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Thursday, September 30, 2010

The simple yet profound art of needlefelting nature pictures

It is a simple yet profound process to create nature images with wool fibres. It is almost as if there can be no better material than that fibre which can invite the fibres of hills and trees, of grass and animals to combine into a sculptural experience of landscape. Framed within tasteful quality wood double frames they stand or hang as a precious product of a very artful maker, and as a means of intimate connecting with nature.

What is more, Joan has been able to share her art and love and inspire a good number of people in the last months. It would be good if she would be invited to contribute her skills sharing far and wide in the local comnunity (after school clubs, nursing schools, etc)

Crafty Fair in the North Kirk

remember that poster?
Well, we went to the event and found some old and (touch wood fibre!) new friends.

The Kirk was full to the brim with a plethora of crafty things, so I had to be very disciplined to stay focussed ;-) !
Very good to see and feel the making fever alive and well around here... in jewellry, paintings, knits, cards, decor and so much more..

Was thrilled to see so many of Joan's pictures on display
view them all here
and to see Jenny having lots of felty things to sell

see more here
including the finished bag which still holds echoes of the hard fulling (felt rolling) work which has gone into it!

There are more of Jenny's felted wonders to view on the photoalbum

We hope that Jenny and other crafters from there will come and share their skills of cardmaking and other making with us in the townhall one of these days soon!

The healing powers of craft and art combined

Having heard in and before Making Space Penicuik and experienced so much about the healing powers of craft and art, I am now looking for what people write on that power. Today I found this
and found it very good ! Thank you Margaret in Oregon!

She writes at the end:
We’ve all heard bromides like “it’s the journey, not the destination.” In the case of handcrafts there may be more than a little truth in that. While there is joy and satisfaction in the finished product, it’s the making of the object that brings joy, peace, longevity and improved memory.

read full article here

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Beware :-) young and old Makers at large in Town Hall today!

busy bees in town hall
The Maker bug has struck: the two tables today in the second session of our first Craft in the Community season were overflowing with treasures and pleasures of magic wool fibres and budding makers young and old.
Joan was kept busy showing her inspirational way of making needlefelted framed wool pictures. Vibusha was in demand again to get folks initiated in the fab way of making felt creatures, and Anneruth was delighted with the pegloom pieces' progress.

The best way for you all to see and hear the story is via the picasa album: http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/117445521233701725799/MakingSpaceInPenicuikInSeptember#
Photos #53 - #92 tell the story. Enjoy to see and read it fully there.
final touches and catching up before tidying up time

Friday, September 24, 2010

Needle felting pictures and broaches with Joan Robb

Just a quick reminder that for this Saturday our Craft in the Community sessions in the town hall, 11.3o to 1.30pm
Joan Robbis coming, who felts beautiful pictures, and who has taught Caroline in an hour what it takes to be a needlefelting angel, inspiring all around her ;-)

There will also be sculptural needlefelting and pegloom weaving for those who hae started projects.
Plus, anybody can bring their home started project, knitting, crocheting, etc.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

the last of the summer wine

Aye, it felt a bit like the last of summer wine today when in persisting rain at Penicuik House Tom from Scotish Lime and Fiona from Galgael packed the tall frame loom and the stonefelt portal in the van to go back to Glasgow. The loom will actually go to Campbeltown next week for an ABREEF event with Laryna and Fiona!
 It felt as if the made in Govan Felt Portal had deserved more 'showing off' space in Penicuik, it was such as hassle getting it over here and even more so getting it back!
Well, at least we have its memory now here, combined with the remembering of the sunshine and fun time at the 3 days fibre craft fun this Indian summer in September 2010.

Which reminds me: we have not posted the feedback back to you from what you said about the Saturday Family Fibre fun day on the 4th Sept.

Here are now some of your written words:

I never worked with felt before and had no idea how satisfying it is. Thank you so much for the experience! It would be great if this kind of free event was more available for more people.

Brilliant few hours - had a ball! Thanks

thought event was good and interesting. Any event that lets people get involved with crafts is good.

very friendly event, great afternoon out for the children

the time. effort and patience given to the children during this event has made it a very enjoyable experience

I found it all very interesting and my grandson (from Africa) enjoyed making a heart for his mother

we had a wonderful day playing with felt. My daughter and I truly enjoyed it. It has inspired me to do some more at home.

Nice and enjoyable afternoon. Children loved the hands on and adults felt relaxed and were enjoying themselves.

