A big thanks, especially to Clare Brophy, who had a special treat in store for us for at this December’s Sunday Session, with Romanian felt artist Carmen Draghici, and her lovely daughter Corinna. You can find samples of her work online at FELT JOY. She has an Etsy shop. She was only able to bring 2 beautiful pieces with her, due to Ryanair’s weight restrictions.
Carmen’s Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/search/top/?q=Carmen%20Draghici%20Felt%20Joy
Clare had discovered Carmen’s fabulous felt work online, purchased a piece, and was bowled over by the quality and design of the jacket that she had bought. She invited Carmen to come to Ireland from Constanza, southern Romania, to lead a Sunday Session with us.
Carmen, luckily, was very happy to come to Ireland to meet all of us. Although Hungary has a very rich Feltmaking tradition, its neighbour Romania does not, as yet anyway, and she was delighted to be in the company of other feltmakers. She envied us our regular opportunities to felt together, and is going to investigate if she can bring us to Romania next year!
Carmen had planned a project with us, wet-felting a small Christmas Cushion, using some special lace brought with her from Romania. However, as 4 of the group were new feltmakers, it proved too ambitious for the 2 hours. She suggested finishing it at home or turning it into a table runner instead. There was much to learn from Carmen, an engineer by profession, from laying viscose fibre down cleanly to achieve sharp shapes, to using different unfamiliar fibre layouts, like herringbone, and diagonal, depending on what you were making, and using, for the most part just one layer of fine merino tops. It was also new to some people to to have an upside-down layout, and use a resist.
Personally speaking, I would love to have her back again to learn more of her tips and knowledge as she seemed to be a mine of information as well as having a great personality and we did not have enough time with her. She herself was frustrated by the short time involved and the differing levels of experience within this group, and wanted especially to give the new people good standards of finish.
I arrived at the Sunday Session with my friend Nara Fritch, from Seattle, US, but now long time resident in Ireland, living near me in Skerries. Nara keeps Alpacas and was totally entranced by an invited guest of Committee member, Annike Berglund, leader of the Feltmakers Ireland Wool Project Her Guest, Grant Bartholomew had requested to be an observer at the Sunday Session. Grant is an Alpaca farmer, from South Africa and living in Ireland for 3 years. He arrived with his family. After our session with Carmen, he briefly explained the different types of Alpaca fibre he had brought with him.
by Clodagh McDonagh
The committee has decided to devote another Sunday session later to the picking and washing of a raw fleece and give everybody a chance to felt a small sample using one of a variety of Irish local wools.