For five days in mid-July jennadawn
and I participated as artists in Peristyle Nomade's
la boite à médiation variable. We participated as members of our artist collective, SCRATCH, but sadly our third member, Lauren Osmond
, couldn't join us this time 'round. In the past the three of us had planted a natural dye garden in Articule's garden and later gave a natural dyeing workshop there.
For this event we proposed that people see our act of sharing knowledge (plant dyeing knowledge) as a performative art installation. We spent five days in Parc Mederic Martin: Three preparing natural dyes and fabric to be dyed and then finally, and the last two dyeing cotton, linens and silks with marigold, onion skins, brazilwood, logwood, lavendar, pomegranate, tumeric and more. Of course I had to have an indigo vat as well, especially since it was my only chance to have one this summer. On day two we also held a natural dyeing and printing workshop. As part of the 'sharing' mandate we offered a pamphlet with natural dyeing directions to anyone passing through and of course to anyone who inquired about the purpose of our being at the park.
Above are photos from throughout the week and below are ones from the final reception. There are more to see here
photos by LePetitRusse
Participants use black beans, pomegranate, marigold and onlion skins on their silk scarves
everyone's silk bundles ready for steaming.
Last month my friends Jenna and Lauren and I put on a natural-printing workshop at the artist-run center, Articule. All the participants unwrapped their bundles at home, so we don't have the finished silk scarf photos, but I have these ones. I love how every stage of this technique is beautiful.
I've been teaching an after-school program to grade 3's and 4's since last October and it has been so much fun. We see each other every Thursday and they have only one hour to to learn a technique and make a project. The things they make in that time are really impressive. I'll be sad to be saying good-bye to these girls when I go on maternity leave soon.
These photos are from the embroidery class and the felting classes. Some other techniques we've covered are natural dyeing, shibori, eco-printing, finger knitting, weaving, basketry and block printing.
Fun times ahead with this Natural Dyeing workshop :) So this workshop explores a lot of the same things as the one I'm offering at Unwind, but will have a little more of a focus on natural printing (or eco printing) using local flowers. The Window has a community garden near by so I'm hoping to spend the bulk of the workshop there (weather permitting). Students will also learn how to make dye stock solutions using both found plants and store bought natural dyes for immersion dyeing, and we'll use shibori resist methods to create pattern and design. We will be experimenting with mostly silk but I'll have wool and other fibre there to sample with too.
There are four places left in the class. To sign up call The Window at 694 629 8396
Natural Dyeing at The Window
August 9, 16, 23
$100 including a selection of silk scarves
PS I recently sent eight scarves to The Window to sell there (some are shown above), but they are also great examples of what students will be learning. Go check them out if you're curious.
Yes there are more workshops to be had! This time they are in Vancouver at The Window Community Art Shop
. First let me tell you a bit about The Window; it's a pretty special place. The Window is a non-profit social enterprise which showcases local art and crafts. Part of what they do is offer people with barriers to the workplace an opportunity to learn art-making techniques which they might use to create products to sell in the shop. They also support local artists and are always looking for local work to sell so check it out
if you have your own product line. It just might be the place for you.
Something else that is really special about this place is that it offers its space to sewers and ceramic artists. So, after offering sewing and ceramic workshops their space is available to use to experiment with your new found techniques. They have wheels, kilns, sewing machines and sergers right in the space! So convenient and accessible! Love it.Since this is my workshop blog
of course I writing to announce some workshops I'll
be offering at this wonderful space: 1) Beginner Knitting ~on August 8th, 15th and 22nd~ and 2) Natural Dyeing ~on August 9th, 16th and 23rd~. Both occur between 1pm-3pm on those dates. In this post I'll detail
the Beginner Knitting workshop and soon I'll post again with details about the Natural Dyeing workshop. It will be different from the one I'm offering at Unwind in a few ways.Beginning Knitting at The Window is for those of you who have never picked up knitting needles and are dying to learn. Participants will
leave the three-session workshop feeling comfortable with casting on, knitting, purling and binding off - You'll learn that that's all you'll ever need too. Half way though the sessions students will have the opportunity to start a quick and easy project like this cowl (yes, by then fall will be just around the corner)
. Other projects can be discussed based on the wants and needs of the students.
This workshop is open to all! There are four places left in the class. To sign up call The Window at 694 629 8396
August 8, 15, 221pm-3pm
from last year's workshop
Participants will leave the workshop with the knowledge AND materials/supplies to begin their own in-home indigo vat. We will also be exploring the fascinating Japanese art of shibori which will achieve beautiful texture and design on your indigo-dyed cloth.
