Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Farewell to Spring

Before it feels like Spring has finally bowed her head to Summer, I wanted to share some felted pieces that I made in honour of springtime.

I recall having a nature table in primary school and I clearly remember being captivated by the birds nest it held. The value of bringing the outside in, to the classroom or home is significant, particularly in more urban environments. Children love to gather natural treasures and put them in a special place, like a seasonal table, to remind them of that special walk, what's currently growing or changing in nature and the colours or creatures we associate with that time of year.

 Symbolic figures such as these reflect the changing seasons outside and welcome in the new. The figures have real presence, are sturdy enough for gentle play by older children and are ideal as central figures in puppet plays and storytelling.

Lady Spring's basket I made from hemp, I felted with undyed and plant-dyed wool. I tell you, working with plant-dyed is a whole other level of experience as a feltmaker. Every time I use it I swear I don't want to work with any other kind of wool. Otherwise known as Magic Wool, it is quite literally alive and you can feel the energy of that in your hands as you work with it. It's also to do with the very subtle qualities of the colours...conventionally dyed wool presents a single flat colour, whereas a  plant dyed colour contains many other colours and hues within it. The beauty of this, is that any combination of colours you might choose to use in a piece of work, will not only be compatible but will be in harmony with each other. Magic indeed : )

Jenny of Woollygathering kindly photographed these locally in East Clare. They were the preliminary shots for a series of Spring cards, taken with the thought of making a collection of greeting cards that celebrate or mark each season. The seed of an idea to be further developed...

These needle felted figures are made without sewing, gluing or patterns, I work from my head. And why I love it..? They are100% Wool. I can take it absolutely anywhere when I'm working on it, (and I do!)without having to think about access to water. There's no clean-up after a work session and I can put it down and pick it up at will. In other words, it's perfect if you have a family, small children. I find I can do it right there at my kitchen table, in between getting up to stir the soup, or soothing my small boy's latest injury ; ) And I love the sound of it, of the fibres entangling with every stroke of the needle. Three-dimensional work was not a strength for me at art college and as I have mostly worked in two dimensions, I've found that the soft sculpture work really has developed my sense of that, and brought me on in ways I didn't expect : )

I cherish the way handwork can make you feel like you're making something out of nothing. It is just so with this process, you start out with tufts of coloured fluff and end up with a figure you can hold and place, and look to. Enchanting, no? 


  1. Oh so lovely!!! Can I copy that??? :D xxx

  2. Thats Lovely Work Mia, I love your lady Spring, she is an absolute delight. As is your new blog.
    xx E

  3. ps, Wonderful idea about the seasonal cards. You MUST do that x

  4. So lovely, many thanks for stopping by and saying hi Mia, cheers Marie

  5. Hello, Mia! Your art is absolutely enchanting! I love the work you are doing with the plant dyed wool. So inspiring!

    Best wishes,

  6. Hi Mia, once again your writing is beautiful. Myself and the boys will keep an eye out for your forest friends next time we're walking in Raheen Wood! The pictures and figures are magical. Cool new blog.....Franci

  7. Thanks guys, it's been in my mind to do this for quite some time now, to create a space where I could document all the greater and smaller projects going on...great to finally be 'live'and to have you all stopping by : )

  8. You are unbelievably talented! I loved the figures in your old header, but now, I love all of these too. The card idea is fantastic - a great way to share your art with a number of people. I am drooling over the basket of chickies. Thank you so much for sharing!