Thursday, December 6, 2012

Are we busy yet? guess so...can't even get it together to take photos of my new works...and have sold a bunch at the local fairs...Just finished two fairs, and two more to do.  Seems very busy right now and am selling well so am very pleased as I have room to make more and inspiration to do it.  Have been travelling to one fair and another one this week-end....and the weather here has been wonderful. 
we have been blessed with no ice or frost yet, every year it is so different, remembering ice storms one fair on the next island, so it is a treat to have sun and some rain and some power outages, but it is still winter.   Felting has been alive and well in my studio/home, and am working on several things at a time, which is not unusual.  have orders for rugs, and felting and some dyeing but most of all, it is shroom time here for the dyers shrooms and so that is always such a treat to stop everything because i must go shrooming...slow shrooming is the way to go, and yesterday I found a lot of shrooms for dyeing.  It hasn't been the best year so far but I am hopeful it will continue...the usual spots are not so usual this year so the mycellium keep us guessing.  So much depends on the type of fall we have and this year it was dry and warm, I think some shrooms like that warm wet september to really come forth.  More postings once this season next it is decorating with lights, which is the best part of the season for me...I love the lights. 

Monday, October 15, 2012

In vested

The two circle vests were made the beginning of September and just photographed today, as I realized I hadn't taken any pics of them...they were fun to make, the first circular vest I made in July was so huge I had to work on the floor, which was no fun, and these two I made to fit a smaller person, and they just fit on my workbench, much easier but way way smaller.  I do like making them and would like to have a larger table to accomodate larger vests etc. but alas, where to fit it in my house....the other photo is of the wensleydale small neck collars, how I love those locks....I have been using them for years in my long boas, but decided to shorten them, as neck wraps and they are very cozy and flamboyant to wear but not toooo much. 
Went shrooming yesterday after our first day of rain in eons, and found some phaeolus schwienitzi, (*dyer's polypore) which was still young enough to give me yellows...I chopped it up and cooked it for only a short while then put the white collar in the strained bath, thinking I would tip it with iron
and get a lovely olive tone, but the yellow was so lemony and clear I decided to forget the iron altogether....these do not need a mordant as they are loaded with tannin, so make a lovely last minute dye bath...
the rains are here, and we are waiting for the mycelium to rise to the  and can't wait to go on a mushroom trip next somewhat sunny day.  now back to the wensleydale locks, next one is dyed with the semi sanguineas so is a lovely salmon colour.....oh nature's generosity never ceases to amaze...and that is without even freefalling from 27 miles up, just looking down seems to work just fine for

Monday, October 8, 2012

Saga of the Wensleydale Coat Vest

Here is the latest venture on the workbench...and it was a slog....long hours of felting, and then sewing, but well worth it, especially since it is for me.  I started being inspired anew by Terrie in Hong Kong, and photos of her lovely vests, so petite and doable...apparently I am
an amazon. Her vest looked so compact on the table, while mine took up a 4x8 piece of plywood to lay it out thinking I was making a short vest I ended up with a sleeveless coat which, in the end, was perfect....I do love surrendering to the materials and making them work for me.  This vest almost fell apart when I flipped it over to do the back, and I thought it was going to be a total loss....but perseverence furthers, and I kept at it, and it survived the saving.  I do run across this in many artistic endeavours...where I am working away happily, and oooooppppps something tragic appears to happen, and I think, oh, there it goes, no hope I have wrecked it, then breath, and think I will persevere, I hate this stage, but it seems inevitable so now it is almost part of the process for me.   I don't know if this happens to everyone, but it certainly happens to me every now and then, and when I do persevere, and "bite it" it ends up showing me valuable lessons in patience this vest too, took me through it, and it was a big hopelessness, as it was huge and weighed a ton....but it did pull through, and now I have a beautiful over vest for the winter months.  I trimmed out the armholes and the edges, and now just to make the right closure....
for the vivid details of the piece, I started with two layers of merino, then one layer of pelsul, and then the layer of the wensleydale curls...or the "golden fleece" as I call it, because I ordered it from england and it cost an enormous amount what with duty and shipping of 4 fleece. but well worth the money as I use it like those long curls......
it will be awhile before I make another large project like this one....perhaps a yurt???? lol

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Intervention is apparently needed...serious addiction

