tissue blades to arrive so I'm a little limited with what I can do, the plus side of that is I have to keep experimenting and looking for ways around my lack of some decent cutting implements.
I'd like to recommend Ronna Sarvas Weltman's book 'Ancient Modern' for anyone looking for clear basic instructions and wonderfully inspiring projects in polymer clay and wire jewellery. It's on special offer via the Interweave store up until 15th February at a knockdown price of $6.88 (usual price $22.95). I wish I'd known that before I ordered it elsewhere for the full price but it's wonderful value nonetheless!
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Laying out some Fimo against a nuno felt wrap last night to try and select the colours I wanted. Of course I realised as soon as my order of polymer clay arrived that I didn't get half enough blocks of soft subtle colours and I only ordered one white and one translucent block, silly me. The green that I got is much sharper in colour than I expected also so this afternoon I headed into Carlow after teaching to stock up on some more light colours and white. The Fimo is much more expensive there than online but at least I can now work again and do some more experimentation this evening, tomorrow I'll be felting the complimentary pieces in the morning then assembling all the jewellery in the afternoon. At least that's my plan anyway and I'll really try to stick to it!
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Posted in Craft Fairs/Events, Duckett's Grove, Fairs/Events, Felt, Felt for sale, Felt jewellery, tagged Duckett's Grove, Felt, felt bracelet, felt jewellery, Felting, Mount Juliet on December 1, 2012 |
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I’ve had a pretty frustrating morning on the felting front, two failed attempts at a new style bracelet and only one relatively successful result. My plan had been to get a lot of smaller jewellery items felted this weekend as I need to think of splitting my stock for both the Christmas Village at Mount Juliet and the Duckett’s Grove Christmas Fair next week. I’m actually going to call it a day and start a massive tidy up instead. While I totally suck in the household department (with the possible exception of cooking in fact!) I so need to get sorted in advance of Christmas, once next weekend arrives it’s outside events right up until the night of 24th. Starting afresh on Monday morning with a clean and tidy house should help get the creative juices flowing!
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Posted in Felt, Felt for sale, Free machine embroidery, workshops, tagged Arlene Shawcross, Clasheen, dry stone walls, Felt, felt bracelet, felt jewellery, Felting, free machine embroidery, stitching on felt, workshop, workshops on September 26, 2011 |
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It’s a busy time here at Clasheen but I do seem to be managing my time a little better than usual, thankfully!
Stone wall inspired bracelets
As promised here is a picture of the two dry stone wall inspired felt bracelets I made at Niki’s last week, the bracelet on the right I kept for myself and the one on the left has just been added to my Big Cartel shop. It has been interesting hearing the reaction of everyone who has seen these two pieces together, with the exception of one friend and myself, everyone has choosen the one on the left hand side as their favourite. This leads me to believe people find the larger white surround of the stones appealing, whatever, I love them both!!!
I spent a wonderful two days over the weekend participating in a workshop with the South East Textile Group. Our main focus for the workshop was free machine embroidery on various types of dissolvable fabric or paper but for me the biggest result was getting to grips with my Janome straight stitch machine and feeling comfortable with the results! Our tutor was Arelene Shawcross, an English lady now living and working from Macroom in Co. Cork. Arelene was an excellent teacher, I would highly recommend sessions with her for anyone interested in exploring free machining further, her manner is informed, relaxing and highly productive. There were loads of interesting samples for everyone to examine and exclaim over. For me the beauty of Arlene’s embroidery was most visable in some subtle tone on tone work, I don’t find highly coloured pieces as attractive to my eye but definitely there was something to suit everyone in the work on display and we all got inspired and ready to get down to business quickly.
Stitching on Romeo, is that a smile???
The first sort of soluble fabric that I decided to experiment with was a thickish plastic kind of one called ‘Romeo’. Following on with my dry stone wall obsession I wanted to keep my work subtle and elected to stitch a bracelet (after a couple of small sample pieces!) using soft shades of silver, grey and blue machine embroidery threads. The top two tips that I learnt over the weekend were that it is important not to have the presser foot (free machine or darning) down against the fabric you are stitching on and that you can use machine embroidery and metallic threads on top and in your bobbin if you follow this rule, magic!!! You may remember I was having problems with my metallic thread breaking constantly when I last stitched into felt, changing to a new needle and following the above tips worked like a dream, I tried stitching into some very thick felt after I had finished the bracelet and no problems. Following is a picture of the bracelet pinned to some polystyrene prior to dissolving the plastic, images of the finished piece tomorrow!
Finally a big thanks to Cathy for nominating this blog for a 2011 Irish Web Award, YAY!
Bracelet pinned to polystyrene and ready to submerge in water
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Posted in Felt, Horst, workshops, tagged Angela O'Kelly, brooch, Clasheen, Felt, felt felting workshop, felt jewellery, felt workshop, Horst, Horst workshop, jewellery, large felt garment, large felt garment workshop, Nicola Brown, workshop on April 19, 2011 |
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Unfortunately I was so engrossed in trying out different techniques that I don’t have images of any actual finished items to share with you from the weekend jewellery making workshop, I don’t really have any finished items! OK, to be strictly truthful I do have one paper yarn ‘nest’ which I completed and it is now hanging from a tree but it’s not my favourite piece so I’m not showing it, sorry! Here however are a couple of pictures of two pieces I am happy with, the jewellery back is probably my favourite individual item but Angela did have to help me finish it!!! The other point to note is that while I don’t like my own paper yarn ‘nest’ I do see the potential of the technique, more to follow when I return from US, I have plans for a ring and some other items using this as a starting point. Now for the pics …..
