Being in the right place

When I drive to my daughter’s school I pass the La Serena Airport. The road parallels the runway and sometimes we see planes landing or taking off. Also this road is driven by many impatient idiots who think it is actually a racing track, and overtaking will get them to their destination faster and not killed.

So after a near miss by one of these race-car drivers in the morning, I was edgy driving to my daughter’s school to pick them up. As I approached the airport a shadow came over me, (literally, not metaphorically) and an Airbus came in to land. It flew alongside me, bigger and faster than me, and with Coldplay on the radio it was quite something. And if that wasn’t enough, a jogger running towards me, stretched out his arms wide, smiling, in what looked like pure joy. It was just a moment, in the right place.

right space

Life is full of these small moments when the actions of others seem to fall together. Coincidences, angels, luck? I believe in all three.

However, the return of Creatif was desire, not luck! Desire to work as a group, (which isn’t always easy), and the desire to create a space for art…for learning and teaching as well as selling. The group has some of it’s original members, and some new. Some of the members who left the group have formed a new craft fair replacing the Observatorios.

Creatif outside

 

Creatif is looking for an alternative to fairs, experimenting, and discovering how we can work together and use are individual strengths.

felting and weaving

Our first activity was yesterday, where we displayed our work in a private setting. It felt different from the Observatorios, more relaxing. I think this was because it was smaller and in a closed space, so there was more security.

weaving

The space was full of colour!

jewellery

And for our return, it was the right place!

 

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Lets just call this my 100th post

I wanted to write something great and moving for my 100th post, but the more I think about what I should write, the further away I find the post. This happens a lot with me. Constantly thinking, my mind going over every thing so that I get nothing done. However, today I will share.

This morning I looked out of my window, through the mist, and watched the new lambs as they jumped and played, and it made me think of all the beauty around me.

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Like yesterday for instance. My family and I went up the Elqui Valley to Vicuña where we had a terrible lunch, (not new for us), but a nice walk around. We visited Emporio Oveja Negra, which sells products from some of the Creatif participants as well as the owner’s beautiful wool creations. We then visited Galeria Elqui, part of Elqui Total. This is a pretty gallery set in a horse ranch, with textile, ceramic, sculptures and painted art.

I came home feeling inspired and belonging to the artistic/artesian community, – and it feels great!

I have been preparing for the next Observatorio Cultural, but in a relaxed way, enjoying the process. I have more ideas, (have to start thinking of spring) and using more of my handspun.

At the moment I am working on a diagonal weave on my large nail loom.

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I am not sure if it is slower than traditional looms, but there is no warp loss, which is good when I am using my handspun.Image

The handspun is a mix of wool from the south, alpaca, and wool from my sheep.

Loomaug2

I have also been sewing with my youngest daughter and knitting a scarf for my oldest.

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I bought some grey fleece fabric for school clothes, and we made this octopus with some of the leftover.

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This is really simple and great for kids! Here is the link on how to make this no-sew octopus.

There have also been some changes on the farm. Sadly, last weekend we sold the last of our cows. As long as I have lived on my Dad’s farm we have always had cows. But my Dad wants to focus on smaller animals that don’t need as much physical strength to control, (when things go wrong it helps). I am sure this has been harder for my Dad, but he is looking forward to a simpler farm.

And I am looking forward to my next 100 posts!

 

Where has the sun gone?

First it rained.

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Sheldon isn’t bothered by the rain

Then the sun came out and everything turned green and beautiful.

May2013a

And then the sun went away, and we have been left with cold, wet, grey days.

June2013b

June2013a

We are accustomed to misty mornings and grey days, but we haven’t seen the sun in over a week. Clothes are not drying on the laundry line, children are staying home with colds, and where ever you go, people are complaining about the cold.

We are lucky, we have a wood burning stove that keeps us warm. But most businesses, schools and homes do not have heating, so I have been knitting and weaving for my family.

scarf

 

A warm hug of wool to keep loved ones warm on these grey days.

A Spanish post – Un post español

Soy inglesa y normalmente escribo mi blog en ingles.  Pero, vivo en Chile, cerca de La Serena, y creo que aveces debo hacer mi blog en español.  Mas que nada para ver si alguien esta interesado en que hago.  Yo trabajo con lana.  Tengo ovejas y lo esquilo yo misma y después hago cosas con la lana.  También trabajo con lana que compro.  En este post voy a incluir “links” a otros posts mios que estan en ingles, pero que muestra mas fotos del tema.

I am English and write most of my blog in English.  However, since I live in Chile, near La Serena, I think I should sometimes do parts of my blog in Spanish.  I am doing this to see if there is interest in what I do amongst Spanish speakers.  I work with wool.  I have sheep and shear them myself, and then I make things with the wool.  I also work with wool that I buy.  In this post I will include links to my other posts that cover each theme in more detail.

Con la lana que compro me gusta hacer cosas de fieltro, como bufondas.  La lana de mis ovejas no es tan buena para hacer fieltro, porque no es tan fina.

Bufandas de fieltro / felted scarves

With the wool that I buy I like to make felted objects, like scarves.  The wool from my sheep is not very good for felting, because it is not as fine.

post de fieltro/ felting post

Para empezar, primero saco la lana de las ovejas esquilando y lo lavo suavemente para sacar algo de la lanolina y suciedad.  Cuando esta seca yo paso la lana por un “wool picker” (que yo hice), que abre la lana y deja caer mas mugre. Luego, paso la lana por mis “hand o drum Carder” para peinar la lana.

