October 31, 2008
Native Wool from the Redwood Valley- a gorgeous organic merino fleece was the foundation for this hat. I washed, and dyed portions of the fleece in Toyon, Pokeberry, and Coyote Brush.. After dying it, I combed it all together, hand-spun it, and then knit and crocheted it into being. I used pokeberry and toyon dyed fleece and felted it together to make the wildflower adornment.
October 23, 2008
I just finished dressing the loom, and began creating the image that has been in my mind for months now. After collecting the right local wool, and the right Canadian hemp. I began dying the yarns last April. With the help of many young children from the Canal Alliance after school program, and the Pickleweed Center.
We used Toyon, Coyote Brush, Coffeeberry, and Coastal Sage as dyes. We dyed many skeins together. Most of these yarns were used by the children to create their own weaving projects. After many months it is now my turn to weave. My soul could not be happier.
As an educational therapist for children, and as a guest teacher and consultant educating about sustainable art materials and restoration art gardens, my life has mainly been about giving.. a lot of giving. So much so, that my own art has not been given the time it deserves. Being at my loom again today was as cathartic an experience as I have had in memory. I am so grateful for this time, it is the most precious gift.
October 20, 2008
I was traveling today to pick up some raw materials for a Green Halloween celebration. I stopped into the Dharma Trading Co. in downtown San Rafael, to pick up some un-dyed silk. While in their small parking lot, surrounded by empty cardboard boxes, trash, and broken concrete, I spied seven crows, dancing around the remains of a brown walnut husk. Above this crow dance, in the corner of the degraded concrete lot, was a black walnut tree poking through the cement. It had dropped hundreds of the biggest black walnuts I’ve ever seen. No exaggeration. I’ve been scouring my neighborhood for months picking up bits and pieces of husk- crumbs left from the squirrels and crows. Only a fraction of what I needed to create those deep browns. Now I have enough to dye several pounds of wool.
Nature always puts the antidote in the most needed and obvious places. The store parking lot where this tree has made its home, is the exact location where hundreds of pounds of synthetic petroleum based dyes are sold, just feet from the base of this grand harvest. Black Walnut husks create the strongest, most colorfast chestnut browns. No need for petroleum, or its toxic distillation and extraction process.
Black Walnut skeins are sitting at the base of pile, they are soft brown. Mixed together with Coyote Brush yellow, orange toyon, and green coffeeberry.
Black Walnut Recipe: (there are many recipes, this is only one method)
2 1/2 Gallons of Fresh Black Walnuts with Green Husk on.
15 oz. wool (mordanted)
Water to cover Walnuts
Boil Walnuts with husks on for two hours, soak overnight. Add water if needed to give enough room for the yarn. Add pre-soaked yarn. Simmer two hours, let sit for two days. Simmer another hour. Cool a few hours. Rinse. Dry in the shade.
October 10, 2008
I’m experiencing a hat making fetish, as of the last several days. This one is the most playful of them all-in every way, from its color combinations to vintage buttons.. The blue yarn is local wool, handspun, and dyed in my fermentation Indigo vat. The little stripe of multi-color, is from my handspun rainbow yarn. This yarn is spun from a naturally dyed multi-color batt that I make and sell-( you can check out the rainbow batts in my shop.) The orange/yellow stripe at the base is from a machine spun local wool dyed in Native Toyon. (This Toyon dyed yarn is being sold in an autumn color bundle on Etsy at the moment). The bright pink ear warmers, which are key for keeping this hat on, were knit from a local wool dyed in cochineal. Young students of mine dyed this yarn during a Central American natural dye class.
This little hat is a gift. I made it to uniquely reflect the little person who will be wearing it.
This hat receives my award for best texture. It is so so soft. Hand-spun local angora wool, blended with a gray cashmere. It feels cloud-like. The little man modeling began to smile when we put it on. I think I would to.
October 7, 2008
October 7, 2008