Saturday, December 24, 2011

Peaceful thoughts

The Peace of Wild Things

When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting with their light. For a time

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

Wendell Berry

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Greetings to the coming of the Light

Being as it is dark about 4 o'clock nowadays we are eagerly awaiting the coming of the light and the season of the are our best wishes for you and yours at this lightful time of the year. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

off the cuff

Here is a selection of Christmas gallery works that I have made most recently... the first are felted bracelets which were inspired by Anita Larkin, and are made over copper wire so that they are adjustable and flexible.. Anita Larkin is a wonderful feltmaker in Australia, and does a lot of sculptural work...she was very generous in sharing her process and I have had much fun making these/
The next photo is of work inspired by a wonderful Canadian feltmaker, Marjolein  and I have been making these pod type pieces for quite awhile and just recently making them into neckpieces. 
They are so organic and rich that I wanted to be able to wear them so the neckpieces came to me late summer and I moved on the idea, extending what I had already learned...
The third pic is of cuffs made with silk that was dyed in multi colours and then lightly felted with wool on the inside.  I have made a large selection of these and they are lightweight and very organic looking, I do prefer nuno with the silk side out, as I have stated before, so these are really a way to
utilize that process and make them very appealing to me. 
I have just returned from the Christmas Faire here on the island where I live, and the cuffs were really well received and the neckpieces, in fact considering the power went out and we had to close two hours early, I did quite well, and so many people love felt.. It is really taking off these days.
I always remember when I first started felting with my good friend and mentor Alma Schofield, that there were about 5 or 6 felting books on the market and it was not very well known by the general public, now the story is quite different and there are so many wonderful felters in the world.  It has been fun watching the resurgence of the craft of felting and seeing how things come full circle on so many of the arts and crafts movement.  Wonder what will be next....
for me  the next week-end is a two day event on a neighbouring island, and hopefully the sun will shine and the power will stay on the meantime, mushroom dyeing is on the table, and have done some cuffs with the mushroom dyes, and with the eucalyptus, which is the plant that truly "keeps on giving:" lol

Sunday, October 23, 2011

dance of abundance

Cortinarias are popping up but what type is still in question...perhaps "croceus" but perhaps one of the other hundred of types of these shrooms, but these have lovely tan tops and gold/orange gills, and now I have them at home have separated the caps from the stipes and have cooked the caps and soaked the stipes...the wool is cooling in the mordant and tomorrow will be the telling moment.  I believe my water is almost neutral ph although I did use tap water.  Oh the fun of fall.   I was able to pick some today but due to a cold, dh picked a lot in the past few days as well as these photos, to let me see where he had the photos...
tomorrow I will start cutting and  soaking the hydnellum peckii (older) which we got on our camping trip last week up north. There were no young ones but a few older ones, so I will try them.
The trip was a great success as the weather was good enough to camp and the shrooms were out. No cauliflowers, and no lobsters which is quite a surprize. 
So the hunt continues, for colour and shrooms...I love the fall

Monday, October 3, 2011

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL FELT UNITED DAY....something blue, which was the theme and purple but can't find anything purple except this print. 
This is a wall hanging of a sunflower which is about 5 feet long and two feet is beaded around the edges of the petals, and some free motion embroidery on the surface with a lot of french knots. 
Hope everyone is having a wonderful felting day. 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Summer sanity

