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.

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

New Nalebinding needles made in Newlyn!

Couple of weeks ago I had meet by chance Justin Duance and his wife Poppy Treffry in Truro. I was working with my hand spun wool and the nalebinding needles. Justin is a jewellery maker and Poppy a textile designer\ maker! both very well known locally in Penzance/ Newlyn.
My work triggered their curiosity and we talked about old techniques and hand making.
I told them that the needles I was using where bought on Etsy, one set from Norway and the other one from North America and I hadn’t found any made in the UK. Also how much I would love to find someone locally who could make needles for me from sustainable woodb(local or reclaimed).
Immediately Justin offered very kindly to have a go, he would have the right wood and the machinery in his workshop. Very gratefully I accepted his offer!

So yesterday I went over to his workshop; I had made 3 cardboard templates and was really exited!
Justin had a piece of yew tree wood and first cut a smaller needle based on my Norwegian needle, I had made it a bit longer and bigger. He cut it out and with the sander brought it into shape !
I then sat down at his workspace with files and sandpaper to finish it of and when it was smooth enough Justin gave it a polish with some Teak oil.
Then Justin cut a thin and longer needle and I finished it off!
It was very satisfying it work with Justin, someone who understands what I am aiming for and how important the aspect of collaboration with local people and using local materials is for me.
I feel truly blessed to have given this opportunity and Justin invited me back to do some more !

The Joy of Stitch

Summer in the backyard or walking the talk

Resting in my backyard, knitting my summer shawl, quit music , a coffee and the dog under the table.

sometimes it take a bit of mental discipline to actually follow and do what I know to be beneficial for me, such as quite times.

the summer appears to be a time full of activities, swimming in the bay, dog walking, taking teenager to the beach for barbecues and surfing, Summer festivals, left, right and centre, Penzance just had the LitFest ( more in a separate post about my KnitLit afternoon last Saturday.

It is good to remember those precious moments of sitting still, hands gently moving and breathing ………..

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 !

 

 

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.

Uncategorized

Reading list

Deep ecology for the twenty-first century

Front Cover
Shambhala, 24 Jan 1995 – Nature – 488 pages
Every day, in newspapers and on television, we read and hear about the ongoing destruction of the environment: the greenhouse effect, ozone layer depletion, deforestation, and air and water pollution. Deep Ecology offers a solution to the environmental crisis through a radical shift in human consciousness—a fundamental change in the way people relate with the environment. Instead of thinking of nature as a resource to be used for human needs, Deep Ecology argues that the true value of nature is intrinsic and independent of its utility. Emerging in the 1980s as an influential philosophical, social, and political movement, Deep Ecology has shaped the environmental debate among leading activists and policymakers—from former Vice-President Al Gore to Dave Forman, cofounder of Earth First!Deep Ecology for the Twenty-First Century contains thirty-nine articles by the leading writers and thinkers in the filed, offering a comprehensive array of perspectives on this new approach to environmentalism, exploring:•  The basic philosophy of Deep Ecology.
•  Its roots in the writings of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and Rachel Carson.
•  The relationship of Deep Ecology to social ecology, ecofeminism, the Greens, and New Age futurism.
•  How Deep Ecology as a way of life is exemplified by two important environmentalists: poet Gary Snyder and Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess.
•  The philosophical dimensions of this environmental movement by its leading theorist.
•  The politics of ecological sustainability and the social and political implications of Deep Ecology for the next century.

Ecofeminist Natures:

Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action

Front Cover
Routledge, 1997 – Social Science – 260 pages
Examining the development of ecofeminism from the 1980s antimilitarist movement to an internationalist ecofeminism in the 1990s, Sturgeon explores the ecofeminist notions of gender, race, and nature. She moves from detailed historical investigations of important manifestations of US ecofeminism to a broad analysis of international environmental politics.

Race, Gender, Feminist Theory, and Political Action

Front Cover
Indiana University Press, 1996 – Social Science – 270 pages

Here feminist philosophers and ecofeminist scholars pursue the connections between feminism and environmentalism. Topics include the ecofeminist ethic; the role of patriarchal concepts in perpetuating the domination of women and nature; the grassroots origins and character of a thoughtful ecofeminism; the “ecofeminism-deep ecology debate” in environmental philosophy; deep ecological treatment of animal rights and the omission of ecofeminist analyses of the domination of animals, abortion, and nuclear deterrence; and ways ecofeminism and the science of ecology are or could be engaged in complementary, supportive projects.

