Monday, June 13, 2011


My tapestry bobbins work well in this weaving technique
The new greeting in the studio this past couple of weeks is Ho Vay! And it feels great to say it and it is also a wonderful technique that Alberta jumped into with an enthusiasm that has us all inspired and a bit of background. The H.V. Technik is named after the handcraft school in Stockholm, Handarbetets Vanner -  a school that I had the opportunity of attending during a personal weaving sabbatical. It is an inlay technique that piggy backs in the same shed as the tabby foundation or background shed - another name being a 'half tapestry'. Alberta was  moved to weave using this finger manipulated weave, after seeing a vintage piece of weaving from Sweden that I was given years ago by my friend Ann, back from a yearly visit with her family in Sweden. Alberta is 'reflecting' the older piece with a newer one, using a linen warp (yes spray the warp with water as the linen delights in a moist atmosphere!) and her beautifully grown Shetland wool, hand grown, hand dyed in the fleece and then handspun......we all watch the progress with anticipation.

The new 'expansion' is keeping me busy and there has been a lot of weaving, spinning and other textile art happening in both studios. We are on our second community rag rug warp and we are setting up a community blanket warp and handtowel/runner warp. If you are interested in spending a day in a working studio and weaving, let me know. It is an inspiring and exciting place to be.

Jenna is weaving a rag rug and practicing her clasped weft weaving for a future project, although rugs are in the offing as well. Especially after we opened up an amazing box.........!
Gay, our Navajo Sheep Shepherdess, brought a few fleeces round in case were literally was one of the most beautiful fleeces I have every seen and one of the biggest, a ram and as clean as can be. It literally was like a fleece of silver as it glinted in the sun - a truly spiritual moment somehow.
 The dye kitchen is steaming almost every day! Our newly designed dyepot is here, with four compartments with separate spigots for draining - awesome!

My friend Heidi oversees my booth.....

And then we all drove up to the 100 Mile Fleece and Fibre Fair in Parksville/Coombs.... We had a great time, all of us and the reception from the organizers was beyond superb. It was so much fun. Thank you Women of the Fleece!
So there we all are from the Cowichan Valley, Leola's Studio had Eastwin Farm Mohair, Sandy with felted West Coast mammals and sheep, my Cowichan sister, Liz with her beautiful handspun, handknit wares, Becky with Shetland fleece, Jenna with Pacific Sun Alpacas, Jan and Meghan with beautiful Romney fleece from Dunedin Farm and Devon from Hummingbee Farm with alpaca and mohair - we were all within the 100 mile zone! The Loom was also there with equipment, book and hand dyed fleece.

So again we are always amazed by the connected threads that make up our daily lives and the generosity of opportunity we are presented. This past month, Lily, a student of mine came back from Peru where she was visiting family and brought back some very beautiful cotton. She booked in for a consult on her second project. A wedding dress! I believed she had mentioned it to me at one point, but I filed it away. So we planned it out and found that she might not have enough for both warp and weft. I said that I had a huge spool of fine cotton that someone had given me and it came from the Dominican Republic. Lily was overjoyed as that is where her future husband, Emerson and she met! So there was a little belt on a table loom in the same weight of cotton, so we re-sleyed it and everything was perfect. Now what loom......I had been rummaging around my old studio at home and discovered a loom that had belonged to Lily Bolin, a well known Victoria weaving teacher .......well yes, you can imagine the perfection of this tale. Peruvian Lily is small and so is this little loom - although 36 inches, it is just right for our Peruvian Lily - and it is already set up ready to go. Emerson has had to assist in making some extra pieces, but we are all loving this story and hopefully we will all get to go to the wedding - we all feel so involved with this story. It is 30 epi and a straight twill - Lily wants to weave it 3 against 1.The loom is an old Glimakra. Lily tied all new heddles for the project - what a weaver. Lily has gone from being a scientist to an artist and will be attending the Kootenay School of Fine Arts studing the fabric arts - wow!

Can you guess what this is?

This is an old metal ceiling tile I use as a lid for my dye pots - very rusted and paint peeled, but I had dumped out some dye and it settled into the pattern and well, it just has to go into the inspiration book - isn't it beautiful?

And last but not least - I have a hundred other things to write, but already this is too long. In the last blog, it was so long, one had to realize that there was a 'read more' sign at the end of the first couple of paragraphs in order to read the whole thing. So much happens in the studio, that I feel remiss in not telling you everything.

Again my young students give me great pleasure. I have a home school family that is delightful - ages 5, 7 and 12 and they are all weaving, sewing, and printing with natural plants. Brandon and Aiden's first weaving is great.

Other projects to have come off the looms
Sax Point Blankets by Jewel

And Mary's handtowels - a sampling
Until next time..........