Thursday, April 29, 2010

Spinning out of control!

Spinning seems to be my new obsession.......can't spin enough and the dyeing is getting a little out of control as well. I have carded wool I have dyed and I am also dyeing in the fleeces - getting it clean at the same time........and just spinning in the grease. I was given some Shetland fleece to play with and I am loving it - the natural colours are amazing - lovely browns. I will post some pictures tomorrow. I will be attending a spinning workshop - spinning with exotic fibres, so I am warming up and I am trying to spin at least 100 grams a day - a goal easily accomplished I think. Then my dear friend Ann came by as I knew she would and did we ever have a good gabfest and she told me about Gotland wool, so now I have to have some of that. My new friend Alberta who has the Shetland sheep knows lots about fleece and was able to educate me about Romney and then my friend Annie gave me this amazing fleece from Wales (the breed is from Wales) called Clune Forest (not sure of the spelling) - but it is amazing much fleece, so little time. Had two students today as well, and wow they made beautiful warps. I am so very satisfied with my life today. And welcome full moon - the Beltane moon.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

I am loom rich these days - but have been also been selling equipment - not mine, but others that have brought in equipment, I use it while it is residing in the studio and then when someone comes looking for a loom, or spinning wheel, off it well. I have also been weaving double weave pickup, thanks to a local guild having a workshop and my demonstrating to a student that didn't know what it was, and I was pulled in by the technique. Hadn't done it in a long time - but it is so easy and so effective. I, of course do not weave it traditionally - had enough of that weaving with wool on one layer and linen on the other - the Swedish way! Loved it at the time, but then discovered other threads to use.....

The Studio has been busy with lots of tourists coming through already. I have been going to the studio earlier and earlier to get some concentrated work done...

I took a couple of pictures - an 'arty' picture of my newest teapot - the 25th one and it is a 25th anniversary teapot with wedding bells on it and all.

And the newest warp - bags with simple double weave pickup, or as I always called Finn Vav

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Ms. Daphne has a brand new bag!

My friend Daphne wandered in and I with my glasses off, (as I was sewing hats and literally had my nose to the machine), I flippantly said I am busy, but instantly remembered the long awaited bag - on with my spectacles and there the bag was in all its beautiful and colourful glory. What a glorious 'garden' of colour and beauty. This bag was knit in a technique called entralac (sp?) and is knitted basically from the top to the bottom, the tiers getting smaller and smaller - and the knitting this way and that.........a lot of work that only ones that have tried it know and really appreciate the skill involved - a priceless bag but at the right price........

It was a good spring cleaning day and the time to begin with projects for Oma Gosh! Designs. So the hat making has begun and a lovely day to organize our time for a baby fair and the coming Market at Whippletree, of which I will write about as I begin to feel we have enough details to share - it will be on Sundays starting in June in the Courtyard at Whippletree Junction, south of Duncan - there that is what I know so far!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Not a day goes by.....

A busy week so far - lots of weaving done and I will post some pictures eventually - perhaps when finished. The teapot garden continues to get a lot of attention and the garden is full of weeds!!! I have good intentions of getting back to the weeds, but the studio calls. I managed to make a couple of little moss gardens in kitchen strainers! I planted a pansy in each of them. Gaye then told me I should have used some fleece to hold the moisture - I still can....

A few weavers have come in and told me they were taking a double weave pickup class with Alison - I want to take a double weave pickup class!!!! However, I decided I would play on my leftover twill warp and see if I could remember - I used to do a lot of it at one time - sure enough, this small voice echoed through my head, "pick up what you don't want to weave!" and away I went, and Goddess bless the weavers that were excited, I got excited too - so of course I have to do something but most probably nothing traditional (have had my fill of traditional all those years ago) judging by what I did on my leftover warp - sky's the limit!!! I love finger manipulated weaving and at one time that is all I did - where is all that stuff anyway?

I am taking a spinning workshop with Ann Field next month - the Loom is sending me. I am so excited as I really need a refresher and now with all the added knowledge too - like MICRONS. Thanks to Jennifer of Pacific Sun Alpacas, I have my micron card I carry around with me. And the class is all the exotics and I have a Schacht spinning wheel - I will really be 'uptown'.