Maquina para abrir la lana / machine that opens the wool

Lana sin lavar, lavada, abierto, y dos vellónes peinado/ wool unwashed, washed, picked, and two carded batts

To start I remove the wool from the sheep by shearing and then I gently wash the wool to remove the lanoline and some of the dirt. When the wool is dry I pass it through my home made wool picker, which opens the wool and allows some of the dirt to fall out.  Next, I pass the wool through my hand or drum carder to card the wool.

post de ovejas/sheep post

post de esquilar/shearing post

post de como hice mi “wool picker”/ how I made a wool picker post

post de cardar/ carding post

Ahora la lana esta lista para hilar.  Yo hilo con husos y ruecas dependiendo de donde estoy.  Los husos yo puedo tomar a todas partes porque son chicas y livianas.

Lana hilada con una rueca/ wool spun on a spinning wheel

Lana hilado a mano/ hand spun wool

Now the wool is ready to be spun.  I spin wool with drop spindles and spinning wheels, depending where I am.  The drop spindles I can take with me anywhere because they are small and light.

post de husos/ drop spindles post

Yo puedo tejer o usar la lana para telares, o yo puedo teñir la lana en mis hornos solares.  Yo teñía con colorante de comida o con plantas naturales.  Mis favoritos son cascara de cebollas, que hace un color naranja y hojas de el árbol nogal, que hace café o verde.

Lana con cascara de palta en el horno solar/ wool with avacado peels in the solar oven

Lana teñida con cascara de palta y cebolla/ wool dyed with avocado and onion skins

I can use the wool to knit or weave, or I can dye the wool in my solar ovens.  I dye with food colouring or natural dyes from plants.  My favourites are onion skins, which give an orange colour and walnut tree leaves, which give brown or green.

post de teñir en hornos solares/ solar dyeing post

Este post es solo una introducción a las diferentes etapas del procesamiento de la lana.  Si alguien esta interesado en algo específico me puede dejar consultas en la sección de comments.

Gracias por la visita!

Lana de mis ovejas/ yarn from my sheep

This post is only an introduction to the different steps in processing wool.  If anyone is interested in something specific you can leave questions in the comment section.

Thanks for visiting!

Solar ovens in the valley

Last week, before my daughters went back to school, we had a day in the Elqui Valley.  We joined other people with solar ovens at an ecological camp ground.  The camp ground uses reed beds and natural spring pools for swimming pools.

Natural spring pool

We had a picnic and my youngest had a swim.

Steps between pools

We also walked down to the river where there are natural swimming pools and paths to follow and explore.

The Elqui River

While we had lunch and explored my yarn was dyeing in my solar oven and rice, cake, and sausages were cooking in the other ovens.

Solar ovens dyeing wool and cooking food

Rice cooking in a solar oven

There was a solar water heater on display, made with plastic tubes encased in recycled plastic water bottles.

Solar water heater and information about solar energy

 

Sharing food and ideas

After three hours in the oven my yarn was ready to remove and left to dry.

Solar dyed yarn

We had a lovely day chatting with interesting people and seeing how other people live with their surroundings.

 

Decorations around the camp site

 

 

Solar oven meeting

Last week I participated in a reunion of the Mujeres de Comunidades Rurales para el Uso de la Energía Solar, (Women from rural communities and their use of solar energy), and an exposition by the same group.

This was the second reunion, and it was nice to see some familiar faces and a lot of new ones.  Most of the women were from rural areas and had already participated in government granted projects and owned a solar oven, (like me), or they were hoping to be awarded a grant to build their own.  After listening to speakers we divided into groups by area and introduced ourselves.  Then with the help of professionals, we discussed and presented ideas to develop future projects.

Two days after the meeting we displayed our solar ovens in the Plaza de Armas in La Serena.  We showed how the solar ovens work and the different products that we make with our ovens.  There were jams and preserves, breads and cakes, and I showed my oven dyed wool.  There was a lot of interest by people passing by, as well as the local paper and TV.

Spinning in The Plaza de Armas

I had fun making new friends and sharing ideas with other women who enjoy creating.  I was also nicely surprised by the amount of people interested in hand spinning and wool dyed with natural materials.

Solar dyed wool

For more information, (in Spanish) this is the link of the organisation that builds and teaches solar ovens here in La Serena.

Hornos Solares Chile

The fall and fruit of trees

Behind our house we have a small forest of Eucalyptus trees which look beautiful, but have a habit of falling down with the slightest storm.

Trees behind our house

During the rain two weekends ago the winds whipped around for a couple of hours and brought down a few trees.  We were inside the house and heard them crash.  When the wind had died down I went out and took some pictures.  It is hard to imagine the power and weight these trees have when they fall.

Inside our little "bosque"

Trees that fell down across the road, knocking down trees on our side.

After the rain the mountains above our valley were full of snow.

Snow capped mountains

Next to our house we have four small olive trees which have never produced more than twenty olives, but this year one of them had a bit more.  I was worried during the storm that the olives would be blown off.  They weren’t, and so this morning my girls and I collected olives.  Hardly buckets, in fact not much more than a kilo, but they look so nice, and I love the possibility of eating my own olives!  I sliced them all and then left them soaking in salted water.  Maybe we will eat them with a little goats cheese and salad.

Olives