Saturday, 20 March 2010
Spring has come to the Dye Garden
Spring has Come!
As well as crocuses miniature daffs, catkins and the fabulous delicate dwarf irises spring means other things to the dyer! Yesterday for example I was able to work in the studio without having to light my wood burner, I could hang my fibres to dry on the line and finally something , which although it has nothing to do with dyeing , excited DH and I somewhat -we have frog/toad spawn (I not sure which) in our little pond. Last night we heard the gently croaking call of an amphibian-. The little pond had been around for four or five years and over the last two we have spotted an increasing number of frogs and toad although they are very shy. Last summer when we had been away for a week they had obviously colonised the pond and I saw a frog squatting on a lily pad but sadly the pond which is in our battered flagged patio (all the flags are uneven) is probably too near the house for them to lounge around at their ease. So we are delighted to see our spawn .
Other nice things happened. Last year my studio was open for an Open Art Studio event Helfa Gelf ( meaning Treasure Hunt) .The organisers ran a raffle, the winner having £500 to spend on art. The winner has chosen four artists who she wants to look at in more detail and she chose me as one. She came out yesterday and to have a look although she wanted either something like Tree against a Red Hill ( which you can see on my website) or a Waterfall both of which I have sold.
Then the BBC rang up to see if I was interested in a (very) cameo appearance dyeing with children on an children's programme.
On the dyeing front I am dyeing like a women possessed as I have so many workshops coming up for which I always provide all the materials in natural dyes. Increasingly in recent years I have been booked up by groups and this year I am really busy . On Monday for example I am teaching a small group of artists in mid Wales a workshop of mine called Felt beyond the Boundaries. A week today one I am running one called Felt Collars, here for the first time I will be teaching the students to felt a fine felt collar with lacey edges using the incredibly fine ultra fine 15 micron merino. Dyeing this without felting that been a challenge! Up and coming is another Felt beyond the Boundary for a group on the LLeyn Peninsular and Felt and Fabric Tote bags and Asymmetrical Bags in Gloucester both in May. In between is Wonderwool so the dye pots are constantly on the go and you can see why being able to hang stuff upon the line outside is such a relief.
The dark pink fibres on the line are cochineal extracted from the whole bugs similar to the recipe described by Leena on her fantastic blog on cochineal which you can find here. It saves the grinding but I am not sure that it gives such a bright pinky red colour as does grinding the cochineal bugs and soaking with cream of tartar. This is the method I have used in the past and comes from Trudy Von Stralen's book Indigo Madder and Marigold. I plan to grind some today but it will be Tuesday before I can dye with it
As revenge for me saying Spring has come the changeable British weather has now clamped down with a hill mist and heavy rain. Oh well at least the frogs and toads will be happy as the pond fills up.