I graduated in 2015 with my MA Art and Environment from Falmouth University. Since then life has been a fair bit of a rollercoaster, slowly the stormy waves of life are settling and I am literally picking up the lose threads.
Since then I have been involved during summer 2017in the School of Craft at Newlyn Art Gallery, where I enjoyed teaching a range of taster workshops from Hand spinning to Matchbox Weaving and taking part in Sarah Johnson’s Indigo Workshop.
As I am still in recovery, I have returned to the the gentle art of stitching, finishing small hand stitched projects, learning English Paper Piecing and taking part in Indigo dyeing workshops.
We had a great afternoon at Archie Brown’s Penzance on the 13. December 2014. A group of ca 8 people stayed for the afternoon , about 2 hours, there was laughter and sharing stories , listing to others, helping others, learning new tricks.
At the end there was a strong call to do a afternoon like this again. People appreciated the companionship and ease of being with each other.
So watch this space. Somehow it came to me , that I would love to initiated pop- up event, indifferent places and the phrase “A Spot of Crafting” popped up in my head!!
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……..
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.
My ‘mother blog’ ONE STITCH AT TIME has become a new sister blog!
The original blog will remain my main blog as an artist/researcher, featuring my work, my collaboration and my projects, also there projects in the planning which will have their own specific blogs. To have blogs for certain purposes has the advantage that the individual blogs remain small, easier to manage and to navigate.
So the first offshoot, ‘Fiddlesticks by the Tea’, is a conversational platform, sharing my passion of working in public and my love for quirky individual cafes, hotels and pubs. I am a great believer in supporting the local economy and therefore the small local businesses are my mainstay.
The good old Weatherspoon on Sundays is an exception, here is having a relaxed and affordable time with my 17 year old son the priority (If Sean’s Diner were open on Sundays, there would be an alternative…..maybe, Robin would say.)
Friends often remarked, that there is hardly a cafe in the area, where I haven’t been.
I love being amongst people, watching, listing, following my thoughts, finding inspiration and enjoying conversations, which often arise from remarks about the work I have under my hands.
Every year the wool company Wingham Wool comes to visit my local Guild. it is always very exiting, as it is a bit like wine tasting! It is trial spinning of all the fibres on offer! I was very positively surprised to find a good range of British Sheep Roving and again discovered breeds I hadn’t heard before like Massham sheep.I bought some Wensleydale fleece, which still needs carding and some Black Welsh. there is so much more to learn for me and I find this endlessly fascinating!
On Saturday 24th May we had another workshop at the Poly in Falmouth. Originally this was to be a glass workshop, but the leader was unable to come, so the lovely Christiane Berghoff stepped in to lead a group workshop on cord-making. We had three different methods of making cord to play with: crochet, knitting (French knitting) and the lucette (a weird quasi-pagan looking instrument that, had we not all been lovely people, would have been the subject of fighting over).
Christiane talked about the ideas that concern her practice – sustainability, the importance of community, and the centrality of making. Then we each taught each other a skill that we already had (I had none to begin with….) and everyone swapped around, so that by the end we’d each had a go on each of the three cord-making methods, and we’d each taught someone at least one skill (perhaps…
Here’s the link to the Eventbrite page where you can book a place at Sue’s workshop making bunnies. Or you can drop me an email here and I’ll put you on the list. Don’t forget to follow the blog – the posts will come to your inbox, and you’ll find out about everything as it happens.
Sue Bamford bunnies
A blog I follow had some very interesting things to say this week. It’s not a crafting blog but more about well-being and knowing how to find your best place in the world. It’s written by Martha Beck, and said, in part:
People started telling me to “be here now” when I was about 20. “Great!” I responded. “How?” Be still, they said. Breathe. Well, fine. I started dutifully practicing meditation, by which I mean I tried to be still while compulsively planning my next billion-watt wow. But one day…
Katherine Martinko ponders this question in a blog on Treehugger (great site generally, btw). So why would you?
Martinko points out four main reasons why we might want to do this. These reasons just keep coming up in all the work we are doing with crafters – they are common to all the people we speak to. They are:
Creating a product of high quality.
A way to reclaim independence.
Can help a local industry.
It feels really good to make something by hand.
You can read more about each one in the article here. Plus – there are some really interesting things to read in the comments section, including people who say that in some places, women were not allowed to knit – knitting was a man’s job and women were only allowed to crochet! When I write more about Bethan Corkhill’s talk at Beyond the Toolkit I will…