Thursday, July 29, 2010

The sun is shining and I see blue sky!!

This is just a quick post to say hello, I am not dead, I am working flat out.  The weather looks great for today, so I am heading into studio early and if it stays nice we might make a trek to the BEACH!  You never know when the weather might change on you, so it's best to take advantage straight away. 

I am felting a nice piece of red dyed chiffon today.  I will have to have a poke around to see what other colours, but definitely Merino with some nice silks.  I just got some great dyeing tips for fibres from an American friend I met on Facebook, so I can hopefully try those out this weekend.  And I really *must* get at the plastering so that I can paint in the next few weeks.

Again, no photos, but I am replacing the memory card in my camera today so all should be well in the world soon.  Happy Thursday!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Another Drizzly Sunday in Ireland....

I have, over time, developed the bad habit of starting new projects before finishing old ones.  So this week, I have been trying to tidy up and finish up projects sitting around my studio.  I am trying to clean up my act.  I suppose when a felted item doesn't turn out the way I wanted it the urge to embellish dies with a thump.  Why bother when it won't be an item for sale or even good enough to give as a gift?  Too many white elephants on the learning curve. 

So I am beading the collar on the turquoise cape because it really did need a bit of bling before it was completed.  The collar will make the whole garment stand out.  I did felt two handbags, but I suspect that resist felting is not my forte yet.  I will need a lot more practice before I produce something that I could sell.  Perhaps nuno felting and sewing the handbag pieces?  Hats are coming along well.  I finished a purple and gold one that is felting as we speak and I finished a lovely scarf that will match a hat.  I have a charcoal gray hat the I am working on now, so there is progress.

It's all go for the Dingle Fibre weekend on September 25th.  I am tentatively going to call it Lámhdhéanta or Handmade in English.  While most of the workshops will be just textile initially, I would love to see other handcrafts included if we can get going.  I am in the middle of contacting people, inquiring about space and funding, and putting a committee together.  A committee of people is a tricky thing because they have to be people that are workers and all get along.  Not always an easy task.  And not too big a committee or else we will never get agreement on core issues. I think five people sounds good, an odd number in case we can't agree.  I know I should start with just the Saturday, but my guy says do an optional Sunday for crafts that need more practice time.  It's hard to rush a learning a new skill because if you don't get enough immersion then you don't go home and practice.  It's a waste of time.  Must have the committee agree on that one!
No pictures today as my camera is not uploading photos.  I think I need to get a new memory card, but either way my computer is locking up when I try to upload.  Not a good sign.  I installed new anti-virus, so applications should be safe enough.  Thank God I have insurance on this computer so if it ever does go BANG then I just go and get a new one. 

I will post again in the next couple of days when I can get some pictures to upload....

Monday, July 19, 2010

Something's Marinating in There....

I have had the idea, off and on, for the last year that I want to start fibre weekends in Dingle.  I want Dingle to become a destination for artists and hobbyists alike who are looking for training in a fun, inspirational location.  The talent is certainly in the area, it just needs to be organized.  So, I think I am going to step up to the plate, with more than a little assistance, and organize a small weekend at the end of September.  I am trying to start small and be practical, but it really isn't one of my strengths.  I am going to have to have someone nominated as the Rain on My Parade to stop me from scheduling fibre slumber parties and marathon dyeing sessions and how to felt your own lampshade sessions--you can see where a little enthusiasm can go all wrong. 

For now, I am thinking of doing a session each of Crochet, Knitting, Feltmaking, and Fibre Dyeing.  Once I have the instructors on board we can think of interesting focuses in each subject.  I would love Tunisian Crochet or how to crochet lots of flowers (or coral!!).  I would love to see a patchwork session, but I am not sure if a short session would serve that well; if people are interested then that seems like a weekend affair.  I have dyed loose fibres, but not spun yarn and a big session of dyeing fabric for patchwork would be good.  Intro to Knitting would suit me since I cannot knit, but most people learned to knit in school here so I think we will have to think outside the box on that one.  Nuno felting is popular, but laying out fibres and felting a handbag or slippers would also be good.

