Monday, 28 September 2009

Our next venture into the public domain will be at the Association of Guilds of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers' All Wales Event in Llanidloes, Mid Wales on Saturday, October 3rd.  This is a biennial event, held in the Minerva Centre in Llanidloes, and is generally a good get-together and catch-up session for all the Welsh Guilds.  We will have work on display (we hope! - Krithia and Alison have to get there to put it up before the hordes arrive at 10o'clock), both general "What we've done in the last 24 months" stuff and our efforts for the All Wales Guild Challenge on the theme of recycling.  We are looking forward to hearing a lecture by Cefyn Burgess in the afternoon, and - of course - we are not going to spend any money on any more fleece/fibre/equipment at the Suppliers' Show (are we?!)

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Weaving Day, Friday September 25th

We held our first "Weaving Day" on Friday - we've been talking about it for years, but have finally got round to it.  None of us is an expert, but between us we have enough expertise and equipment to get going.  Having a whole day in the Community Centre meant that we could actually get a lot done, and do it without falling over the furniture as we do at home.  Getting a loom ready for weaving ("warping up") takes a fair amount of time for several reasons, boiling down to the fact that an awful lot of yarn has to be wound on to the loom and then threaded through raddles/heddles/reeds or all three to form the "warp" on which the weaving is done.  Only after this is done, and done properly, can we get on and do the interesting bit which is the actual weaving.
We shared warping frames and pegs, inspected each others' looms, helped with winding on the warps and generally learnt a lot from each other.  And of course there was plenty of time for cups of tea and coffee, and general chat, and a good lunch with delicious soup made by J.M.
courtesy of I.C.

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Helen Melvin at the Abergele Guild

Helen Melvin came to our meeting this evening to give an inspiring talk entitled "A Passionate Journey". She told us about her love of colour, dating back to her early childhood, and described the development of her interest (obsession?) with natural dyeing. We were all fascinated by her account, and we loved the glorious colours she showed us on the silk and wool she brought with her. Helen dyes with natural dye extracts - super-concentrated colour in powder form - and with dyeplants from her own garden. At the last count there were 60 different dyeplants, grown by Helen and her friend & gardener Enys. Helen demonstrated her method of painting with dye extracts directly onto fleece/felt, but we will have to visit her studio to see the results as the dye must be left overnight to percolate through the fibre before steaming to set the colour! She described her methods for dyeing 16 micron merino without felting the fibre, environmental dyeing using the heat and light of the sun, and natural fermentation vats for madder and indigo. Those of us who have some experience of dyeing have been inspired to start again, and those who have never dyed anything are itching to get started!
Thank you very much indeed, Helen.
Helen's work can be seen on her blog "Growing colour" (which is also in our "other blogs" link, to the right of the posts.) Her studio is open at weekends in September as part of "Helfa Gelf Open Studios", an event taking place across 4 counties in North Wales and involving 112 artists.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Wednesday afternoon again

Pat brought her finished rag "rug" to the meeting today - done in recycled fabric on hessian. Some of the fabric is hand-dyed. We were all very impressed, particularly as she has finished it so quickly. I should also have photographed the amazing blanket Pauline is working on, but forgot.
And thanks very much to June's grandson for the cakes.