Private View at Clyde & Co on 6th December 2018

Private View of Guildford Arts Exhibition at Clyde & Co on December 6th between 6pm and 8pm

 detail from Sardinia 4, one of the pieces I have on display at the Guildford Arts Exhibition

detail from Sardinia 4, one of the pieces I have on display at the Guildford Arts Exhibition

The Private View for the Guildford Arts Exhibition at Clyde & Co will be on 6th December between 6pm and 8pm. I am very excited to be part of this interesting exhibition and if you would like to have an invitation to the private view please contact me as soon as possible by clicking here. The private views at Clyde & Co are always worth attending. Not only do you have free access to all the exhibition work but there will be excellent refreshments!

The work I have on display comes from both my TMM series and the Aphrodite’s Girdle series.

Other artists exhibiting are:

Brad Kenny

David Dragon

Jim Tucker

Liz Seward

Mai Osawa

Marilyn Bailey

Natasha Snell

Neil Brown

Felting fun

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 making layers of tops

making layers of tops

The felt balls are made by layering wool tops and then, after making them damp, carefully rolling them between your hands to gradually form a ball. As the ball forms, more water is added and more pressure, rolling around and around until a neat, hard ball is formed.

 Finished ball

Finished ball

 

Comments from those taking part:

“Really lovely way to spend a few hours learning felting and chatting to new people. Jo is generous, kind and a brilliant teacher” - ML

“Excellent workshop. Jo is a great tutor” SM

There are still places on similar workshops on Friday 23rd November and Monday 27th November. For more details click here

We had great fun making felt balls for garlands today.

This was a small group, and it was very relaxed, with friendly chat throughout.

Each person was able to create her unique felt balls, starting from a choice of wool tops.


 starting to form the ball

starting to form the ball

When completed the balls are threaded onto gold or silver thread, using a needle. Simple but effective.

 Threading up the balls to form the garland

Threading up the balls to form the garland

 a unique garland

a unique garland

Colourful outcomes from Natural Dyeing Day

Natural dyes produced at workshop on 15th September

Dying with natural dyes is always a bit of an adventure and unless you are very experienced, the outcomes cannot always be predicted. So I was thrilled a the beauty of the colours we created at the natural dye workshop on 15th September.

During the day we explored various dyes using double knit Blue Face Leicester yarn made by West Yorkshire Spinners.

We began the day using dyes made from Onion Skins and Walnut husks. These had been pre-prepared in advance of the workshop as there would not have been sufficient time for them to be made and used on the day. Neither dye needs a mordent, which is a chemical that is used to treat the yarn to make the dye colour fast.

 onion skin dye top and walnut dye bottom

onion skin dye top and walnut dye bottom

We made dye baths on the day using a variety of different natural materials, including weld, safflower, cochineal and logwood. These were simmered gently for about an hour each. Quite a challenge to find space on the cooker for them all!


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After lunch we introduced the yarns to the dyes produced during the morning and another long simmering was allowed to give the dye time to colour the yarns.

 yarn and wool tops in the safflower dye bath

yarn and wool tops in the safflower dye bath

Towards the end of dyeing we added an iron mordent to the cochineal dye baths. Iron with darken the colours produced.

 Three colours produced by cochineal dye bath: top mordent with alum and cream of tartar, bottom left mordent with tin and right no pre-mordent but iron added to dye bath at end

Three colours produced by cochineal dye bath: top mordent with alum and cream of tartar, bottom left mordent with tin and right no pre-mordent but iron added to dye bath at end

It was a hugely enjoyable day. We produced wonderful colours, learned a lot and had fun doing so. Thank you to Nancy for taking part.

Explore the possibilities of acid dyes

 Shetland wool shawl hand dyed with acid dyes and hand woven by Jo Aylwin

Shetland wool shawl hand dyed with acid dyes and hand woven by Jo Aylwin

Have fun day exploring the possibilities of acid dyes with me on 29th September..