Three silk scarves are provided, but students can bring their own silk, cotton or wool fabric/clothing to the workshop to be dyed.*It's a one day workshop on Saturday August 18th
$75 plus $40 for the supplies which includes products for your own at-home indigo vat and 3 silk scarves. Additional silk scarves will be available to purchase at the workshop for $7 each
.Call Unwind to sign up604 886 1418*we will try, but
It is not guaranteed that we will have enough time or dye to dye all the extra fibre you bring. Please wash your fabric/clothing before the workshop to prep it for dyeing.
photos above are of one of my beloved natural dye sample books (with plenty of room for more samples).
As part of the natural dye workshop at Unwind
we will be dyeing at least 5 silk scarves per student as well as producing a lot of samples which students can make beautiful sample books with. Creating and having sample books is one of those things that makes me happy. They are beautiful,
original objects to have and flip through at your leisure (love doing this AMAP), and with the right info inside (with which you think you might be able to duplicate the results) they are invaluable tools. Check out these beautiful natural dye sample books
for some inspiration.If you're interested in taking this natural dye and print workshop
call unwind to register. (604) 886 1418-Janna
This is going to be a really fun workshop. Students will learn how to make dye stock solutions for immersion dyeing, using shibori resist methods to create pattern and design. We will also learn how to print on fabric using found natural materials. Multiple mordanting techniques will be covered, as well as discharging and rusting techniques to achieve a plethora of results!
FUN FUN FUN
Three Tuesday evenings from 5:30 pm-8:30 pm
August 7th, 14th & 21st
$99 (not including $58 materials fee)
materials fee includes 5 silk scarves and a selection of natural dyes and mordants to take home. There will be an opportunity to buy additional silk scarves at the workshop for $7 each.
Unwind Knit & Fibre Lounge
1161 Sunshine Coast Hwy.
604 886 1418
To register phone the store to reserve your space! And if you're from out of town Kim at Unwind will pick you up and drop you off at the Langdale ferry terminal. We've already got some out-of-towners signed up!
coleus, brazilwood and onion skins on silk.
I'm excited to share that I'll be teaching indigo dyeing as well as natural dyeing and printing this August in BC. More details soon, but for now here is a photo to entice you.
I'm teaching a beginner paper weaving class at Au Papier Japonais
on February 2nd. Today I wove some samples using the shop's
wonderful hand-made washi (japanese paper). Sadly the fine quality of the above brown kozo isn't captured in these photos, its a special washi made with the inner bark of mulberry.
Student 6" shawlette sample in mohair
Here are some photo's from the lace knitting workshop at Unwind. Student shawls are still in progress and it's been fun to see how different yarns are knitting up with the same pattern. On the first day we began by knitting mini samples of the shawlette so the students were able to sample all the different techniques right off the bat, including seeing how the shawlette pattern progresses and takes shape. Above is Kim's sample in mohair. Isn't it cute?
Suzie in the old town with a backpack full of hot tea and bannock
On my last evening in Ulukhaktok Suzie and Julia took me to the old town where they all used to live before the community needed more space. Every once and a while I'd turn my back to the wind to keep my face from freezing off. But I stuck to the plan, braved the cold and we had a tea party in a blizzard. The next morning they told me that they thought that maybe I was turning around in longing for my warm home. hehe.
This is us (less Cora and Diane) right before I left for my flight on the last day. I'm wearing my atikaluk (a-tee-ka-look), a gift Mary made me, and the quiviuk hat the ladies made me on the knitting machine. Some of the ladies in the picture are wearing the hats I made them for the awards ceremony we had had the day before. Ada (far left) was the program coordinator. She often picked me up in the mornings and took me to work on her snow mobile. Even though it was only two blocks away, I was very thankful, especially on cold windy mornings. Sometimes it was as cold as -45 with the wind chill, brrrrrr.
This picture is of me wearing a polar bear head purse in an Inuvik art store, it has the actual bear nose partially still intact. Can you believe it? This is a rare find even in the Arctic. Although I didn't see any polar bears while I was there, a grolar bear (polar grizzly hybrid) was killed the week before I arrived in Ulukhaktok. It had been going through abandoned houses and was destroying things, so it was definitely a threat to the community. Read about it here
. Below is a pic of that very grolar bear (taxidermed), in the Ulukhaktok Community Center.
