Friday, 11 September 2015

The Ash Leaf Bag

 So, there were these off cuts from the making of the Moon Bird Bag and I thought...“going to have to come up with something to make from these at some stage” (only slight grumble involved!) Looking at them later,

I saw glimmers of ideas for a second bag... 
Here's what I ended up with

And here's how it came to be...


It was really satisfying to get two bags from the one original felted piece! 
I'm off to the local pub up the road now, not for the Guinness though, but to pick up on their wifi so I can post this ; )

Thank you for reading x Mia

Sunday, 6 September 2015

The Moon Bird Bag

Hey All, it's been a while since I've posted here, a long while actually! I've been busy teaching, and being taught... and computer time has not been a great part of it.

It's some years since I've had Internet at home (I still don't) but I'm looking forward to making regular posts and connecting again with you all.

I completed the UK Waldorf Handwork Training in Wynstones Steiner School in Gloucestershire this past school year, lots to share around that soon. In our studies,we covered several different craft disciplines, as indeed we are called upon to teach in the curriculum. At times, as a craftsperson the picture can become very big indeed and I think you can end up feeling like you have some knowledge/experience in many different areas, but to specialise in one has become a great desire for me these past months, a need I suppose, both as a teacher and an artist.

So I have settled on Feltmaking... returning, having walked a wide circle, home again to my first love : )

When I'm Felting, I feel like the wool is working with me, and that I know it somehow. I seem to have a deep connection to it as a material and I strive to learn more. 

I jumped into Bag Making some months ago and have really found something there, of the beauty and purpose model that so resonates with me. With all the allure of spikes, craters and other surface embellishments so popular in contemporary Feltmaking, I seem to be a traditionalist in the end! I love to make practical things of everyday use and value that are beautiful to use and behold. And this is what I love to share with others, in leading them on their own 'handmade' journey.

The wish to travel teach has been simmering away in me too. That journey begins this November! A wonderful painter, the lovely ElizabethPorritt Carrington has invited me to teach some Fibre Arts workshops in Asheville, North Carolina where she now lives and works. I will be delighted to share details of this upcoming trip shortly.

In the meantime, here's some of what I've been up to...

 Mixing different fibres ( ie. wool from different species of sheep, wools that have been processed differently) is generally not recommended in the main body of a project like this. But I was on a mission to use wools I've had stored for some time, four completely different kinds... it all felted just fine.

Bit of help from my favourite star in the sky, 
which lasted at least two minutes ; )

Love the transformative process from fine wisps of soft wool to this foolhardy bag... which, if I can keep the moths away will most likely outlive me!

Thank you for reading x Mia

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Brother Autumn

Brother Autumn has come to join us in the handwork room at school!
I posted last week about Lady Autumn.
I have so enjoyed crocheting the little shawls and baskets for these seasonal figures, and  it's been really therapeutic to breathe life into wool again.

I am really excited to see how these nature corners develop over the year, and how we can involve the children. I am already dreaming up my King Winter : )

I've just finished reading Kathryn Stockett's The Help, I grew very fond indeed of Aibileen, Minny and Skeeter and I was left imagining what became of them all...great story : )
I am happily joining Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
It's tricky for me to post on Wednesdays now because that's a teaching day for me so I'll be linking up later than usual, hope you'll still find me ; )
 Speaking of teaching, I look forward to sharing some wonderful needle felted figures made over the weekend at the young people's workshop I gave at the Weekend in the Woods event. We felted through the wind and scattered showers and as always, so 
inspiring to see all the boundless creativity and effort.

'Til then, thanks so much for your visit x M

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

With Autumn in the air

It's been a while I know, I've missed writing and sharing here with ye!
Fiery orange leaves are appearing now, more every day... I have been watching and waiting. Probably my favourite season this one, I so love the symbolic nature of what's happening to the trees. The transformation, the new colours, the letting go and the laying bare. For there are big Life changes happening for me too these days. Challenging times, not easy but also full of promise, as change always is. 
There is much to do and take care of and I Thank God for the days when I wake up and feel like I'm able for it all, to work my way down through my 'to do' list with a vengeance, for not every day is a day like that ; )

We're up early these brisk mornings stirring porridge and making school lunches, and smallie is still very enamoured with his first real 
lunch box and totally enamoured with the story of Mr. Straight and Mr. Curved that they are hearing each day. I love listening to him in the car on the way home giving me the latest installment and telling me about that day's new colours they got for their crayon roll from one lovely new teacher. It is all so very exciting for him, fresh, new and sprinkled with glimpses of a whole new world opening up.

 The promise of being able to read enchants him. Exciting for me just to witness : ) I see how he was so ripe for the academic learning and is loving working in his main lesson book and 'busy bee book'. When I see that big ole schoolbag on his back as he wanders up the path towards me at pick-up time I see him so grown up, so capable and I know it's all perfect timing, life moving on exactly as it should.
And boy, we have been busy bees in the handwork room, getting everything set up for the term ahead and getting to know new students. I'm not quite past the feeling of overwhelm yet and look forward to feeling 'in the flow' of new curriculums and lessons.