Here is where I have been this summer, or at least part of the summer, felt jewellery, and felted vests and nuno shawls and now harvest and stopping to eat peaches and dry them....the markets are almost over and I have  a few orders to fill and now back to work for three days a week.The pictures are of a few of the neckpieces I sold this summer, and the top piece was inspired by work of several artists, and hopefully I did something original with the piece...I have several pieces of these lichen/sea anenomes and they are turning into the neckpieces and look great..I made several before I knew what I was going to do with it...I just loved the process and now it is paying off with new ideas, so I was thrilled...I showed them at a local gallery and they were much commented on and that was before I made them into jewellery.   the other two were pieces made earlier, the shibori indigo beads which has a definitely japanese flavour to it, in my mind, and the multi coloured fun piece was quickly was a wonderful summer, not hot, rainy enough to keep the garden happy and fruitful, and enough people at the market enjoying my work to keep me satisfied, not to mention selling work which allowed me to buy more some lovely silk, and some fine merino I am busy dyeing and doing some eco printing and then felting into it, and some gathering of dyeing supplies.  Fall is an amazingly busy time, and it sneaks up on me every year.  I love the fall and I hope we get a long indian summer and then lots of rain for the mushrooms, that would be perfect.  I have been doing indigo dyeing and mordanting like crazy and even did a cochinel dye bath, and it is still giving me colour.  Have done some ragweed, and some oregon grape dyeing as well and will have photos shortly.   People really appreciated the felting at the galleries, and you can see that it is more generally recognized, and so the felting world is definitely expanding.   I can see people are really seeing the felt work and appreciating it.  Also the natural dyeing, although I don't exclusively do that, I mostly do it with a dash of synthetic every once in awhile...and this week the synthetics were in teal and deep rusty ochre, and I really like this back to the workbench and more fun and obsession...hope everyone is enjoying their end of summer and looking forward to a long and fruitful fall.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Did want to correct the previous post, as it is not a natural process, as chemicals are used, but do not exhaust dangerous fumes, and is not a fermentation but a reduction process.....will post more pics as soon as the fibres are dry and showing their true "blueness" very very excited...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Indigo cold vat

Definitely into the blue realm today, after making a vat of indigo with a new method, thanks to the teachings of Barbara Shapiro, who was so generous with her teachings, (she does workshops) and is a wonderful artist and weaver, here are the results of my cold vat of indigo, no chemicals and can safely be poured on your garden once the ph is cool is that!! major cool...
and it is looking good...this is the silk boucle, which sucked up the blue, I have done four consecutive dips and this is the colour wet, it will fade somewhat in colour once it is dry but I am in love with the new method of dyeing with indigo, and see much more in my future. I will now attempt to overdye some of my weld, etc, yellow natural dyed wools and see how that works, and also some silk material that I would love to felt with if dyed in indigo. The skeins are dripping as I write, and will dry overnight before I rinse them and do a vinegar rinse to bring the ph back to form for the wool...I am sooooo excited by this, and dh did a video of me doing it and you can see the yarns going from green to blue as they oxidize...oh let the magic continue...we love natural dyeing and you cannot have too much alchemy in your world as far as I am concerned....and this is definitely alchemy!
back to the indigo and there will be more.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Solstice obsessions

Here is the solstice post and a small peek at what I have been obsessing printing on muslim, is the first shot...and I wrapped this in an old bed spring and which made rust marks after a few days, then I overdyed in eucalyptus....which does miraculous things because even some of the rust that was invisible, was brought out by the tannin in the eucalyptus.   Am learning more and more about eco printing on materials from the queen of eco dyeing , India Flints book, which is full of fabulous inspiration....Amazing how things change, as the first time I saw her work several years ago, I really didn't appreciate it, even though I was into natural dyeing I just could really "see" it....and then voila, I saw it and loved it, and am working with it although I am not very adept at it many processes in my head must keep more notes the older I get, sometimes I begin something I have done before and don't remember until I am half way through it, that I had done it easier and better before, so notetaking will begin in ernest...through necessity, as I am more of an alchemist than a notetaker....I love the not knowing usually, rather than the detail repeatable process..  The next is some nuno felt shawls I did awhile ago and haven't posted I have a huge table, thank god, I can work larger than before...more work more fun, more room..Am beginning a new series of work, which is going slowly  because of a sprained right wrist but it is moving.   Summer is here, the garden is wonderful and the days doable in felt..... what more can I ask...well, more silk materials, more wool....okay I could ask for more but I am definitely blessed.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

