Saturday, November 27, 2010

Cold Dingle Morning

We woke up this morning to a dusting of snow around Dingle and a considerable amount more in the mountains.  Winter is here!  And is there any better time for wool???  It's about 20 f/-4c today with the wind, so hopefully people will pick up some lovely warm gifts for Christmas.  Handmade and not made in China.

I felted two scarves yesterday.  What I call Ladder Scarves as they look like a ladder or spine when laid out.  The are long and flippy, which makes them hard to photograph.  In the photo to the right you can see the texture of the merino and silk together, very shiny when ironed and the merino is nice and soft to the skin.  I used natural merino and then over-dyed it twice to get the variegated tones.  You might need a much substantial scarf  today, but this is good for most weather days in Ireland. 

I am way behind on felting projects, which is about usual.  I have too much going on in my own life that is disrupting production!  There is going to be a great craft fair on in Dingle on Sunday, December 12th from 1-6pm at Benner's Hotel.  I am working on some more scarves that will be done by then and I have more hats coming.  You'd want your hat today! 

So much seems to be coloured by Ireland's disastrous financial situation.  Everyone seems to be so resigned and depressed, but they really can reject the loan and make the banks take the burden instead of adding generations of debt to each person in Ireland.  What makes matters a lot worse is that they are calling for austerity measures for us all and then you hear about €240,000 golden handshakes being given out and how they only two weeks ago voted a pay rise for themselves.  Austerity for all would be bad enough, but it isn't for all.  Morale is quite low.  The Irish news seems to be reporting that there isn't any other option, but calling an election before they finalized the loan is one thing the Irish people can do.  Otherwise, Ireland will be colonized all over again, this time with the banks.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Busy Little Felting Bee....

I have items finished, items dyeing, and items drying at the moment!  I have added to Etsy and posted new things to Facebook and, after some general typing, I have to get MARKETING for the next Lámhdhéanta that is coming up December 4th in Dingle.  This is the busiest November I have had in a long time, but I am hoping Black Friday will kick off some sales.  I am offering free shipping from Black Friday to Cyber Monday.

This bomber-style hat is warm and stylish.  Low on
the neck to keep the wind out!

Ventry Craft Fair was last weekend and I got a special order to do matching cuffs and a headpiece for a fashion show in Killarney.  Interesting.  I need to felt the pieces tomorrow and then once dried I can start the surface decoration.  I plan on doing fun colours and then some multi-coloured with a black background.  The feedback on the cuffs/bracelets was very good, so I am hoping that I sell a good few at the craft fair on December 12th in Dingle at Benner's Hotel.  It's a Sunday and that's a very good day to BUY LOCAL and support local crafts. 

A selection of hats
And then there are the Christmas items that I must finish for friends and family.  God help me, some of them will have to be shipped by December 6th and that doesn't seem far away at all.  I may just about ignore my birthday this year. 

I am teaching a Christmas Foods workshop on December 4th from 1-4pm at the Pobalscoil in Dingle.  The fee is only €20 and will include making yeast bread, limoncello, whiskey liver paté, chilli jam, and more.  Lots of gifts to give for the foodie in your life and handy snack items to have on hand if visitors call by.  I will be including a recipe booklet to take home and samples and group demos to show how easy it all is.    The highlight will be a trifle homemade from beginning to end--so worth the extra effort as people will not forget how gorgeous it is!!

A classic Christmas dessert that becomes
immortal with a little extra work!!

Monday, November 8, 2010

It Makes You Pause and Think...

It's quite easy to get caught up in the details of your own life, particularly when your children are small and one day tends to run into the next.  We all know that we should take time out for ourselves, but it just isn't realistic when there is so much to be done.  We do the best we can and move on. 

Part of my ME time has been to read the blogs of (mostly) other women and see what they are baking, creating, laughing, or crying about.  I enjoy the pictures of their creations, the colours they choose, the journeys they undertake, and the professional courtesies they extend to me (making me feel, rightly or wrongly, that I might be part of that vague and wonderful group of people called Artist someday).

On my blog travels today, I came across a blog post forwarded from Two Dresses Studio via Loves Stitching Red.  Her blog describes a wonderful effort that is underway to create 1.5 million butterflies for the Holocaust Museum Houston.  During the Holocaust, it is estimated that 1.5 million children were killed and so this project is gathering the butterflies to represent all the children that died.  A rather daunting project, but I can only imagine how visually amazing and humbling the final exhibit will be once they are all in place.

Below is the excerpt that I cut and pasted from Twodressesstudio's blog as it clearly describes the project and how it came about.  Please take a moment to read it.

The Holocaust Museum Houston is dedicated to educating people about the Holocaust, remembering the 6 million Jews and other innocent victims and honoring the survivors' legacy. Using the lessons of the Holocaust and other genocides, we teach the dangers of hatred, prejudice and apathy. And the tag line following it reads:

Stop Hate. Starting Here.

That grabbed my attention. I read on.....The Butterfly Project mandate is to remember the 1,500,000 innocent children who perished as a result of the Holocaust by collecting 1.5 million handmade butterflies. In Spring 2013, these butterflies will then become a break-taking exhibition to serve as a memory of this event.

Can you imagine? 1.5 million children translated into 1.5 million butterflies....? If you wondering why a butterfly, the project is based on this poem -

I Never Saw Another Butterfly

The last, the very last,
So richly, brightly, dazzlingly yellow
Perhaps if the sun’s tears would sing
against a white stone....
Such, such a yellow
Is carried lightly ’way up high.
It went away I’m sure
because it wished
to kiss the world good-bye.
For seven weeks I’ve lived in here
Penned up inside this ghetto.
But I have found what I love here.
The dandelions call to me
And the white chestnut branches in the court.

