Sunday, July 20, 2014

The Wedding

We had a wedding. On top of Kicking Horse mountain in British Columbia.

Our older daughter, Katherine, married Sebastian on July 5th.

Many guests travelled great distances to get to the top of the mountain.
Our first family meal together. 
At this time some guests were wrestling with car troubles, flight delays and diversions, and lost luggage. They were still to join us.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Dirt Dyeing

While on a 'Girls' Weekend' at the ranch we did some Bengala dyeing.

Rose and Kerry tie stones into a tea towel.

Norma kneads a white t-shirt she is overdyeing.

Rose, Gail and Norma hard at work.

Rose taking out the stones.

The results

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

French Bucol Fabrics

A friend gave me 2 lengths of lame-type fabric. One had this label. A search of the name revealed Bucol has been a famous silk house in Lyon since 1920.

I needed to test the fabrics to find out if they were silk, or not. Out came the burn chart.
The silver one burned briefly then self extinguished. It melted giving off an odor of sweet chemicals and formed a hard black round bead.
It is polyester.

The gold one burned and melted. It was not self extinguishing. A hard black irregular bead formed. 
It is an Orlon or Acrilan acrylic.
I am a little disappointed they are not some vintage French silk from the 1920s but their melting properties will be something to take advantage of when working with them. And they are very pretty and shiny.

Saturday, June 14, 2014

Projects' Progress

The Fairy Ring mushrooms, lichens and bark had been wrapped in a wool blanket for over month.
It was time to take the bundle down to the pond and unwrap it.

Looking good but rather smelly.
It needed a good wash.

Some interesting marks I could work with.

My Garden Tower after a week.
We will be eating the arugula and celery next week.

My garden partner planted his tower this week.
He opted to plant mostly seeds.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Garden Towers

Around our house the only place deer and rabbits can't reach is the balcony where we have taken off the stairs. 
We bought a Garden Tower,, each, to grow edibles in.

It is like a large strawberry planter with a wormery/compost maker down the centre.

After a pleasant  morning at the nursery we each bought home our favourite edibles.

Ingredients for the soil mix.

A mix of the compost we made during our Organic Master Gardener class, Gaia College,, and all the additives to make a rich growing medium.

It was getting dark by the time I had planted my tower.
Now to keep up the water and to enjoy watching it grow.

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Andy Goldsworthy

Here is a Tate Studio Visit video of Andy Goldsworthy.
I found it on Rachel's great blog. Andy Goldsworthy
Do visit her blog for lots of interesting posts about art, artists and music clips.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Pattern Design Course Progress

One of the morning exercises was to analyse different patterns and to find examples of different types of patterns to put in our Pattern Dictionaries.

Elisha is working out how this pattern was made.

Elisha working with a new stamp she carved.
See below the resulting pattern.

Charlotte's new carved stamp produces a number of appealing repeating patterns.

Another pattern Charlotte produced with her new stamp.

Connie made several stamps using hot glue. They make a distinctive mark.

Friday, May 30, 2014

The Garden is Blooming

Our garden is most showy in the spring when the rhododendrons are blooming.

A couple of years ago, when my mother was visiting, she pruned and wrenched this rhododendron.
In the fall I moved it to its new bed.

This spring it has produced huge blooms telling me it is happy in its new home.

Purple french lavender and a red rhododendron - quite a colour scheme but the bees are in heaven.
A problem with the present garden is there is not much for the insects to feed on over the summer months.
I'm working on it.

Monday, May 26, 2014

Busy Weekend

Each day I have continued to repair the bead work on this dress.

The weekend started out warm and breezy - perfect conditions for laundering my collection of domestic linens, acquired over the winter.

Outside in the breeze until damp dry.

Then "polishing" with a steam iron.
This process took 2 days!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Pattern Design For Artists

The students have spent the past couple of weeks learning how to make repeating patterns, developing their own designs then using them to create different patterns.

Connie cuts a quick, inexpensive corrugated cardboard stamp to trial a design.

Elisha created a design based on a building then translated it into foam stamps, one the mirror of the other so she could make a greater variety of patterns.

She chose one of 17 different patterns she could make with this stamp to print on a heavier weight cotton.

Charlotte is developing designs based on the pineapple.

Sarah is exploring pattern making with a design based on lines found on rocks.
She made quick foam stamps of the design in the positive and negative and the mirrors of both. These 4 stamps allow her to create a vast number of different patterns.  

Connie's humming bird wing design is proving to be most successful.
She has produced many pleasing and promising patterns with it.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Natural Dyeing a Wool Blanket

This wool blanket is  special. It was produced in the UK sometime between 1941 and 1952 when the government set strict standards for UK produced products, to aid the war economy. 
The Price Control Mark label specifies this blanket, NPC 880, was guaranteed to contain 2 pounds of wool and had a set price of 25/8 shillings.
With such a history I must admit I did hesitate before plunging it into the alum bath.
The wrinkled label testifies to the abuse the blanket has been put through over its 60 or 70 years. It has been unevenly and probably unintentionally, fulled. 
Now it needs to be made beautiful again - with fungi and lichen dyes.

Fairy Ring mushrooms sound as though they will produce something magical.

Mushrooms plus lichens laid out on the blanket. 

Plus a few lichen covered twigs and scraps of bark

All rolled up tightly then squeezed into a bucket of acidic pond water and ammonia.
The bucket will now rest beside the boiler for a month or so, or until I can no longer wait to open it.