Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Workshop Roundup

Thanks to all who participated in our fibre arts workshop series this fall, we had a great time learning from some amazing fibre artists!

We started out on September 24 with a Natural Dyeing workshop with Amanda Carrigan, we used 5 different natural dyebaths to generate some amazing plant- and insect-based colours. We dyed with cochineal (pink), indigo (blue), goldenrod leaves and stems (green), sumac (grey) and tickseed (yellow). In these pictures you see our yarn samples in the mordant bath, and  rinsing the samples and hanging them to dry. The natural colours looked amazing! Thank you Amanda for this fantastic workshop.


On September 25 we had a workshop on wet-felting. We learned to make a Wet-Felted Bird Pod with fibre artist extraordinaire Diane Lemire. Diane is truly a felting genius and we were so lucky to be able to learn from her. Felting is fun, and it's also hard physical work! Here is Diane with 2 participants and their finished bird pods. I wonder if there are feathered residents in the pods yet? Thank you Diane!




Next up, on October 15, was Weaving on a Peg Loom with Susan Berlin. It is truly amazing the versatility of this simple tabletop loom! We learned the basics of creating different shapes with the peg loom, making simple woven rectangles, triangles, and circles. My work resulted in a series of teddybear-accessories for my daughter, and other participants later went on to create gorgeous baskets and tote bags using the peg loom techniques they learned. Thank you Susan for this fantastic workshop, and thank you as well to Kirsten of Corvus Wood Creations for the gorgeous hand-made hardwood peg looms!

Susan Berlin again joined us on October 16 for a workshop on Preparing a Raw Fleece. Using samples from various breeds of sheep, we learned how to assess, sort, wash, card, and comb raw fleece. If you want to shop from a local farmer, this is the kind of information you need to know to turn your bag of wool into something that's ready to spin or felt with. It was amazing to try out the different fibres and see how they responded differently to varying techniques. 

We finished up the workshop series with 2 amazing workshops by the talented fibre artist Anna Beaudet, who taught us how to make Traditional Padraig Slippers on October 29 and finally a Learn-to-Knit from Sheep to Cowl workshop on November 13. Both of these workshops utilized materials from our farm - yarn from our flock of Icelandic sheep hand-dyed with plant materials by Anna and myself, and sheepskin soles for the slippers. In each workshop participants went home with a well-started project and some new skills as well. Here you will see the sheepskin soles and skeins of hand-dyed yarn, ready to go and a picture of the newborn slippers that I made...now all they need is some newborn feet to keep cozy and warm.  Thank you Anna for these amazing workshops!
During each workshop we also took some time to go on a farm tour, learning about rotational grazing, Icelandic sheep, and how we raise organic food and fibre. We spent some time looking at some fibre samples from different local farms - an amazing array of gorgeous fibres are grown right here in the Ottawa-Gatineau region and the more we support our local fibre farmers, the more they will be able to grow. And, we kept our bellies and minds full sharing food, too much coffee and tea, and a lot of laughs. Thanks to all of the facilitators and all of the participants, and also thank you to Achillea Endeavours for providing a grant that really helped to ensure these workshops were a success.

We will book some more workshops for 2017 - let me know what you'd be interested in learning and stay tuned for dates!

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