Claire Merry will bring along some samples from her vast collection to show us and do a short presentation. It’s definitely not one to miss. Claire has a wealth of experience, and it goes without saying that her work is truly amazing. (There is a nice interview with Claire, here on the Feltmakers Ireland website).
We will also launch our new exhibition, “Bountiful”, which will open at the beginning of October.
We will have a discussion and a mind mapping session about the meaning of the word “bountiful” and talk briefly about framing etc. (In the autumn, there will be a future Sunday Session dealing with framing and hanging our felt work.)
So hope to see a big turnout for our last session (before the summer break).
The weather is a bit miserable at the moment, but there should be lovely crisp days ahead as we head into early autumn.
The National Botanic Gardens are magnificent this time of year, and for the month of September you can combine visiting the gardens with a treasure hunt for exciting sculptures all over the place, indoors and outdoors.
About Sculpture in Context
Sculpture in Context was established in 1985 to raise the profile of sculpture in Ireland and provide a platform for artists outside the normal gallery context. It is a not-for-profit organisation run by sculptors. The exhibition has been staged in the National Botanic Gardens since 2002.
Sculpture in Context promotes artists and creates opportunities for practicing artists to exhibit their works in a wider public arena. The organisation has provided much needed opportunities for Irish and non-Irish sculptors in Ireland.
Exhibition: Sculpture in Context
Location: National Botanic Gardens, Glasnevin
Dates: 1 September – 7 October 2022
Times: Mon-Fri 10:00-17:00, Sat-Sun 10:00-18:00.
Admission: Free. Group tours of the Gardens and the Exhibitions will be available for booking through Eventbrite
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 are two blog posts covering the exhibiting artists. This is the second blog post. Artists are listed in the order we have received information. If you have not been asked for details but are exhibiting in Sculpture in Context, please contact us as there are so many artists involved that we may have missed someone. This second blog covers the work of Carmen Garcia, Astrid Tomrop-Hofmann, Juliane Gorman and Claire Merry. Claire is a long time member of Feltmakers Ireland so we have included her piece here even if it isn’t made of felt.
What does Home feel like?by Carmen Garcia
This piece was made in response to the stories coming to us from the war in Ukraine. I wanted it to represent the pain, to be visceral, to be felt.
I used the dissonance between the homely, earthy slipper, that resonates with “cosy” and “safe” and the intense red of the exposed arteries and veins which resonates with life, but also with blood and violence.
However, what I am really interested in, is the feeling people experience while looking at it. Either having read the title or not.
The Glow Worms Nest by Astrid Tomrop-Hofmann
The materials, shapes, structures and colours of my native surroundings provide inspiration for my creation. Working with different raw wool types ( unwashed and uncarded fleece loosened by hand ) fascinates me.
This piece embodies warmth, softness, protection and comfort. The upright rods radiate decisiveness and togetherness, all the while surrounded by organic matter.
I love to explore working with silk, recycled materials, paper, rich colours and texture combinations . I employ a variety of techniques to create my work and find joy and share it!
Felting for me is diving into a world of unlimited opportunities. The dialogue with the material wool and the interaction of art and craft, and thereby the implementation of a millennium old technique, captivates me.
Perpetual Felt by Juliane Gorman
Usually, I create whimsical wet-felted hats. However, for Sculpture in Context, I wanted to explore installations.
As I wandered through the gardens in winter, the ancient, naked stems of the Wisteria Chain Tent caught my eye. I found it unbelievable that this organic structure was so large that it almost was a building! Did it feel embarrassed not to have leaves? And what about its cascading blossoms? They would only exist for a few weeks.
My twirling purple pods are an attempt to adorn this quirky location.
There are spiralling, felted cords on each pod made from locally-raised Romney wool. My supplier for this material is Natural Wool Ireland. (https://www.naturalwoolireland.ie/) Although the bulk of the fibre used in the pods is Merino and sadly not Irish-raised. Nonetheless, this wool is also sustainable because all sheep are shorn annually.
Fly Me To The Moon by Claire Merry
I refer to myself as an ‘Art Butterfly’, as I have had great fun and satisfaction in playing with different media. It gives me great pleasure to try out something new and working with proven techniques from previous works.
I have worked with textiles, clays and principally for the last fourteen years with handmade felt. This piece is based on a previous much smaller one, so resizing it was a nice challenge. I love steampunk style, so I have teamed up the hot air balloon with the penny-farthing bicycle, to deliver flowers to the moon on slow power
Its been a strange and in many ways a sad year. In January when Feltmakers ireland launched the “Endangered- lost there felt here” exhibition title, we did not know and could never have imagined how changed our world would become in 2020.
A global pandemic that might endanger human life and our very understanding of how we live would evolve. Covid- 19, coronavirus, socially distant, bubbles, pods and zoom all entered our vocabulary. We became news addicts, home schoolers, front liners, essential, non-essential, unemployed.