A lovely event in a great location. My daughter had enjoyed it very much.

A thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. I am now hooked on felting

very interesting and relaxing. Entertaining children and adults.

a very enjoyable and entertaining experience. The ladies running the workshops were very friendly, patient and knowledgable . Thank you

I liked spinning - it was fun. I liked the felting balls, it was fun. Very interesting and enjoyable. I like it.

Thank you for your apprecation ;-)
Hope to see you all again as we create free crafts in the community because you like and because we know how important it is today that people get together to craft and explore it more at home. Fibre craft in particular teaches all ages and stages respect and care for the community of life in very many fun ways.

Come and share your fun, its our fun. And it gives you more and more skills to share.
Make space for your and our Making Space.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

felting chromosomes at home

Caroline has a friend, a scientist, who researches into chromosomes and he has birthday soon. On his website is a bright micro-photo of chromosome dividing. Like with many nano images of things that go on deep inside our body cells they look breathtaking, mysterious and miraculous. What better challenge than to capture such an image in the miraculous artistic means of wool fibre:

Carolne decided to go for a mixed technique approach, layering for wetfelting with some needlefelting support to fix the more intricate points and lines before submerging the fibres into soapy waters and the wet felting agitation.

Then, after the wetfelting and drying, she added the finer details, trapped pink angelina fibre for the shiney effect, and then framed her piece of art in a deep box frame. Perfect!
We think we have found a new science-art production line! I certainly will learn more about biology if  am endeavouring to recreate the worlds hidden images through magic wool fibre!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Wool washing day today! And outdoor weaving at home

Hey, the sun is shining! Lets use this to wash the Zwartbless fleece for future pegloom ventures!
Washing wool is quite satisfying an activity, especially if you love the animals and don't mind the lanolin. Zwartbless are rich in lanolin and their fibre is strong. This lot here drying in the sun is only washed once in warm water and rinsed 4 times, so that there is enough lanolin still in the fibres to make drafting the rolls for pegloom weaving easy. Drafting and rollling needs fibres to stick together when pulled and rolled.

When drying wool it is good to turn it over often, esp when it is laying on solid things like benches or the ground. It dries best when spread over wire baskets or netting stretched out, so that the wind and air can reach it from all sides. Sometimes wool can take ages to dry, but wind always helps to get inbetween the fibres and make it billow softly again.

Whilst it is so nice in the garden, lets pick up the threads of the freshly strung peg loom and start weaving that rustic raw fleece rug out of white Blackface wool and black Hebridean fleece, both unwashed (but from clean organic sheep!)

And then it might be a good idea to start compiling pictures for a pegloom weaving instructions manual?
 For the moment I'll collect the pictures here http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/117445521233701725799/PegloomWeavingKnowhowOnARusticRugSample# and add instruction captions.

Will I be able to finish this rustic rug sample before Saturday, so to be able to have documented all the stages of the making of a pegloom wovenn fabric, including the final felting and shaping?
Hm, touch wood - lots of visitors this week!

Glad that Marjorie brought her cool dual set pegloom back into town so I could take some measurements of the pegs and gaps. I think Galgael folks with all their fleeces in the loft might be inspired to make a few of different kinds of peglooms like this one? Great if we had some folks here to make them, too. Best from Cherrywood!

Pegloom weaving last Saturday

Last Saturday Making Space brought some fun fibre action to the townhall:
3 girls and their dad learned how to set up their own pegloom and how to start weaving a rag rug and a raw fleece rug project. Marjorie brought both her peglooms and inspired several women to dare to have a go, even with stiff fingers it was fun, and Vibusha threaded another pegloom (help by her son Ben who valiantly disentangled the recycled warp threads for her!) as well as taught one lucky woman on holiday here how to make a felt pet first time round!

We sold some wools and tools and with the donations we have now £8 in our kitty to buy new materials or to cover volunteer expenses. Vibusha, coming on from Peebles, decided that for today to be able to take the pegloom home with some donated raw wool, she was well renumerated!

Toni still has white wool at home he and his three girls collected on the hills, and together with some Zwartbless wool to wash and some more old clothes to cut up - we are looking forward to see what these keen crafters are coming back with hopefully next week ...

aye, hopefully the two warps used up (bar the length for the end ties, that is!) and having had a go even on the end ties itself??

Vibusha promised to come back with 2 blackface sheep - felted ones - which Ulla has ordered, and it looks likes she has her hands full with being a maker whilst we are so lucky to have her in our midst (she will have to go back to New Zealand some point... ;-( )!

