There's been a lot going on around here. Lots of weaving, dyeing and teaching. Sometimes I get really busy with it all and this journal slides off the to do list but I would like to change that and make it more of a priority (above instagram, although I do think that the gram is important--lots of people find me on there).
Over the next while I will be working on linen squares, commissions and teaching. I just came back from a little vacation with my family and some friends, so I'm rested and ready to go. Well, almost rested, I lost a night's sleep in there so I'm still recovering from that but you know what I mean.
I just finished another round of the weaving afternoon in our studio and it was great. I really love this format of just one afternoon of making. It also gives me a chance to pretty up our bright little studio, which I love (shout out to Forage and Bloom, my studio mate who is always so accommodating). I hope to do another one of these in May sometime, then I will probably not offer it again until September. Although I would love to teach it during the summer, I find with summer vacations and such, it's hard for people to sign up for things at that time. But maybe....we'll see.
I'm very excited to be putting the final touches on a project that I've been wanting to make and working on for a while. These beautiful botanically dyed, hand woven linen squares. Multi purpose. Use them to dry your face after cleansing, hang them somewhere that needs something pretty, use them to place a vase of pretty flowers, or maybe on your altar as a mat for your crystals (if you're into that sort of thing). Or maybe use it for when you have a cup of tea or coffee to make it just a little more special. The intention behind these is I wanted to make something that makes the user feel that it's ok to take a moment for yourself or to have something just for you! I'm also always looking for ways to make my work more accessible...I know that commissioning a wall hanging just isn't in everyone's budget.
Every step of these has been carefully considered. From the sourcing of the beautiful French linen thread, to how I dyed the linen. No square will be exactly like...only the size will be the same (12" x 12"). Some will have touches of silk, some will have organic cotton, others just pure linen.
I'm so excited about these. They will be $40 Canadian and will be available soon through my website and possibly through some local retailers here in Vancouver (although I'm not against making them available elsewhere).
If you're interested in one before they're listed, get in touch using the contact page.
I love these series of photos by my friend and studio mate Amanda from Forage and Bloom. It captures me in action, talking about what I'm making but also saying that I don't know how to act when my picture is being taken (can you relate?)
I've been very focused in the studio lately, weaving some rugs. At first I thought that they were samples of something that I would like to produce but then it's become much more than that. It's sort of become about weaving something for myself. Something that really wanted to be made. I had no explanation for it, just that it starting to come together quite easily, from the sourcing of the yarn, the dyeing of it, the design of the rug and now the weaving. It's still on my loom and I'll be working on it today. The end result will be a 2' x 3' rug. I intend to sit on it when I meditate. I've woven it mostly flat with one square really textured...for me to sit on. It was an intuitive design.
I know what this sounds like, very woo woo. But I am ok with that.
I've added more dates to my teaching schedule. I'm so excited about this and I'm especially happy that people keep signing up! I really think that people are looking for a connection not only to others but also to making something with their hands.
I realize that there are other classes available in Vancouver but I'll tell you why mine is a bit different. I have small class sizes. The maximum amount of students that I take in a class is 5. More one on one with the teacher is priceless. So that's what I have chosen to do.
I offer only natural fibres to weave with. That includes wool, silk, linen, cotton, jute, alpaca, etc... As part of my own weaving practice, I only use natural materials because I think they are the most beautiful but also if they do end up in the landfill, they take short periods of time to decompose. And so, I want to offer this to my students as well. I never discourage students from experimenting with different things on their own but the materials that I bring to class are always natural. These materials aren't cheap as anyone who has bought good quality yarn knows but I think there is something special with working with beautiful yarn.
One of my favourite things about teaching is just watching new weavers fall in love with this special medium. They're quiet, they experiment, they create such beautiful combinations of yarn and textures...I'm honoured that I get to witness it. It's very inspiring.
EDIT: I want to add something to this as I continue to reflect on why I want to teach. There is a lot about teaching that can be challenging. But for me what makes it so fulfilling is that I feel deep within myself that I should share this knowledge. That it's not meant to be kept only for myself. That weaving is ancient and that when I weave I feel that deep connection to those who did it before me.
Click here for a list of dates for 2019. I've mentioned here before that I've added a new format...the one afternoon weaving project on the weekend for those of you who can't commit to a 3 week course in the evenings because life is busy but you still want to learn and weave.