The name acid dyes can be very off putting - it sounds toxic and unpleasant! Acid dyes are chemical dyes which use acid, normally normal vinegar, to fix them. They are prepared in chemical works and when used correctly there is no chemical waste when using them, so in many ways they are more environmentally friendly for the small scale dyer than natural dyes, for which you have to use chemical mordents and there is waste to dispose of.

Acid dyes are used for protein fibres, such as wool, silk, cashmere, feathers and fur. They are hot water dyes and care has to be taken when using them not to damage the fibre being coloured by getting them too hot or stirring them too vigorously.

 Seat cover made on commission by Jo Aylwin with the inspirational throw provided by client

Seat cover made on commission by Jo Aylwin with the inspirational throw provided by client

Acid dyes are very flexible. You can mix very precise colours which can be reproduced again and again. This is very useful if you have a specific project you want to create. The picture above show a seat cover I created for a friend. She wanted it to go with a throw she was particularly fond of, which is shown in the picture. The colours I created for the seat cover were drawn from those on the throw and dyed specifically for this project.

On the 29th you will have a chance to explore the versatility of acid dyes. We will be dying all the colours shown in the shawl above. That will be 36 colours! You will take away the 36 samples as well as an Acid Dye Kit which will have everything in that you need to continue your dying experiments.

It will be a fun and action packed day, and a light vegetarian lunch is included.

Wonderful day Indigo Dyeing

Indigo workshop 1.9.2018

We had a gloriously sunny day on Saturday 1st September for the Introduction to Indigo Dyeing. As the indigo vats are kept outside, this made for a much more enjoyable day.

Indigo is one of the oldest dyes known. It has been used for millennia, across the world. The blue dye is extracted from several different plants, depending on where you are. In the UK woad was the favoured source for blue, which is not as strong as indigo and cannot produce deep blues on its own. Indigo remains a dominant dye even today and is most commonly known as the colour for jeans. These days there are both synthetic and natural forms of indigo available to home dyers.

On Saturday we began the day making a natural indigo dye bath. Starting from an indigo powder, this is a protracted process of mixing and waiting. The students for the day followed the preparation through themselves, so that they got a feel for the whole of the process. The dye vat which was begun at 10.30 was ready for use at 3pm.

 
 an active indigo dye vat

an active indigo dye vat

Fortunately, another dye vat, this time of synthetic indigo, had been prepared in advance and was ready for use by the group from when they arrived. Having both a synthetic and natural dye baths available allowed the group to compare and contrast the two preparations.

 

The group were given a brief introduction to tie dye and simple shibori techniques. Shibori is the Japanese art of tie dye and, as with most things Japanese, is both precise and aesthetically pleasing. More informal tie dye and shibori both rely on creating areas of resist, which allow dye to only penetrate certain areas of the cloth being processed. Both are particularly suitable for use with indigo, which is a quick, cold water dye.

 getting ready to dye

getting ready to dye

  clamping and sewing

 clamping and sewing

 and tyeing

and tyeing

During the morning session, between progressing the making of the indigo dye bath, the group experimented with various techniques of tying, mostly using cotton cloth. They then introduced their experiments to the dye bath, which is done by gently immersing the pieces. The dye bath itself is oxygen free and is green. Great effort must be taken to keep the bath as oxygen free as possible. The blue colour only emerges as the piece is withdrawn from the bath, then green, and oxidizes with exposure to the air, as a result of which the green turns to blue in a magical transformation.

 slowly into the vat

slowly into the vat

 coming out from the vat

coming out from the vat

 unwrapped and drying

unwrapped and drying

After the lunch break, when we had lunch outside on the terrace, the group returned to their tying. Each had a silk scarf as part of the day’s package, which they were free to either dye during the day or to take home with them to dye themselves after they made up their own dye baths using the kits provided. All of this group’s members decided to dye their scarves during the afternoon and they all produces spectacular and beautiful results.

