shibori happy

There were some coloured dyes at the "Kendal Green meets Shibori Dyeing" workshop this morning (with Donna Campbell at Kendal Brewery Arts Centre) – but there was an indigo vat too, so I just used that – too good a chance to miss. The workshop was only two and a half hours long and went all too quickly but I came home with five samples and I’m pleased because I really tried to plan the way I tied and folded the cloth and I like most of the results! The only one that didn’t really do what I wanted is the striped one, which was concertina folded with lolly sticks and then wrapped. I was hoping the lines from the wrapping would show up on all the blue stripes – I think I should have left more of the fabric sticking out of the resist. I didn’t take along my fabric manipulation experiments in the end, I’m going to dye those at home later on.

indigo shibori samples

shibori sample

shibori sample

I especially liked this effect which was from making three small pleats in the fabric and overstitching through all the layers.

shibori sample detail

And this, which is a combination of paper clip clamps and a wave pattern gathering stitch. One thing I learned is that it’s much easier to gather the fabric well with a proper strong thread sold for the purpose. The one we were using had come from Callishibori as had the indigo.

shibori sample detail

The Motto festival of which this workshop was a part is on in Kendal till September with lots of textile workshops and events at the Brewery Arts Centre and in the town.

 

drawing breath

Life always gets away from me in the summer when time away (lovely as it is) means twice as much work to fit into the weeks afterwards – and it’s not long before we set off again, this time heading down to Cornwall. In between, a little space to draw breath and share what I’m up to.

Our visit to Tiree was momentous, to say the least. Alan’s on sabbatical next year and we’ve decided to seize the day and do something we’ve been thinking about for years – to live and work in a small community on a remote and windswept island. So we went there looking for a home – and found one! We’re now jubilant and terrified in about equal measure. The move won’t be till November but there’s going to be plenty to do before then. We have two daughters starting uni this autumn too, one moving from Cornwall to Liverpool, and one just moving round the corner in Birmingham, but both will need help with their stuff. I’ll need to work hard to keep time for art among all this excitement!

While we were on Tiree I at last joined in with the World Beach Project.

World Beach Project at Traigh Ghrianal

And I did a bit more sampling of gathered fabrics while I was away. The ones in the middle will end up being dyed, I think.

gathering samples

I got fascinated by the effect of visible stitching…

gathering samples

and tying…

gathering samples

Tomorrow I’m going to a short workshop with the intriguing title “Kendal Green meets Shibori Dyeing”. I think I’ve mentioned before that Kendal’s town motto is Pannus mihi Panis – “Cloth is my Bread”; and the arts centre is having a festival to celebrate the town’s heritage with lots of textile events. Kendal Green is an old dye colour mentioned in Shakespeare, but I think we’re going to use a modern version! It should be fun, anyway. I’m just wondering if I can take my gathered samples along and throw them in too!

And these are some pics of Tiree I’ve put on Flickr, colours of sea and sky, rust and sand, light and water.

Tiree mosaic

1. Gunna Sound, 2. rocks at Caoles, 3. light and waves, 4. Balevullin, 5. light, waves and seaweed, 6. fences at Balevullin, 7. cows on the beach at Balevullin, 8. rust and lichen, 9. Crossapol beach, 10. oystercatchers, 11. rusty machinery on Crossapol beach, 12. sunset, 13. clear sea, Gunna Sound, 14. rusty metal at Hynish, 15. Crossapol beach, 16. Balevullin

Woolfest 2008

Although I’ve already posted today, I wanted to write about the Woolfest before I go away or the memory will have faded. It’s a wonderful show – a combination of all the elements of fibre arts – from the animals who provide the wool to the rainbows of fleece and yarn on sale, from tools and books and dyes to so much exciting felt, knitting, crochet and weaving that you hardly know where to look next. It’s small enough to wander round twice or three times in a day, discovering new things each time – and big enough to provide a very satisfying variety of experiences. I met up with my Mum and my friend Julie and we had a lovely day.

I’ve just picked out a few things to share that were highlights for me…

Helen Melvin of Fiery Felts had curtained her stand with beautiful lengths of cloth, dyed by mordanting and then rolling up with bits of earth and flowers and leaves. This view is of the back – some of these were nuno-felted on the other side.

cloth by Helen Melvin

The Hebridean sheep (these are from Heathland Hebridean in Kent). I bought some of their lovely dark fleece to try dyeing it for felting.

sheep

These graceful alpacas from WhyNot Alpacas of Sedbergh – I love their just-shorn textures and the range of colours.

alpacas

These amazing clothes, modelled by young women from Estonia, Slovakia and Cumbria, in a youth project called "From Sheep to Dress" – clothes made by hand, from Estonian Native Sheep wool, by girls from Saaremaa Island. There’s a bit about this (and some of the other exhibitions) at knitonthenet, and I found an image gallery on the web as well.

From Sheep to Dress

Finally, the gorgeous display of dyed hemp yarns from the House of Hemp.

dyed hemp yarns

I tried to be restrained but I did add a few lovely things to my stash as well as the Hebridean fleece: some beautiful undyed alpaca rovings in four different shades, a tiny skein of purple hemp yarn, some space-dyed knitting ribbon in rusts and pinks and bronzey greys, Liz Clay’s book on Nuno Felt, and a small felt-rolling mat from Jenny Pepper’s stand.

Provisional dates for next year’s Woolfest are 26th-27th June 2009 – it’s in my diary already :-)

And now I really must go and think about what to pack!

TIF Challenge June 1

I only started to think about Sharon’s June Take it Further Challenge a few days before the end of June. It’s about stashes, our collections of materials, the stuff of creation, how they comes with their own tales to tell, and how in using them we invest them with meanings old and new –  “stories that are and stories that are possible”.

I’ve always used the word material interchangeably with cloth, but I discovered recently that if you look up material in the O.E.D. cloth isn’t one of the definitions. Actually I read this in a post about material culture – textiles and technology on Alan’s blog, and didn’t believe it till I’d looked it up myself!

Stashes are made of things like cloth and fleece and thread and paper and buttons – and more – I loved reading Monika’s lyrical description, on her blog Red 2 White, of her stash that includes “nettle in the garden, gorse behind it … onion skins, shells from a beach”. 

And at the opposite extreme I’m remembering a phrase that has stayed with me since A level English Lit – “Extreme, material and the work of man” (Thom Gunn, writing about the city).

Stray thoughts… random snippets from my mental stash.

Material matters – I’d like to somehow celebrate the physicality of the stash, the embodiment of the story, the clothing of the idea in messy reality. All those little bits and pieces that make up our lives, collected here and there and spilling out of cupboards and boxes and jars, loved into order and relationship by the work of our hands and our heads and hearts.

And before the end of July, I hope!

stash