Winter craft fair – 4to Observatorio Cultural

This past weekend I participated in the 4to Observatorio Cultural.  It was hard work, (long days and cold), but a lot of fun!

Obs401This was my second fair and I was better prepared and more relaxed. I did some research on the internet about craft fairs, and learned how to display my woolly items better.

Obs402I also packed myself a good lunch and took coffee in a Thermos, perfect for the cold mornings! (I know, I said I was going to stop drinking coffee… but the odd one, or two is so nice!)

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I carded different breeds of sheep’s wool, alpaca, and mohair and then spun them on my wheel and drop spindle. People were amazed by the different textures and how the “fluffy fibre” was transformed into a yarn.

Obs403There were so many lovely hand crafted gifts and a really great atmosphere.

Here are a few pictures of some of the stalls; jewellery, honey, shoes, felted clothes, yarn, and plants are just some of the things that were on sale.

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More photos can be seen on Creatif’s facebook page for the 4to Observatorio Cultural.

And I have a small confession to make. I have a guilty pleasure that goes against all my woolly work…and it is called polar fabric.

As much as I love spinning wool from my sheep and goats, I find it hard to wear around my neck. Luckily my husband has no problem and he has a great selection of wool and mohair scarves. I, however, live in polar clothes in the winter. So when I saw this cape at the fair I couldn’t resist.

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And depending how I wear the hood I either look like the grim reaper or little red riding hood!

3er Observatorio Cultural

This is just a quick post to tell everyone what a great time I had at my first craft fair last weekend.

It was the 3rd Observatorio Cultural.  This is a group of artists and crafters using a public space to show and sell their work. The idea is to only sell and display work made by the participants, and not “imported” crafts from other areas.  (Some of the craft fairs here in La Serena sell a lot of imported stuff that is lowering the definition of crafts).

This Encuentro tries to demonstrate the value of hand made objects. We do this during the two days by giving free classes and showing how our products are made.

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That is why I went with my wheel and spent a lot of time spinning!

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There was a lot of lovely people and crafts, and a great atmosphere.

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Many people stopped to ask about spinning and told me stories of their mothers or grandmothers spinning with drop spindles. I think my hand spinning generated a lot of nostalgia.

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I didn’t plan on selling much, (I didn’t have much), but was pleasantly surprised when I did sell some of my woven articles.

There are a lot more photos and videos on the organiser’s facebook page, Creatif, and I hope I will be able to participate again.

3er Observatorio Cultural; their third, my first

Their third, my first

This is a cultural gathering of artists and crafters. I will have a stand and be giving free mini-classes to kids on how to spin wool with a drop spindle.

There will be lots of beautiful hand made objects and free classes, and good vibes, and kids, and fun!

Oh, and I am so excited!

Maybe mohair

The goats on our farm are not pure bred angoras, but they are the reason I learned to shear, spin, and knit.

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The mohair from them is not perfect, and because we have not had any young goats in a few years the mohair isn’t as soft as it could be. However it shines beautifully and the past few weeks I have been dyeing wool and mohair in my solar ovens, as yarn and as un-spun fibre.

ImageI used onion skins, and walnut leaves for the orange and green, then spun the mohair and wool mix on my Ashford Traditional.

I also dyed mohair and wool with avocado skins, which the cats loved.

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I am planning to blend these together, but first I carded the wool and mohair separately.

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The white wool is from our sheep, and the off-white is from the small spots of grey that I occasionally find on the fleece.

Most angora goats can be sheared twice a year, but I am not sure if these goats produce enough hair for shearing twice. However, this year I may try to shear earlier and get a better quality fleece, (these samples are slightly matted). If I leave it too late then the hair starts to matt and comes off by itself.

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Even though these goats, my “old ladies”, are not pure bred it is nice to know I can still make beautiful objects from their hair.

 

 

Starting with the studio

It has been a while since I have written about fibre fun. This is not because I have not been doing anything, quite the opposite. I have been doing so many different things that I don’t know where to start. I feel scattered, too many things to tell.

So I will start with my new studio. I have taken over the building where we used to make cheese and I love my new space.

I have lots of windows and light.

Electricity and water means I can listen to music and make a cup of tea.

My collection of woolly dolls to keep me company.

And a separate room for getting messy with felting and wool picking.

In this new space I can work on different projects at the same time. Like this weaving on my table loom.

With the four harnesses on this loom I can weave more complicated patterns, like the raised pattern on this scarf.

I have also been able to complete some projects that have been sitting around for a long time. A certain felting project that didn’t turn out right, (when felting doesn’t work) is finally finished.

I divided the strips into two colour groups and then wove them with a wool warp to make two separate wall hangings.

This month I have also been busy with my weaving class. We have been displaying are work at school shows.

There was a lot of interest in what we are doing, with a few sales and the possibility of new students.

 

Add teaching felting classes, and shearing, spinning and dyeing mohair, I have been quite busy.  But I will leave those for another post.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Old Fashioned

My spinning wheel is not antique, it is a 30 year old Ashford Traditional.  However, the art of spinning is definitely old fashioned.  Some people see hand spinning as a waste of time, too much work, – old fashioned.  I see it as a connection to the past.  For thousands of years people have been turning fibres into yarn by twisting; I am continuing that same twist over generations and countries.

My Spinning Wheel

There are plenty of photographs of spinning wheels, and I was trying to take a nice picture of mine.  I went outside and took the picture looking in at my wheel.  The window reflected the outside as well as my wheel.

Before and After

I think everyone loves to see “before and after” pictures, especially when they are about transformations from something ugly and unusable to something beautiful and functional.  (We also seem fascinated by the before and after of disasters, but there is enough of that in the news).  These are my before and after photographs of my fibre studio, or my Spider’s Workshop.

My spinning room after five years of disuse

The building was the old pump house my father had built for the farm when he first moved here.  About six years ago we removed the pump, tiled the floor and put on a new door so I could use it for spinning.  It had open windows and gaps in the ceiling so unfortunately would fill with dust.  Because it was hard to keep clean I stopped using it for spinning and left it for storage.

Old box used for shelves

However with all my new fibre tools I needed a space to work and ventured back into the room to see what could be done.

The room was full of these spiders, not very nice

The first job was to clean it out and remove five years of spiders; that was not pleasant.

Behind a wooden box used as shelves there were hundreds. I felt like I was in a Steven King book.  There were even some mice skeletons in the cobwebs.

Everything removed, time to paint

Once it was all clean I painted it with left over paint from the house, while my husband made Plexiglas windows, (also from leftovers) to stop the dust from coming in.  He also made me some shelves and work tables, (from more leftovers).

The corner painted with my Kiwi next to a Traditional Jumbo Flyer

My carding equipment

Storage space, looms, and Ashford Traditional, (still has gaps in the ceiling)

Desk with spindles next to the door

For a couple of days I thought it looked like a breeze block room painted pretty colours, and not the studio I was dreaming of.  But once I moved all my stuff in, it started to feel like a space I could work and create in.  And in case I was having doubts, when asked at my daughters new school my “profession”, my husband answered “Artist”.

 

My Ashford Wild Carder has it's own space now

 

 

My bobbins hide under the curtain

 

Postcards and pictures I collected from craft shows when I was living in Devon