Only I never saw another butterfly.
That butterfly was the last one.
Butterflies don’t live in here, in the ghetto.

Written by Pavel Friedman, June 4, 1942
Born in Prague on Jan. 7, 1921.
Deported to the Terezin Concentration Camp on April 26, 1942.
Died in Aushchwitz on Sept. 29, 1944.

He was 23. 23. I have a daughter that age.

After a brief moment, I decided, I have to send a butterfly. Then I thought of how I'd love to send a lot of butterflies. Then I thought of the great group of artist friends here ! Who doesn't love a butterfly? And who wouldn't be touched by this poem and this tragedy and want to contribute to this meaningful and lasting exhibit and tribute? And wouldn't it be rewarding to encourage as many people as I could to play along with me???

I believe when I come from a place of abundance, a place of Giving, of Heart and of Light, anything is possible. The universe will support me and everyone else when we act from that Higher Place.

I can already see butterflies arriving in my mailbox from kindred spirits like you who share a similar belief. I'll open the envelope, photograph the butterfly and begin collecting a box full of butterflies to send on behalf of all of us!

Will you play with me? Would you like to be a part of this? Join in and make a butterfly? We'll call it ....The Butterfly Effect "OPEN"...borrowing from chaos theory, but much more importantly based on the wonderful notion that if enough people think enough healing thoughts, then slowly our world will be at peace. No one said it better than Gandhi - Be the change you want to see in the world.  The power of the collective consciousness. Wouldn't this be a great place to start?

Consider yourself invited!
Follow the instructions as outlined by the Holocaust Museum highlighted in blue below. When your copyright free butterfly is completed, pop it into an envelope including your name, email and blog or web address and mail it to:

Two Dresses Studio
1554 - 20 Avenue South
Lethbridge, AB T1K1E9

DEADLINE - next year, December 31st, 2011

Or, if you'd prefer to bypass the group project, (though it won't be as much fun!) you can mail your butterfly or butterflies directly to:

Holocaust Museum Houston
c/o Butterfly Project
Education Department
5401 Caroline St.
Houston, TX 77004, USA

The deadline for butterflies to be received at the museum has now been established as June 30, 2012

Here are the Instructions for Making the Butterfly:

  • Butterflies should be no larger than 8 inches by 10 inches.
  • Butterflies may be of any medium the artist chooses, but two-dimensional submissions are preferred.
  • Glitter and all glitter-related products should not be used.
  • Food products (cereal, macaroni, candy, marshmallows or other perishables) also should not be used.
End of blog excerpt


 I am hoping to get kids involved in the schools to make a few butterflies for me, but at the very least I will send one myself.  I will probably send them directly to Houston.  If you are in West Kerry and want to send a butterfly, you are welcome to forward it to me and I can send them all on together.  There are some examples of the butterflies made and received on Two Dresses Studio's blog, if you need inspiration.  People from all over the world are sending them on to the museum and I'd like to think that in these troubling economic times that we an climb outside of ourselves for a few minutes and remember so many children. 

Monday, November 1, 2010

The End of Mid Term Break...

He thought I was crazy when I realized we were
on Raglan Road ON AN AUTUMN'S DAY!! 
Whew!  Another school holiday down, and just in time, too!  I have a lot of work to get done and that means Small Boy needs to be in school and out of the way.  We went up to Dublin for the LOVELY Knit and Stitch Show in the RDS and it was wonderful and all too short!  We both too a workshop: mine in resist felting with Feltmakers Ireland and Fionn with Colourcrafts and spritzing Brusho on Lutradur and mucking with all their lovely products We ran around like headless chickens buying fabric and beads and new scissors and dyes.  I then went over to the community stand Knit One Pass it On and taught crochet for the afternoon.  There weren't a lot of takers on instruction (the stalls were jammed with people buying), but I helped a few and learned a new stitch myself!  The RTE1 show Nationwide was there filming all day  and the exhibitions were stunning.

It passed all too soon and so next year I must try and get there for two days.  I must cultivate Dublin friends who have couches/spare rooms as all these cultural events are in Dublin these days.  Feltmakers Ireland is doing a workshop in late January that I would like to go up for, but the price for all these activities goes up considerably when you have to pay for a hotel.  Feel free to leave a comment if you are in a position to offer because I make a mean breakfast!! 

It's great to have conversations with people who make things and possibly sell them and get updates on new products, shortcuts, creative ideas.  Creating things is a rather solitary process, so the public events shoo us out of our rabbit holes, where we have been muttering and creating for far too long.  We laugh and appreciate each other's work, and eat and try not to spend several weeks worth of wages on things we NEED and WANT badly. For me, its great to get encouragement and advice as I am beginning my selling phase and so many people are there actually making a living at it--it's the light at the end of the tunnel!!

Hilary Bell, Voids 3, Machine Embroidery & Silk.  This was part
of the Filament exhibition.

Sheila Jordan's wonderful piece entitled "Dance of
the Spirits" in wool/cotton/silk for Filament.
Arlene Shawcross' delicate "Fragility" for the Craft Council of Ireland's
Feltmakers Ireland had a wonderful (if not warm) display booth
upstairs on the mezzanine

Volunteers for Knit One Pass it On teaching crochet.  There were
more takers for crochet than knitting.  Hooray!!!