Paper yarn and felt brooch with stainless steel brooch back
Fake gold leaf gilding on merino felt
McSweeney media have sent out extensive coverage to the press this morning of my participation at the Irish and International Sheep and Wool Festival including a big write up about Horst’s upcoming trip to Clasheen and the first ever display of his couture garments outside the US!!! There are three spaces that still need to be confirmed for his ‘Large Felt Garment’ workshop which we will be facilitating together from 17th to 19th June at The Studio in Bennetsbridge, Co. Kilkenny. If you have been waiting until the last minute to either confirm your booking for Horst’s workshop or make a descision now is the moment, everything needs to be totally finished and all monies collected before I head off to California at the beginning of May! Please email me asap if you have any questions or forward me on the balance of your course fee if you have not already done so, thanks to all of you who already have. Martin and Jill, owners of The Studio have kindly offered excellent B & B accomodation on site and I have emailed all actual and potential participants with the details. In case I have missed anyone out please let me know if you never got the message, with all my recent computer woes I wouldn’t be at all surprised if I have made a couple of errors!
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Fossils at the shore near Enniscrone
I have just returned from an unexpected visit to Alan’s parents in Enniscrone, Co. Sligo. It’s a long drive from here, about 4 hours on rural roads no matter which route you take or how fast you try to drive it! Enniscrone is a small town on the Western coast and there are some amazing fossils in the local rock which I just love taking pictures of for inspiration. I also picked up some wonderful small stones which will be perfect for incorporating into felt jewellery or some other work to document for our book! I’m off now for a late breakfast (freshly ground coffee and corn bread, Heather’s receipe) and then Carmen and I will be spending the day felting together, tomorrow is St Patrick’s day and we may well felt together all day then too if Carmen has the day off work!!!
Connemara ponies in the setting sun - photo taken off the West coast at Easky, Co. Sligo
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Posted in Felt, workshops, tagged Charlotte Buch, dreadlocks, Evelyn Refsahl, felt dreadlocks, felt jewellery, felt necklace, felt workshop, Silkeborg on August 26, 2010 |
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As well as meeting loads of fun and dedicated fibre enthusiasts one of the best things about attending any international felt event is the sure fire knowledge that you will learn something new. Many of you know that I love dreadlocks or felt cords but up until now they have definitely not been on my list of top ten easiest felted items to make!
Funky felt necklace
Since attending Charlotte Buch’s workshop in Silkeborg I have been experimenting with a technique of hers which allows you to insert multiple cords at the lay out stage without any prior felting to keep them seperate, this has proved a eureka technique for me!!! Probably I heard somewhere else how to do this (have something way in the back of my mind!) but until I actually saw the results and tried it for myself I couldn’t imagine how many possibilities this would open up for me. While I was taking a break from finishing the rug I decided to apply this method and try to felt a dreadlock necklace without taking all day making the cords, it worked and only took about 50 minutes from start to finish! The only difference in the finished item is that the dreadlocks are more ‘crinkly’ looking than if they were partially felted before inclusion, this lends quite a funky feel to the finished piece and I am now full of ideas about how to alter already felted bags and plains of flat felt etc. to update them and add a bit of extra interest.
I also adapted a technique learnt from Evelyn Refsahl during my short jewellery workshop for the closure, I still find these a bit fiddly to make but hopefully I will get better in time!
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Posted in Felt, workshops, tagged Clasheen, Felt, felt cuff. felt wrist cuff, felt jewellery, felt rug, felt vessel, felt workshop, Felting, wet felt, wet felting, wrist cuff on August 10, 2010 |
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I am going to start this post with a gorgeous picture of Kristie and the beautiful vessel she felted with me at a workshop in Clasheen last Thursday. She used Icelandic wool in shades of green and teal and included some insertions in gold spangled polyester, this created a very interesting and striking effect when these areas were opened up near the end of the felting process.
Kristi with her stunning vessel
Kristie is one of my blog readers and online friends from America and it was great to share some time with her and three girl pals during their exciting trip to Ireland. She also makes wonderful purses, totes, lunch bags and other custom items and I am now the proud owner of a gorgeous upcycled wallet which matches perfectly the necklace I felted during Evelyn’s workshop and the matching bracelet I completed the following morning!!! I also discovered it also totally compliments the funky wrist cuff I was messing around with yesterday afternoon as I was taking a break from felting the rug (short rug post and loads of pictures to follow tomorrow). This cuff is felted using some woven mohair from Cushendale Woolen Mills as a base and the dreadlocks are inserted using a method of Charlotte’s, SO easy compared to what I would have done before!
Upcycled wallet and dreadlocked wrist cuff!
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