Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas is almost upon us!!!

We are almost finished with the craft fairs for the season - and it has been very successful. The Crystal Garden "Out of Hand" show was great, tiring, but great. We shared a booth with Mixed Metal Mimi which worked really well together. Her shawl pins have been a hit in the studio gallery and we were not surprised at how well they sold in this show as well - certainly the metal and fibre work together.  We were tired, but jazzed up and ready to continue, but soon exhaustion hit me and I was glad to be home. What was interesting to me was that 30 years or so ago I had been doing craft fairs in the Crystal Gardens, and almost in the same location, making ponchos, scarves and blankets and having the same conversation about where were craft fairs going.....lots has changed, but the attitude is about the same. I think as artists, we love to meet the people who appreciate and love our work - there is not the same 'sweetness' that one can get on-line. Oh, and everyone has a credit card reader on their I-phones!!!! Makes a big difference in sales.

Mimi and Me!!

The studio has continued to be busy, what with me trying to weave in order to have stock for the Christmas fairs and teaching, it was pretty intense - but I loved it! Lori, one of my students who weaves a lot is preparing gifts for her family and her rag rug, basic pick and pick, is just wonderful and a matching blanket to boot.
and another warp goes on - this time a table runner by Gillian,  her second project which is threaded to a goose eye and looking rather wonderful - cotton warp, and linen weft. The runner is half woven now

My young students have been keeping me busy. Because I encourage self directed creativity, I sometimes have no idea where the kids will take me. One class, I found myself in the middle of braiding rugs - so there they were, braiding these very long braids outside - luckily it was sunny and the next thing I knew, I was skipping rope!!! Much to the surprise of my students, I soon landed on my behind! Man, it was fun for a few minutes anyway!

Everything from legwarmers to delightful little toy animals......

And the tapestry grows - we are at the purple flower!!!
I had the Salt Spring Weaver's Guild come for a tour in the last month, which was just wonderful - I think that they had a great time what with filming and taking pictures and I am pretty sure they were inspired by all the looms and my student's weaving. I certainly loved having them in the studio.

And speaking of filming - Shaw Cable came to Whippletree Junction a couple of weeks ago - and it was one of those days that everything went wrong that could go wrong, but they were great working around my craft fair stress and managed to make me sound somewhat articulate. If you wish to watch it!!!!! you can find it on:
And there will be an Open House on December 15th - come and have some hot chocolate and see the  weavings and friends - new and old! And there are lovely shops to poke about in.
 So if I don't see you at the Open House - have a wonderful holiday and a healthy
and creative New Year!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

It's almost November - oh my goodness it is November!!!!!


Peter Collingwood
Had a wonderful memory lane week due to designing a mini-rug workshop for some wonderful women from the Campbell River Guild. I had the honour, as many have, of studying with Peter in 1979!! He passed away a few years ago in the month of October, so it seems fitting that I should begin this post with rugs!!

Rugs - farthest left and farthest right front and back
Herringbone twill rug in the middle
Campbell River Weavers - hard at work!
The workshop included a three-end block weave from Peter's book (using rags in order for the rug to be finished in a day), a herringbone twill from Davison's book, a twill rug done on opposites, and another twill threading sett at 4 epi in order for it to be bound - pick and pick and the like.
Val did her rug on opposites on a cotton warp - it looks great. The picture doesn't do it justice. Judy had a great time and managed to get a 'rag bag' that will be a showstopper.
I had done a rag rug as well on the block weave, and then after the class left, I couldn't wait to get back on the loom so have produced three carpet bags using wool and wool blends. I will be working with a leather artist to trim with leather and use leather straps. I am quite excited and I am loving using a blend of wools together to shade and make the blocks 'move'. I want to add a little tapestry in too.  My arms are sore!!!!
Rags to wool
The studio continues to be busy and creative. New students every week, both young and older. I had a wonderful group of 15 women for Professional Development day to learn, 'textile arts in the home and the classroom'. They were enthusiastic and worked hard all day. I was in my element - any chance to educate about my passion, I cannot be stopped! These very creative women made a journal for their creative ideas and meanderings using the accordian book style (I have a 'thing' about accordians!), using fabric and embellishment for the covers. The weaving station had paper weaving, needle weaving on little looms my husband kindly made, and spindles made from dowel and CDs (although only one participant managed to fit that in!). Weaving on the floor looms was also happening, with everyone weaving on the rag rug, and rag mats which were later raffled off. Needle felting onto recycled felted wool from wool blankets to make a coffee cozy was also done. We managed to dye some local wool as well with cedar chips from a totem carving that my next door studio artist, Herb Rice keeps for me. They also went away with a tea towel and an old package of Rit dye to tie dye!!!! There just wasn't enough time to do it all!!! SO much fun. I hope I get to do it again.

