Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Socks on the Mend

Back in August, I sat down with Penny at The Urban Weaver Studio and she helped me refresh my skills on darning socks.

My first sock had the "classic" hole in the heel - too much friction from the good ol' boots I wear all the time.  Originally knitted with a sports weight yarn,  I used a similar weight and colour to construct a weave across the hole.  First by creating a "warp" section in one direction and then by weaving over and under all the warp threads.

My second sock - an all time favourite - wasn't too damaged, but the stitches over the heel were running super thin.  Since I wanted to keep the pattern along the heel cup, Penny suggested that I cut right through the heel - something she's done a lot for toe repairs.  A first for me ... it is with due diligence and trust in her experience that I cut a hole in my favourite sock!  Afterwards, we brainstormed the best way to knit the heel back together and figured that short rows was going to do the trick.

I have one more sock to repair and it's been long time coming for this one.  This pair was purchased in Kamchatka years ago and each stitch pretty much has a story ... so have the holes!

Starting October 1st, you can join Penny at the Urban Weaver Studio for a series of Woolley Workshops and rejoice at wearing your "new" mended socks.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Opportunity for contemplation

The Little Green Dress Projekt by local artist Nicole Dextras is a stunning creation. Nicole happened to be at the garden when I visited the exhibition - allowing for a fortuitous conversation on the project, the process and the materials.

The aim of Nicole's project is to promote awareness on the enormous impact the clothing industry has on our environment and the need for change. For these reasons, the dresses are entirely created with organic materials. By the end of September, The Little Green Dress Projekt will feature 21 dresses all made of botanical material left to decompose back into nature.

If you are in Vancouver, don't miss the Earth Art 2012 exhibition at the VanDusen Botanical Garden - only 10 days left.  And if living far away, take a detour to Nicole's dresses online.  There's much to contemplate!

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

An abundance of sage for colouring

Inspiration from the Garden

Salvia Officinalis
Salvia officinalis - our culinary sage bush of 7 years

Solar Dye Magic

Solar Dye Concoctions
 Three concoctions (left to right) - sage dye liquid, sage dye liquid with
old copper mesh (previously used to repel slugs in the veggie patch) and 
sage dye liquid with rusty bits of iron found in the garden's soil

Colour Wonders

Sage Colours
Dye colour liquid only on all fibres - no mordant
dye with copper (top left), dye on its own (top right)
dye with iron (bottom)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Weaving Beyond Cloth

For a few months now, I've been taking part in The Urban Weaver Project - an environmental art project led by artist-weavers Todd DeVries and Sharon Kallis.  Sharon and I met three years ago - when attending her Autumn shade retreat workshop at MOPARCC - and she introduced me to blackberry vine as a weaving material.  Since then Sharon has been working on some amazing projects in our local communities and abroad - and the Himalayan Blackberry is only but one of several species on her list of invasive plants for weaving.

The Urban Weaver Project has been a great opportunity for me to learn more about "invasive" species and to get involved in the harvest and preparation of these plants for weaving.  I have learned a tremendous amount from Sharon and Todd's teachings on traditional weaving techniques using English Ivy, Himalayan Blackberry, Flag Iris and Miscanthus giganteus.  The Stanley Park Ecology Society offers a great guide with the descriptive of these "invasive" plants.  As a permaculturist, I rather label them as  "opportunistic" species, but that's a different post all together.

The Urban Weaver Project also included Master Class Technique Exchanges with other local artists.  I feel very privilege to have learned new skills from Haida weaver Giihlgiigaa (cedar),  Squamish spinner and weaver Sesemiya Tracy Williams (cedar and fibre), and traditional wheat weaver Brian Jones.

Since June, the field-house at Maclean Park has been a second studio space and to be part of a new community of weavers has invigorated my own practice.  The Urban Weaver Project is soon coming to an end with our final celebration this week, but the field-house at Maclean Park will continue to offer community projects.

To all these wonderful people,  I dedicate this page "At The Urban Weaver Studio".