British Wool, Christiane Berghoff, Craft and Making, Diary Working with Wool, Local, wellbeing, Wool and People

What creates long term and positive Change for the planet we are living on?

What creates change?
Fear can create change on the short-term, it can modify behaviour to avoid negative consequences .
On the long-term it is the positive experience, like sincere praise and appreciation which will lead to wanting to change for the positive. It is a challenging realisation that in the end only compassion and kindness will initiate healing, starting with ourselves and then reaching out to others people, to all beings on this planet .

Kindness

In our family we do buy our groceries predominantly at our local farmers market, country market and local shops. Only what we can’t buy there, we buy in a supermarket, even then we rather use the local Coop , as it is a franchise run by local people!

There is more than the rational reasoning behind it, to buy local as a means to support local economy, avoiding food miles etc. There is a very important human and emotional factor in this; over time we got to know the people behind the stalls, become more in tune with the natural seasons of our part of the world and feel more strongly part of our local community! Going shopping becomes something to look forward to rather than a chore, it’s meeting friends and sharing there joys and challenges in grow the food we cherish! Then your relationship to our food also changes, we value  and enjoy it so much more, as we know we can enjoy it with a good conscious .
Sometimes I find myself in a supermarket in front say some avocados, I do like them very much, but then I realise they come from Peru or Uganda, and I leave them as there are far too much air or freight miles attached to them. I will wait for the Turkish or Spanish avocados when they are in season at the end of the summer!
A few days later I went to the Trevalyn Farm Shop on the Helston Road, and there were, my Spanish avocados, small and ripe!
It also reminds me, that we’d live in an age of instant gratification. Waiting for a seasonal crop to come around , learning to enjoy what is locally available, requires a shift in thinking and feeling!

Whats that got to do with Wool and Making?

The same principle applies, using local or at least British Wool, reduces the environmental cost on extensive product travel and supports the local economy . The moment we start to make something ourselves, we learn patience and perseverance again. If we combine  local material and hand making we create a stronger bond not only to what we make, but also to our community and the place where we live.

Excerpt from the Campaign for Wool Website

The Campaign for Wool was initiated by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and launched in 2010 in the UK. It is supported by sheep farmers, manufacturers, retailers, consumers and wool lovers across the globe. Its simple agenda is to encourage greater understanding and use of real wool and its many natural and sustainable assets. In five years it has spread from the UK to fifteen countries internationally, has attracted millions of social media followers and in 2014 achieved media coverage valued at nearly $ 50 million. Funded by the leading wool grower organisations of the world, the Campaign for Wool has a long-term agenda to maintain a high-profile for wool as the superior natural fibre and works in partnership with wool industry partners globally. – See more at: http://www.campaignforwool.com/news-item/surfaces-2015/#sthash.

Working with local and British wool has changed my perception of clothing in a very deep and profound way. My awareness about the environmental impact of production of actually everything we consume has become a constant companion in my thinking. I am aware of my choices and where I can make decision with a lesser impact, I can choose to support producers by buying local and fair trade and organic as much as I can. It sometimes means waiting, for the right time, for the right item to be available to me.

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I spin and knit, daily, meditating, learning to be with the process , learning to be with the time it takes.

British Wool, Craft and Making, Diary Working with Wool, process, Wool and People

About

 

Indigo Dying Day
Indigo Dying Day

 

 

 

 

My Story

I graduated in 2013 from Falmouth University in Fine Art and are now undertaking a Masters Degree in Art and Environment, at Falmouth University (graduation in 2015).

Originally from Germany , I live in Cornwall, UK with my  family.

The long journey of further and higher education from 2004 has helped me to the understand the core interst of my practices, the sharing of the link between slow hand made processes and wellbeing, introducing and investigating meditative approaches with in an art practice.

I am exploring handspinnig , local sheep wool and proceeding the carding waste from a Cornish wooll mill and I am fazinatated  by ancient techniques like Nalebinding and Lucetting.

Natural Dying is also a very new adventure, with first experiences with Indigo during a Dying Workshop lead by Jean Dean at the monthly meeting of the Guild of  Spinners, Weavers and Dyers in November 2015. Jean introduced the 1-2-3 method by Michel Garcia.

