Went West

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Finally, weaving again after a class at Vavstuga Weaving School in Shelburne Falls,  MA.

Kids natural dyeing and textile arts class at Red Tail Learning in New London, CT. Today’s class harvested its own jewelweed (Touch Me Not) and golden rod for dyeing. Other dyestuffs included black beans, tumeric, black walnuts and carrot tops. We sampled all of these fabrics on wool, silk and cotton. Thanks to everyone for a great last day of our summer class!

Red Tail Learning Center Textile Arts class meets the yearling alpacas at Six Paca Farm

They like to make it more difficult. 

If you want to move a goat in a particular direction, push it in the opposite direction. That's goat logic. Minnie Moo likes to watch through the window when we are milking. Just arrived. We bring newborns into the kitchen to get warm and cleaned off. First steps First meals

I am currently an animal husbandry intern at Beltane Farm in Lebanon, CT, where spring brings - new kids! About 60 have been born so far. daily activities include: assisting with the births; hand feeding new kids; general feeding and care of the adult animals; and hand and machine milking of the adult does. I wanted to do this to get closer to the care I knew fiber producing animals would also need, but I am just in love with the character of these goats and their affectionate natures.

Experiment weaving rag rug-style with old shoelaces. Using a single shoelace per shot seems to work out best, but then I have to deal with the ends…

It’s been a while since I’ve posted. Between moving back east and not having internet for a while, I’ve dropped off, but I’ve still been making. More to come.

More waulking - a song in Gaelic.

A waulking, or traditional method of fulling woolen fabric with movement in time to traditional Scottish folk songs. This was at Marshfield School of Weaving this past summer.

Variations on Finnish Diamond in cotton

Jacquard loom at work

Trip to Family Heirloom Weavers in Red Lion, PA.

Studio and work of Barbara Zaretsky of BZDesign in Asheville, North Carolina. Barbara block prints with natural dyes on handwoven silk. She is also director of the the adjacent studio/workshop, Cloth Fiber Workshop, which offers classes in fibers.

A tour of Alabama Chanin in Florence, Alabama

This doesn’t really fit all my prior posts about fibers or ceramics, but this was such an awesome day and hands-on experience that I needed to share it. As we were coming through Alabama and visiting with Dan’s old friend Travis, I got the opportunity to go gill netting with Travis’s wife, Crystal.

Travis’s wife Crystal is employed at and is working on her Masters at Sea Lab, the marine science education center located on Dauphin Island off the coast near Mobile. Within an hour of meeting Crystal, we were talking about volunteer opportunities with Sea Lab and she said, “Yes! You can actually volunteer tomorrow!”

The following morning we set off with two of Crystal’s fellow students on a research boating trip. Andrea needed bonnet head sharks for her thesis research.

We cast the nets in shallow waters just beyond the breakers. Initially, we waited 10 minutes, then checked the nets. We checked them again twenty minutes later and re-cast if we didn’t get anything. You need to keep an eye out for dolphins, making sure they don’t get caught in the nets accidentally and also because the presence of dolphins might scare away any sharks. It’s still incredible to see them cresting nearby.

I don’t mean for this to be a bunch of photos of me holding the day’s catch, but I had NEVER done anything like this and it was a real thrill. My jaw dropped every time we brought the net in. Unfortunately, no bonnet heads, but we brought in a few catfish; a red drum (Crystal’s research fish!); a sharp nose shark; a Spanish mackerel; and a blacktip shark. I estimate the largest of these - the red drum and the blacktip - weighed at least 50 pounds - note the grimace as I hold the shark. That beast is heavy and you have to hold him under the jaw.

I was so impressed with these women and their command of their objectives, the boat, and these very strong fish as they thrashed about in the nets.

Traveling east now - we were in New Orleans and visited the shop of Ronda Rose of the Louisiana Loom Works at 616 Chartres Street. Ronda designs and weaves custom rag rugs for her clients. The maximum available width is ten feet and all of her rugs are machine washable. Beautiful shop amazingly situated in the middle of the French Quarter.

A weaver-friend came into visit Ronda while we were there - turns out Dan had played music with her before - Weaver-fiddler Daron from the By & By String Band!

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