SWAY Art Yarn Festival, Florida 2014

SWAY Art Yarn Festival, Florida 2014

It has been a few weeks now since the wonderful SWAY art yarn guild event held in Sarasota Florida. However I can still feel the warm sun and the welcoming environment that I was lucky enough to be able to enjoy there. This event is an annual one, growing every year, and the organisers, Karen Simpson, Deb Lambert, and Kim Perkins did an amazing job of creating a weekend full of great opportunities! There were some incredible products on sale from the well selected vendors, including the stunning fiber from Kim Perkins of Batts inΒ the Bellfry (who I finally had the great pleasure to meet!), and really cool upcycled clothing, Saori looms and equipment (Kathleen Keenan) and the delightful Mary Egbert of Camaj Fibers who let me come home with some serious handfuls of her amazing Soffsilk product. The people attending this event were also amazing, so friendly and fiber nutty and fun, and what a great experience it was for me to meet everyone, in many cases putting real faces and voices to those I have met online through my Facebook page. We, (I had brought my daughter Ana along for the whole ‘USA’ experience) were welcomed so warmly it was easy to feel quite at home. Here are a few images from the days we spent together.. Above is Amy, who totally nailed the challenge she chose randomly from the challenge cards I made up for the event. Her challenge? Make a plied yarn without a wheel or a spindle. And what a yarn she made! Not only was it a perfectly spun plied yarn, she also went the extra mile and added in those lovely locks too! All done without the aid of any manufactured spinning equipment πŸ™‚ And then there were other yarns created, including this stunning one from Mary (Camaj Fibers) As well as spinning we also did some weaving on the circular looms, supplied by Majacraft especially for this weekend:Β    I was very sorry to leave, there is something very special about a room full of creative people, the energy is fantastic, ideas and chatter and much laughter. Β I think its one of the great pleasures that we have as fiber people, getting together and sharing these events, and I was also struck by the openness and friendliness of my American spinsisters, Β I very much hope to be back in the USA again. My thanks to everyone who made it possible, it was an adventure that I will treasure πŸ™‚...

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Wild Weaving Workshop N

Wild Weaving Workshop N

I know I know, I still havent blogged about the dye day workshop yet… like I had planned to do before today πŸ™‚ Its TIME, it gets sucked into some black hole of time suck despite my best efforts at what ‘I’ think of as efficiency. I suspect this version of mine is not ‘real’ efficiency so much as wishful thinking efficiency. Apparently there is a difference. As in… it isnt actually efficiency. But the point is, here we are. Sunday evening and everyone has gone home. The room that has been filled all day with chatter and amazing yarns and looms everywhere and mini-stashes to ooh and aah over.. well its empty again, left only with yarn scraps, some stray coffee cups, and a few sparkly bits floating around. It was a very awesome day. So I wanted to share it with you while it was all fresh in my mind, because my kind of ‘efficiency’ often requires that some things fall out of my brain, I am preempting this by writing it now. And I have to admit to feeling rather smug about this πŸ™‚ Patty and I had a pretty solid program written up for the day. We wanted to be sure that we would cover all the things that we found important to review and share in just one day together, which seems like plenty of time but you know, once you get started, its that time vortex again… So our day was split up into three parts, weaving basics, design, and hands on weaving. It was such a pleasure to see everyones looms arrive and check out the warps they had set up, all so different, all so beautiful πŸ™‚ Sometimes the warp itself is such a visual delight its almost a shame to change it by adding weft! However as the day progressed we saw some incredible weaving happening.   One thing I was really pleased to be sharing was my developing approach to freeform weaving and what that means, at least to me. I am sure my approach to it is not new or unique, but at least for me it is, and the more I do, the more defined and concrete these ideas become as I consider how to best approach the problem of design and freeform. I say ‘problem’ here because, if you look at anything creative as a ‘problem’ it just asks for a solution! The ‘problem’ for me with weaving is actually the goal, so not a ‘problem’ as in there is something wrong, but as in a challenge, to which we can see the outcome we want, and the challenge (problem) is to find a way to...

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Wooly Workshop Days in Woodville

