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British Wool, Diary Working with Wool, process, What's new?

Ancient Tools, Wool and Time at Archie Browns, Truro

Jamie Mills, who works at Archie Browns, a Health Food Shop, Vegetarian Cafe and Deli,  asked me a while ago to show some of my recent work in the cafe.

With gratitude I accepted the kind offer and since July a  show of photos and and a small installation (hand spun, plant dyed and hand knitted).

The photos are documentation of wool processes, from a visit at the Natural Fibre Company, Launceston, Bosigran Farm in Penwith, and my own processes of spinning and dying.

The exhibition is s glimpse into my art practise, where I am exploring wool as a sustainable material, natural and local resources and slow processes as a reflection and invitation to wellbeing.

The fibre, I used, came from the Natural Fibre Mills  and is their carding waste.

Occasionally  during in the carding processes something goes wrong, or there is a overlap between two carding lots, say Shetland and Wensleydale, (one could say its a mongrel) and the fibre can not be used for further processes.The shawl also does demonstrate my first adventure into dying with natural plant dyes, in this case onion skins, weld (yellow) and woad (blue).

Artist Statement

Wool is a living material, its connotations of clothing and keeping human mankind warm goes back to the beginning of humanity.

Wool provides the link, between our history and our presence, which I feel in my hands while engaging with a raw fleece, while quietly sitting watching how my hand spindle turns a cloud of something unformed into a form, a yarn.

The yarn becomes a symbol, it is the umbilical cord to the land, which feeds and clothes us.

The pieces, I created from this yarn become the witnesses of the time spend and an embodied holder the memory of this time: they invite reflection about our choices how we pass our time.

Wool becomes my companion in my daily enjoyment and engagement, the slow movement of a spindle, of a wooden needle grounds me, slows down time and lets my breath become slow and deep, guides me back into the presence. Wool speaks to people, brings back memories, asks to be touched, to be held and invites to use their hands and cherish the fruits of their hands, again.

Wool asks for tools and company, in such it becomes the vehicle to initiate collaborations with other artist, craftspeople and sometimes musicians.

Wool is my tool and aide to heal my own connection to the land and through my work and my invitations to others to share my vision and hope: fostering reflections towards a healed relationships with our environment, the one and only world we are living in.

British Wool, Christiane Berghoff, Craft and Making, Diary Working with Wool, Local, wellbeing, Wool and People

What creates long term and positive Change for the planet we are living on?

What creates change?
Fear can create change on the short-term, it can modify behaviour to avoid negative consequences .
On the long-term it is the positive experience, like sincere praise and appreciation which will lead to wanting to change for the positive. It is a challenging realisation that in the end only compassion and kindness will initiate healing, starting with ourselves and then reaching out to others people, to all beings on this planet .

Kindness

In our family we do buy our groceries predominantly at our local farmers market, country market and local shops. Only what we can’t buy there, we buy in a supermarket, even then we rather use the local Coop , as it is a franchise run by local people!

There is more than the rational reasoning behind it, to buy local as a means to support local economy, avoiding food miles etc. There is a very important human and emotional factor in this; over time we got to know the people behind the stalls, become more in tune with the natural seasons of our part of the world and feel more strongly part of our local community! Going shopping becomes something to look forward to rather than a chore, it’s meeting friends and sharing there joys and challenges in grow the food we cherish! Then your relationship to our food also changes, we value  and enjoy it so much more, as we know we can enjoy it with a good conscious .
Sometimes I find myself in a supermarket in front say some avocados, I do like them very much, but then I realise they come from Peru or Uganda, and I leave them as there are far too much air or freight miles attached to them. I will wait for the Turkish or Spanish avocados when they are in season at the end of the summer!
A few days later I went to the Trevalyn Farm Shop on the Helston Road, and there were, my Spanish avocados, small and ripe!
It also reminds me, that we’d live in an age of instant gratification. Waiting for a seasonal crop to come around , learning to enjoy what is locally available, requires a shift in thinking and feeling!

Whats that got to do with Wool and Making?

The same principle applies, using local or at least British Wool, reduces the environmental cost on extensive product travel and supports the local economy . The moment we start to make something ourselves, we learn patience and perseverance again. If we combine  local material and hand making we create a stronger bond not only to what we make, but also to our community and the place where we live.

