The Country Life / British Wool stand at Decorex International 2017

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On the British Wool / Country Life Magazine ‘Design Sense” stand at Decorex International 2017, flanked by Brintons Carpets , Roger Oates Design and Zoffany Fabrics and Wallpapers as interior design businesses who all use British Wool as an important part of their brand story. During the 4 days of the show I demonstrated hand-weaving on my old floor loom (as well as lots of talking to the lovely interested audience!) I wove a design created for the occasion in 2 natural grey Herdwick wool yarns.

 

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Vibrant colour from summer plant dyes

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Running a natural dyeing workshop in the summer is the best time of year as the students have a vast array of plants in full bloom to extract colour from. This day of alchemy was held at The Bothy @ Vanessa Arbuthnott’s fabric showroom in Cirencester a couple of weekends ago.

Will wild Golden Rod give the same colour as the cultivated garden variety?

What colour (if any) will white flowers give when boiled up?

Will deep pink Dahlia flowers give the same colour dye? The answer:-  it produced the zingy orange (in the centre of the image) on the wool we used to create a colour reference.

The students were guided in the preparation of dyestuffs, fresh, dried and concentrated extracts; with the mordanting of the wool to ensure the dyes didn’t wash out; the varied dyeing methods and processes, then played with colour by dyeing a second colour over the first using all the coloured dye-baths we had produced during the day. Each student chose their favourite colours to dye 3 skeins of British Wool to take home.

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Natural dyes – extracting colour and dyeing wool at The Tallet studio

As a ‘run through’ for the first Natural Dyeing workshop I will be teaching at The Bothy in Cirencester on Saturday August 12th, I extended an invitation to students who had been on one of my weaving courses, to come and spend a day making and using dyes extracted from natural sources.

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Dye was extracted from dried dyestuffs including madder (reds/oranges/pinks) and Logwood (purples/greys/browns) and from a diverse range of seasonal fresh plants including Weld (yellows), asparagus leaves (pale green) and white Achillea (blue/grey), plus as many more as we had jars to try! Wool samples pre-prepared with mordant were dyed and some over-dyed in a second colour producing a subtle two-toned yarn.

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My plan for the students to dye a 30g skein of wool in their favourite dye(s) fell by the wayside as they wanted to keep extracting colour from new plants, so they took this mordanted wool home.

Within a couple of days I started receiving emails with photos of the plants they had tried and the fabulous (and sometimes unexpected) colours they had dyed their wool.

Stow Cotswold Festival

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Warp in hand-spun rare breed British Wool for Cotswolds Inspired collection of cushions.

I’ve set up the portable loom for my demonstration this weekend at Stow Cotswold Festival on Saturday 15th July. I will be in St Edward’s Hall and I would love you to drop by! There will be a couple of little looms for anyone to try weaving.

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Weaving demonstrations and activities – summer 2017

Weaving Demonstration for Cotswold AONB Rural Skills at Sheep and Wool Day, Northleach.

In the next couple of months I will be taking a loom or two to the following shows.

I will be demonstrating weaving and where it is feasible I will have equipment setup ready for visitors to have a go at weaving.

The Cotswold Show held on Saturday and Sunday, July 1st and 2nd in Cirencester. I will be in the Rural Crafts area as a guest of the Northleach Spinners and Weavers.

The Stow Cotswold Festival held on Saturday 15th July in Stow on the Wold, with Cotswold AONB Rural Skills.

Also as a new tutor for New Brewery Arts, Cirencester, I will be assisting on their stand at the Contemporary Craft Festival this weekend in Bovey Tracey, Devon. The Festival runs from Friday 9th June to Sunday 11th June, I will be there on Saturday.