For a couple of more pics of this first and very successful "Craft in the Community" Saturday in the town hall session, go and visit http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/117445521233701725799/MakingSpaceInPenicuikInSeptember#.

It has been great to have the Making Spirit sparkle!

Time for Christmas gifts making soon, folks!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Why should we use our creative powers... QUOTE OF THE DAY:

"Why should we use our creative power....? Because there is nothing that makes people so generous, joyful, lively, bold and compassionate, so indifferent to fighting and the accumulation of objects and money."
Brenda Ueland

Found on MairiStones - Felt Art Facebook site

Thursday, September 16, 2010

This Saturday, Craft in the Community, 11.30am - 1.30pm, Town Hall

The Special feature of this Saturday:
pegloom weaving
2 weeks ago, at Penicuik House

The perfect way to recycle old fabric!

from a cool crafter's blog
The cool way to use up fleeces!

Come along
  • get an idea how to prepare wool or fabric for pegloom weaving
  • try out a few techniques of peg loom weaving
  • bring your own pegloom, too, and any project you might like to try on it

some useful links I found on the web
add your own?

Did you know: making your own pegloom is easy?

"Can I come to do some other craft?"
"Yes you can, if resources of space and materials is  available."

"Do I have to be there all the two hours?"
"No, go with the flow."

see you there ;-)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blog updates

Just to let everyone know:

This blog, Making Space at Penicuik, has been updated now, - or rather is almost fully updated.
As your and our experience "From Fibre to Fabric" during the Arts festival was a big success, we are now hoping to build upon this, in accordance with your wishes:

  • free craft experiences in the community for all ages and stages
  • building a community of skill sharing ( a very valuable community asset in this day and age!)
  • make beautiful things, lasting gifts of joy, inspiration and imagination 
  • becoming a valuable self supporting community resource
  • becoming an educational resource, bringing understanding and experience esp. of traditional crafts onto the daily menu with fun as well as depth
  • and, last but not least: support our local makers! (and be supported by them ;-)
Presently we will focus on natural fibre craft, but this can change in accordance with wishes and available resources.
Enjoy this blog, come back often and pass it on. Thank you!
Let us know what you think of this blog (where ever you are in the world!) and what you found in our local crafting circles and at home:
There are comment functions on everything: we love to hear from you!

Killing and reviving craft in every curriculum?

Here something again to add to our growing understanding why crafts are important:

There is a group on facebook called "Killing Craft through educational vandalism"
This fast growing Face Book Group was initially set up to draw attention to what was happening at one of Scotland’s leading art institutions, Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art (DoJ) in Dundee with the dropping of weave from it’s Textiles Course with immediate effect, this has now been temporarily over turned meaning the current second year students may now complete their studies as weave students in 2012. 

 Their site is well worth the time for an in deph visit, to find out about makers, esp weavers, from around the country, and very crafty initiatives around the world, such as 'crocheting the coral reef', a huge enterprise not only stretching the creative scope of crocheting, but also combining craft with studying biology, mathematics, and much much more...

One contributor to the facebook group is 

Joanna McLeman Gisbey

and she writes on Aug 15

Hello James,

Thank you for that heartfelt (ha-ha, no pun intended!) letter. There just has to be passion about this, especially in Scotland, where for generations we have had a wealth of creative industries.

Personally, I am an artist/maker/designer and I teach Art part-time in primary schools. The children today, across... the board, are lacking in dextrous skills. Once they have made, drawn, created something themselves, which initially they didn't have a clue about, they are SO delighted, and more confident, and willing to try more!

The whole push of Curriculum for Excellence for 3-18 year olds has a HUGE emphasis on the Creative/Expressive Arts and learning through those, so if the further education courses are being cut now, where do these creative beings continue? Japan???

All good wishes, and Keep Going,
Joanna McLeman Gisbey.

 Joanna also has a very nice slide show about herself on (click) here.

Feedback on the Felt Making Workshop in Penicuik House

Feedback forms from the Penicuik House workshops have arrived back and the one from the Friday intensive reads:

" This was an excellent course for beginners and more experienced felters. A good insight into this industry. Would be keen to do more. Thanks."
Alison Herd, local Primary Teacher (who also brought her two daughters in the afternoon, who outdid everyone in maker speed and zest, and who were back the next day!)