Wooly Workshop Days in Woodville

Its a little like a dream already, two days spent in the amazing fibre wonderland that Tracy White calls home. Inspire Fibres: Woodville New Zealand. SO worth the trip πŸ™‚ I was there to teach two workshops earlier this month, a day of dyeing and colour play, and a day of spinning and fiber prep. I had to get up early to get there too. My drive from Napier was less than two hours, but notable for the large quantity of water that was falling from the sky, for the entire trip. So what else could I do but turn up the radio and drive πŸ™‚ By the time I got there the rain was starting to fail and Tracy had a cosy fire burning invitingly in the studio and coffee ready to go. Perfect! And the perfect day for playing with colours. Bright, alive, hot, cool, calming, crazy, emotive, provoking. Colour is amazing! We started with a bit of painting, playing with the effects that colours have on each other. I am pretty sure that playing with colours is just good for the soul. Gloves were donned and dye was splashed, smooshed, dripped and tipped. And the results were diverse and amazing!! Check out the colours that Nanda chose! Her roving came out just stunning.. Our day included four different ways of dyeing, masses of rich colour, using dyes provided by Tracy and Teri Dyes – also Woodville based! I have to say I really enjoyed these dyes, very vibrant, they exhausted easily, and the results speak for themselves. They sell throughout NZ, and I am already planning on my next visit to buy up their range and bring some home with me πŸ™‚ Tracy also provided some amazing fiber, including these gorgeously silky Gotland locks:   The second day was equally enjoyable! Of course, how could it not be in the midst of this magical stash cave! Requests of Tracy for specific kinds of items, fiber, core threads, roving.. usually resulted in quantities of rummaging, exclamations of ‘oh I have this too’ followed by oohs and aahs as Tracy pulled out yet another fibre treasure from the depths of her bountiful shelving. Are you getting the idea how much I loved being there?! πŸ™‚ If you are in NZ, or plan on visiting there at any time, Inspire Fibres is (IMHO) a bit of a mecca and very worth visiting. Ok back to the workshop! We started our spinday with some fibre preparations. We had enough equipment! Β I had borrowed some cool toys from Majacraft while I was there the week before (thank you!!), so we had their Combs, hackle, and blending board, and Tracy had a...

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Workshoping with WoolWench and JazzTurtle

Workshoping with WoolWench and JazzTurtle

Its over, our glorious days of exciting projects, shared teaching, and some group hilarity. We started on the Friday evening, with a meal together followed by some really cool drum carding and fiber prep for the following day. This first group was the beginning art yarn spinners, and although some were already experienced spinners, the ‘art’ techniques we had in store were new to them. It was quite a treat to see the wheels all in a row and waiting for their spinners to get started. What I enjoyed the most about this group was the enthusiasm they showed for every technique, and their complete willingness to dive in and give everything a go, even if they were not sure about the outcome, thats the kind of creative risk taking I love the most! Our second group were the advanced art yarn spinners, so we covered some more difficult techniques such as spinning on elastic and on wire, specifically with the intention of weaving with them, because our final day was a fantastic weaving day, finishing on the Tuesday afternoon. It was exciting to see eyes light up on the discovery of new possibilities in weaving, and the idea that weaving could actually be cool and exciting and innovative and not complicated or difficult! This is not a post with an hour by hour description of what we did during our workshop days, but rather an impression of the things that I personally found important in them. Of course, the topmost important things were the Β people and connections made. In each group there was a wonderful dynamic and level of excitement about what we were doing. I love it when people make discoveries, have an ‘aha’ moment as a bunch of stuff falls into place in their heads and their hands as they spin something new. We had a few of those! I also think that part of teaching is offering experiences to people in a safe environment, where they can grow their expertise and confidence in what they are doing, so I hope we were able to provide this, I certainly saw some amazing yarns being made, and one in particular stands out, as Cara experimented with a new technique, and holding out the length of yarn she had made we could see a vast improvement from the start of it to the end of it! Thats a success πŸ™‚ It was also a fantastic experience to be part of a teaching team, especially with the fabulous Esther Rodgers, I had the best time both during and after classes, and it was a wonderful chance to get to know each other and share stories and hilarity and ideas....

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Workshopping

Workshopping

I have a few things to share this week. The first and most important thing is the one about connection. This is where I get a little teary eyed and filled with amazement and thankfulness that my life is blessed with some of the most wonderful people. I had one of these moments today, sitting at one end of a room that was filled with fiber, yarns, spinning wheels, and people. I struck me how much I love being in this environment, how lucky I am to have connections with people like my friend Alet, who organises events like this, and Esther who brings her energy and creativity and shares them like this, and both are people who transform the lives of others with the things they do. This is something really cool to be a part of. The last few days, teaching with Esther, and the evenings working on our weavings and spinning together, have been a really great experience, learning, laughing, sharing ideas and getting excited about the same things. So I wanted to share that with you too, because I think its always good to take a moment to stop, and appreciate the positive things in our lives. And no matter where you are at, if you look, you will find something. At least thats what my generally optimistic brain tells me, and I really hope that is true πŸ™‚ And the workshops? Awesome πŸ™‚ We have carded, rolagged, combed, hackled, and of course SPUN ALL THE THINGS. We have had some ‘aha’ moments, and certainly some ‘oh thats how it works!’ experiences too. Its been awesome to have the opportunity to share this with Esther and I have learned and laughed a lot and am totally enjoying this opportunity to teach together. I think we make a good team! Our first workshop was with the beginning art yarn spinners, a fantastic group with much enthusiasm, humour, and talent, they made some really amazing yarns. Today we started with the second workshop for the more advanced art yarn spinners, so we are planning a nice range of yarns to spin, with the goal of also weaving them on the second day, and we have something special planned for that! So this is an update post, and I will be back later this week with an ‘its over’ post and more photos and, no doubt, with a sense of sadness that its over and also anticipation for the next one πŸ™‚ But for now, ENJOY THE DAY....

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