I just felted this Lady Autumn for the seasonal table for Class One and crocheted a shawl for her, to keep the Autumn winds at bay : ) She is joined by a little acorn child. 
 Honestly, one of the things, if not the most heartfelt thing I grieved the loss of on leaving the kindergarten, was their daily forest walk, now reduced to weekly. A nature table in the classroom reflecting/celebrating the seasons, goes at least some way towards bringing it into their daily conciousness. 
It was good to set these up, then let them go, for already little drops of candle wax and a little settling of chalk dust have christened them ; )
I felt like she needed a brother so I'm just putting the finishing touches to Brother Autumn. He is bound for the seasonal table in the Handwork room, I'll share him with you next week.

Hope you and yours are settling back into good routines too. I'm happily joining with Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
Thanking you for your visit xM

P.S. I will be teaching a Needle Felting workshop at CELT Weekend in the Woods in Bealkelly Woods in East Clare on this Sept. 29th-30th if any of you locals feel like joining us under the trees to form wool into figures! I am so looking forward to this : ) I posted about a workshop I took at this event here

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

To school
Something small in my heart lurches at the thought of my small boy walking through the doors of the main school today to join class one!
 He's my only one and this is the very beginning of sitting behind a desk, the beginning of academic learning and so many other exciting new things that he is ready for. He has been such a dreamer, such a nature boy and his four years in kindergarten held him within that world. I keep remembering arriving at that little wooden gate to pick him up and so many times hearing 'Mommy!' and seeing him run towards me in his rainy, muddy waterproofs with holes worn in the knees.
But time and life move on with or without us right? So I'm taking that deep breath, I know how Life calls us up to let go of what has been, and embrace what is.
Early this month, feeling that tinge of sadness, I poured my love into sewing the few small things he needed to have for school.

I am still just getting the hang of using a sewing machine and when handed to me, the pattern for the crayon roll seemed baffling at a glance and I decided I'd need the help of a willing school Mama! As it turned out, I woke up one morning and just decided it needed to get done and I would begin it that day. I figured it out, it was actually not complicated at all, just took time and I gave the time to it. It ain't perfect, but it's Mama made and smallie chose the materials from a small stack of leftover stuff from school.

As a handwork teacher, I love that the children will learn to tie and untie bows when they use these. One more little skill mastered : )

Making it got us both excited about this new chapter in his life, helped me feel like I'm ready for the next adventure too : ) As I stitched away I pictured him reaching for his crayons when it was time to draw and colour in school and the stories the children will work from. Making something always helps, right?

Here is his hat. I made this some time ago but it only fits him now. It was the very first thing I made when a beginner knitter at our Woollygatherings. The pattern was for a plain slouch hat but I had to have some fun with it ; )

This was before I discovered circular needles, love them now. All made in DROPS yarn, the green is a wool alpaca mix and so lovely to work with.

I was kind of amazed by mattress stitch, once I got the hang of it.

Happily joining Ginny and the gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.

Thank you for reading x M

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

One red polka dot dress

I'm in the mood for all things Retro these days...and small crochet projects that don't go on for ever!
I had fun making this cotton hanger, inspired by a pattern I found on Dottie angel's blog, lovely though I found the pattern confusing.
Now I want to make a colourful little collection of these for the few special things in my closet : )

And being that this is our last week of the summer holidays, let's talk dresses : ) I'd only ever made one before, a totally organic felted construction, you can see it here. But this one is my first humble foray into dressmaking.
I took a local class with the lovely Susanna Anker. And knowing I had a (big) mental block about learning how to use a sewing machine, I thought I'd better stick to a really simple pattern for a totally plain dress. And  use affordable, basic cotton fabric. The options available locally are very limited anyway!
 On account of being a little pear-shaped, the sizing was tricky. And despite the undeniable fact that said dress looked dire when I first tried it on (think shapeless grandmother's best) nothing could discourage me for I had sewed a dress!! And I had somehow, though crudely, managed the machine and with the tutor's help, followed the pattern.
And though I am not so clever about those things, I am able to make something not-so-great look much better. I love details and I love to transform things.
 Nothing that a little crocheted something here, and a length of ribbon there can't fix I thought. I also wanted to add a ruffle. So I got to work at home. 

I pulled in the waist with a new seam and added a couple of scraps of trim I had stashed.

I am going to wear this dress wherever, and whenever!
There is something truly special about wearing a homemade dress, some feeling of timelessness I guess.
 Just about special enough to throw all imperfections into the background, right? ; )

 Thanks to Ryan for these last few photos : )
Delighted to be joining Ginny and the lovely gang over at Small Things for this week's Yarn Along.
Really appreciate all your kind feedback on last week's post and
thanks to you for reading today xM