"Excellent - really well organised. Good directions, excellent coffee & food. Lots packed into the day. Tutors really attentive & flexible in approach. Excellent all round."
Cindy Wedgewood, used to work in finance, then with streetkids in India, now studies herbal medicine

"Really enjoyed the day, facilities are good & surroundings are lovely! Thank you! Oh, and tutors were  both wonderful."
Caroline Macolm (sorry - what was your line of work again? Just remember that you do lots of feltiing with silk already)

"Great day. Learnt a lot. Very good instruction with lovely people in inspiring surroundings. I would certainly come along to any other caft day."
Maxime Jones, currently working as special needs craft instructor in Camphill, Edinburgh

"I think the day was nice. The instructors were helpful. The food was nice."
Samantha Jones, works in different workshops, including weavery, in Camphill Edinburgh

Jenni, local expert crafter and librarian, gave her glowing comments via her lovely blog "Jenni's crafty journal" and as a comment on our earlier post.

Mouna, writer and retired nursery teacher from Peebles, says she is extremely satisfied with her learning and outcome (felt picture, now adorning her bedroom) and thoroughly enjoyed all aspects of the day, as the others above.

Her daughter Vibusha, a Steiner School nursery teacher from New Zealand, who was brought up in Penicuik, said she had a very fullfilling day creating something she always wanted to create: an intricate felt picture from combined techniques. Vibusha has been back the next days teaching young and old how to make needlefelted pets! We hope she will come more often to the Saturday sessions and share her considerable maker skills with us.

Laryna has also posted something lovely about the day on the Galgael woolcraft blog.

Everybody, including the tutors (Anneruth and Laryna) is extremely grateful for Scottish Lime Centre/ Penicuik House project to have provided them with this unique opportunity in that splendid setting, kind of carrying on the tradition of the place in the grace of the Scottish Enlightenment....
No wonder the sun shone all day!

our well deserved lunch break!

September Pictures of Making Space in Penicuik

who is the weaver of this autumn frame?

Time flies and this blog should have been updated days ago with the recent fibre fun happenings in Caroline's house (practising needle felting and learning wetfelting) and in Penicuik House (weaving on looms and nature's frame), as well as the taking down of the fibre rich library display!

Until we catch time to write a bit - you are welcome to detect some of the stories of the above on http://picasaweb.google.co.uk/117445521233701725799/MakingSpaceInPenicuikInSeptember#

see you soon
thanks for being here

the weaver spinning time

Fern weaving on nature's frame

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Pictures of Penicuik House workshops updated

 Been quite a marvel to look at them and think all this and much more happened within 6 hours in a relatively small space! No wonder 'though, as they were all such creative people and prolific makers... 

The captions in both album serve as a way of telling the story of our felt making - so, make sure you read them ;-) Each picture has also a comment function which you can use like in facebook.

If anyone is not happy with their picture featuring on our albums, please let us know on making_space@talktalk.net.

If anyone has any nice pictures from the day, please could you share them with us? Especially if it is from the first gate with the Making Space banner, as we omitted to take a picture of it, as well as of the entrance with the wool tables.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Transport & Galgael

Yes, it took quite some transporting of wools and tools of what as one felt making workshop participant so aptly observed looked like as if the fibre craft workshop has always been there in Penicuik House.

All of those varied wools and tools that need to go back to Galgael in Glasgow (apart from the Felt Portal, the loom, and some wall hangings which stay for the Open Doors day on Saturday) are now ready to be transported in Tom's van. So lucky he did not plan to transport it back yesterday (Monday) when a mega fire right next door to Galgael closed the whole area, and of course Galgael, down. Sure you heard about it in the news? It was such a blessing that the wind was in the opposite direction or Galgael's unique premises, adjacent to the tyreplace-fire, could have been destroyed!
galgael, est. 9th century
in the yard where the man walks was the fire:

The Galgael workshop is right here, where the blue paint starts in the left corner of picture:
Monday morning...

Not heard about Galgael yet? Come and see it and be truly transported:

Monday, September 6, 2010

warp-weft symposium in Wales: a cross-disciplinary approach

On the  Facebook group

Killing Craft Through Educational Vandalism

 we find this:

The warp+weft symposium will explore how woven structure informs far more than the textiles that surround us. Directed by Dr Jessica Hemmings (Edinburgh College of Art), invited speakers will consider weaving in relation to topics as diverse as the World Wide Web, poetry, mathematics, architecture and film.