My new friend Aurelia and I are getting together to view her spinning - maybe exchanging weaving lessons for spun fibres!!!! She is a crazy spinner and can spin in her sleep! She uses natural dyes (madder, cochineal, indigo etc.) - I can hardly wait. Loving her energy.

I guess what is hitting me today is that not a day goes by without people taking pictures of the teapots, but also not a day goes by without someone coming into the studio and inspiring me, motivating me and presenting me with gifts of potential textile art. I thank all of you for making everyday the best day so far!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Inspiration - Colour

"Art is neither a profession nor a hobby. Art is a Way of Being." - Frederick Franck

Off to Providence this morning to help Betty put a warp on - we threaded the loom really quickly and rolled most of it on before I headed back to the studio. I have about 5 warps on the go, but felt I needed to finish with my alpaca phase. I spun some alpaca that Jennifer of Pacific Sun Alpacas gave me and then I busied myself with her beautifully dyed alpaca. I felt that I needed to use it immediately and so I did - everything was orange today and so began the Pacific Sun-set warp.......I even planted onions in my garden today which in my mind were very big orange skinned beauties already, instead of these spindly Walla Walla seedlings.

So I realized as I was making this Pacific Sunset warp that it was really like cooking - the stock or foundation which is the alpaca and then the spices or embellishments to support the foundation........I loved the colour although challenging in some ways, but the skein was full of colour - orange, yellow, coral, pink, gold, magenta etc............lots to work with - and so there is Cascade Merino and Paton's Classic Merino, Crystal Palace Party, one of those ladder yarns, Sublime (cashmere, silk & merino) - a great support system for the Alpaca. And so I am happy as the warp is happy. Now what to use for weft? Probably a beautifully dyed mohair from Creston - Riverstone Yarns and my all time favourite these days - Merino Stripes...........

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The day begins for me with Whipple the cat greeting me beneath the big cedar tree next to my studio.......I feed him/her and begin my day. Some days are easier than others - today I didn't have a student or Annie to structure my day, I had me, a tired me and that is when I bounce from one project to of all days, I felt I should spin some alpaca, and my day began........part of my day is taken over by the people that are walking through the courtyard, often to the public washrooms, but also to peek into the stores and my studio. This of course colours the day with conversation, some sales and stimulation. Well, alpaca seemed to be the theme today, as no sooner did I play with the alpaca - I realized that I needed coffee and over to Black Coffee to get my java, then to say hello to Gaye at The Loom, I ran into these two amazing women - one being a ferrier and the other an alpaca shepherdess.......well, what a day the day became. I learned so much about alpaca (not like sheep at all!) and Jennifer came back with this beautifully dyed Grade 3 alpaca knitting interesting and to top the day off - I met this beautiful couple and their child from Denmark - he being a tattoo artist and when I say artist, I have never seen such incredible body art - he uses old techniques from the Inuit and Maori...I suspect that he is also rather well known as he travels the world demonstrating his art - didn't catch his name, but he said he would email me - I told him when I figured out the tattoo I wanted and where, I would give him a call - and a trip to Denmark would be fun!

One more teapot today and a new birdfeeder came my way. Tomorrow an early start at Providence to transfer a warp to loom for Betty and then my dear friend Annie will come and help me weave. I love having her in the studio - she motivates me.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Tea Pot Garden

The teapot garden is growing nicely. My aim is to have at least 100 teapots blooming in the little garden. Already people are taking pictures of it - soon to be on the map of scenic travel stops!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The New Look

My fellow artist friend from the Whippletree Courtyard, Margitta from Margitta's Gallery, designed and painted my new business card which I love. We are a great little community at Whippletree and we all agree, we can hardly wait to come in to work - that says a lot about the place. Russell, our trusty coffee master, keeps us awake with the best coffee on Vancouver Island. Everyone should treat themselves to coffee at Black Coffee. I am learning a lot about coffee and can really tell the different beans.
It has been awhile but I can honestly say I have been busy weaving and teaching. I was inspired tonight by another artist/potter/blogger, Hilary, to keep blogging - postie notes being a great way to organize thoughts! I got into the habit of writing to my grade two teacher by snail mail and thoroughly enjoyed putting my thoughts on paper and then quickly giving those thoughts a good crisp fold, place them in an envelope, seal and send it off in the post box - which is right beside my studio and hoping I have beat the postlady............I got out of the habit due to teaching and weaving, so perhaps this is the way I can get my thought energy out.