Cedar chips with a little alum and ammonia - very pretty

Leola's Studio has introduced a new line of hats - we have branded them 'toque' - handcrafted from local mohair/wool and then hand dyeing them individually. They seem to be quite popular. We are at the Out of Hand Christmas Craft Fair in Victoria this year, so we are busily getting ready for it. November 23-25 at the Crystal Gardens. Never mind weaving like a demon!
 The tapestry is growing and we have weavers every Thursday coming into weave. So it is really becoming a tapestry and we have rolled it a little already.  Tapestry is such a great way to lose yourself. I really lose track of time when I weave and find that I just need tofill in that shape , and then I will get up and do something else, and before I know it, an hour has passed!
I am working on a blog for the tapestry as well - it is under construction. I am slow at these things and of course leave everything for weeks on end and then do a big blitz - but the blog is  - - so save it somewhere!
Now speaking of tapestry. I had the honour of attending one of the most amazing tapestry workshops ever - and I have attended Archie's and Jean Pierre's and thought they were amazing too. But Sarah Swett was awesome, awesome, awesome. Four days of bliss in Penticton. And I had the most wonderful hostess, Ann - a whole post I will devote to her one day - and Hilary was the best - never mind her amazing lunches......
The beautiful handspun hand dyed wool we used...

Her tapestries spoke to us all - Value was what the workshop was all about - I learned so much more than I thought I had room for. AND she plays the concertina (as does Anne Clark who is my partner in the Community Tapestry!!! - as I said before I have a 'thing' about accordians!). Sarah spins all her weft by spindle and dyes with natural dyes, uses a wool warp, and the back is as perfect as the front - and she washes her tapestries - I was spellbound.  Look her up -
You will be glad you did!
The Penticton Workshop - one of the best I have ever attended.My hostess is on the far right in the back - may she be safe as she travels to Gambia...

And then when I got back to the studio, the following week I had a visitor from the Penticton Guild, which I am now a member of, the Desert Sage Spinners and Weavers Guild (did I get it right?). I am very impressed by the guild and wished I was closer to take part.
Now for some pictures of the studio garden.....front and back
Flax blooming, the front of the studio and my sunflower, one of many blooming over the flax and indigo - protectors of the garden!
I still have a lot in the garden in bloom - have to dig it up to get some seed....
We will be famous one day in the Cowichan Valley - everyone grew indigo this year and it was a bumper crop nd everyone seemed to have a different method of dyeing. My friend Barbara, the flag bearer of the indigo growers here in the valley, got the most beautiful colours eco-wise

Barbara's is in the middle - she used fresh as did I, and then overdyed in more fresh and got darker colours. I love the paleness of it and have named it Indigo of the Cowichan Valley - a Westcoast blue that is so beautiful and I can hardly wait to make a warp with it and the cedar dyed yarn - about the same Value, my Penticton friends!!!
And then the flax has been pulled and retted and it is now drying in my weaving partner, Ann's attic - ready to be broken, scutched, hackled and spun........and then dyed with indigo - a perfect product.

 And one more important thing - I now have windows in a wall that didn't have any - and it has made a big difference - that and lighting which will come eventually. I spent a week in the Kootenays and after I came home, there they were so beautiful and I now have window boxes as well.  Thank you Peter for being so kind - never mind that I also have a new bird house as well!!! While in the Kootenays I just happened to notice that the Castlegar Weaver's Guild had a show on......

Had a lovely chat with a guild member and just happened to buy her towel....
My new windows
I leave you now and I will try to stay on top of the posting - I know I have said that before, but one never knows, I just might do it one day. Drop into the studio any time - I offer workshops in most any technique you wish to explore - you tell me what you want, and I will design a workshop for exactly what you want and more! 

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Catching up...

There is a lot to share and I am so behind in just about everything, that it is hard to know where to begin. So I thought I would start by my pictures that I transferred to the computer that I am writing at.
I also have to do a tribute to my Shawnigan Lake School students, so will be uploading my pictures very soon, for those parents that may be waiting to see said pictures.

The studio has been exceptionally busy which has been wonderful. Thank you all for the encouraging comments and for participating in activities in the studio - the studio is not just mine, but all that wish to experience a teaching and working studio.

So, the above triptych is of the triangular shawl that was a community effort - everyone warped a stripe or too, in the mirror image warping technique, so it would be balanced, and we proceeded to weave it. For those of you who don't know about this fun activity, it is very easy and it is done on a wide floor loom rather than the triangular loom that is quite popular these days. Simple as 1, 2, 3, one weaves the warp as the weft and beats 50/50 (very important). We are starting another one, so if you would like to participate, phone the studio, 250 597-0820.

And of course our other community activity is the tapestry..........affectionately called CAW and you will have to come to the studio to hear the story! Ann Clark has been amazing in her support and enthusiasm - it would not be off the ground if it hadn't been for her energy. I have to wait for two weeks between visits and weave a bit by myself - so much fun working together. I have the fortune also to be attending a tapestry workshop in September with Sarah Swett. I am very excited.