March 2015

During my residency at Cornwall College I taught two dying workshops, first with Onions and the with woad. Woad is also known as the European Indigo. While now spinning the dyed wool I am still so astonished about the strong colour Bettina and I achievedd!

 

Diary Working with Wool, Wool and People

A Yellow Day – Dying with Onion skins

On Wednesday, 4. February I run a wool dying workshop with onion skins with Bettina Holland, a 2.year student. Myself, I am new to natural dying and find a fascinating process as the is always a “surprise” element in there! I love dying with onion skins as it is so simple, no mordants maybe a bit of pre-soaking with vinegar and the dye bath can be tipped out to water plants and in an ideal world the exhausted skins could go on the compost! We used a rather large pot and there for ended up with a fairly pale color. When I was dying wool skeins and flees last summer at home, I used a smaller domestic sauce-pan and archived a strong burnt orange colour.

Dying with Onionskins

We dyed skeins of wool and unspun fleece. I also put in a small skein of pale indigo dyed wool and it came out in a gentle mottled and variegated tone.

As fascinating as the dying processes are I intent to keep to a very selective range. I am interested in Woad and Weld, blue and yellow and there for green as almost human input to the natural sheep fleece colours.

This year I intend to plant in gardens of some of my supportive friends around Penzance some Woad and Weld, in order to experience the effect of working with fresh plants rather then with powder.

The dying process opens of new avenues for exploring textures and carding dyed fleece with undyed fleece.

In the carding waste was for example, some reddish brown Alpaca and I carded it with white and greys, mixing the silky soft alpaca with more wire wool! it gives a very unique yarn and it is interesting to spin.

Wool and People

#wellmaking Flowergarden in Penzance

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The #wellmaking Flowergarden is popping up in Penzance!

when: Saturday, 13. December, 15.00 – 16.30

where: Archie Browns Cafe (above the Health Food shop)

The #wellmaking Flowergarden is a nationwide project initiated between Fiona Hackney from Falmouth University and Sarah Corbett from the Craftivist Collective.

Currently there are over 40 groups all over Britain taking part!

The project is an invitation for people to come together and while making flower through crafting (stitching, crochet, knitting) to share stories, ideas, memories about the connecting between craft and wellbeing.

We are collecting information / date for a survey and there is the plan to sum up the whole experience in a

” Craft and Wellbeing Manifesto”

In January will be a closing event in London were all the flowers will be on show and raise awareness how important wellbeing is.

For more information check out:

Introducing the #wellMAKING Craftivists Garden! | Craftivist Collective
craftivist-collective.com/wellmaking

Craftivist Garden #wellMAKING – Projects – Falmouth University
projects.falmouth.ac.uk/craftivistgarden/
Craftivist Garden #wellMAKING is a participatory project run by Falmouth … Craftivist Garden takes the flower garden as a metaphor for creative flourishing.

Wool and People

#wellmaking FlowerGarden at LoveMia in Porthleven

We we were a small group and enjoyed the benefit of getting to know each other better and sharing our crafting stories! It was enjoyed by everyone!

Diary Working with Wool, Wool and People

Indigo Dying with Jean Dean

Beginn of this year I became a member of the Cornwall guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers.(http://www.cgwsd.btik.com/)

The Guild is holding monthly meeting in Probus and Chacewatter, at the 3rd Friday of a month in Probus is usually a workshop or talk organised.

This month Jean Deane (http://www.cgwsd.btik.com/) shared with us how to dye with Indigo in the most natural way.

Jean is very inspired by Gracia, a French Botanist and Scientist (http://naturaldyeworkshop.com/about/) who has created recipes for natural dying particular for Indigo dyeing.

Indigo for me is now sheer magic! To see the colour of the vat (that is the dye bath), the colour when the wool comes out, still more greenish yellow and then the transformation  through oxygen into the wonderful blue!

Before hand I had hand spun yarn from the carding waste for this occasion and also dyed some fleece!

The experience gave me the confidence to work with Indigo, woad and weld at home and with my students at Camborne college.

 

Diary Working with Wool, Wool and People

In the Studio Camborne College

Monday, 13. October 2014

Today was a  busy day involved with college activities, in the morning I went along the induction of the 3D workshop. Hopefully Andrew will very kindly help me to learn how to make my own Nalebinding needles.

before lunch making friends with the Mac and d projection screen in preparation for my talk to the 1. Years and giving talk after lunch. I appreciate so much to be given the chance to share my enthusiasm for Wool and my thoughts about a sustainable approach in my art practise.

the afternoon flew by and as in walking the talk I need to sit down for a while over a coffee and do some Nalebinding.

