I’ve embarked on a plein air project. It all started when my husband got in the bull dozier and went to war on the privet encircling the woods on our farm. I see such amazing things on my walks around the farm, but now that he has opened up the woods I can extend my walks through the woods instead of around them. The forces of nature are even more evident inside the woods along multiple new paths. Gigantic trees darkened at the base with moss and fallen ones on their way to return back into the earth, vines the size of a man’s wrist and of seemingly unlimited height tangled up into the trees some with the hairy clue that they are poison ivy, grey kudzu vines awaiting their spring growth spurt, small baby trees climbing their way to the sky, mosses, lichens, leaves of all sizes, toadstools, spider webs, occasional bugs, the one early asparagus that didn’t quite make it past the last frost, and new paths my son has cleared into the two farm ponds left over from long ago barite mining.
I can’t wait to get into the woods every day. In this early spring it is like walking on a blue carpet with so many tiny four petal blue flowers underfoot. I’ve packed a backpack with needed supplies to card, spin, weave, and felt wool to the colors that surround me on these walks.
Talk about a great place to teach, Florida Tropical Weavers Guild Conference near Orlando is it. I introduced some new folks to electronic textiles. They all wanted to try something new and we did. Several had never felted before so the challenge was to learn two entirely different crafts in one weekend. Must be something in the water. We even had a great time showing off our dancing lady pins complete with lights at the fashion show.
It is amazing what kids can do when you give them directions than turn them loose. Here’s what the kids at Silverdale Baptist Elementary School in Chattanooga, TN did on their Appalachian Art Day Festival. I showed them how to weave on the floor loom then let a few weave while the rest of the classes saw samples and other processes that turn fibers into clothing. Clothes don’t come from the store after all, cotton is picked, wool is sheered then fibers are carded, spun, and woven.
Especially at John C Campbell Folk School
This past weekend, I taught a round robin plain weave class proving that “plain weave does not have to be so plain.” Of course the Folk School brings out the best in folks so the students were able to weave 8 different versions of plain weave on six different looms and do lots of warping to boot.
Here are just a few of the samples just waiting for full sized projects.
So much to see and do in Thailand.
This year I went on a tour to some of my favorite places in Thailand and a few I hadn’t seen before. This is a year of mourning for the late king and people were dressed in black everywhere we went. A continuing stream of people dressed completely in black stretched for blocks surrounding the Grand Palace waiting to view the king’s remains. Our tour took us to the north eastern part of Thailand. We visited five traditional weaving villages and were treated like royalty everywhere we went with welcoming luncheons, receptions, village tours, and lectures. The second year fashion design students at Rangsit University in Bangkok took on the felting and e-textile challenge I gave them and made a scarf then stitched a simple circuit that included a snap switch and led light. I even revisited my Peru trip with a slide presentation to the Thai Textile Society. The last day of my trip found me at the Bangkok Mini Maker Faire. STEM and STEAM are a worldwide movement.
Here is a small sample in and around Bangkok, with more to follow.
Six focused ladies are learning how to adapt and invent twill patterns this week. They have hardly had time to go outside and enjoy the amazing weather we are having here in this tiny corner of south west North Carolina. These are just their samplers, wait till you see the finished pieces they are threading tonight. Stay tuned.
It is always fun to share skills with visitors at festivals and school days. Especially when being surrounded by music, other demonstrators, and wonderful museum displays.
The McMinn County Living Heritage Museum in Athens, TN put on a program for local school children on Sept 9 that included folk music, pottery, spoon making, and pine needle basketry. I was able to demonstrate on their 1840’s barn loom and show the children the processes used by their ancestors to make their clothing.
The next day was Art on the Square in Tellico Plains. Aside from the art booths, there was music all day long, great to be sitting across from. Demonstrators from the state parks dyed hand spun wool and cotton cloth with cochineal and logwood. Not to mention that I love the looks on kids faces when they can successfully weave on my baby wolf loom. Two successful days educating folks in by gone ways.