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.

The Joy of Stitch

Crafting at the Poly

“Making Things together ”
is a monthly series of workshops/talks in the context of the research project Co-creating Care

Crafting at The Poly,Falmouth with Shane Waltener:
Saturday 22 February: 10.30 a.m. – 1.00 p.m.

Trained as a sculptor, Shane Waltener’s work draws inspiration from craft traditions and processes. He leads co-creation events working with a range of materials and techniques, from Needlecraft to knitting to food crafts, weaving and basketry. Shane describes these as “a conversation through making” that reflects a shared creative journey. His projects are interactive, participatory and fun, as he shifts our attention away from the symbolic meaning of objects and materials to focus on process and the activity of working with them.

Shane will lead a workshop at the Poly in Falmouth on Saturday, 22nd February from 10:30am to 1pm. The event is open to everyone, but numbers are strictly limited, so please sign up on the Eventbright site, add link as soon as possible and bring your ticket with you.

This event is run in conjunction with the AHRC-funded project Co-Creating CARE, which aims to explore the relationship between making and connecting.
For more information about Care: http://cocreatingcare.wordpress.com/the-project/
For more information about Shane Waltener: http://www.shanewaltener.com/

For more information contact Dr Fiona Hackney: fiona.Hackney@falmouth.ac.uk and Mary Loveday-Edwards: mary.lovedayedwards@falmouth.ac.uk

Diary Working with Wool

Spinning in the Grease

Raw Shetland wool spun in the grease
Raw Shetland wool spun in the grease

Friday , 10. Oct. 2014

it is quite here on a Friday afternoon, people go home early.

I get lost in the process of spinning.

The rhythmic movements, repeating, spin, draw, wind unto the spindle, spin……. The fleece feels sticky, after a while there is on my finger brown grease residue. The yarn feels rough, I am pleased about a reasonable consistency in the thickness . I realise, I hardly notice the smell anymore.

Another small bucket full of fleece is washed and will dry over the week-end.

alongside I am listening to some Scandinavian or far more correct Sami music, Joiks, songs often with out words.

Spinning and listing to ancient music evokes a strong sense of appreciation in me. We are linked with our ancestors and in rediscovering these old links we can strengthening our sense of belonging to this earth.

Diary Working with Wool

Working with Raw Wool

Today is my 2. Day on my residency at Camborne College. I will keep a diary throughout my time here.
I appreciate so much to be given the chance to share my passion about wool,particular local and British with the students on the BA Conteporay Creative Pracises.

Friday, 10. Oct 2914
I am officially here now, with tag, email and internet log in!
Monday was my first day and I arrived with 6 sacks of wool!
The wool ranges from a Shetland fleece, I was given earlier this year for my birthday ( in conjunction with a lovely old spinning wheel), fleece from Bosigrian Farm on the North Coast of Penwith and carding discharge from the Natural Fibre Company in Launcton. Along side a big bag with spindles, carders and a niddy noddy ( skein winding tool, no joke! ).
Today, like Monday, I am washing the Shetland fleece, bit by bit, soaking with laundry detergent, rinsing, putting into a washing machine to spin and let it try.
In between I have picked out some fleece and I am carding it “in the grease” meaning unwashed. This is a very new experience for me, my hands love it, all the lanolin!
Today I will try to spin some of the raw wool.
The whole process give a strong in depths feeling to the material.
My thoughts wander to times when this was nessity for clothing people…….. Every piece of clothing we wear, starts with a spun 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 .

The Joy of Stitch

Between Book and Stitch

I am essay writing and as it is heartbreaking to sit in front of a computer on such a beautiful day, as it is today, I am grateful for the chance to completely  be immersed in the thoughts of Sustainability and Art and where I place myself. And I got roughly an idea…….. In the meantime, it is good to walk the talk and do a few stitches, almost to rewire myself and let the other brain half have a go…..

The idea of Six nations is a metaphor for the all non-human and human being, equal, it sees plants, insects, birds, fish, mammals and human as a nation with equal rights.  An image which is strongly related to ideas from Deep Ecology.

The Joy of Stitch

Poetry

Sometimes I see something in this strange digital world and it feels someone has put into words,

what I feel. There is a sense of recognition and knowing.
These words   from Toko-Pa and the image from Polina Yakovleva went straight to my heart:

Lightening Fires of Affection

So many of us are out at sea, looking for home. We try this way and that,

battling the endless march of adversaries, led by cynicism and apathy.

We fight them with every poetry we possess. We are gentle. We yield.

We get back to navigating our crafts.

Every once in a while, exhaustion can turn into despair.

The tiny flame, which takes our every resource to shield,

blows out on an unexpected gust.

Even then, lightless and alone, some of us remount our enterprise.

It helps to think of more than ourselves.

It helps to see the earth workers, the artists, the mothers,

the lovers, the singers, the poets and dreamers as threads in a web.

By ourselves we are fragile strands, songs with no listeners,

but together we are a relentless network.

Wherever there is depression,

there is colour made vivid by the grey.

When I feel this fog rolling in on me,

I light fires of affection in the hearts of others.

