Yesterday, our Guild Treasurer, Artist Annika Berglund, led the wonderful “Basic and Beyond” workshop. We made a versatile double-walled vessel.
An early start at 10am had us all rushing for coffee and tea, and the committee and some participants provided an array of lovely buns and cakes. Some participants had travelled from faraway places such as Galway, Kilbeggan and Slane.
Annika showed us samples of the finished piece, and asked us to choose 2 x10gr bags of tencel, a fibre which she had dyed in a variety of colours. Each participant was also given a kit bag of merino wool, with the resist already cut out in the shape needed for our vessels.
Annika then gave us a series of demonstrations to help create our vessels step by step.
1st: She showed us how we would lay out the tencel for our colour pop.
2nd: After another short demo and we then laid the white band and the black bands of our wool. (Layer one). This “inside-out” lay out was explained, and several committee members, Marian, Clare, Deirdre Crofts and Fiona helped the 18 participants.
Then, we had a lunch break on the premises with tea and coffee provided. This allowed a very warm-hearted social interaction between long standing Guild members and some new arrivals.
3rd: After lunch Annika again demonstrated the second layer of wool and how she wished us to rub and roll our pieces. Hard rollers were provided by the committee.
4th: The next demonstration was how to make slits or cuts with sharp scissors, after which we each designed how we wanted our final pieces to appear.
5th: This demo was how to “cure” our slit edges, and we continued to roll until the whole piece was well felted. This was a reminder to all of us how physically energetic actual felt-making is!
6th: This demonstration was how to style our pieces, showing us ways to strengthen the base and to give a stylish finish to the ‘frames’ of our window slits. Annika showed us further samples of the variety of ways to use this skill.
All of us were very satisfied indeed with our beautiful vessels when we finally saw the double wall with the inner pop of colour through the “Windows”. Each person’s piece was different to the next. Group photos were taken before we left for the journey home.
As a final bonus, Annika presented each of us with notes so we can make it again if we like!
A huge thank you to Annika and the committee for a wonderful day.
It is that time of year again! Dublin’s Botanic Gardens are hosting a giant sculpture exhibition both indoors and outdoors. This is the 37th year of this exhibition and it is well worth a visit. The gardens are magnificent at this time of year, and you will find all manners of sculptures nestled in among the plants and trees. This is a great way to get children interested in art as it allows a natural interaction with the gardens while looking out for sculptures. It is a fabulous day out when the weather is nice.
Link to sculpture in Context website:
This year even more feltmakers are exhibiting so congrats to all and make sure to go visit!
As there are quite a number of feltmakers included there will be two blog posts covering the exhibiting artists. Artists will be listed in the order we have managed to contact them and get their information. If you have not been asked for details but are exhiting in Sculpture in Context, please contact us as there are so many artists involved that we may have missed someone. You will be included in the second part of this blog. This first blog covers the work of Fiona Leech, Tamzen Lundy, Annika Berglund, Ramona Farrelly and element15.
Toxic Tears by Fiona Leech
Bright red spots immediately conjure up recognition of poison and green, in contrast, is synonymous with nature. That is why I chose these colours for my felt hanging sculpture. The concept of this piece is to raise awareness that every rainfall is toxic. It’s called acid rain due to high levels of pollutants in the atmosphere. These toxins are invisible, so I made the piece very visible and tactile for maximum impact.
I am a Dublin based felt and textile artist. I work mainly with wool fibre which is sustainable, bio degradable, renewable and recyclable.
We are all connected by Tamzen Lundy
We are all connected is a response to the global refugee crisis, it is symbolic of our Irish diaspora and our tradition of immigration and emigration. The movement of people because of war, economics, and hardship. The red thread that binds and connects these journeys. I have collected beach material from the wild Atlantic way, places of great natural beauty, which are also landing and exit points for long and dangerous journeys. Choosing small glass bottles as if they encase a fragile message to loved ones. One bottle remains empty, to be filled with future hopes.
“No one puts their children in a boat, unless the water is safer than the land” (by Warsan Shire, poet “Home.”) A poem that inspired this work.