The contributors are Carol J. Adams, Carol H. Cantrell, Jim Cheney, Chris Cuomo, Deane Curtin, Victoria Davion, Roger J. H. King, Stephanie Lahar, Patricia Jagentowicz Mills, Patrick D. Murphy, Val Plumwood, Catherine Roach, Robert Sessions, Deborah Slicer, and Karen J. Warren.

Women healing earth:

Third World women on ecology, feminism, and religion

Front Cover
Orbis Books, 1996 – Religion – 186 pages

Ecofeminism

Front Cover

Greta Gaard

Temple University Press, 3 Sep 2010 – Nature – 304 pages
Drawing on the insights of ecology, feminism, and socialism, ecofeminism’s basic premise is that the ideology that authorizes oppression based on race, class, gender, sexuality, physical abilities, and species is the same ideology that sanctions the oppression of nature. In this collection of essays, feminist scholars and activists discuss the relationships among human begins, the natural environment, and nonhuman animals. They reject the nature/culture dualism of patriarchal thought and locate animals and humans within nature. The goal of these twelve articles is to contribute to the evolving dialogue among feminists, ecofeminists, animal liberationists, deep ecologists, and social ecologists in an effort to create a sustainable lifestyle for all inhabitants of the earth. Among the issues addressed are the conflicts between Green politics and ecofeminism, various applications of ecofeminist theory, the relationship of animal liberation to ecofeminism, harmful implications of the romanticized woman-nature association in Western culture, and cultural limitations of ecofeminism.

Ecofeminism:

Women, Culture, Nature (Google eBook)

Front Cover

Karen J. Warren

Indiana University Press, 22 May 1997 – Nature – 472 pages

“… provides readers with a much-needed cross-cultural and multidisciplinary perspective on ecofeminist activism and scholarship.” — Iris

“… a very important contribution to the literature on ecological feminism.” — Ethics

“I think the unique collection of so many different perspectives will help to push readers out of their disciplinary views and work to bring theory and practice together in meaningful ways…. an excellent resource for scholars and teachers…” — Teaching Philosophy

Here the potential strengths and weaknesses of the growing ecofeminist movement are critically assessed by scholars in a variety of academic disciplines and vocations, including anthropology, biology, chemical engineering, education, political science, recreation and leisure studies, sociology, and political organizing.

Timeless Simplicity:

Creative Living in a Consumer Society

Front Cover
Green Books, 1 Jan 2001 – Nature – 107 pages

This is a book about simplicity – not destitution, parsimoniousness or self-denial, but the restoration of wealth in the midst of an afflence in which we are starving the spirit. It is a book about the advantages of living a less cluttered, less stressful life than that which has become the norm in the overcrowded and manic-paced consuming nations. It is a book about having less and enjoying more, enjoying time to do the work you love, enjoying time to spend with your family, enjoying time to pursue creative projects, enjoying time for good eating, enjoying time just to be.

The Joy of Stitch

Mindfulness and Stitching

Thich Nhath Hanh
Thich Nhath Hanh

“Breathing in, I calm body and mind. Breathing out, I smile. Dwelling in the present moment I know this is the only moment.”

― Thich Nhat HanhBeing Peace

Being mindful, while stitching, brings the dimension to it, I am looking for.

The book “Happiness” by Thich Nhath Hanh is a great inspiration on this way.

happiness

It makes a great difference when I stitch and calm my mind. I love the term “Monkey Mind”, it feels friendly, just something that is and sometimes it needs very gentle calming down, a chance to be grounded and relax. I can be kind to my own Monkey Mind and Stitching help’s me to find these moments when breathe and stitch and breathe and smile and with every Stitch come back to breathing in and out.

The Small One
The Small One

Stitching brings me into the present when I take care of my mind.

Mindfulness, Slowness, Environmental Responsibility and Connetedness with other people are foundation aspects in my work.

 

 

 

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.”