There is just no end to the possibilities except death.....that is the decision I have come to, so I am continuing to try everything that comes in my path, and apparently some things I seek out that aren't obviously in my
Bundles of "botany and rust" have been opened and surprises have happened like ORANGE////////
the seeking of orange from eucs has evaded me, and now I can see a little goes a long way, but it has arrived at least...the larger leaves are from a type of dogwood tree and they are dynamite...a wonderful green welcoming I must take some serious notes, as alchemy happens and I have a tendency to not follow it logically with notetaking and ability to duplicate...I tend to work very loosely, and don't generally try to do anything but surrender to the way of the materials....
so keeping track does not come onward and upward, more bundling and question I have is, do the leaves have the colour making ability there all the time, or only when they are changing like in the fall, and what is that colouring...and why some have it and some don/t....some leaves leave great imprints by their non-colour ability which I love but would love to know ahead of time which ones these gathered some phaeolus schwenitizi (dyer's polypore ) and will use it to colour the water I put the next set of bundles many ideas so few hours in the day to have them all manifest....but a walk in the woods was soothing, inspiring, and refreshing....nearing of september and we have yet to have to light a fire...sweet...and we have been able to sit out on the deck til dark and watch the stars arrive just after the bats arrive....feel so blessed.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Feeling kelpish

Definitely feeling the kelp...took me quite awhile to get the kelp looking kelpish, but finally I liked the result, when I jumbled it on the workbench it almost looked like it washed ashore. These were for our fall fair event, theme of
the Salish Sea, which is where I live...and there truly is kelp, although not as much around the island as there was 38 years ago when I moved here.\
So a success with the kelp, but those orange euc prints are escaping me at every try...get great "botany and rust" prints but just can't pull that orange out of the illusive to I opened a few and there were definite outlines of the eucs and it was lovely but it wasn't orange..think I will try on felt instead of the silk which is mostly what I have been using, perhaps?
so to appease my disappointment I picked more indigo and will do more dyeing with it is a pic of the indigo flower

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Got the blues

I am delighted with all the blues I was able to get from my freshly harvested indigo....the plants did really well and have even begun to flower which is huge, as I will bring one pot into the house for seed next year.  It is polygonum tinctoria and it was generous with one dip..I was able to do about
l0 skeins of l00 gm each and still get vivid blues with one dip each....I will harvest more next week and do multi dips and see how dark I can get but loved the colour with the one dip so stopped there..
the vat was able to continue without any freshening through the whole process, and I followed Jenny Deans recipe in Wild Colour.  One of the improvements from the past was her suggestion to dip in clear water the same temp as the bath, right after pulling out of the bath and before oxygenating....this seems to help a lot with regularity in colour, as all the flocking indigo falls away and does not leave splotches of dark blue on the fibre....great tip there.
Fall is falling, starlings chattering, and indigo flowering and still no fire in the woodstove, which is saving a lot of wood....we are still able to have morning coffees outside, and we practically live on our deck in the warm weather so we are stalling going inside as long as possible, even moved the
hot barbeque over to our table after dinner and were able to sit out until 7:30 last night spinning and
staying was like a wee fire...a bit less aesthetic

Monday, September 10, 2012

Bull Kelp

Some artist license, but spent the morning making kelp, and thinking "kelpish" thoughts...not too difficult, living on a small island in the Salish Sea...surrounded by kelp and other gifts...made some undulating kelp scarves and some cordage with bull kelp heads to wear, and now thinking installation thoughts...all very juicy and energetic, the kelp looks simple but is full of process, and took longer than the morning as I had several component parts made previously.  I love the small detail work, always have, and with felt it fits in so well.  Slow making, slow to keep some notes before I forget completely what I did.  I now keep copious notes on the process, as I realize that there are too many processes in my head to keep track of and so the journal comes in handy.  I used to use it more as a sketch book, now it has become instructional and is very handy when doing something that I have incorporated before, I don't have to start at square one every time.  This is a good thing.
The first rains are here and it smells wonderful, that rain on parched earth smell and my freshly washed icelandic fleece, which was island grown, had to be saved from the rain.  I hardly recognized the sound until it was partially wetted whereupon I had to bring it indoors.  I am going to felt with it, and it is a beautiful between experimenting with the icelandic locks, and harvesting my indigo is busy, not to mention a million plums drying and other food happening for winter storage. 
The indigo plants did very well this year, the ones in pots especially, and they are beginning to I will bring one in and collect seeds from it.  so excited...

