A rainbow of fibres

For the last two days I have been at Woolfest , soaking up all things related to sheep ,  wool and fibres , meeting old friends and making new friends and buying a few things too.!  One thing that really struck me was the beautiful displays really showing both fibres and colour in all their glory.   Here are a few examples: 




Great event to visit , well organized by the wool clip. 

I will be back next year.  🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏🐏

Drawing for Textiles

For the last two weeks I have been taking an on-line course called Drawing for Textiles D4T by the wonderful textile artist Dionne Swift.  In the first week I had fun drawing some small objects , really enlarged , using a variety of techniques.

My objects ( some family heirlooms here) and examples of the large crazy drawings I made are below.       


I say crazy , because of the fun drawing techniques and because they felt to have little connection with the objects by the time I had finished – I think that was the idea really.  

We then had to seek out gems in the masses of lines.  I found quite a few I liked and cut them out, making a little book for future reference.

Then came the textile part.  Using sewing and embellishing to make textile lines , in order to repaint the gems.  Great fun even though I don’t have an embellisher and had to hand needle .   For me there were eureka moments here too.  Ideas of thread combinations to use on my sewing machine.  How come I never knew you could put two threads through the top needle ?  Thick threads on the bottom spool. I did know this but had never tried it.  Two sides to every piece.  Of course I knew this , but I had always approached my pieces by sewing , from the top.  Starting on the reverse gives a whole set of new effects.

Mostly I made samples , but here is a completed piece .

The course was great , Dionne videos were informative , relaxed and professional.  I also liked the idea of a sail ly delivery for two weeks of information and the private FB page the students from all round the world who could then share our work in progress and ideas.   Great course I  would really recommend it.

Textile inspiration

This week I have had the opportunity to visit the Rijswijk Textiel Biennale  with my good friend Els.  For me walk, metro, train,  bus, walk for Els , bike, boat ,bike , train, bus, walk and we were there .  Only in the Netherlands would this  degree of transport integration be possible.

The  Textile biennial , with 19 international textile artists is held in a beautiful old Dutch Building on a tranquil square in old Rijswijk.   It’s garden was a maze of beautiful wild flowers , including  foxgloves, one a my favorites.  A perfect place to enjoy a coffee and some wonderful Dutch Apple cake.

I love the thread thinness of these pieces by Raija Jokinen from Finland.

And the fragile ethereal nature of this thread thin furniture by Amanda Mccavour from Canada.

These dimensional faces , made by Monica Bohlmann from Germany, are like formal portraits , with a sinister air and seemed to follow you around the room.  


In a totally different style this piece is  like a memorial,  so fine and so delicate and faded.  Almost decaying with age.


It was made by Ying Chew from Australia.

To end with one of the pieces by Debra M Smith from the USA.  Made with 20 year old silk suit lining.

This is just a glimpse into some of the pieces displayed in the museum. It is well worth a visit if you are in the Netherlands. 


Well after last weeks disappearing yellow dye , I first rushed out to see if there was any hawthorn blossom left.  I was in luck as the trees down by the river were still mostly in flower and I was able to easily pick some more.  I do wonder if the colour comes from the petals , which are really beautiful , or for the tiny berry in the middle of the flower ? 

 I also had a good look at my pans , and concluded they were not very clean.  So I boiled them with washing soda solution which produced a ghastly pink scummy solution. I then scrubbed them with abrasive powder cleaner and finally rinsed and rinsed.  

In parallel with this I was making another vessel to dye .  Trying Shetland fibre again.  

Looks a little hairy as it still here needs a shave and I am still not 100% happy with the finished felt quality , which I will investigate.  But my hawthorn flowers were waiting , so I stitched with silk , cotton and linen   

and dared to dye again.

I am so pleased with the colour , what a beautiful springlike yellow.
I just have to work out now to be 100% happy with the felting and the dyeing at the same time.! Or on reflection maybe that’s not possible, just more happy with them both will do.