Excerpt from the Campaign for Wool Website

The Campaign for Wool was initiated by His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales and launched in 2010 in the UK. It is supported by sheep farmers, manufacturers, retailers, consumers and wool lovers across the globe. Its simple agenda is to encourage greater understanding and use of real wool and its many natural and sustainable assets. In five years it has spread from the UK to fifteen countries internationally, has attracted millions of social media followers and in 2014 achieved media coverage valued at nearly $ 50 million. Funded by the leading wool grower organisations of the world, the Campaign for Wool has a long-term agenda to maintain a high-profile for wool as the superior natural fibre and works in partnership with wool industry partners globally. – See more at: http://www.campaignforwool.com/news-item/surfaces-2015/#sthash.

Working with local and British wool has changed my perception of clothing in a very deep and profound way. My awareness about the environmental impact of production of actually everything we consume has become a constant companion in my thinking. I am aware of my choices and where I can make decision with a lesser impact, I can choose to support producers by buying local and fair trade and organic as much as I can. It sometimes means waiting, for the right time, for the right item to be available to me.

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I spin and knit, daily, meditating, learning to be with the process , learning to be with the time it takes.

The Joy of Stitch

Boro – Fabric of Live Exhibition

These works are such a inspiration for my own work. The rugged and yet beautiful feel, creating something from rags to be part of life again.

Mountain Folkcraft

BORO
The Fabric of Life

The word boro means ‘patched together’ and here refers to the indigo-dyed patched-together garments of the Japanese rural population. Expensive cotton fabrics were reserved to the upper classes. As worn-out rags, they found their way cheaply into the hands of the peasants, who patched them together to create impressive garments of great aesthetic charm.

In their minimalist beauty, these recycled textiles stand not only for artistic creativity and the positive affirmation of the transitory nature of all existence, but also for respect for the natural material and the work of the hands.

The precursors of the boro textiles were the kesa, the garments worn by Buddhist monks, which were also patched together as the outward expression of the Buddhist ideal of poverty. Outstanding monks’ garments from the museum’s own collection have been incorporated into the boro exhibition.

By chance, I got to own a piece…

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British Wool, Craft and Making, Diary Working with Wool, process

Spinning Blue

Sitting at the Old Coastguard and I had set myself the task to finish the mittens off and the cushion cover. No big deal! (She said…….)
 
Also, I took with me a bit of the wool dyed with Woad from last weeks dying experience!
Fatal! It is so much fun to play with the bits, creating variegated yarn, looking at the bright blue sea! Bliss!
Why? Why is spinning such a fascinating thing to do? Spinning in my world is a very intuitive activity, it is all about hand and eye coordination, concentration to “draw” the right amount of fleece out , in order to create a reasonable even yarn. It seems to occupy a special part in the brain, it is predominantly about the feel of the hand and the wool and the spindle. Spinning does quite my mind, so much more than knitting and crochet! This might be because it is still new to me, I am not sure…………?
And I am slowly discovering ways of exploring different ways of creating yarn, from just plain coloured fleece, or carding different tones together to achieve tweedy yarn, by having two coloured wool in a way parallel in my hand. 
I am still so in awe about the woad dyeing, the blue colour is so alive, even in the pale blue of the exhausted dye vat. 
British Wool, Craft and Making, Diary Working with Wool

Turkish Spindle

My first Turkish Spindle arrived yesterday in the post! It makes me very happy that it is made in the UK! I bought it through Etsy from KerrySpindles (Lynn Corkery in Bridlington, England, UK)!

This is internet buying from People! We are having a lovely messaging exchange and it feels like working with a real person!

Spindle is made from Ash and Beech wood and it spins like a dream!

turish spindles allow to wind the yarn on into a ball instead of a cob. I am using at the moment the Aegean wind-on way, but I want to learn how to get a really neat ball! It has been very mesmerising and hard the put down!

Time slows down and flys by at the same time!

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.

Craft and Making

January 2015 events

MOPARRC

It is willow time folks! yes, time to bring in the crops and maybe get some fence edging done too if our weather cooperates. Work dates at MOP for the month of January are as follows:

Saturdays January 17 and 24 and Sundays January 18 and 25 11am-2pm each day*

* Technically, with a crew of 5 to 8 people it should only take 2 days… we have 4 dates booked so If the weather is super lousy we can  end early, if it is a monsoon, we don’t have to go at all…  but light to moderate mists and drizzle don’t stop us!

Dress for the weather, bring a  cup for tea, a snack to share if you wish and your own clippers and gloves if you have them. we have gloves and  clippers for group use too.

If weather shines upon us and the crops come in early…

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British Wool, Christiane Berghoff, Crochet, Embroidery, Knitting, process, wellbeing

# wellmaking Flowergarden at Archie Brown’s Cafe Penzance

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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!!

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.