The materials used in my piece are fully sustainable. I have used repurposed glass bottles to contain sand ( from Irish beaches… also the component for making glass). The felt tops are 100% wool, from sheep, a fully sustainable, and biodegradable material and the fibre attaching each bottle is linen, plant based, water consumption friendly material.
In my arts practice I endeavour to use materials that are as sustainable as possible. I collect and reuse packaging and I choose wool as my primary medium.
Everyday Moments by Annika Berglund
Covid changed the world. The everyday had to shrink to fit inside square walls. It consisted of the circles we walked inside these walls and the bubbles we embraced.
My work became focused on the immediate and the simple; the confining but protecting square, the circle of the nurturing bubble, the threatening image of the virus.
Felting became both practical during lockdown and symbolic;
wool fibres, through soap, water, rubbing and being knocked around, create connections that hold together to create a very strong fabric of interlocked fibres that cannot be pulled apart again. Cohesion through adversity if you will…”
Ariadne’s Gift by Ramona Farrelly
At present I am creating work that tries to incorporate the healing process of art.
The idea for this piece comes from a premise that the metaphysical wounds we suffer throughout life provide us with learning that helps us navigate and grow during our time on earth and allows life to become ever more meaningful.
The red vessels represent these wounds and they, put together, form the Chrysalis through which we intrinsically metamorphosise. In Greek mythology, Ariadne’s golden thread which, represents the soul’s knowledge, helped Theseus navigate through the labyrinth and so it is represented here as such.
Kinship by element15
element15 is a collective; individual artists cultivating their practice in tandem with each other, distinct but connected. The sustaining nature of our creative bond is a mirror of a tree’s root system, providing anchorage and sustenance to flourish in a world beset with profound challenges. In many cultures, a red string or thread represents the labyrinth of connections tying together those whose lives intertwine. By working collaboratively on Kinship we use the symbol of the red thread as a visual connection from us to the natural world, from our sculpture into the earth. www.element15.ie
The following are the names of the artists who collaborated on the piece:
We invite you to celebrate EMERGENCE – ArtNetdlr Exhibition Launch this Thursday 14 April, with ArtNetdlr friends & artists, and all creative community of Dun Laoghaire – Rathdown, and a JAZZ Quintet. Emergence, a group exhibition curated by invited artists Jay Murphy and Louise Neiland, featuring the work of over seventy artists from dlr is now on view at Walters. You can also explore and buy artwork online.
Members Annika Berglund and Niki Collier included in exhibition.
I would like to extend an invitation to all my fellow members of Feltmakers Ireland and anybody interested in felting to my upcoming exhibition. It is primarily felted works with a sprinkling of Joomchi (An ancient Korean paper technique similar to felting)
All the best
The Olivier Cornet Gallery would like to invite you to the opening of the show
Sunday 14 November 2021 between 2pm and 6pm, in the presence of the artist.
Please book a time that suits you.
Olivier Cornet Gallery
3 Great Denmark Street (beside Belvedere College, off Parnell Square) Dublin 1
Opening hours: Tues to Fri: 11am to 6pm (till 8pm on Thursdays) Sat & Sun: 12 noon to 5pm
All visits to the gallery have to be pre-booked until further notice Closed on Mondays
In its 35th year, Sculpture in Context is held in the oasis of calm and peace that is the Botanical Gardens, Glasnevin, Dublin. Run by the OPW every year and according to them is the ‘longest-running, largest and most important sculpture exhibition in the country, this pivotal event in the Irish arts calendar attracts a large public and critical audience and is the cultural highlight of the National Botanic Gardens calendar’.