fairly fleeced

Raw fleece has been involved, and lots of water and soap, and some silks and cordage, all very invigorating and loving all the natural fleece, of course, I could always use more and different textured fleece. I have some very short very curly black face >>>something fleece  which I can't remember the name of , if anyone could help identify I would be grateful as that is the fleece I need, (want) now to add to the textures.  I have some but they are all dyed and I wanted to use the natural tones....I am making a triangulated bag from the bottom photo, and it is still metamorphing into, ??!@@
who knows but it is fun....and the larger piece is also destined for a bag...It was fun using the locks again, as mostly I have used them for collars and boas, but this was more random, although the technique was useful to know...I am working on a wee series from nature and will post more when I have worked it through...very fun..and also have wrapped some bed springs in muslin, and then put it in eucalyptus bath...which tended to turn the rust black and dye the rest camel coloured...very attractive and also have some bundles which were a mix of petals, lemons, leaves and that bundle is still holding its mystery...ah, I love that expression....."holding the mystery"   I think that is the alchemy I love about doing creative work.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Because I felt like it

Here is my latest endeavour in felting.  It is for the Grandmothers for Grandmothers auction here on the island and we all did chairs for auctioning.  I chose a stool and thought I would felt it...then I thought of zebra designs in the felt...all sounded okay and I began, then the "tail " of the zebra surfaced and I was super excited about doing it...just adding a little humour made the project way more fun for me, and I even added horsehair from a horse tail on the felted in beautifully and the whole process was lengthy but rewarding and now onto more nuno shawl work...I have been doing a series of shawls from silk and wools, and now I finally have a 4 x 8 foot table to work on I have much larger pieces to consider....More work but very easy to do with the right table...I have been doing a lot of experimenting and playing and have lots of new ideas for the summer line of clothing and felting. 
Summer is still not truly here, the tomatoe plants are in the glass room in flower waiting for warmer nighttime temps and seems like we will be waiting until June here on the wet coast.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wolf Moss makes my day

Here is my most recent dyeing with vulpina lepidinum, or wolf moss, gathered by my friend Isabelle, up in the Chilcotin...and it dyes with the clearest of yellows...I know, we can get a lot of yellows from natural dyes, but this yellow is so clear and just the right colour for me..I had dried this and then used it by soaking overnight, then bringing to a simmer and then sieving, and putting in some silk/wool combos that had been mordanted with alum and cream of tartar....I love the yellows...I was going to tip it with some iron but just couldn't bring myself to do that as the yellows were so wonderful.
I am now in the midst of felting and dyeing with eucalyptus, the leaves that keep on giving, and now that the blogging is going okay, I will post again soon....spring has definitely sprung, but still cool here, and my woad plants love it...I had one overwinter and it is tall and in bloom, started some new plants and they are loving this weather...they seem to like it cool. Have weld coming up all over the garden and so there will be no shortage of yellows on my pallet this summer.  off to felt...

trying yet again to post

Trying to post ...testing

Sunday, April 10, 2011

In the Pink!!!!

Tree Tree barnacles, who would have thought, but yes, the red alders are loaded with them, and with a lot of patience and some ammonia and water...voila...we have Pinks....or orchils..did I mention patience yet, because these do take a long time to collect and a long time to see the results...but they are very rewarding. Here I have done two skeins of two weights pure, of course you could dye silk with anything and it would be stunning, as that is the nature of silk, but with the orchil it becomes a wonderful pink, or rather many shades but this one was light glowing pink.

Another wonderful feature was that they are incredibly evenly dyed, through no skill of mine, but probably because of the long standing in ammonia and barnacles, helps to dye the mordanted silk...I did mordant the silk with alum and COT, but I think the soak in ammonia for the barnacles probably had more to do with the level colouring...just my opinion...

the Latin name for tree barnacles is Thelotrema Lepadinum, and they love the west coast...and seem to be more predominant on the north side of the tree, and there are more generous amounts on some alders than others, which I haven't figured out yet . I have many lichen experiments happening at this time, and most are soaking in the ammonia water bath, which I stir irregularly.apparently I am not a regular type of person, but irregularly seems to work fine...

more experiments to come....

