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

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.

 

The Joy of Stitch

The Japanese Inspiration

Vintage Sashiko
Vintage Sashiko

I have been reading in Jane Brocket’s book ‘The Gentle Art of Stitchning’ and came across Sashiko Embroidery. I amfazinted by the imagges of old, traditionalle Sashiko, which was used for darning and embellishing at the same time. I love the look of the worn and faded indigo dyed cloth, embroidered with white cotton yarn. I had come across these images before when I was researching about the Japanese  Wabi-Sabi philoshophy . So many aspects of this tradition appeal to me, it the simplicity of the stitch, the matrial and the underlying idea to use it for mending and caring.

The Joy of Stitch

Conceptual Research

The Conceptual Research

 My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

My practice evolved out of my research for my dissertation ‘Stitch, Yarn and People’. I had of with researching artists who used Textile material and techniques in their work. Soon I discovered the aspect of Participation with the use of Textile techniques/materials.

Conversations with a Mark Leahy, a performance artist, brought me into contact with Richard Powell and the group ‘halfangel’ (www.halfangel.ie/knitting.ie/theknittingmap.html‎).

Also with Gareth Ballyn and his project ‘evenfeed’ (www.garethballyn.co.uk/2012/01/even-feed/‎)

Both were a defining part of my dissertation and I have been writing in my blog about them. Both were projects, though very different in scale and duration, which were the greatest influence for me.

These projects made me aware that the emphasis for me lies in the process of the activity, the slow process of embroidery/stitch, the embedded concerns regarding ecological responsibility and sustainability.

The first step was to choose an ongoing project for myself, stitching on pieces of Hemp with wool yarn, which is produced in Britain.Over time three pieces of stitch on cloth evolved.

three piecesThree Pieces Stitch on Hemp Cloth, 2013-05-28

 I documented the process, the journey and reflection about it through video, photography and writing. In the process the following aspects of my work became relevant: 

 The Activity – embroidery/stitching as a durational process

The Participation – sharing the activity through projects and events

The Collaboration – creating dialogues with other artists, like musicians, as in this body of work.

Influential were also ideas from aesthetics and concerns, based in Zen philosophy and Japanese Craft design.

Wabi-Sabi

Excerpt from Wikipedia

Wabi-Sabi (?) Represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centrered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”.[1] It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin?), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō?), the other two being suffering (苦 ku?) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 kū?).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetryasperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog:   http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Japanuese Textiles
Mended coat by Junko Oki

Accept the inevitable… Life is fleeting and transient…. impermanent. That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… and get rid of the unnecessary.

 That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature.

Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry, asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

From the Blog: http://donnawatsonart.blogspot.co.uk/2012/02/wabi-sabi-poetry.html

Accept the inevitable… life is fleeting and transient…. Impermanent.

That is why Zen teaches one to live in the moment… focus on the intrinsic small details… And get rid of the unnecessary.

That is why Zen and Wabi-Sabi are so tied to nature. Truth comes from observing nature Also the writing of Tim Ingold (LINES – A short History of Lines and Creative Entanglements) was informative.

Looking back, I realized that my greatest inspiration during the past academic year came from conversation with other artist, painters, textile artists and musicians about process, sensibilities towards mindfulness, holistic approaches, environmental responsibilities, slowness and appreciation of being in the moment.

The Joy of Stitch

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

IMG_4290
Sue Dove at the “Coffee, Cake and Stitch” Event, May 2013

I meet Sue Dove in 2002, when I had started my A level course in Textiles and she was running a drop-in session at her studio in Hayle. I experienced Sue as a very intuitive teacher, who aimed at supporting student in their way of expression, never imposing her own way and approach. Sue’s own work defies to be easily categorized, for me it is to  strong, colorful and individually: one can detect influences from the Fauves, Expressionism and Folk Art. Her work no matter which medium she uses , may it be stitched on canvas, sculpture in fabric and stitch, mixed media, paint or print, speaks of a great joy of Making. Looking again at the wide range of her work it brings home to me, that I admire her strength not to be pigeon-holed.“Sue Dove is an artist, teacher, curator; she paints, stitches and prints;She was head of HND Textile Fine Art of Cornwall College and runs ‘Art for Health’ and ‘Alternative Doll’ workshops. She graduated from Liverpool School of Art in 1974. After travels in Cornwall, Morocco and ten years living in Australia, she settled back in Cornwall in the mid nineties. Her book, ‘Painting with Stitches’ is available from Searchpress.com”  (From: http://www.workshopontheweb.com/july2001/dove.pdf) Often over the years,when we met at various places and events, we often would have a laugh, because we would have some kind of “needlework” in our bags! Making is a way of life for Sue, once she told me about wrapping yarn around cord as part of her sculptures while waiting for the bus! We both are often asked, how we find the time for this “time consuming” activity, and the answer is we do, where and whenever we can. Sometime ago, I had told Sue about my project ” Time and Stitch” and also the follow up ” Coffee, Cake and Stitch”. Not only was she happy to contribute and take part in both projects, she also agreed to the meet me for an afternoon to talk about Stitch and Creativity. Even so our work is very different, we both share one particular aspect:

“The Joy of Stitch”

An Afternoon with Sue Dove

Sue Dove
Sue Dove

So today Sue joined me for Tea and Cake and a very good conversation. Typically for her, as soon as she sat down, she took one of her Stitched Pictures out and started, talking and stitching, so did I!

Work by Sue Dove
Work for the Unit 11 Show at Morvah Schoolhouse 2012
The Small One - work in progress
The Small One – work in progress

I asked Sue if she remembered when she started to stitch/embroider and why; Sue said, after her graduation, she specialized in Weaving, then she found it challenging and impractical to carry on when she started a family and needed a way of working, that was more portable and allowed to work in small but often moment and Stitch offered the perfect solution. It was fascinating for me because I developed Embroidery as a medium from similar experience, initially haveing a small child and needing matreial which fits into life. In the process I developed a deeper appreciation for work with yarn, needle and cloth. Sue and I have in common a deep to pick up something yarn related everyday, carrying it with us. Sue showed me the part of her current project, she had finished during a meeting of the St. Ives Society of Artists’s meeting. Sue’s work is related to Folk Art, Art Fauve, Expressionism and she translates her ideas fluidly into drawing, oil pastel work, Paintings and Embroideries: she said that she very happily sells her paintings and drawings but find it hard to let go of her embroideries as they carry so much of  her life in them. I whole heartedly can empathize with this feeling! Sue also said that the process of stitching, the repetition of movement, the feel of the yarns and threads are a great pleasure. This deep joy comes out for us in our work and we feel we can communicate it with those people who can connect with our work.  There is a tactile quality in the work which we cherish and want to share.              

Uncategorized

Wabi-Sabi

The book “New Standard Craft” about Japanese contemporary craft, embedded in a specific ethic and aesthetic context (simplicity as a value in time were “less” is “more”‘) was and is still my major inspiration behind my work. At the beginning it was the simplicity of the image and the paired down aesthetic of the objects. To me it has a link to William Morris quotation:

“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to useful, or believe to be beautiful ” William Morris

Also the essays in this book give an insight into the thinking of the designers involved (more reading and extracting of content to follow)

NEW STANDARD CRAFT
New Standard Crafts – Seikatsu Kogei Kazumi Tsuji

The following images are from the book “NEW STANDARD CRAFTNEW STANARD CRAFT  LADLENEW STANDARD CRAFT Seikatsu Kogei

NEW STANDARD CRAFT GLAS

Today in the library I “found” the book about Wabi-Sabi. I remember someone talking about it and it is just what I have been looking for! To me it appears to be the aesthetic philosophy linked to Buddhism  and Japanese Crafts aesthetic.

Wabi-sabi

Zen garden of Ryōan-ji. It was built during the Higashiyama period

A Japanese tea house which reflects the wabi-sabi aesthetic in Kenroku-en (兼六園) Garden

Wabi-sabi tea bowl, Azuchi-Momoyama period, 16th century

Wabi-sabi () represents a comprehensive Japanese world view or aesthetic centered on the acceptance of transience and imperfection. The aesthetic is sometimes described as one of beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete”. It is a concept derived from the Buddhist teaching of the three marks of existence (三法印 sanbōin), specifically impermanence (無常 mujō), the other two being suffering (苦 ku) and emptiness or absence of self-nature (空 ).

Characteristics of the wabi-sabi aesthetic include asymmetry,asperity (roughness or irregularity), simplicity, economy, austerity, modesty, intimacy and appreciation of the ingenuous integrity of natural objects and processes.

Description

“Wabi-sabi is the most conspicuous and characteristic feature of traditional Japanese beauty and it occupies roughly the same position in the Japanese pantheon of aesthetic values as do theGreek ideals of beauty and perfection in the West.” “if an object or expression can bring about, within us, a sense of serene melancholy and a spiritual longing, then that object could be said to be wabi-sabi.” “[Wabi-sabi] nurtures all that is authentic by acknowledging three simple realities: nothing lasts, nothing is finished, and nothing is perfect.”