Friday, December 23, 2011

Chills and Twills.....

On my way to my fabulous diesel mechanic's shop I was completely surrounded by a frosted environment,  and my mind then went into winter twill land.  I am always looking at my surroundings in any case and recording future warps or designs that may play out into a structure of some kind. My husband then picked me up and we continued on to the studio - passing by the blueberry farm where the twill was so obvious in the regimented planting - Glen wouldn't stop for a picture, so will post one later if I manage to capture that image. It truly was a wonderful way to begin the season.

An 8 harness twill

detail from 'dancing leaves' - a straight 8 harness twill....

Later on the same day, I had a wonderful conversaton with a local guild member about the remarkable world of twills and how one can explore for a century and never exhaust the simple threading on any amount of harnesses (excuse my calling harnesses harnesses, I have never got into the habit of calling them shafts - after all my looms have horses........).

The Glenora Farm Christmas Fete was lovely and the weather was sunny and bright. Lots of textiles there and of course the Weavery had plenty to show. I bought yet another couple of handtowels and another tea cozy. Leola's Studio will be carrying some of their weaving, so if you cannot get out to the Weavery located at the four corners in Glenora, you can come to the studio.

Bucket bags, Deanne working hard as usual and incredible rugs.
My friend Ann runs the Weavery and the participants weave spectacular projects.

Lovely handwoven towels at the Glenora Farm Christmas Fair.

Our newest additions to the studio....

A tapestry woven with rags....

The studio has new weavers. Catharina has her loom set up and is weaving every day. The above tapestry is a study inspired by a card that she purchased at the Guild's show. It is quite lovely and from every angle we see something new. It is about 28" by 45" (I think) and quite fabulous. Catharina isn't sure that she likes using rags as her weft, but had fun anyway. Her husband Ray comes with her as well. I asked him one day if he would like to weave and he said he always wanted to try. He sat at the loom and it was if he was born to weave. His edges and beat are precise. Ray has diverse abilities and is challenged only by filling the bobbin. The studio is made richer by this couple. 

Catherina, originally from Belgium (she makes great waffles!) then Galiano and now in our warm valley. Lucky us.

Ray on handtowel duty!

Detail of tapestry

It is hard to keep up with all the goings-on in the studio. I have fifteen students from Shawnigan Lake School
that come every week, half on two afternoons and all of them on another afternoon. They are industrious with their knitting and very creative.....
Drinking tea is a must, felting, embellishment, knitting, quilting (with hand dyed fabric) and weaving are just some of the techniques we do.

The rag rug looms are busy every week and all one must do is book a day - it is fun. We have a new blanket warp on - very neutral and just calling for a weaver! The comfort shawls are warped up with a new bird feeder by the window, books with great writings and just the special private place to weave for some one that requires comfort. This project is by donation  - some kept for materials and the rest to Hospice or Care Givers. Please pass this information on. It is a win win project.

In January, tapestry will be alive and well in the studio. Ann Clark, a fabulous tapestry artist,  and I have joined forces and we will be initiating a community type tapestry. Our first design is in the works - a detail from a painting by a wonderful painter friend of mine, Lucy Schappy....the painting is called "Stepping Out" and is just so darn happy! The cartoon will be approximately 36 X 50 inches. We will be warping up in the next few weeks. I will keep you informed. Strangely enough, Catherina has come into the studio, Lynn brought her tapestry loom in to share and then another tapestry loom came in just the other day.....wonders will never cease!

I was having lunch with Gaye down in the Bay, and I got a frantic call from Ann that I had a felting crisis waiting for me! I came up to find my friend Evee with this gigantic felting project not felting so great....hmmm is about all I said (I remember Wanya expressing the same way, so now I actually know why..), anyway, the only thing I could think of was elbow grease with added hot water and soap - so we set off on a very cold but sunny day. The next day the whole darn thing was frozen, but we kept at it and lo and behold it felted rather well and the much smaller piece is being embellished as we speak - a floor mat for her son. I was kind of sore for a few days - a great work out.

May you have a wonderful new season, the light is coming and soon spring will be here. Happy holidays and please come and share the space - would love to see you.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Open House

Although the studio is always open, we are having an official Open House and Christmas Sale.
Please join us. We would love to see you.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Playful Processing...

This my attempt to be quicker and shorter with my postings. Playful processing is my
bloggity blah blah blah today.

In order for me to process any little inspiration, I have to play - whether it be flowers, leaves, bark or a passing conversation, I have to put it down into a collage, a drawing, a photo montage, a meal or a poem. Sometimes years go by for me to actually understand what drew me to that particular moment of 'buzz' in my head. The off shoots, or as I sometimes call them, my sidebars, are often part of the network that one small leaf, bug or moment can produce. A warp most often results, a theatre set, or just a simple arrangement of some collectibles.....a moment of design, colour and composition. All of us are composing without awareness, so we are practiced. The next step is to somehow record it,  if you wish or translate it in some fashion- it isn't necessary, but it sure does assist in creating and developing our art. It is like anything we learn; one practices, one gets better.