In the Pink@

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Obsession in Spring

Sort of washed out photos of the "lichen like" sculpturals, but am loving them, and then my new selection of scarves, the oranges are from the semi sanguinea mushrooms, which I had made a very strong batch of mushrooms, and then put the mordant directly in which is not what I normally do, but I only wanted to dye the two orange ruffle scarves, and I have made silk ties for them, and the striped ones I made white and then arashi shibori dyed them, which was an adventure in patience and perseverence.
Spring gathering this morning in the alders, and looking for new and exciting lichens and moss, which are in abundance here. I have just gathered very small bits of lichen to experiment with
and see if they give colour but not taking much of any one type. They grow very slowly and so are not the best to gather. But am experimenting with small bits and putting ammonia and water with them to see what they give. The lichen off the alders is very giving and there is quite a lot of alder lichen here, as alders grow like weeds where I live. Gathered some turkey tails for making tea, and they are so lovely. I have not been able to coax a dye from them although I know you can with some versicolors. Perhaps I will make tea and drop some mordanted alum yarn in it to see what happens with this batch . lol
The scarves were part of my new spring work, as well as the sculptural felts which I still am not sure what I am going to do with these. I did put an led light inside and it was quite stunning at night...perhaps......??!!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Spring is springing

Here are my new pieces, and I am loving the bulbs coming up and the felt flowers on the workbench...Also working on the indigo cuffs, which are made from a soft white merino and then arashi/shibori dyed and voila, indigo accordian cuffs....and some new accordian spring cuffs, made with the colors of the spring bulbs in mind. The other sculptural pieces are more lichen or sea coral or whatever they remind me of in the moment, but definitely sculptural. Am imagining
using these in a wall piece but haven't solidified anything yet, just have an array of sculptural pieces with no known destination. lol...
I will be giving a two day one evening workshop on Quadra Island at Nanci Cook's B&B, in March for anyone interested in learning many felting techniques.
This workshop will be for "beginners and beyond" and should provide a lot of tricks and learning to anyone interested in honing their felting abilities. It will be a lot of fun, and Nanci has a great B&B which she provides for people to stay and the studio space is open 24 hours, which allows for a lot of great experimentation. I will be bring lots of different fibres and many ideas with which to play.
Her B*B is Firesign B&B on Quadra Island, and should be easily looked up for anyone interested in finding out more about the b&B....
I am now thinking more about felting in spring colors so spring must be here, my tones are changing with the weather. We have been soo soooooo lucky this winter with mild weather, and now the crocii are blooming in the orchard as well as my kitchen table. Nettles are ready for the eating and life is good.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

where did January go?

Springtime , well that could be a little optomistic, but we do have some bulbs blooming on our table, thanks to dh....
and where did January go? apparently more experimenting in felting cuffs...These cuffs were inspired by a Canadian feltmaker who does wonderful work and I was do impressed I had to try and make the cuffs...her name is Marjolein Dallinga, and she has such amazing felts and costumes...
These cuffs were experimental, as I used several typês of fibre for trying them out, the pink and orange were done with a fine merino, the blues with half breed, and the yellow and blacks with a combination...I preferred the half breed as it gave them some substance and weight. I had wanted to make these for some time and it took awhile to get the correct diameter of the cuff, but all worked out fine in the end.
So here is my first posting for February, because a friend nagged me about it, which is apparently what I needed.
I will continue to experiment with the felting textural work and hopefully something will come of it and I will be able to use all these techniques in future felting projects.
We have been experimenting with Lichens and dyeing with them. Right now gathering and experimenting with their ability to colour fibre..and with the orchils it is a long process. §o I am learning patience and labeling and keeping records of where, what and how they work. Dh is studying moss and lichens so he is a big help with remembering the names and where to find it, and it involves a lot of zen walking in the woods which is not exactly aerobic but is walking. lol