 Silk scarves and cotton bag

Silk scarves and cotton bag

All in all it was a  very successful and enjoyable day. Each group member took away her own synthetic indigo dye kit, a beautiful silk scarf and the other samples they had produced.

More Weaving workshops available

New Weaving Workshops  available in June, July, August, September and October 2018.

 

Want to learn to weave?

Try Introduction to Weaving

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There will be "Introduction to Weaving" workshops on 25th June, 10th October , 24th October and 29th October.

These are 2 hour workshops in which you will work on a mini loom and learn the basics of weaving on a loom. All materials provided and you also get a mini loom to take home so that you can continue weaving.

Times:

£60 per person.

 
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For those who want to try weaving on a table loom for the first time or just want to get to know the basics of weaving on one, there will be a weekend course on 6th and 7th October. 

This two day course will introduce you to a four shaft table loom, making a warp, putting the warp on and weaving the warp you have put on.

Loom and materials provided at workshop.

Workshops 10 am - 4 pm each day. Light vegetarian lunch included each day.

£140 per person for the two days.

Only three places available so early booking advised. 

 
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For those with some weaving experience, there will be a two  day workshop looking at Double Cloth on 13th and 14th  October.

You will explore double cloth weave on a four shaft table loom. You will work on prepared warp.

Looms and materials provided at workshop. 

Workshops 10 am - 4 pm each day. A light vegetarian lunch will be provided both days.

£140 per person

Only three places are available so early booking is recommended.

 
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For those with some experience of weaving, come and have a weekend exploring twill weaves on  20th and 21st October.

Twill weave is often used to produce materials that have drape or to provide a variety of patterns.

You will work on a prepared warp on a four shaft table loom.

Looms and materials provided at workshop. 

Workshops 10 am - 4 pm each day. A light vegetarian lunch will be provided both days.

£140 per person

Only three places are available so early booking is recommended.

Parsonage Farm School work at the National Gallery

 Work of the Parsonage Farm School on show at the National Gallery

Work of the Parsonage Farm School on show at the National Gallery

I am imensly proud of the children and staff of Parsonage Farm School.
 

Their wonderful work is on exhibition at the National Gallery as part of the Take One Picture exhibition which is on until 12th August. I urge everyone who can to go and visit it to see what can be done by inspired kids.

I am very luck to have been associated with this bigger project and thank the school for involving me.

Parsonage Farm School - Take One Picture

The work of Parsonage Farm School is now on show at the National Gallery "Take One Picture" exhibition, which is on until August

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natural dyed yarns

Work by the children of Parsonage Farm School at the National Gallery.

Each hanging was produced by a different year group. Each year had a four shaft table loom in their classroom for two days and childern from the class wove a few lines each, assisted by classroom assistants and me. All the yarns were dyed with natural dyes in advance, with colours inspired by the picture Penolope and the Suitors.

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RHS Wisley Gardens Arts Fest

I will be at Arts Fest, at Wisley RHA Gardens, on 15th and 16th July.

This promises to be a really fun weekend.

For the normal garden entry price you can not only see the stunning RHA gardens in all their summer glory but also be entertained by a variety of entertainers and artists.

I will be there exhibiting some of my work in the Surrey Guild of Craftsmen area. The Surrey Guild is a grouping of contemporary craftsmen. If you cannot get to see those of us who are at Wisley you may want to get along to our shop just outside Godalming. See our website for more details.

 Just part of the beautiful gardens at Wisley, open as part of Arts Fest

Just part of the beautiful gardens at Wisley, open as part of Arts Fest

Winterfest

I am busy getting things together for Winterfest at St Andrew's Church tomorrow and Saturday.

Free event at St Andrew’s Parish Church

A celebration of arts, crafts and hobbies. A festival featuring demonstrations, exhibitions, children’s activities and music. Children taking part in the activities must be accompanied by an adult. Craft items and refreshments for sale.

Looking forward to this event which promises to be great fun both to take part in and to visit.