I think that we want to get the pre-Christmas crafty people who would be interested in learning something new for the coming gift-giving season.  I don't know if it's recessionista or simply just anti-Celtic Tiger  excess, but there is a huge upsurge of interest in making things by hand.  Perhaps they just want to keep their hands busy so that they don't crack up while out of work.  Get out of the house and into some grownup talk.  I don't care.  People that can make things with their hands are usually far more interesting.  They are My People.  They understand why it is so important to stay up until 1am (or later) to finish crocheting a project when the more sensible people are sleeping.  Dyeing your own fibres and felting a scarf and spending five hours beading an item are perfectly legitimate uses of time.  It's these people who will come to Dingle.

And I want to lure them with a Swap or Shop.  The day of the workshop a select group of people will be invite to sell materials, lovely stuff that will be hard to put down, things that need to come home with you.  Alternatively, people can bring items from their own stash at home and swap fabric/wool/fibres. 

Lots of ideas swimming in the head.  Time for a cuppa and to find my crochet hook and have a think....

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I started a Facebook page for Chiarraí Creations this week (see my wee badge in the top right corner) and I think the pressure to post more pics, finish work, get my ETSY shop open finally is going to give me plenty to blog about! I am on the antibiotics still, but the little darlings are working and I can feel my energy coming back slowly but surely. I got into the studio yesterday and finished beading my seaweed wrap and felted a silk and Merino nuno scarf. I think it came out pretty well and I am happy with the colours. My critical eye is always: would I wear this? Maybe I am a bit of a Smarty Pants, but I think I happen to have good taste and so, sorry to say good people, I will be producing goods that I like and approve of. Let's hope that snarky attitude will actually put a bit of money in the bank....

The model for the silk and Merino scarf was drafted under duress so I could get a quick pic and get this posted.  I had to promise Tayto's, which he is eating while I photograph.  I think the scarf is nicely offset by the Transformers' pajamas, don't you???

Finally, pics of my seaweed wrap.  I have felted the optional brooch for tying it, and have to dye it to match and stitch yet.  Will do a pic with a model to show the drape when I finish it Monday.  You can really see the free machine stitching and the random beading.  I think it's pretty and I WOULD WEAR IT!  Ha!  You have to laugh at yourself!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Another rainy day in Ireland...

Close-up of my nuno-felted scarf.  Merino and silk into silk chiffon.
Well, my grass is certainly greener, but I want our warm, balmy summer back!!  I have high hopes for next week.  In between studio work, I have things to plant in the garden and I want to buy paint for upstairs and begin that dreaded project.  I must be feeling better if I am dreaming up more work for myself.  Small Boy gave me his strep throat that he had ten days ago and LUCKY ME I have it far worse than him.  Thankfully I got to the doctor and got meds when I did because I got worse before I got better.  Throat still swollen, but on the mend now...

Crochet and felted wool hat
Here are a couple pics of of completed work.  Nuno felted scarf done in red and hand-dyed silks and merino.  I felted this one a bit thicker than the other one.  It's nice, but I think I liked the peek-a-boo aspect of the chiffon underneath much better and it's a lot more flexible for tying.  This hat turned out well.  I think I would make the tail a bit longer.  I did one in blue and green for my brother and the tail was so long it kind of wound around your neck like a scarf.  Very cosy for winter and the hat part slouched on like a beret.  I need to keep working on it to get back there.  For now, I think I might bead around the brim just for a bit of added bling.  And then another thing done for the ETSY shop!
Slowly but surely adding stock up for the start.

And finally, I finished two necklaces.  What I love about these, other than the lovely colour of glass beads, is that it doesn't have a clasp.  I can't tell you how many times I have to fuss with a clasp when I am late and trying to get out the door.  The long end simply slips through the loop and you are good to go.  I have been wearing a multi-coloured one for the last few weeks and it goes with almost everything.  I am tempted to stop wearing my other necklaces!  A friend said that she wanted to buy one for her mother because she has arthritis and can't manage the clasps anymore, something that hadn't occurred to me at all.  I need to think of a price and try to sell these locally.  I love the random colours personally, but the all blue is lovely.  I think I will try to do a green and red-toned one. 