For everyone who’s wondering about Nalebinding, there will be a more in-depth text about the ancient technique soon. For today, Nalebinding is a technique to create a “fabric’ with wool using a wooden needle. It’s predates knitting and archeological find go back to prehistoric times. It was used worldwide, but remained in use predominantly in Scandinavia to make socks, mittens and hats or other small household items. It is closer to sewing and uses a length of yarn at a time. This explains why it went out of use when knitting, which uses a continuous thread.

Wool and People

Nalebinding – My daily Practise

Nalebinding – My Daily Practise


The hand spun yarn, Wensleydale locks and White Shetland slows down the process even more. The ends don’t felt and I knot them, which creates a resistance in the movement, and yet I persist .
Sitting in a very busy cafe in Totnes ,deeply absorbed in my movements , thought fleeting in and out……. Last night my mind needed a quite movement and soft chanting sounds to be able to settle into relaxation before going to sleep. My mind was troubled.
I had come to Totnes to attend a evening about GMO, the most prominent speaker was Vandana Shiva among a very diverse range of talks. It end with a video address by Deepark Shopra, a passioned call to action. The fact about the damage directly on humans and animals through consumption of GMO food was shocking as was the absurdity of of manipulation of science, politics and power.
Small scale farming based on traditional and organic methods feed 70% of the world population, while the remaking 30% of industrial farming is destroying wide stretches of land which becomes dead and useless.
People like Vandana Shiva advocate for the farming communities and pressure governments to take action against giants like Monsanto .
It is so easy to forget all about it, it is easier to slip back into everyday life….. And yet, everyday we make choices, where we put our money, whom we support , how we life, what we consume , how much we or how little we consume.
It is our choice to remain either part of the problem and live as if these threads as the life we know doesn’t exist and as we have no responsibility for what we leave behind for future generations. Or if we change, reassess, what are our priorities in life and what really matters; we can choose to support local and organic food producers to strengthen local and independent economy.
We can make the choice to reevaluate our real needs in everyday life. Living a simpler life…..simpler food, simpler clothing………….
I pick up my small wooden needle and thread my hand spun wool, my daily engagement with a ancient technique and and a sustainable material becomes a daily meditation, becomes the thread I can hang onto .

Wool and People

MA Interim Show HALFWAY HOUSE

Tomorrow the show for the MA courses in Falmouth ( Woodlane campus, 6-9pm) opens.

The part-time student  taken part with a group show in the Garden Studio.

Here is a glimpse of my  contribution and a few thoughts……

Wool is my medium and my companion.
Wool is renewable and sustainable.
Wool is warmth, comfort and calm.
Wool teaches me respect for the sheep.
Wool teaches me patience and perseverance.
Wool connects me to the origin of our cloth.
Wool connects me to the land and to life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wool and People

Germany and Still Knitting to keep Me sane

I am in Germany since last Friday, visiting my mother (85 yr) and I am in the great company of my partner Bill and my son Robin (15 yr) .

Bill
Bill

Surely and slowly my English dissolves and Courageous Bill, who is a wonderful English speaker looks at me with great concern as I become more and more not understandable .

 

my mother has minute memories of my school English , Bill does know the polite greetings and phrases and Robin is in theory bi-lingual ( he speaks wonderful German with our friends and there offspring).

 

 

One done, one to do
One done, one to do

 

I am always optimistic when I back for a visit to my mother; I back books to read, diaries to write, maybe even some watercolour paint and a sketch book. This time there is also a book about Deep Ecology for my MA! The time is spend with my mother, going into town , pottering around, going a bit mad with dealing with two languages , you get the picture.

Sorting out the Clematis
Sorting out the Clematis

So what does keep me sane in times like this is Knitting; a project small an simple to keep me and my fraying mind sane!

This time it is a pair of little slippers for my friend Bettina; we are off tomorrow to Minden for three days where my friends Michael and Bettina live with their three quite grown up children !

so the second slipper will be done by Friday night!

Happy Knitting!

P.S. If my grammar and sentence order is ever so slightly odd, read above again !