During a week of thinking of little art pieces to enter the Portals (Cowichan Valley Arts Council Gallery) Teeny Tiny Show, I attempted to do the above - and I had a great time. However my photos aren't that great (good excuse anyway), but I had a great time with this small goal I gave myself for the week. And did I learn something from this? Yes, I want to do more!!!
This is one of my exercises this week - the cedar bark, I will post the resulting piece but it isn't a great photo. The technique is thread painting on raw silk using my sewing machine as my brush, oh,  and it somewhat an abstract piece! The small piece of 'cedar' gave the 'reader' a clue as to what it might be. The best part was it was fun to do.

The other piece was also fun to do - my virginia creeper. Again, same technique and my photograph which I took outside my studio, I changed it to black and white and printed it off on some silk - it is almost a hologram (I think that is what it is called), with the structure of the silk - very subtle, but when you see it, it is like a little surprise. One has to see it in person to understand. So my inspiration....

and the resulting can see a little of the above picture on the silk background and the 'leaf' is of course all raw silk....

Now, my little pieces have a neighbour - an Alison Irwin paper weaving - absolutely delightful and I feel honoured to have such a neighbour!

Alison sent me this photo to replace my inadequate recording - this sets it off perfectly. The title is Black Poppy.
So enough for today. Play - it is good for you!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Having way too much fun........

The last two months have been incredibly busy with classes, weaving, dyeing, and well, most people know that transition from summer to fall busyness. A great way to sort out priorities and projects....

Virginia Creeper was the inspiration for the dyed fleece

 Indigo ready to rock and roll!

There was a lot of activity around dyeing this past month. We had an indigo dye day - several of us had indigo plants that Barbara had provided - such beautiful plants - and we put them together and proceeded to go through the process. Barbara had done a test run a few weeks earlier and got the most glorious blues. Unfortunately, although we did exactly the same process, we did not get any blue - just a hint.  So we have had a few explanations. The only thing different were, the water (high iron content), the time of picking - were the plants past their prime? and the heat - were we accurate enough. We will try again next year - all of us have plants beginning to seed and they will be next years experiment. We were disappointed, but the exploration of this wonderful colour, although elusive, was still fun and magical.

Jenna, Betty, Alberta and our team leader, Barbara hard at work preparing the sacred indigo...

The Juan de Fuca Fibre group came up for a day in the studio - wonderful spinners. Pots of tea, and a couple of dye pots were the order of the day. It was another fun time with women passionate about their fibres. We were having the time of our lives, dyeing raw fleece (local Churro from my friend Gaye) and overdyeing some roving.
 Happy Hallowe'en!!!
I admire this group as they are so devoted to their spinning. It was a fabulous day. All guilds and interest groups are most welcome to come and spend a day in the studio. It is a pleasure to share the space I get to work in, and it is a joy to have like-minded people in the studio. And we all learn - wow, how much more fun can we have?

My youth textile artists have been busy. One in particular just produces and creates lovely projects and already has sold a piece! So not only are they becoming textile artists, they are also becoming entrepreneurs!
 Morgan is 12 and won a first in the Cobble Hill Fair for her needle felting and then promptly sold it. She is saving for a sewing machine.
Her 'Snowy Winter Morning' scarf admired by all.

The community rag rug looms or the 'girlfriend' looms have been going strong. One week I had two separate groups of friends, six in all enjoy learning to weave and going home with a rag rug. They were all lovely as were the participants.  The comfort shawl loom is almost ready to go. We are preparing a lovely space for the project, so there will be privacy if required, music, lovely books of support and a comfy chair to take some time to reflect on the gift you are making. We provide the warp and you can weave with your chosen weft and all we ask is for a donation towards the fibres and anything left over will go to hospice or some other charity. Just book a week or so ahead. Due to all the generosity we have received, we would like to give back.

There have been about 15 blankets woven in the last couple of months - maybe more. I am losing count.
Absolutely beautiful warm blankets that had everyone drooling.

Jewel has woven about 3 projects previous to these blankets. Her confidence in designing and warping is phenomenal. She wove two big blankets in two days along with her little shadow, Little Bear who sings to us on occasion!
Little Bear on his new rug, one for home and one for the studio...woven with Pendalton blanket selvedges...

Another blanket weaver, Lori has made three rugs in the last month, each one unique and beautiful. Lori's sense of design and colour is awesome, each blanket well thought out for the personality that they will be gifted to. Lori is quite petite, so it was fun to see her working on a 60" loom - the blankets spoke of greatness!

The first two

and the third.....

The Cowichan Fleece and Fibre Fair was this past weekend and there were lots of people enjoying the many fibres - I believe everyone went home inspired. Good job Annie and Kathy. I didn't get around to take pictures but managed to get a shot of our booth. My dear dear friend, Joy,  that I learned to weave with in Cherryville came down from Cortes Island to help and brought her beautiful Romney yarn. And the vest was a hit - soon to be kitted up and quite possibly be available in the studio!

Joy's Wool

I finally met Jane Richmond, a fabulous knitter and designer. and she took some great photos of the fair and of the most beautiful buttons by Franziska, who will be providing buttons to the studio as well. Check Jane's blog out - tutorials and everything. Great stuff.
The booth

And now for some random pictures

The ladies

The little goat...

