Sunday, 23 September 2012

I have surpassed my personal best this time with a four month absence from the blog. This not because life has been boring - far from it!

I have taken a workshop with the wonderful Jette Vandermaiden in tied weaves at Devon Weavers Workshop, delivered successful indigo workshops for Oxford Guild WSD, and for South Hams Spinners, taken a 3 end block weave course with Jason Collingwood in Cornwall, done 9 days of Drawn to the Valley Open Studios at lovely, lovely Leewood, ( and been helping with the organization for the  textile programme for next year. I've written articles for future editions of The Journal ( and Workbox Magazine and watched the rain and cold put paid to the birth of the Leewood Dye garden - for this year, anyway.

There is a small Wensleydale flock enjoying the 30 acres and I am enjoying the fleece! It is beautiful - long, lustrous and curly and dyes beautifully. It justifies its existence simply by being gorgeous to look at, as far as I am concerned.

My latest involvement has taken me right out of my comfort zone. I am one of a group of craftspeople who have been working with Royal Opera House choreographer, Freddie Opoku-Addaie as he creates a piece for the Compass Project. Bespoke will tour Devon in October/November 2012 and will unite the art of dance with sculpture, weaving, environmental art and silk spinning. The initial workshop was a unique and profoundly challenging experience. The result will be, in my case, an interpretation and fusion of the movements of a handspinner with those of a dancer - it will be a relief to those of you who know me in the flesh to hear that I will be spinning during the performance, not dancing!

This has not been a good summer for my silkworms - I hatched some of last year's moths and enjoyed their short lifespan, and have observed mating. The eggs went in the fridge for next year as the weather has been dreadful, cooler than normal, less sunlight than normal and the impact of foodplants unpredictable. I decided not to try and hatch caterpillars I might not be able to feed, so nstead of lots and lots of different species, I have raised one batch of Japanese Oak cats, and have saved the cocoons for next year, along with last year's Giant Atlas, whose eggs are now in the fridge.

Now to finish my Jason Colllingwood warp.....

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