And finally, internship has started so plenty of time to press ahead.  After work, I will be in studio working on wedding accessories.  And I need to make some money to pay for a new sewing machine.  If I can kick this strep throat, then it's all GO!

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Back from The Big City....

Temple Bar in Dublin, near my lodgings
Dublin was wonderful!  The class at the NCAD was very good and gave me lots of new ideas.  Our instructor was very experimental and showed us how to use the machines and away we went.  The heat transfer press and Bondina (used for bonding fabrics) were interesting and we got to use a fancy embroidery machine, which I now know I do not need and definitely do not want!  Fussy things and so automated that if one thing goes wrong then the whole thing shuts down.  It would do my head in. I loved the free machine embroidery and I am going to try and get a Bernina like they had in the lab as there is great freedom in stitching in any direction.  I liked stitching paper and plastic and combining all that with fabric.  Lots of multimedia ideas...

Paper stitched and fabric added.
Dublin itself was so nice.  I have been living in the country so long that I forgot the pleasures of all that a city has to offer: great food, access to supplies, interesting people, cultural variety, and public transportation.  Add to that great weather and the fact that Dublin is a good walking city and I was all over the place!  I have been to Dublin many times, but I don't think I have really got my bearings until this trip.  I would end up in one section of the city and couldn't find my way around.  Now, I can go from O'Connell St to Grafton and I know the LUAS line and Temple Bar.  The next time I go I will be flying around the city.

St. Audoen's, Church of Ireland
And then, smack in the middle of Dublin, I found St Audoen's Church (pronounced Odd-wins), a medieval church located in the heart of Dublin.  It was built around 1181-1212 and is still an open and active parish!  Its was just beautiful and I went inside and had to look around.  I seem to be drawn to old stonework lately, so I snapped pics of the patterns that they made and had a nose around.  With the wildflowers out the front, it easily looked like it might have 800 years ago.  I did a few sketches and will see what I come up with...Strangely, there is ANOTHER St. Audoen's right next door: the medieval one is Church of Ireland and the "newer" one is Catholic.  Hate to say it, but the older one was far more interesting and in far better repair.  The newer St. Audoen's was a grand old church in need of repair for water damage, but you could tell she was a proud old girl.  A base for the many Polish that relocated to Ireland as many of the Masses were read in Polish.  The stonework in the older church was just beautiful the way it was weathered and eroded over time.  I took some pics of the gravestones on the main chapel floor that were worn quite smooth, but the light wasn't good that day and they didn't turn out well.  I think the picture below is one of the old stations of the cross that would have been chiseled in stone. 

Stonework at medieval St. Audoen's
I have  completed work in the studio that I didn't have time to photograph, so I will try to get that done tomorrow and have a go.  There seem to be so many good workshops around right now.  The lovely Stephanie of The Yarn Room in Wicklow is having her 1st year anniversary for the shop and lots of good classes on board.  I would love to do the improvers crochet and the Tunisian crochet, but I can only imagine that time will be getting away from me.  Monday I start an internship and Fionn is in camp again, so we will be go, Go, GO for the rest of the week.

Transfer printing using disperse dyes.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

A quickie....

Hello chickens!  I am off to Dublin tomorrow for a sewing workshop at the National College of Art and Design (NCAD) for the week, so I am fluttering around trying to get Small Boy and myself ready for the chaotic schedule.  I have not been feeling well, so I am already behind!  Fionn starts camp on Monday and he is sleeping in a different bed each night and hopefully won't miss me too much (and me him!). 

My course is called Creative Sewing by Aisling McLoughlin and thank the Lord they are providing sewing machines and I won't have to drag mine up by train.  The fees that Ryanair would charge would nearly justify buying a new machine!  Ms. McLoughlin makes handbags by trade and so it would be really interesting to see her stuff and get some practice in there as I would like to try my hand at making handbags.  She is on faculty at the NCAD so a fresh point of view will be interesting as I have been working with the same (wonderful) tutor for some time.  Something new to add to the mish-mash of my brain.

So, no pics now.  I will take loads in Dublin and give you a big, fat post when I return.  Enjoy the summer!