If you fancy a relaxing walk in this beautiful space with wonderful and inspiring art of over 140 artists around every corner, then this would be the place to visit and explore. The exhibition runs until the 15th of October so there is still time to see it in situ and it is free of charge to visit. A total of 164 pieces are being shown at the exhibition both outdoors and indoors. This year again there are several Feltmakers Ireland members taking part at. Annika Berglund, Fiona Leech and Ramona Farrelly all have pieces at the show. Most of the pieces are being shown outdoors but both Annika and Fiona have also have pieces in the gallery space. Fiona’s piece is a triptych made from sustainable merino wool fibre and is shaped into three different size pods. Her process involved wet felting the pods themselves and then needle felting the bright yellow spots and tendrils on once the pods had been shaped and dried. These additions to the pods are a nod to nature’s strength to find its way and take over. Fiona used colours and blends of wool to reflect the natural environment. Her beautiful piece can be seen at the gallery which can be booked here:
Annika has two separate pieces, a wall panel piece indoors at the gallery (fig.2) and another piece made of multiple-coloured butterflies hanging in one of the rhododendron trees along the outdoor sculpture route
Annika’s second piece consists of a set of nine butterflies, three of which have already sold through the exhibition. The butterflies are wet felted over a metal armature and have been waterproofed for outdoor hanging with stiffener material. They are of varying colours and would brighten up anyone’s outdoor space as can be seen from this picture.
Ramona’s piece is also located outdoors. Her piece Akashic hangs in amongst the ferns and sculptures in the Mill Field area by the river. It is a small structure composed of 11 felted wool tablets which have been stiffened with waterproofing medium and painted with various coloured pigments. The whole piece was then strung together with rope constructed of tree bark.
There is lots of interest for any visitor to this exhibition and it may require several visits to see all the work in detail, but even if only some of it is seen, it is a wonderful way to spend some time in the lap of nature whilst also experiencing the creative juices of the artists taking part.
Some of the other works that can be seen at the show include the following:
It seems this pandemic is just rolling on, with no real end in sight. It can be hard to stay positive at the moment, especially with the days getting darker and less scope for being outdoors. There are many ways to try to cope and to keep looking for the positive, and I wanted to share something that has been very helpful for me in all this. I live alone with my 12-year-old daughter and felt I needed something to help me stay connected and hopeful in the face of a long time with limited direct social interactions.
Feltmakers Ireland and sister organisations across the world have had to cancel workshops and meet-ups across the world due to the pandemic, the knitting and stitching show in Dublin being an example in point. All these cancellations have been hard on artists and teachers as a significant revenue stream has been cut off for them. A small spark of light in these troubled times is that the number of craft courses offered online has increased a lot, allowing access to knowledge and inspiration from a wide range of artists across the world.
I am a great fan of courses and workshops and love soaking up knowledge and inspiration from whatever artist or teacher available. I was in the fortunate position to have the time and the means to sign up to a number of online courses since the early summer, and I am certain that it has contributed in large part to keeping me relative sane through this very trying year. I know I would not have been able to attend such a range of courses if I had had to travel to each of them to participate. I also made a lot of new acquaintances and contacts by interacting digitally with the other students which has helped me stay positive and feel connected.
I have been asked to introduce you to some of these courses and give some ideas of courses coming up and where to find additional information if you are interested in taking a look for yourselves. These courses do cost money, but I personally have found them well worth the investment. With Christmas coming up you might be able to hint that they would be welcome in your Christmas stocking. If you still find that you cannot justify this expense, I hope to send out some more links to free online tutorials in the near future.
If you are interested in any courses similar to the ones I mention below, the best way to get enrolled is to go to the web page of the artist whose course you find interesting and sign up for their newsletter, or to follow them. They will then tell you when they have courses coming up and how to enrol. Fiona Duthie, (https://www.fionaduthie.com/workshops/online-felting-workshops/) for example is very popular. Her courses book up very fast and I already have a reminder in my calendar for the 4th of January when she will open registration for her 2021 courses. I just managed to get a spot on one of her courses in 2020 and hope to do more in 2021.
This course helped improve the quality of my finished felt no end, and showed me many examples of how to take a 2D piece of felt and work it till it became a very different 3D object, based on shrinkage and different qualities obtained from different levels of thickness of the laid down wool. It also put me in contact with people from many different locations in the world who all shared an interest in felt and we created a small community that felt very encouraging and friendly.