Expanding the boundaries of what we might consider as ‘woven’ will provide delegates with an opportunity to reconsider how central weaving is – not only to textiles – but to many other seemingly unrelated disciplines.

Symposium taking place in the National wool museum in Wales this Saturday, it is fully booked.

craft in the news - craft blues

Scotsman reads today:
(see full text below)

Hm, he is getting the idea. Why don't we start this here and now in Penicuik? Craft shops and Makers' Time and places as antidote to boredom and loneliness? Lots of empty shops, lots of local crafters, lots of folks waiting to be woken up to the crafts?
We do have a lovely craft shop above the West Street cafe, but it is first floor (no access for disabled), not on main street (no passing trade). We even had an arts trail (talking about maps for to find crafters) during the Penicuik's Arts Festival, but Joan had no visitors :-( and other more centrally placed artists could really have had more...

Call for local craft shop.. on main street,  ground level... something to attract the travellers and locals alike for pride and joy of place... Any newspaper (wo)man blowing into the horn for us?

Call for festival arts and crafts antidote to 'tartan tat' shops

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Thanks, feedback, and what's next

"Yes, lets carry on " was what you said, was what we all said! So, whilst the craft demonstrators are transporting the tools and wools back to Galgael in Glasgow and update this blog with more details from the workshops in Penicuik House, and whilst Gillian and Scottish Lime make available the feedback you have given us, let's stay connected here in Penicuik:

It be lovely if you could use this blog here to post comments, and to pass it on to your friends and family.

And it would be lovely to see you now in autumn on Saturdays around noon for an hour or two for making space for our  'Making Space' in the Townhall. Depending on what else is going on in the Townhall and who can come to put up the banner to speak, it could happen every Saturday, and if not, at least every other Saturday. Just the right time of the year to build the stock for the best Christmas presents: the ones you make yourself! And you have got plenty of ideas and skills by now to share and to get cracking!

This coming Saturday is Open Door day in Penicuik House and Anneruth and one or two others might come along there again and do some weaving and spinning. These 2 crafts have kind of been drowned out by the :-) fab felt frenzy yesterday, and as our neatly planned timetable had to get shelved as everyone came bumbling in just after noon and getting hooked on felting! Hopefully Galgael can spare the upright loom a little longer and we can let you have a good time weaving here

and in any case you can weave with nature from your walk on the estate something like this:
The above picture is from a lovely blog http://www.childinharmony.com/2010/05/weave-with-nature.html, which we would like to recommend to you.

By the way: please let us know any inspiring blogs or projects so we can share them here on our making space penicuik blogspot!

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Family Fibre Craft Fun day at Penicuik House

In short: a fabulous success!
Gillian said it was the biggest and best event they have had had, and the 90 + (100, Bill maintains!) visitors were unanimous in saying: we should have more of these kinds of free events for the family!

So, what kind of event was it actually?
Well, there was an indoor and outdoor space that looked and felt as if it always has been a fully equipped fibrecraft workshop: all kinds of tool and wools called for to be touched and handled for transforming fibres into fun little things such beads, broches and little felt animals, to take home with. Young and old alike were being thrilled by the infectious joy that spreads from making.

Find yourself being  captured and captivated in this photoalbum (work in progress)!

Felt making workshop at Penicuik House in action

Thanks to the generosity of Scottish Lime Centre and the preparedness of members of the Galgael Trust (from Glasgow), the training room in Penicuik House saw today a hive of creative activity. A wealth of resources was available for the 8 participants from the Lothians, and later for the two kids of one of them, a local teacher, to make different felt projects, from tapestries to flower broches, from multicoloured beads to chubby hamsters, from small bags to big bags. Beginners and advanced students of felt making mixed and mingled, helping and inspiring each other, and going home enthusiastic, rich and well fed.

More pictures and accounts to come.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We've been moving onto site today

We've been moving onto site today, in Penicuik House training centre

as you can see!

See you there!

the raw wool and its source

lots of good books on felting
All the way from Glasgow, as well as loads of other gear:
Miracle: Tom fitted the 4x6 foot Stone Felt Portal into the van!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Friday's workshop is going ahead + how to find us at Penicuik House

bridge you'll walk across to Penicuik House

Thanks to everyone who made it possible that this unique feltmaking workshop is going ahead. We have still maybe one place free.

How to find us on Friday and Saturday?
Postcode for address is EH26 9LA 
See map below for directions
You access the site by walking down for 5 minutes from carpark



and then we are here, on right side of the house with crane