If you missed my first newsletter, you missed the answer to "what is the #1 question I get asked about weaving?" I'm not going to answer it here, ha ha. Sorry, I want somethings to just be for my subscribers (ps you should subscribe!) but I'll answer another question I get asked by students all the time. "Do I listen to music when I weave?" And the answer is yes, sometimes. Sometimes I listen to podcasts and most of the time I just leave it quiet. I like the quiet although at times I just can't handle it because my mind may be on hyper drive that day. I'm working on this.
Some of the things I'm currently listening to right now in the studio (besides people yelling in the alleyway), Emily King, Haim, my spotify top songs of 2018 (I love it when spotify makes these sort of compilations). Podcasts I'm listening to are Goal Digger, Raise Your Hand and Say Yes--although I'm moving away from these creative business podcasts at the moment just because they make me feel overwhelmed at times. So on my list to listen to next is Revisionist History and One Part Plant (which I have listened to off and on and really like her voice, it's so relaxing no matter what topic they are discussing).
There you have it, what I'm listening to right now. This always changes btw.
Today I am doing some natural dyeing on some beautiful Canadian wool. I have a few different kinds, two of which I am testing for some rug designs and the other, a soft lopi wool that I will be testing for some woven wearables (most likely a textured scarf).
The other yarn I am dyeing is a beautiful linen yarn from France. This yarn will be used for some beautiful face cloths--I think. More to come on that.
I miss natural dyeing. I don't get to do it very often but I hope to incorporate it in my weaving practice this year. It adds time to everything of course, but I think it's worth it and it's in line with my ethos. Right now I'm doing the dyeing at home but I hope to move this to the studio as well.
Day to day, where to begin? It's been a busy one over here. Lots of teaching including my first workshop hosted in our cozy studio. I've been wanting to do this for a while and finally it happened. One afternoon, weaving, tea, snacks...it was so much fun. I really like this short format. My other classes are taught over multiple weeks (they are more thorough of course).
I have another Weaving Afternoon scheduled for Sunday March 24th. Please see my 'weaving workshop dates' page to sign up.
Also I just sent out my first newsletter! I always thought it had to be a big deal so I kind of just kept procrastinating it but I just did it and it was so much fun to write. The subject was "The number 1 question I get asked about Weaving'. If you've missed it, please sign up for future newsletters, I have a bunch of really fun topics planned related to weaving and my own art practice.
Back to work for me. I'm in the middle of preparing some skeins of yarn for natural dyes. I'm working on some new products (yes! functional work coming soon but also my wall hangings aren't going anywhere, I'll still be making those too!).
In the studio before a bit of vacation. Most of the weavings above sold during my super instagram sale. I have these once in a while to clear out older work and make room for new stuff (in the studio and also in my head). I won't be making many one off weavings like this anymore unless I'm commissioned to. I used to keep a stock of weavings for various things but also for sale and I just found that they stayed around forever and never really sold. I've come to the conclusion that most people who buy my work tend to want something specifically designed for them so aside from an idea that really wants to get made, I'm going to honour the commissions.
In other news, this year I will be working on a home and body line. Mostly it's stuff that I want to make for myself but I will produce a line that will be available to the public and also maybe wholesale for stores. I've wanted to do this for a while. To weave special things for the home...little rugs, blankets, pillows, etc... But also things like special face cloths because I have one that I wove and I LOVE IT! So I think others will like it too. I will continue to take commissions on wall art as well and like I said, I will produce the occasional piece as an idea comes.
And now you're up to date. Just a little reminder to sign up for my mailing list. I'm currently having a draw to win one free weaving instruction hour with me in my studio. That will only be available to my mail listers. I'm actually going to draw for that later today.
See you after my vacation.
Thank you for following along here in this space. I will continue the day to day series here. I really enjoy posting these...the intention with this visual blog was to document some of my day to day in the studio because it's one of the things I'm most curious about when I encounter other makers. I'm not sure that I've managed to show this so far but I will keep trying.
Lots going on in the studio with regards to teaching. My dates for 2019 are firming up so please check that out.
I recently came across something that outlined how people can support artists. Buying their work is one way but things like taking a class or commissioning a piece are a couple of others. With that being said, I also know that not everyone can afford to do those things but there are a few ways you can support artists that don't cost a thing. For example, like amd share their instagram posts, visit and comment on blogs, tell friends and family about their work and classes...you get the picture.
I'm very grateful for the support that I receive everyday from friends, clients, family, past students, followers of my instagram and blog. Big fat thank you!