Sunday Sessions 06/11/22 & 04/12/22 & Upcoming Exhibitions

Sunday Session  November 6th 2022 in the CIE Social Club Inchicore!

On Sunday 6th November Feltmakers Ireland Committee and 25 members took part in a `hands-on` practical Feltmaking session. There was great excitement, as a Nationwide film team was coming to film our efforts and interview some key members of our Feltmakers Ireland community. 

The session was led by Tamzen Lundy, a former Committee member. She had designed a really charming Christmas project for us, a felted Nordic style Santa Claus in 3D. You can use the Santa Claus as a tree decoration, as a bottle topper, or as a stand alone ornament.

Feltmaking is a craft that allows you to easily produce items in 3D without any sewing at all. The committee had prepared a kit bag for each participant, containing all we required for this session.

Tamzen then took us all very clearly through the process, which involved laying merino wool in 3 alternate layers on a triangular shaped resist. 

For Santa’s face, Tamzen showed us 2 ways of making and attaching a felt nose,(a felt bead, cut in two) by fluffing it up with a wire (or pet) brush, then had an ingenious method of using a small piece of prefelt (sometimes called Needlepunch) to create the face, and then cutting a teeny hole in the prefelt to reveal the nose. Later we would use needle felting to add eyes and beard. 

The main learning points I took from Tamzen`s were: 

  • To use no soap in your wetting down process, (and generally very little soap overall) a bit controversial for me as soap tends to be my `comfort blanket`. 
  • No rolling, (not a roller in sight! ), use bubblewrap as a rubbing tool , and generally keep on rubbing, and massaging with your bare hands, or bubblewrap, on the surface of your piece until any sign of `cellulite` is gone! (Of course that meant that a big discussion on what cellulite was, ensued!) 

At the end of the very happy and enjoyable session, it was really interesting how all the Santas looked very individual,  taking on their own personalities! 

While we participants were concentrating on our project, RTE`S Nationwide crew were filming a wonderful and  varied display of members’ work at the end of the room. They interviewed Deirdre Crofts from our Committee, who spoke of the different pieces on display and explained the different felting skills.

Founding member of Feltmakers Ireland, Elizabeth Bonnar was interviewed about our  Guild’s history in Ireland. Also interviewed was Astrid Tomrop-Hofman another important person who helped bring felt making to Ireland.

Our current research project on Irish breeds of sheep and their fleeces, was explained to Nationwide interviewer Zainab, by the leader of the research group, our Treasurer, Annika Berglund. The group hopes to publish a book in the near future with their findings.

Fiona Leech and Deirdre Croft told of our monthly Sunday Sessions,  and of our Annual Art Felt Exhibition. 

Zainab, interviewer, had her first go at Feltmaking!

For me, a member for many years, and formerly on committee, it was lovely to see old felting friends, like Helene Dooley, who has been working with the IFA , (the International Feltmakers Association, with which we are affiliated .) 

Session  leader, Tamzen, was interviewed, as she has turned her feltimaking into a successful business, and has an Etsy shop, Tamzenlundydesigns.

A very big thank you to Breda Fay, our Guild Chairperson, who was the person RTE contacted, and who made the film crew so welcome. Thanks to Lorna Cady, Committee member, who secured our venue, and to all our Committee members  who baked tasty goodies, and  made tea and coffee for us all, and made us all so welcome.

Clodagh Mac Donagh.

EXHIBITIONS

  • Our Feltmakers Ireland Annual Exhibition will open on Dec3rd in the Ashtown visitor Centre, in the Phoenix Park and will run for the whole of December
  • From 12th November until 23rd of December, Tamzen Lundy has an exhibition of her work at the Newbridge Arts Theatre Centre, Riverbank, Co. Kildare.

NEXT SUNDAY SESSION

venue: CIE sports hall, Inchicore

time : 10.15-12.30

Leader: Carmen Draghici,  coming specially from Constanza in southern Romania for the weekend. Her work can be viewed online at FELT JOY and on Facebook & You Tube. She has an ETSY shop and she will bring some of her work to show us.

She will demonstrate some of her unique skills, making a small Christmas Cushion (as time is so limited )

It will be practical session. Some kits may be available to purchase (€4) for those who have materials (old towel, soap, bubble wrap etc) needed to felt with Carmen.

Materials needed:  (exactly as last session)

Old towel, bubble wrap, resist, soap, and water bottle, needed.

70 grams red roving, embellishments (including, if you have any, old lace or finest crochet) 

All members are welcome. 

Tea coffee and Xmas goodies for all!

(Non-members also welcome €10)

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Meet the Maker- Annika Berglund.

Critters for Phoenix Park
  • 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. 

Website

 www.annikaberglund.com

On Instagram I am Berglund69.

Meet the Maker- Carmen Garcia

We asked member Carmen Garcia since questions about her piece for the Endangered exhibition, entitled “The last trace”.

The Exhibition title- Endangered?- how does your piece respond to the title? your inspiration and methods etc

I chose the trace of the Hawksbill Turtle,  one of the many critically endangered species. First, because of the beautiful pattern it leaves in the sand, which I thought it would work well in felt. But also, because of the turtle being a symbol of slowness, a quality with negative connotations in our collective psyche. By using the slow process of felt making, this quality is celebrated. 


I used natural white and brown Icelandic wool for this project. I love using this wool in sculpture, especially if I need transparency, as I did in this case. I used flax fibers, Tussah silk tops and silk rods for texture. 


The idea was to create a basic bell structure. The turtle trace and other simple traces were sculpted in the structure using resistances and creating a finer more transparent mark to let the light through. 


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- discuss


I have crafted, but I haven’t felted much. 


I normally make hats, scarves and vessels that I sell online , in shops and at Gifted Craft Fair. But during the lockdown I felt I needed some distancing. Like many of us, I felt the need of re-assessing things. I had the pull to stop whatever it was that I was doing, and do something different.  I love stitching, so, I started an embroidery course, and it really felt right in that situation. Maybe it had to do with the way things were controlled in the small cloths amidst the uncontrollable situation around us.  But also, I enjoyed the repetition and its calming effects, I found it extremely therapeutic. It also provided new ways of looking at things and, who knows, maybe new directions. 


Felt- how you discovered it, what it means to you


Like most things, by chance. I attended a Felt workshop at Phizzfest (Arts Festival in Phibsborough). I thought it was magic! 

I love the way it brings us back to basics. So little needed…fibers, soap, water. No equipment needed, just our hands , our bodies, with no separation from the piece. 

I also like the way we do not control it completely. Unintended things happen that can not be undone… and we have to work with that. Sometimes getting more than we expected and always learning from it. 

The slow pace of the process is also something I am attracted to. You can get faster… but to a certain point. 

It’s like a metaphor for life: it takes the time it takes, you are where you are, and that’s fine.


http://www.carmengarcia.ie

http://www.carmengarcia.ie

carmengarciadesign@gmail.com

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carmengarciadesign

instagram: https://www.instagram.com




http://www.carmengarcia.ie

carmengarciadesign@gmail.com

facebook: https://www.facebook.com/carmengarciadesign

instagram: https://www.instagram.com




New Site

Welcome to the new site.  We hope this will be a bit easier to access and be as interactive  as you’d like it to be.  We are open to members submitting items and their own websites  for others to see what we’ve been up to.  Contact address in at the bottom of the About page.   Keep checking back as we update all of our information and workshops.  Happy Feltmaking!