My dear friend Ann loves goats as do I and so I knit her a little picture - it was fun! and speaking of fun, a final picture of my crazy girls who disappeared one day out of the studio, and although I didn't capture the perfect shot, I think I captured fun in the best possible way - carefree, happy, dancing in a field and learning all about fibre in the studio!!!! Now that's a lot of fun.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Breaking News!!!


The space looks so big! But already it is getting filled with looms.

We are now into September and I have taken the day off to make blueberry jam, bread and do a much needed clean up at home - well so far the jam and bread are done and a quick sweep started, but I got sidetracked sorting out some wool and things for the studio - I miss the studio!
 And the breaking news??
Leola's Studio has expanded again! There are now three studios of which all are full and busy. The original studio I partially use for my younger students and the overflow for The Loom with spinning and weaving supplies, the second for classroom with a dye kitchen out back, and the third for classroom and a Gallery - where handmade beautiful things can be purchased. Please come and have a look - we are going to have an official opening soon. Join us and create on the community looms - rag rugs, hand towels, blankets and our new warp will be for comfort shawls or prayer shawls for those in need of a special 'wrap me up and soothe me' shawl. We are hoping to make it a true community loom, we provide the warp and you provide the weft. A donation will be accepted and then in turn a donation will be made to hospice or other charity, as well as to purchase more yarn if needed. Please take part, as there are a lot of people that require comfort. Meanwhile the rag rug community looms are in high demand and I need to warp another rag rug warp for three friends coming to weave - we have named them the girlfriend looms. It is a wonderful way to experience a working studio - no, you do not have to have prior weaving experience.
A rag rug in progress

Debbie at work......the room now has about 6 looms and the front space is
for our retail

A beautiful blanket woven in the new
expanded studio by Debbie who will be assisting us

Slocan Lake
I think the last time I posted was just I before I left for the Kootenays where I had a very restful time, sleeping, swimming and reading nestled on my beach surrounded by my mountains and quiet. The highlight of my visit was a wonderful day with my weaving teacher Wanya Twan. I drove over to Kaslo and spent the day talking non-stop reflecting on just about everything. It was inspiring - one of the reasons I am doing what I am doing is because of Wanya. Her teaching style is unique and beautifully traditional. Wanya has an aura about her that is healing as well as instructive. She is from Sweden and learned at the H.V. school and Lila Lundall was her teacher. I was fortunate to study with Lila as well in Stockholm. I had the opportunity to apprentice with Wanya, so I feel very fortunate to have had her as my foundation teacher. Cherryville was a place of such energy and creativity.
 The day was so rich and full, that it is hard to explain. I can only say that it strengthened me in my focus and my goal to teach and share as much as I can with what I love best.
Lunch on the porch.....

I took pictures of weaving and other textiles and Wanya gave me this amazing felted piece that blows everyones minds....
Yes, it is wool, wet felted - it is hung now in the studio. Come and see it in person!

Kaslo is a lovely little town on Kootenay Lake, just 30 minutes from New Denver on a delightful road, saw a couple of bear and missed a moose by 5 minutes acccording to some tourists.
 A lot of the  houses are Victorian in Kaslo and Wanya was intrigued and delighted by some of the old wallpaper in her house - made of linen!

Yes, woven with rags.....
I have many more pictures and will post more later. One of my favourite pieces - a tapestry woven with rags that Wanya purchased in Sweden. I took tapestry weaving with Jane Kidd in 1972 (yes I know that is a long long time ago!) and I didn't have any money for supplies, so I decided I would just weave with rags. I have always been rather partial to rags and now I want to weave tapestry with rags - just something to do!

Dolls made by 7 and 8 year olds - aren't they delightful?

August was incredibly busy in the studio - I didn't take but two days off in three weeks. It was exhilarating and it was hard to stop. I had lots of kids for 'textile camp' and it was really fun.

Sophie's Story Pillow
a special pocket in the back for
a bedtime storybook

My grandson learning to weave!

Hailey's blanket with the source of inspiration,
The Crane's Wife. This blanket won first at the Cobble Hill Fair!
The kids were all felting as well, and a couple of the students are now making coffee cozies to sell in the Gallery. Another student also won a first at the fair for her needle felting, but I didn't take a picture yet - she is also selling it because she is saving for a sewing machine - I guess my teaching extends to entrepreneurship too!
Speaking of felting, here I am fulling with my feet. Thought I would try it and it worked to a certain extent! And it was fun.

And right next to my dye kitchen is a Cowichan carver currently working on a totem. The studio does not lack for creative energy. It is truly a small community of creative folk.

Herb Rice, Cowichan carver

The fibre fairs are just getting better and better. Fibrations, a new fleece and fibre show held in the St. Ann's Academy Orchard in Victoria, was fabulous. We had so much fun and we worked hard. The 'Shawnigan Girls', Devon, Sandy and myself were next to each other and we didn't stop the whole day. It was great and I am still getting calls from people that want to take classes. What a great great day. And so I think I will end. I have a busy day tomorrow in, where else? The Studio!