Saturday, March 26, 2011

Visiting Poland, family and friends.. and some feltmaking tools

I finally got to visit my country,
Having visited my auntie and my mother I decided to show them how to bake a traditional sourdouchg bread. These types of bread are created using a starter and a rye bread. It is necessary to use special baskets for these, such as the following one

this is the bread as it has been baking in the oven, and the result had a very crispy crust and moist inside.

Recently I have been making some more scarves, and I loved the fluffiness of the wool, the delicacy of silk and the weather outside.

The whole job lot of the felting sushi mats were used during the worksops in Primary Schools.

Today I received my latest feltmaking tools, the wooden heads and the rolling pin, it is slightly large this one!

 These were organised by my dear friend Ola who is a feltmaker in Clonakilty, Ireland.

And this is my newest collaboration with Galway based basketmaker. 

All the best from slightly cool Poland!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Feltmaking in Primary School

I was delighted to be able to teach a basic feltmaking workshop to lovely class from St. Brigid's National School in Limerick.

Each class was run for four weeks, two hours each week. This was my first, experience in teaching a large group of children in different ages (there were 17 pupils in each). Before that I run some volunatry workshops for adults and kids in Limerick community centre and some individual workshops in my studio. 

In preparation for the workshop I went to buy loads of sushi mats, and got a very surprised glance in Tesco as I was buying 20 sushi mats at once! I also had to order special Bonsai tree sprinklers, to be shipped from Germany cause these are nowhere to be seen in Limerick.

We were lucky to be able to work on tiled floor, but despite that the kids were usually soaked by the time we finished. Firstly because of the easiness with which you can sprinkle the water from the sprinklers, and the fact that the kids had to sit, as the floor got wet and increasingly slippery. There are no easy solutions there but to explain that one has to use as little water as possible! The other solution is to use sponges. So I can recommend sponges for younger children whilst sprinklers could be used with the older ones and preferably for a large project. Finally one can use loads of old towels to remove the excess of water.

Based on this experience I have got some interesting conclusions to share:

- In my opinion it is possible to teach kids how to make good quality felt, finished to a specific standard
- that if a child had a previous artistic experience, such as playing instruments or painting, he or she may find it easier to deal with fluffy wool
- that it is important to show that feltmaking could result in making something useful and potentially sealable
- that it is important to teach step by step, making sure that each person has arrived to the same stage in the process, otherwise everything falls apart and some children would end up over-felting their projects.

I taught my class, how to make simple key-rings, a mobile phone pouch, some wool painting and simple flowers. At the end of the course I have gathered the pre-felted paintings to make a large wall hanging in my studio.

Here is the photo before the felting started. Laying on the floor is the prefelt, with the intividual paintings. Its messy!

Finished hanging drying in the sun

Next day I met up with the class to reveal the wall hanging. I was emotional. I saw their faces and I knew they liked it!

The school has got the permission to build an extension so the wall hanging will be placed in the hall of the new building!

Here is myself explaining the process:

Many thanks to Betty, the principal of St. Bridgit's School for facilitating this workshop!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Felt session II

I think this session was the last one I modeled. I did not realize how hard it is to keep yourself responsive to the person behind the camera. I find it hard to pose in a feminine way, I do not control my mimics and I feel very weird without my glasses on!

Please enjoy the outcome of our collaboration.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Feltmaking books that do not dissapoint - Veltinis

Every now and then I happen to buy a book on feltmaking that is a great source of inspiration, a joy to read! Based on my own experience I stay clear from any books that consist of such titles as:
25 marvellous felt project, .... (insert appropriate number) felt ideas

- so far on my list of the best Feltmaking books are
Feltmaking Wool Magic by Jorie Johnson
And a series of Felt Experiment books by Anette Quentin Stoll
These two have influenced my understanding of feltmaking. Today I am looking at another interesting book written by Vilte Kazlauskaite, with an interesting title Veltinis. (I have used Vilte's own photographs)

the book is available directly from Vilte's own Etsy shop here and sold book could be seen here

I suspect that this book is a well written book although I do not understand the language at all :)
You are getting 110 pages full of description, explanation and lovely photographs of good quality felt!

Some of you who have befriended many feltmakers on Facebook may notice that you have seen some pictures already. This book represents the best quality felt made in Central Europe and we from the West can learn from it in terms of the finish and consistency.

So run to your Etsy account to purchase this beauty,

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

All those events I did not report...

During that time when I was not posting I had participated in various felt related events.
Firstly I was invited to prepare a "painting" in felt. Since I am not a painter myself and I hate painting I used silk fabric to create a rather simple and naive art. But it sold and I am very glad for anybody who is the owner, because it is my first piece ever made.

It was displayed during Polish Art Exhibition in Georgian House in Limerick. Apparently I have been praised by some of the visitors for this piece. I humbly will say that I was at least surprised by such kindness.
Since I started selling at the market, I was positioned very close to the fish stand :) so I decided to sample all these beauties on display. I became addicted to mussles. Here they are steamed in tomato/garlic/ white vine sauce (the recipe can be found here ). I would like to recommend this recipe!

I also started using dried kelp, native to Irish coast. I added Kombu to vegetable stews and pastas and I must say it is fabulous. The owner of the business harvests the seaweed in Clare, so very locally to Limerick.