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

OMG ess give me Patience!!!

FINALLY, one that I absolutely love....and now I am totally obsessed with more and better rewarding to finally achieve some density and clarity of the leaves, which were alluding me since now, the previous ones were lovely and subtle but I really wanted to have some big"Wow factor" and now I have that..let's see if I can achieve it again...of course, one of the key ingrediants seems to be "patience:" I am way tooo keen, and just like the kid who wants to break into the xmas presents early, I am chomping at the bit to open these right away....but patience truly is a virtue when it comes to this I think the only way around it is to hide them from myself, and try to forget they are there, and to do a lot of them  also would be wise, instead of 2 0r 3 at a time...I hope you click on this photo as Mother Nature is so incredibly generous.....

Sunday, August 19, 2012

still ruching thru August

Here are a few pics of the summer of ruching and the loving of felt and eco prints and all things fibery...I have been having a lot of fun with the eco printing...under the name "botany and rust" sort of like Joan Baez's song, :"diamonds and rust" but with some major  The work is going very well this summer and everyone is quite keen on the process, and some have taken up the work so that there are a few of us doing this at the market...I have been felting into the prints and that has been a new thing for me. The ruching or "silk sandwiches" are doing well, and people love the look of the silk ruching and it is so appealing with all the added texture it gives to the work.  Here are some of the results ...Also I have been indigo dyeing and that is always plants are ready in the garden, and next the woad, and weld plants....along with some carrot top dyeing, anything to get out of housework

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

"silk sandwiches:" or how I ruched through my summer

Here's what my summer is looking like, and I am thrilled with upcycled silks on felt...I have been doing the markets and in between making these and of course, many other things, like a lot of eco printing and dyeing with nature...the st. john's wort is blooming, and so are many other generous
dye plants, and my indigo are thriving like has been amazing to watch the indigo plants (tinctorium) just adjust to all kinds of weather and still pump the new leaves.  I have a small patch in the garden and several potted ones, and the potted ones seem to be larger, which I think has to do with the warmth the black pot provides and the fact I have them in sun most of the day whereas the garden ones get less sun but seem to be thriving nonetheless. My woad has gone to seed and I have collected the seed head and have a number of smaller plants which I will harvest later this summer.
All is going along really well considering June was one incredibly wet month, but now the temps are in the seventies which is quite doable.
And "ruching" I love what this does with silk on wool and the patterns that show up when not expected, another type of alchemy, a bit more predictable but a surprise and delight always.  I have been using many dimensions of silk, and many variaties and they all speak a different language with wool...and of course, the type of wool also plays a big role in the alchemy.  I have been so thrilled with the "silk sandwiches" that they are quite more sun, more felt, and more summer please...

Friday, June 29, 2012

kissed by Cortinarius

It has been a busy, busy time as I can't seem to get off the workbench since I retired a week ago, and have been gathering, picking, felting, dyeing, spinning, weaving and generally having a lot of time and also have been working on a new series I call "Botany and Rust" which is printing with fungus, rust and botanicals on silk, and then felting onto them or not....'
I often smile when I think that it was years ago I saw India Flint's work, (she being one of the queens of this process) and thought, "what the !@#$#@! is that`` and then even before that many years ago in Fiberarts Magazine, seeing an article with photos of ``compost dyeing`and thought `
`what the !""$/ `` is that.....and now here I am with a lot of `what the !"/$"/`on my workbench and loving it all...and looking back on their works realizing how amazing it here is my wee attempt at it and will continue to watch the alchemy happen and feel thankful for my vision change! lol