And the garden is in with indigo growing and the flax growing gangbusters - I am not sure that I have a recent picture of the flax, but it is about 8 inches tall now - I only planted it about a month ago - same with the indigo, so I will post a new picutre soon. There are three varieties of flax, Evalin, Marylin and Wendylin (my spinning friend in Metchosin!).

My husband has built me another raised bed for madder root, dyer's chamomile and other dye plants. If anyone would like to share some cuttings I would be so happy!!! I have seed for a few dye plants, but I won't get them in this year. I also planted some tomatoes that came my way - all heritage plants, and a zucchini and bean trees. And if you want some heavenly scent, smell the sweet peas when next at the studio or The Loom - right near the teapot garden......the smell of summer.

You may have guessed that this is not in any particular order...but here I go with some other things that have happened in the studio - I will let you know another time about some paranormal folk coming in too!!!!!

Recently, I have had some equipment come my way - another Cherryville Loom which made me very happy and the loom also came with a white cotton warp threaded through the reed and heddles and all nicely rolled up. We made short work with first putting up the loom (only 14 minutes) and tying the warp on and beaming it on. A white warp is something that is foreign to me - so I painted it. Hadn't done that in many years and it was such a joy and only a little bit got on the loom. I have been inspired by my grandson's art of late and the flower just needed to be painted.  I thought it would be fun to do a pseudo tapestry to keep my fingers limber using linen.....and so, well, I am just having too much fun.

And a another linen project, traditional linen face towel with a little overshot - Davison's Yin & Yang

The studio was given a lot of undyed wool - masses. So I started making use of it right away and made a couple of blanket warps which I then dyed and quite unevenly as well due to the bulk. The first blanket I did like an overshot using a space dyed kid mohair for the tabby from Fleece Artist and another wool that has a nice long colourway, Merino Stripes by Crystal Palace - very woodsy and the colour changes in the warp just aren't noticeable, or I grew used to it or something. The second one I am weaving in the classic crackle with three shuttles (Italian Manner) and I am using a variety of blues and blue greens, and to be honest I am not sure I know what I am using as I am using several fibres per shuttle........Fleece Artist, Sublime boucle, Berroco alpaca etc. etc. looks good anyway.

The warp is quite green, but the one picture makes it look quite yellow.......let me see if I have another - oh well. I love Crackle - does anyone remember Miss Marjorie E. Hill? Wasn't she just a crackle expert. I did learn a lot from her, but later learned a lot from Mary Snyder at Banff - more of a contemporary style. One can never exhaust this system of weaving.

And the rag rugs keep being woven - I challenge the experienced weaver, to come and spend a day in the studio and weave a rag rug and leave with one. Guild members 10% off of course. There will likely be a dye pot on, perhaps the next triangular shawl will be on its way and of course the tapestry needs weaving - or just come and have a cup of tea. And the following picture - this young woman was a very happy weaver - her first time on a loom.

Another first time weaver, Karen,  wove a rug so carefully, that she got a reversible rug...

Oh yes, and we are dyeing more Eastwin mohair as well as The Loom's new local Cowichan Valley Pollypay (yes, I spell it incorrectly - it should be Polypay, but it sounds too much like polyester) - I love the Pollypay - a worsted weight and it just gets softer and softer.

And I have been having a great time weaving with linen and alpaca and loving it - can't let go. For some reason they seem to like each other.....this is about the fifth one  - I just keep tyeing them on - I must admit though, I am slower at finishing this one, but only because I am on another jag.

Kypert's Twill

Earlier in the spring I had the most amazing two days - I had to go to the Weavery in Glenora to borrow a key from Ann as I had locked mine in the studio - I never have much time to see and do other things, but it was a lovely gift for me to have this opportunity to visit the Weavery and remind me of other fabulous weaving going on in the Cowichan Valley.

And one of my favourite pictures of all times that I took with my trusty iphone, and one of the best uses of rayon chenille that Ann my partner in crime designed - bolsters or pillows.
The next day I went to Victoria with Betty to have lunch with the TAPIS group - Tapestry Artists of the Island  - I don't think I have that quite right but it was an amazing day - and I would love to just do a blog of these fabulous artists.

I am still moved by the above - I can't remember the details, but it is fantastic - I will make sure I find out the information, as it is just beautiful - not enough words to describe it.
Unfortunately my trusty iphone wasn't doing so well, so some of my pictures were out of focus, so my apologies to the ones that I didn't include here.

I love show and tell - please please bring your creations to the studio - I would love to see your pieces.  I have many more creations to share with you and I will endeavour to keep up this blog - I am sure that you have heard that before!! I leave you with one more new garden that I was inspired to do one day...

One of my students, Rita, suggested I use cardboard too, but I started with the Island Parent Magazine - and it was expired - and newspapers - anything I could find in the local stores that was old.....and of course it looks quite different now - I will be sure to take a picture of the summer garden.