I tell them in tangible ways

how the life they live makes me live mine differently,

how precious and important they are to the rest of us.

That fire then becomes like a beacon which burns through

the grey and which I can sail towards.”

Toko-Pa Turner

Artwork by Polina Yakovleva
Artwork by Polina Yakovleva

 

http://toko-pa.com/2013/10/18/lighting-fires-of-affection/.

The Joy of Stitch, Wool and People

My Practise

“In the old days, the old fellows were sitting around, all the women were laughing , joking – so all that conversation has gone into the basket.”

Verna Nichols , Tasmania

This quote gathered to much up, how I feel about my practise.
When I look again at the cloth were people have embroidered on on now 4 occasions, it seems as if I can still her the voices, the stories and the laughter. And I see as well those, how were quietly stitching, not saying much, but listing and still part, adding their stitches.
My practise has these two aspects
– creating spaces where people can experience again a communal situation, of working with their hands creatively and being with people
– working on my own with very slow technique using Embroidery, Knitting, Crochet and very recently hand spinning as a meditative activity
– Working with my “traveling” projects where ever I am, on the train, in Cafés, with friends talking at the Folk evenings in my home town

image

Sometimes when I pick up a embroidered cloth, or a hat, knitted from my own pattern and from well chosen wool, I smile as the memories flood back.
The more I think about it, the more I realise that the underlying intend for my activities, shared and alone is Wellbeing.

The Joy of Stitch, Wool and People

“Stitch at a Time” went on Show

I was invited by Ilker Cinarel to take part in the exhibition:

INNterval – An artistic collaboration at the Halsetown Inn – a tribute to the legacy of J.Henry Irving.

The Halsetown Inn, 2nd / 8th February 2014

It was a mixed media show, ranging from painting, drawing, sculpture, video, photography and Embroidery!

It was a wonderful night for me, as right from the beginning of the private view till the end people were gathering around the table and started stitching. As a space became free, someone new joined in!

When I was talking to people, I noticed the joy and pleasure, they took out of this rather unexpected opportunity in the context of an otherwise conceptual exhibition setting. It was interesting to watch people stitching and talking, with great intensity!

I am very thankful to Ilker Cinarel, for the opportunity to show my work and to all the people who became participants in the Joy of Stitch!

Wool and People

Tricks with Old Tools

Practice presentation College December 2013
Vicky, Christiane and Claire working with a Lucette

Some years ago, during the annual “Woolfest” in Cockermouth near Carlisle, I found at the stand off the Mulberry Dyer (http://www.mulberrydyer.co.uk/) a tool called ‘Lucette’.

Lucet
Lucite

This tool predates French Knitting and was used for braiding a wide range of everyday items.

In my research on the internet I found a very interesting range of design, some with a handle, some without like the one above.

From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopaedia

lucet is a tool used in cord making or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking[1] and Medieval[2] periods, when it was used to create cords that were used on clothing,[1] or to hang items from the belt.[3][4] Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loop like knots, and therefore will not unravel if cut. Unlike other braiding techniques such as kumihimofinger-loop braiding or plaiting, where the threads are of a finite length, lucetted braids can be created without pre-measuring threads and so it is a technique suited for very long cords.

Archaeological finds and a literary description of lucets strongly suggest that its use declined after the 12th century,[2] but was revived in the 17th century.[5] Its use waned again in the early 19th century.[4]

A modern lucet fork, like that pictured, is normally made of wood, with two prongs at one end and a handle on the other. It may also have a hole through which the cord can be pulled. Medieval lucets, in contrast, appear to be double-pronged, straight-sided implements, often made of bone.[6] Some were shaped from hollowed bones, left tubular, presumably so that the cord could be drawn through the centre hole.[2]

In a seminar, where we were asked to show an example of our practice, I decided to demonstrate how to use a Lucette.

Two of my fellow students, Claire and Vicky agreed to volunteer and received a crash course in “lucetting”!!!

We used wool from the Vicarage Farm in Penryn, which I had bought some time ago at the Falmouth Farmers Market.

My two volunteers learned the trick of the trade very quickly and enjoyed the new techniques.

I was inspired by the artist Francoise Dupre, whose work incorporates French knitting and participation.

Participation and FRench Knitting
Participation and FRench Knitting
Interview with Francoise Dupre
Interview with Francoise Dupre
Francoise Dupre, spiral
Francoise Dupre, Spiral
Irish Knitting at the Musuem in Dublin
Irish Knitting at the Musuem in Dublin

de fil en aiguille snaith nasc, 2004
French knitting, Four needle knitting, Irish knitting stitches, wide range of yarns including plastic, cotton and wool and digital prints
Installation at the Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin
The project is based on social interaction and creative collaboration between artist and participants. The design of the installation is inspired by the Museum Formal Garden and Irish knitting.
-Floor piece: 4m x 4m x 10cm-
-Wall piece: 209 video stills, 6cm x 4.5cm-
-Mixed yarns and digital prints-

From: http://nikkiwhittingham.wordpress.com/2012/09/28/francoise-dupre/