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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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 ………..

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.

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

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

And they were stitching again !

What wonderful opening of the symposium ” Beyond the Toolkit”!
It has been a great afternoon of meeting people who are going to give talks and workshops tomorrow in the context of the symposium.
I am very grateful for Fiona Hackney and her team who created this amazing event and cast the net to bring so many people together; people who bring their keen interest in the relationship of Craft and Wellbeing to this event and share their ideas, stories and experiences.
One of tonight’s speakers was Monika Auch, a visual artist and medical researcher. More about her work and her project “Stitch your Brain” tomorrow !!!

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!

The Joy of Stitch

Good reasons for Knitting

TreeHugger is a new discovery for me and this post which I have copied here in order to share it speaks from my heart!!!

I found this there:

http://www.treehugger.com/sustainable-fashion/why-bother-knitting-scarf.html

Knitting a Scarf, again by Katherine Matinko
Knitting a Scarf, again by Katherine Matinko

I’ve started knitting again after a year-long break. I bought some beautiful hand-dyed, locally spun yarn in a brilliant mottled fuchsia, and then I got to work, knitting furiously for two days straight until I realized that my new infinity scarf was disproportionately huge. I had to undo everything and start over, my enthusiasm somewhat dampened.

When I took my knitting to a friend’s house, someone asked an interesting question: “Why would you bother knitting a scarf? It’s so much work and you can buy a great scarf for cheap anywhere.” It’s a good question. If it’s easy to buy a decent scarf for $10 at H&M, why would I spend $50 on handspun yarn and another week of knitting in order to get a finished product? It’s hardly economical.

But there’s more to it than that. The act of knitting is a strange combination of relaxation and activism, of protest and tradition. My urge to pick it up again started last month after reading Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion by Elizabeth Cline. (You can read my review here.) The author pushes for a “slow clothes” movement, the fashion equivalent of “slow food,” in which consumers start paying attention to the background of their clothes and what has gone into their production. Knitting is my small contribution to the slow clothes movement for the following reasons:

I’m creating a product of high quality. Because I’ve invested money and time into this scarf, it is far more valuable than anything I could buy for $10. I will care for it and it will last for many years, keeping its shape and colour long after cheaper scarves have fallen apart. Clothing is devalued in North America to the point where it’s practically disposable. It would be far better for the Earth if we stopped buying cheap items that don’t last and invested in fewer, higher quality items that do last.

Knitting is a way to reclaim independence. We live in a world where we depend on certain individuals and companies to perform highly specialized tasks for us. There’s something satisfying about taking on some of the responsibility for clothing production and sending a message to the industry that I don’t need them to make my scarves.

Knitting can help a local industry. It wasn’t cheap to buy two skeins of that locally produced yarn, but at least I’m making a statement with my consumer dollars to a nearby farmer, endorsing his or her decision to make a living raising sheep. According to Cline, if every American redirected 1 percent of their disposable income to domestically-made products, it would create 200,000 jobs. Cheap imported clothes become a lot more expensive when you calculate the loss of domestic jobs.

Finally, it feels really good to make something by hand. There’s something very peaceful about performing a simple, repetitive act with my fingers that results in useful yet beautiful things.

Do you knit or have another ‘slow clothes’-related hobby?