 The kiss

 more kisses and eucalyptus

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


Here are my latest samples of walnut hulls with a difference.  After reading Jenny Dean's blog I thought I would try her technique of walnut hulls with a little I had walnut hulls soaking since the fall, although they were black hulls found on the ground, not green ones, and I had madder from Earthues in the extract format.  I also had some BFL that I had mordanted with alum and COT for other dyeing, and some silk, silk/merino and BFL that I had not mordanted....and proceeded by straining the walnut hulls, then mixing and heavily straining the madder, as I know what it looks like when trapped in roving, not a pretty site, and then put the wools/silks into the vat, and brought to heat slowly and simmered for about 30 minutes, then cooled in the vat....well, was I shocked.  I don't think I had ever pulled wool from a natural dye vat, where the colors were so radicalled different.   Guess which one is the mordanted that would be the red one, and the other three starting from the left, BFL (unmordanted) and unmordanted silk roving and silk/merino....apparently that mordant makes one huge difference....
I did save some of the liquor from the walnut hulls, so I can try another type of madder extract and see if that makes a difference.  Jenny tried this with madder in its natural form and did not get these results, leading her and now I, to believe it must be some chemical that they use in extracting all very exciting and it was good to use some of that walnut slurry, although I was impressed that it had no mold on it, and did not smell bad after being contained for many months, other natural dye vats can be quite moldy. 
so onward and upward into the realms of rug weaving and dyeing. 

Friday, April 13, 2012

Still trying

well,here I am on my new I pad 3, and trying to post photos, because what is a blog without photos! But so far I can't figure it out, so boring blog post, but Iam alive and well, and after the last market where I took my new rugs, I sold eight!!!!and have two left. Who would have guessed they would be so popular. S I am winding more warp and weaving while thinking of felting new much to do, spring is so fecund on all levels!

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

sleying the reed...

Still in the weaving frame of mind, although I am keen to felt again...just too little time, too many creative thoughts, no elves to help manifest it all and spring is springing here...the snowberry leaves are growing and the herring fleet is in and doing their herring thing...eagles galore, and daffodils who don't seem to mind that it was almost freezing last night...I love weaving although it is work and tiring at times, but probably because with rugs you really do have to beat them solidly and so my shoulders are doing a lot of work, one can actually work up a sweat weaving, just as in felting...I have a lot of cheesecloth ordered for felting, and many patterns in my mind to work with flat pieces of felt so that is very exciting.  I am away from it all for a few weeks, and then will step into gourd work and felting. I am having a small show the beginning of May with a friend, and will do gourd work for that show, I have a gourd site, where my gourd work is displayed should anyone want to visit .....but felting is really where I want to be next so we shall see....ah spring, so many creative thoughts...I just love it!!!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

weaving up a storm

and this is what I have been up to for the past three weeks, carpets, learning to weave once again, and
weaving thick, lucsious carpets from l00% Wool, and as an added bonus, they are selling, which is
wonderful.  It all began with refusing wool, and loom from an old friend who quit weaving and thought her daughter would take it up, but she did not want to, and so the offering began..,I held it at bay for over a year, " no, I couldn't possibly take on another obsession, I have felting, dyeing and gourding, and basketmaking and sculpting, but one day, woke up and thought, YES, of course I want your wonderful wool and loom, and your gracious offer, what was I thinking refusing such an offer....and here you have the results.   I now have a 45 inch loom in my house, and much wool, all of wonderful colours, handspun, and plied 4 yes, 4 times, to create a wonderful weft, and so thick and soft I have had to hide them from the cats...they are definitely a cat magnet....
and so felting has stepped aside for the month, but feel it building again with a will
weave for the next two weeks, then have to travel for two weeks and then gourds and felting...
I can hardly wait for the days to begin as I am having such fun each day, not to mention the stinging nettles which have just arrived and we are eating spanikopita without the spinach just the nettles, so spring is springing, and life is good!!!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year's Mantra

May we break boundaries, tear down walls, and build on the foundation of goodness inside each of us. May we look past differences, gain understanding, and embrace acceptance. May we reach out to each other, rather than resist. May we be better stewards of the earth, protecting, nurturing, and replenishing the beauties of nature. May we practice gratitude for all we have, rather than complain about our needs. May we seek cures for the sick, help for the hungry, and love for the lonely. May we share our talents, give our time, and teach our children. May we hold hope for the future very tenderly in our hearts and do all we can to build for a brighter tomorrow. And may we love with our whole hearts, for that's the only way to love.....
I know I have posted this before, but it is worth saying over and over again...I read it a few years ago on a blog, and thought it was just so right....hope all of you have a wonderful, heartfelt New Year and that we continue to look for the goodness in each of us. 
thanks so much for reading my posts and making my world richer.