This was a shorter course, and Patti sent us all the materials needed for the course. All other courses send you a list of materials that you had to get yourselves. Patti shared some skills on how to get tighter, smoother felt by finishing by rolling the felt in on itself, without the bubble wrap. I made two little vessels, one as usual and one rolling it in on itself, and I must admit the second vessel looked better (the one on the left)
These are the samples I made in this course:
Another course I participated in was a two day live zoom course with UK artist Mandy Nash, making two different kinds of fish using a wool called bergschaus:
After that I joined a course led by Ruth Lane, called Nuno Felting with Paper Fabric Lamination. It added in mixed media techniques into felting which I found very interesting. I am still working on finishing samples from this course, but here is one that I am working on. I plan to add some beads and stitching. (https://permutationsinfiber.wordpress.com/about/ )
I have two other courses going on at the moment.
I managed to get a spot on one of Fiona Duthie’s 2020 courses: Felting over the Edge.
As the title implies it looks at how to do more with the edges of felt pieces. I still have 3 weeks to go to create a finished piece, but these are some of the samples I have made so far:
Recently I also started another course by Pam de Groot:
Texture and Dimension October 2020
The first part of the course teaches how to make a splash bowl. Easier said than done. These are my two first attempts:
In the 4 upcoming weeks we will be learning how to make spiral shell shapes.
I also have two more courses coming up end of this year, starting the new year, by two exciting artists:
These courses do require a reasonable internet connection. Also, you will have to invest in materials for nearly all of them. Some of them are very specific in type of wool needed. Not all students in all the classes I have participated in have had the specified wool. Sometimes that worked fine, sometimes it made it harder to get the expected results. As I wanted to take so many different courses I had some problems with needing lots of different wools in a selection of colours. It would both be very costly and take up too much room in my house. This became obvious after the first course and I decided to only get white wool of the specified type and figure out how to dye it myself. Some trial and error ensued, but I think I am getting the hang of it. That may be the subject of more blog entries in the new year.
Feel free to contact Feltmakers Ireland – Annika Berglund-if you have any questions about this blog entry or if there are subjects you would like us to look at or information you want to share.
The Exhibition title- Endangered?- how does your piece respond to the title? your inspiration and methods etc
The hat I have entered for the exhibition was my first idea for this theme. It is titled “Still here?” It is modelled from a photo I took on a trip to Costa Rica last year with my 12 year old daughter. The sheer exuberance of life in that tropical country amazed us, but we were constantly aware that this fantastic eco system is fragile and needs to be protected.
My second piece, “In Danger, Who?” is very much inspired by the pandemic. In the middle of March my daughter had had a cough and a high fever so we stayed totally isolated for a couple of weeks. That surreal sense of isolation together with the constant array of images of the virus, spherical, spiky and ominous, seemed to demand an artistic response. It was slow going, making all those spikes for the three viruses, but it seemed to lessen my sense of anxiety and help me to summon up the patience to follow the guidelines and carry on.
Crafting through the current crisis, with the pandemic have you found more or less time to craft, has it inspired you or have you found it more difficult?
I thought I would have all the time in the world to do stuff being confined to the house for months during Covid-19. My house is not at all as clean and tidy as I had envisioned, but I have found time for a lot of making. Just before the pandemic, I was gifted a few sacks of raw wool, and just had time to do a spinning course before the lock down. The cleaning and drying of wool, learning the rudiments of using plants to dye it and then carding and spinning gave me a sense of connection to the past. It also gave me a sense of self-reliance. even if I did not really expect that the pandemic would make a home spun economy necessary. Still, I also planted potatoes 😊.
My usual materials for making are ceramics, glass and bronze. However, I found the indoor pursuits of felting, spinning and other textile pursuits worked better for me during the lockdown as I could spend more time in the house together with my daughter.
Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you…
As I mentioned, I usually work with glass, bronze and ceramics. These are materials I really enjoy working with but they are probably the most energy hungry art forms imaginable. The problem this posed for me came to a head for me when I participated in an exhibition about global warming 2 years ago. I was very happy with the visual aspect of my pieces that were made using all three materials, but could not stop feeling a bit hypocritical thinking of the energy cost of making them.
In November last year I attended a number of workshops at the knitting and stitching show. I really enjoyed the felting workshop I attended and joined Feltmakers Ireland as soon as I could. Since then I have been focusing on wool, recycled textiles and stitching. Working with wool somehow gives me a feeling of stronger and more direct connection to human history and traditions.