When I instructed Mable to knit 110 rows she stood up, took a firm grasp on the knitting machine carriage and went at it. Take note at how far away the machine ends up being from the table. She's the best!
Sunday's Indigo workshop was so much fun!!
The best part about teaching indigo dyeing is the pure excitement of the students as they witness the magic of indigo for the first time, when they pull their fabric out of the vat and see it change from green to blue before their eyes.
Here are a few pictures from the day including one where a few of us sang to the vat; Indigo vats can be temperamental and ours was looking a bit dismal, so we thought the indigo gods would appreciate a song (The Little Mermaid song - the one where she gets her voice back - as per CapU '09 tradition). Fun times!
I'll add photos to this album as I receive them from students (thanks Kim and Franca for these ones).
It's already been three weeks since I left Ulukhaktok
! Now that I'm all settled into vacation mode and I've had a chance to think about what I just did, I'm really proud of myself and so thankful to the wonderful people who made this opportunity happen for me. Also I'm missing my students badly! I gained eleven grandmas and aunts in Ulu, and it's sad to realize that I won't be seeing them again any time soon.
Above are photos of some of the products on display at the open house. I was constantly being impressed with their work ethic but was still blown away when I counted over over 50 hats on display.
I still have a few Ulu moments that I'd like to share once I get my pictures off my camera. Stay tuned. Also, here is the website
I made for the program where you can see photos and details of the full fifteen week program.
If you've ever been interested in knitting lace and think you're ready to begin making holes on purpose this is the workshop for you. Lace knitting can seem very scary for the knitter who has simply stuck to knit and purl stitches and avoids patterns at all cost. If this sounds familiar, this workshop was designed for you. Participants will learn basic lace knitting techniques and will work on a simple shawlette pattern with easy-to-remember repeats.Sadly my brand new camera has died which means I cannot post any pictures of my sample shawlettes at this time, but the one above by cashsmith is similar (but larger).Silk, cotton and linen yarns would all be lovely to use for the season and available at Unwind for purchase
Beginner Lace Knitting
two part class, June 15 & 22
6pm - 9pm
Unwind Knit & Fibre Lounge
Gibsons, BCCall for pricing:
604 886 1418www.unwindknitandfibre.ca
Indigo dyeing is by far my favourite method of dyeing fibre. When I lived in Vancouver I had a back yard (above) where, in the Spring and Summer seasons, I'd always have a large indigo vat (and invite friends over to join as you can see). In the Fall and Winter I took over the laundry room; so needless to say I always had one around. In Montreal our apartment does not allow for such luxuries, so I'm super excited that when I leave the Arctic
in two weeks I will be visiting Gibsons for a month where I will have a yard to play/dye in. YAY!I'm also having a dye day in a yarn shop while I'm there! So I'd like to invite any of you who are interested in learning about the magical process of indigo dyeing to join me at Unwind Knit & Fibre Lounge
where I'm holding a one-day workshop on Sunday June19th. Participants will leave the workshop with the knowledge AND materials/supplies to begin their own in-home indigo vat. We will also be exploring the fascinating Japanese art of shibori which will achieve beautiful texture and design on your indigo-dyed cloth.Intro to Indigo and Shiboriinstructor Janna Maria ValleeSunday June 19th
Unwind Knit & Fibre Lounge
1161 Sunshine Coast Hwy
604 886 1418www.unwindknitandfibre.ca
For their first weaving project most of the ladies wove belts. Here in the arctic these belts are often used to keep a child inside ones parka by tying it around their waste. I can't count the amount of times that I've been chatting with a woman and hear a squeak coming from behind them, not realizing that their child was in their parka the entire time. It's the best way to keep their little one warm.
Below Mable wears her first handwoven belt.
The ladies had a blast learning how to machine knit and worked like machines themselves. Soon I'll show you the PILE of products they have produced. It's very impressive. My portion of the program received a large donation of quiviut yarn which is made from the fleece of the local Muskox. It is softest and warmest fleece in the world- actually! all the brown products that you see in the pics are made with quiviut.
As you can see they have already begun creating designs, like muskox and roses, using both the electronic and punch card machines. Pretty amazing!
All of the ladies finished their first slipper today. We all applauded every time someone finished. The slippers are so great, I love the uniqueness of each one. It has inspired me to spin up my own yarn and knit some slippers myself.
