A lot of people who know me would be surprised to hear me say i was shy and probably if you met me one to one , that would not be true . However we are all relearning , we have not the possibility of having people present here so I am working on the pretence that the little screen i can barely see is an interested student. I don't know anything about the watcher, their experience, their fascial expressions i could possible read .
Their body language ! All of this information feedback is lost and any teacher, actor, singer or performer of any kind knows they need to interact with their audience so this is all a new learning for all of us . Visualisation has always been my strong point and so i imagine the person i am speaking with , sharing my knowledge and my passion.
A simple question asked from student and friend across the globe ...
"How do i wash and prepare a fleece i have been gifted ?"
Here is your answer.
Heartfelt Studio has had its doors closed to visitors for 3 weeks now and under lockdown it may be many months before there is a movement of people.
At Dalmally Railway Station our energies are given to the land itself and the sheep who are presently lambing. We have been developing our food resources for an uncertain future .
New skills will be honed and much renovation to this beautiful station.
Trains are still running like a ghost of their former self on a skeleton service where few dare to travel by public transport.
It is a time for reflection and vision for the future .
There are many people beginning to use their time learning new skills
and materials for felt making is what we provide.
Our online service will hopefully provide that need for those on lockdown.
Bear with us as we get our wools and tools up on our online shop to help provide material for felt making ,spinning and knitting wools .
We have a huge range so email us if what you need is not in the online shop presently.
I hope also to do some short videos of felt making techniques to share and help in your confinement.
None of us know what the future holds for us but we have today - a present.
We do know that expression through craft feeds the soul
In like a Lion and out like a lamb, a strange Spring but the flowers blossom and the lambing Has begun
A surreal time for most of us around the world but still the cycle of life goes on , the sun sets and the sunrises and the mountains look on having seen it all before . New life in lambing brings a sense of closeness to the natural world
A wonderful weekend event making normal of the turmoil of our present situation worldwide .
To escape to the stunning beaches and the delightful village of Dornoch on Scotlands North coast was wonderful but I was working too .
Luckily my work is also my pleasure and being a guest tutor at this friendly event was a delight .
I learned a lot too and especially about Sashiko- a Japanese form of stitching that i knew little about .
The Team who give up their time and energy to create this event each year made a lovely range of outdoor creations to brighten up the area for the visitors .
Even the flowers in the villages tubs were a blast of colour .
Ideal to inspire the students who took part and created so many lovely flowers over the two days of workshops .
I even escaped for a visit the church hall at the other end of the village to see all the other exhibitors .
It was such a busy social event also with a talk on the Friday evening on Sashiko textiles both traditional and modern and then on the Saturday evening a pot lunch supper with all the organisers , tutors and exhibitors.
I don't know of any other event that creates such an event .
Well done to the organisers and I look forward to see what great opportunities you weave into next years event.
Thank you to my lovely hosts too, I always enjoy my time in their company .
What do you do in Argyll on a wet Wintery day ? Organise a workshop of course at the cosy station Studio
A local group of Woman's Institute members got together from various ends of Argyll to spend a lovely day crafting at the Studio . 10 is a large number of students in the Studio but time spent in preparation meant everyone had plenty of workspace and all the materials they needed to hand. Its always challenging for me to multi task with lots of options given on the creative choice . Felted landscapes were chosen by some , felted sculpted flowers by others and a new one for me too is an inventive way to learn the skills of both needle felting and wet felting - creating a pot with a lid . A talented group with mixed felting experience but very able with their crafting skills , i knew we could pull it off in the short day they had with me.
I was very grateful to my assisting "tea boy" who made sure everyone was well fed and watered. A lovely group of ladies who were a joy to spend a miserable wet Saturday with , great to see the wonderful creations they took home with them
Alchemy with living plant material is fascinating and a never ending journey of discovery. I had the pleasure of working with a fellow artist over this last weekend in a voyage of discovery . We both had separate questions of our own that working together got many answers and of course many more questions. Shared learning is two fold learning , never be afraid to share your knowledge it always enhances it .
We began by making our plant dye colours and worked on creating inks and thickening inks to screen print with . The viscosity of the ink is very important and many ratios tried before the correct one was achieved .Attempts at gelli printing needs to be rethought but it did answer the questions i had .
Paper was the first part of the experiment and Sumata paper had previously given a magical effect so that was one of the choices . Different thickness of cotton rag cloth were tried and the question of colours and blending answered .
Lobaria pulmonaria grows profusely in my local area of the Argyll West Coast . Our high rainfall and frequent winds allows me to have plenty of windfall plant material . The dye pot had already been used in an early workshop and to the second use i added onion skins .
The resulting golden yellow brown is alive with a life chemical dyes do not give the fibres i use in my work. The second range of paler shades was a third use of the dye pot and the contrast is just perfect with the range of silks and wool breeds dyed .
Dyeing can be simple and for some dye matter a mordant is not needed to assist the dye to fix to the the fibres .
The connection of my work to the natural world around me is so important.
The first dyed fibre with the lighter next dye
Growing my own dye and colour plants this year in my new polytunnel and gardens has been a joy . The dehydrating of my surplus crop has filled glass jars of sweet promise for darker winter days but for now fresh and pungent is the daily scent in the Studio here at the Railway Station.
Its busy during the tourist season with our Airbnb facility in the railway station proving to be a quirky hit with all our visitors . The workshops are limited to allow me to imprint and dye with the experiments dreamed over over bright blossoms. The amazing week workshop of Michael Garcia in the delightful setting of the Big Cat textile facility in Newburgh in June was just the stimulation i needed. I have been much more relaxed about my colour alchemy and much more successful in my botanical printing – a great combination.
Workshops in Botanical printing and natural dyeing have been really popular and the wide range of intensely rich natural colour inspiring to all our visitors to the studio. We have a wide range of Dalmally dyed British wools in stock .
For 2019 our slipper making workshop is on the 2nd and the 3rd of November – just in time to make a customised pair of cosy wool slippers to keep your feet warm .
this workshop will cover creating you template for your own feet ( or a lucky person you might be making them for )
The colour combining of fibres .
the suitability of which fibres work best for footwear
design ideas for your slippers
how to create a seamless item
How to create the perfect fit for YOUR foot
Designing a 3d item in a 2d form
Soles on your slippers
Take home your very own slippers and the skills to make more .
the cost of £125 per person for the weekend includes materials and light lunches both days – if you have specific dietary requirements we suggest you bring what you know you can eat .
Places limited for this weekend however it is possible to duplicate the weekend at another time if we have sufficient numbers