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.

Diary Working with Wool

Making skeins

Making Skeins

i spend the morning spinning with this almost white fleece, I don’t know what breed it is as it comes from the carding waste. It has a beautiful lustre when it comes of the cob ( the cob is the wool which comes of the spindle). It was very still and quiete in the studio, the 1. Years are going through their induction phase.

Later on I wound the yarn from the cob into skeins with the help do a niddy noddy. When I mentioned to my partner first that I needed to use a niddy noddy, he thought I was joking and making it up.

Mine came from Carol Grace, retired Textile lecturer and it is a very useful tool to wind yarn into skeins when no helping “arms” are around.

The skeins are the next step of preparation for dying the yarn.

The Guild of Weavers, Spinners and Dyers Cornwall is holding coming Friday an Indigo Dying day and I will attend.

It is quite humbling for me to see the fruits of my labor, by Friday , I will have 5 skein of whitish yarn. I didn’t clock the time, because being with the spinning, the process, the hand movements, which slowly but surely becoming more familiar is what holds my fascination. The feel and the texture of the fleece and  the still lingering smell of sheep bring the origin of my material back to me. The memory of an  afternoon spend on Bosigran farm, even though we had missed the sheering, the sheep and billy goats were still about.

Working with very little processed wool feels like going back to a source material, something basic and still so  essential ……

How does one give a reflective commentary about a meditative and grounding experience? It has to be experience, to be embodied , become part of life………………

The studio is deserted, students gone home, it is still, I can hear the traffic, the late afternoon light begins to fade, I long to be outside with my spindle……..

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.

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.