Although this year's Blarney in Bloom festival turned into a bit of a washout, there was still a high volume of people around the Arts & Crafts area and the added attraction of being covered over definitely helped!
Liz Spillane for provided a very popular and interesting workshop using felting and oversized knitting techniques. Both adults and children alike thoroughly enjoyed the experience with many people coming away from it feeling the benefits of its therapeutic effects. It was great to see people from all ages get a chance to experience such a unique crafting skill and many were amazed of the shear simplicity in the creation of a beautiful piece. Liz has also very kindly donated the finished piece to the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind for them to auction off to help add to their fundraising efforts.
There was Trojan work carried out by everyone who helped out with the set up on the Friday, especially as they have now practically doubled the willow tunnel.
As per usual, the tree cosies make for an excellent talking point and never fail to create interest from all the Castle’s many visitors.
It's always great to get the opportunity to work on a larger scale creating pieces for the outdoors in such a beautiful setting. Karin Kempf added to her fuzzy fungus from last year and created even more weird and wonderful pieces this year, her talent knows no bounds!
Martina Carroll made a provoking web made using crochet that fitted in perfectly in the arboretum and looks like it was always there. Martina also made and interesting creeper-like hanging piece that fits in perfectly with the poison garden.
We moved the walk-through installation to the large rose walkway this year where it made for very colourful photographs.
There were some interesting ideas floating around from everyone on the day for next year’s festival so I look forward to seeing what people come up with.
As per usual, we can always rely on the weavers and spinners to help to give the wow factor and they definitely delivered this year by bringing along a full untreated fleece which was a brilliant talking point with everyone who stopped by. It's always great for the public to get a chance to see how yarn is made from start to finish, and by doing so, helping to keep this traditional craft alive and well. I look forward to seeing what they can bring to the event next year!
There was plenty going on in the crating area as we had several activities available for everyone who came our way. There were plenty of busy little hands at work making paper beads to create their very own necklaces and bracelets.
The wool corner was as successful as it always is with all sorts of woolly creations being made by little and big hands! There were people learning to crochet, knit, make pom poms, woolly men, magic eyes and dreamcatchers.
The previous two years we charged for the more intricate workshops and donated this money to the Irish Guide Dogs for the Blind. This year we decided to focus on just providing great free activities for the public to take part in and in doing so help make the festival an attractive day out for families as all the money taken on the gate is given directly to the charity. In doing so we were able to encourage more people to take part in our activities and hopefully in turn generate more interest in traditional crafts such as these and the amazing skills that are displayed by all of the talented members of the Cork Textiles Network.
I look forward to coming up with new exciting ideas for next year's festival.