The ladies are on week two of knitting (that's only two weeks of knitting ever!) and they are already taking on slippers with a shaped heel. This is amazing! One of the ladies requested it last week and before I knew it everyone was agreeing - slippers it is! I was happy to comply.
It was a busy day to say the least, so I wasn't able to take pictures until after the students left. Here are everyone's slippers in progress. They are using the hand-spun that they made a few weeks back. This is their first spinning and they learned how to dye the fleece in their spinning workshop too.
Sisters Suzie and Mable
Mable and Alice
Elsie and Suzie
Today was day three of beginner hand knitting and most of the ladies have already done stockinette, moss stitch and basket weave. I've been adapting my lesson plan based on the fact that they are such fast learners, and knitters. Many of them are already able to catch mistakes and fix them without my help. Amazing!
I've loved every minute, these ladies are a blast; we laugh a lot! I expected that I'd learn a lot from them too, but I had no clue, they are so generous! They have already begun introducing me to their language and are constantly telling stories. Today I heard about the first time the older ladies saw a muskox. Apparently muskox left the area for a couple decades and returned in the 70's, so they were literally in disbelief when people claimed to have seen them.
All the ladies have amazing skills in various media like printing, embroidery, beading and sewing, and they all make their own winter parkas. Mary's fur collar is made with wolverine fur and includes the claws! It is amazing. I'll post a picture of it at some point.
Mid day we all gathered at the window to watch the local rangers and junior rangers prepare for a 200 km trek. They meet rangers from Kuglutuk who also travel 200km to meet them half way. This journey is meant to prepare the junior rangers with outside survival skills. They are gone until the end of the week. Below are some pictures of them leaving, the group pic only shows about 1/3 of the rangers who left. Some of the people in the pic are family members saying goodbye.
So I arrived in Ulukhaktok today and man is it ever beautiful. I went for my first walk and took some photos of the the local sled dogs. They are adorable. And then there's me...being me. After I did this I realized that I should have done a series of me doing a 'happy' dance, but this works- haha. I also discovered that I'm going to need to triple my long johns since I couldn't stay out longer than 15min; it is -22 today with 76% humidity! Feels like at least -30.
I was able to drop off my suitcase of 'tools' at the arts center when I got here. Seeing all of the supplies that I ordered in one place made me so happy, as did seeing all the AMAZING hand-spun yarn that the ladies have spun since their spinning workshop a couple of weeks ago. They are obviously a talented bunch. I'll share pictures of the hand-spun next week when I begin teaching.
One of the sled dogs. So precious. He looks mean in this picture but seemed to be the friendliest of the bunch and rarely wore this scowl. I just wanted to cuddle him, but of course I didn't.
So, I'm leaving tomorrow morning for my NWT adventure!!!!
Danny and I have already accepted the fact that neither of us will be getting much sleep tonight - too much excitement (and sadly he is not coming). If you're haven't been following my regular blog, links to my older posts about this particular adventure are here
. I've decided to begin this separate workshop blog as a way to separate my art posts and my teaching ones for the sake of continuity, and what better way to begin a new blog than with a trip to the NWT to teach fibres!
Tomorrow I fly from Montreal to Calgary and then to Yellowknife where I'm staying with a dear friend Catherine from back in my Katimavik days (2002). She was my team leader in New Brunswick and we've been in touch ever since with visits here and there. Now she's in YK, so I'm excited to have a good visit with her on my overnight layover. On Saturday I go from Yellowknife to Kugluktuk and finally to Ulukhaktok, arriving at 4pm.Above
is a picture of the new arts center in Ulukhaktok where I'll be teaching. Check out the link below the picture to see Suzie and Julia, a couple of the ladies I'll be teaching.
http://www.arcticjournal.ca/index.php/2011/03/the-ulukhaktok-arts-renewal/We'll see how good I am at blogging while I'm up there. I'm not sure what kind of internet access I'll have or if I'll even be in the mood to blog. I did however just get myself a new camera for my upcoming 30th birthday, so I will have some great pictures to share when I
do an update.Janna
On Wednesday I took the day off from Kates
to teach a basketry workshop with Ana
at West Point Grey Academy for their annual Arts Week. We had a lot of fun and were really impressed with how fast the grade 6ers picked up the technique; many of them even finished baskets within the 2 hour workshop. I was so impressed by their determination as they struggled through the beginning of the basket (the hardest part) and quickly became more independent and confident with the technique. We had three classes of about 25 kids each, so by the last class we were really efficient teachers.