#2019 CraftsNine challenge – a year full of learning crafts in a challenge ! an Year end Update !

What a full creative year it has been and only one day before we turn the leaf towards 2020 I have to reflect on my 2019 Crafts Nine challenge over the past 12 months…

I decided at the beginning of the year I needed a focus and some direction for my creativity and it is so difficult to decide what is important when your interest is pulled in many directions so I set up 9 targets and now I feel it is time to review them and see what progress I have made. I though I had a real focus in those areas and now I feel may be I was ambitious… but you never know… Its is good to have some ambition…

I have my focus for next year but I want to take a few minutes to review how successful I was during this year at following my focus…

My 9 projects for 2019

1 – Embroidery: I will learn to use simple embroidery inspired by the South East of Asia Hill Tribe in my textile work. I have brought back from Thailand a simple step by step guide … in Lanna language 🙂 but with sketches…

I did not quite get to the Lanna embroidery but I gave a good start at some Sashiko slowstitch this year. It was a lovely way to start working with a needle and I ran some workshops in the autumn with my friend Cassandra Barron the Bookbinder and we stitched some recycled denim and make the result into a book.

I will be running some FREE Slow-stitch workshops in Glasgow in the Woodlands community garden from January to March this Spring, this is a lovely Community Garden in the West end. We meet on Wednesday between 1 and 4 most Wednesday.  For Information look at our Face book page  Printing in Woodlands

2 – Batik work: I will add to my Indigo work some simple Batik technique, probably not as skilled as this beautiful work I saw in at the creative market of the Chiangmai design week but in the same direction.

Access to the Batik technique was not as easy as I though it would be, once in Bali for Aboubakar Fofana at The Threads of Life I tried my hand only a bit at using wax before Indigo, with a brush, it was very satisfying but I would like to try my hand at using the cantering way of applying wax now.

3 – Eco-Dye: I had the great chance to experiment with Eco-dyes in Thailand this winter using local dyes to there and I want to experiment further with this technique using local botanical elements to my home in Scotland.

This has been my very big success this year, I have sourced and used quite a few new natural dyes and I am happy to say from the natural element, and I have incorporated those in my own Eco Printing classes. I like very much working from the Botanical in opposition to just using an extract. I feel more connected with Nature and with the artisans who used Natural Dyes in days past. I have been able to try my hand at Sapan wood, Logwood, Mangosteen, Cochineal, Weld, and many others. I have done much work to understand and be able to control the Ph of a Natural dye and therefore its tonality, Chalk gives Madder a redder red, Iron gives Sapan Wood more purple. Nature is wonderful and its great to understand it.

I have also been very lucky to attend a workshop on making and using Printing pastes with Leentje Van Hengel and I found using them magical because of their interaction with the natural prints they seat on. I will be incorporating this in my own workshops this year.

4 – Adorn: I will make a point of using in my mix media pieces, some of the “treasures” I have gathered when travelling, here beads from my last holidays. It makes projects so much more meaningful, I have in mind a batch of hand stitched bracelets.

This just did not happen… not enough time in my hands…

5 : Eco Print: I will work on my Eco Printing composition techniques, I have booked myself on a master workshop with the great Irit Dulman for the summer and cant wait to catch Irit’s techniques.

This has been a life changing workshop… I found Irit a complete inspiration and I like her strict approach to technique, I have adopted her mordants and transformed her recipe to fit my own work and my own workshops.  I have transformed her tannin blanket into a dye textured blanket and I can say my Eco Printing work has changed dramatically as if I had switched a switch from coming back from Irit’s workshop.  I now feel I have so much more control over my results… that is probably my biggest success this year.

6 : Sewing: I will make this little dress/shirt I bought the pattern for last year. I know it is not an essential part of my practise but it is good to do something different and complete a project you have dreamed about…

7 : Pottery: I will make a point of throwing more pots on the wheel… I had a glorious day in Chiang Mai last december working at the InClay studio and now I cant wait to find a local studio to my Glasgow Home to get the chance to have another go…

5 : Eco Print: I will work on my Eco Printing composition techniques, I have booked myself on a master workshop with the great Irit Dulman for the summer and cant wait to catch Irit’s techniques.

6 : Sewing: I will make this little dress/shirt I bought the pattern for last year. I know it is not an essential part of my practise but it is good to do something different and complete a project you have dreamed about…

Big failure I guess not enough time in my hands… I will carry this forward.

7 : Pottery: I will make a point of throwing more pots on the wheel… I had a glorious day in Chiang Mai last december working at the InClay studio and now I cant wait to find a local studio to my Glasgow Home to get the chance to have another go…

Again not enough time… I took on weaving instead… still in Chiangmai though…

8 : Texture Stencilling: … Nop

9 : Making my own tools… Nop

But one not planned addition is my interaction with Indigo of this year and how this is going to influence my 2020 focus… I was so very lucky to work with many groups this year with my natural vat … well my natural Indigo but thiox vat 😦 still … I am getting quite good at very large vats and great shibori patterns… but then in November I was blessed with attending a workshop in Bali with Aboubakar Fofana in Fermented Indigo and in the passing we made a couple of fructose reduced vats and played with leaves… a true magical moment that has given me such an insight into Indigo vats setting up and management… So my first focus for 2020 is setting up a 150 liter Indigo fructose vat and we will see how that goes…

I am sitting my the Fire enjoying a hot cup of tea as we do in Scotland when the weather has turned nasty and there is not much to do outside.. and looking back I am quite happy with myself and my trials and tribulations this year… Learned a lot and gathered some interest in other techniques.. so definitively there will be a craft9 for 2020.

Best wishes for the New Year to you and family… I hope you have yourself set up your creative challenges…

Love

Betty xx

Published by bettysbeautifullife

I am a Christie's trained artist born in France but living in Glasgow. I work with Eco Techniques like Natural dyes, Eco Printing and Indigo dyeing using recycled material. I learn, teach and share my techniques, I work with communities and travel to Asia

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