We have had to pivot the way we work, change the way we socialise and adapt the way we think. But as Charles Darwin put it- “its not the strongest of the species that survives, but the one most adaptable to change.”
Here at Feltmakers Ireland we mourned not seeing our members and friends face to face at Sunday sessions. We tackled zoom like the best of them and have held all our committee meetings remotely.
We’ve had had to cancel the best laid plans- two workshops with international tutors travelling from Canada and Australia ( postponed) and we have had to “pivot” so much that it’s left us dizzy!
We wanted to press ahead with our exhibition plans, now more that ever the title “endangered” seemed to resonate. We had 20 wonderful entries, from dedicated craft maker, artists. Our judges have told us that the quality made their jobs very difficult indeed.
The committee decided that because of the efforts of the artists and the quality of the work received as well as a motivator to the rest of us, we would like to show you all the pieces submitted- in an online way.
We reached out to the member makers and asked 3 standard interview questions. We hope that the work and the artists answers inspire you to keep crafting through the crisis.
Interview 1- artist CLAIRE MERRY, whose piece entitled “tree hugger” was chosen for our publicity poster, above.
The Exhibition title “Endangered”- how does your piece respond to the title? What was your inspiration and the methods you use?
I entered two pieces to the exhibition- the first, “ Tree Hugger”- €750
These tail-less amphibians are wonderfully diverse many with fantastic colouring. Sadly many find themselves in an increasingly inhospitable world. Large numbers are listed as ‘critically endangered’. If we could all hug a tree and embrace the endangered habitats. We and the world would reap the reward.
The making of this piece-I have started playing around with mosaics recently. It’s possible to see the influence in this piece. I used prefelt to imitate tiles.
My second piece- “BEAUTIFUL SUNSET OR DEADLY FIRE”- €850.
The impact of the fires in Australia profoundly affected me. The loss of life, human and animal, habitats destroyed, homes and land devastated. The really sad news emerged that 85% of fires were triggered by human activity including arson as well ascarelessness and recklessness.
I thought, wouldn’t it be lovely, if we could turn everything around and celebrate a beautiful sunset and the life of of the ecosystem living there.
I spend a lot of time laying the fibres. Then I am up and down a ladder in order to view the piece as it’s growing. I love adding prefelt to drop in colour.
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?
During lockdown it was great to have crafts to divert my attention
from the terrible news that was emerging. I was lucky to have supplies.For a craft person they are as critical as the sliced pan and loo rolls.
It wasn’t always easy to get down to work but once I did I could ignore the news and live in my head.
Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you?
I describe myself as a craft butterfly. Over the years I have been involved in so many areas. Textile, jewellery, ceramics and felt. I first came across felt at Bloom in 2008 when I saw a demonstration by Feltmakers, it really captured me. I love colour and find felt is a perfect medium for it. The versatility of felt means that there is always something new to discover.
I have had fun with 3d, needle felting and clothing. I find working on a submission stretches me and makes me try something new.
For you today we feature the works of 3 Irish Artists whose pieces are featuring in the “Something Red” exhibition in Finland this summer
Today we look at the works of Claire Merry, Maria Mc Givern & Elizabeth Bonnar.
Artist – Claire Merry
I wished to portray the competing human emotions of the cool head masking the hot passion and turmoil in the heart…….. fire and ice.
Sale price €850.00
Materials – merino wool on silk chiffon, backed with synthetic felt for hanging.
Artist – Maria McGivern
Woven Fibres of Ireland
Inspired by the changing colours of Ireland and our forty shades of green with a little touch of red. The red wool used is cut from Donegal tweed.
Her green fields a myriad of shades of green- Ireland.
The woven threads of Donegal tweed represent the wild hedgerows that are bursting with dark red wild fuchsia flowers when in bloom.
The floating mounting representative of our status as an island nation with the uneven tassels reaching out to unite us with our fellow Irish spread across the countries of the world.
Sale price – €125.00
Materials – merino wool overlaid with pale green silk strips. The red is wool strip cut-offs from Donegal tweed.
Artist – Elizabeth Bonnar
My inspiration for this piece came from the silk yarn threaded with tiny glass beads. The materials filled my mind with the wonder of colour – the colour red in all its different tints and shades. Thebeads in the grid pattern peep out like berries in tiny gardens with walls of silk and wool.
Materials – red silk georgette felted with a grid of wool and silk, trapping silk yarn with glass beads.
This exhibition has been part funded by DCCoI, with thanks to them for their continued support in heritage arts and crafts.
Feltmakers Ireland are delighted to announce two solo shows by our members for the month of August. We held a call out earlier this year for interested members to submit ideas for an exhibition in the Visitors Centre in the Phoenix Park. The two successful members were Claire Merry and Niki Collier.
Claire will be showing some of her beautiful felt clothing and pictures from 1- 14 August
Niki Collier will present a selection from her exciting new Autumn/Winter 2015-16 felt clothing collection entitled ‘H’ (for hope). Her work will be on show from 16-31 August. http://www.nikicollier.com/