Blue Prints, four week workshop in Printing Botanical and Blue

You have to love anything Blue and Crips 🙂 blue and white china, blue and white chintz, blue and white Indigo Shibori … I cant take my eyes away everytime I come in contact with this combination…. and so many of my techniques draw on blue and white… so many of my techniques use Botanical elements…

For that reason I have decided to offer to 6 mark making lovers, textile lovers, multi media lovers… a block of 4 workshops using those techniques to create artwork … four delightful afternoon in my cosy studio using my cyanotype lamp to create prints out of stencils and flat leaves… create crisp patterns on white recycled cotton out of very large Indigo vat, to make Botanical patterns out of the local park leaves… how to dye from blue to purple with Logwood.

It should be a voyage of discovery, four great techniques in their own right which can also be mixed to create delightful art work…

To read about and book for this event look here

I look forward to meet the Blue and Botanic lovers in my lovely space.

Have a great day.

 

Betty xx

Printing in Woodlands, a FREE Eco Printing, Upcycling and Skills Sharing Exhibition at the Glasgow Botanical garden

 

Please Visit “Printing in Woodlands” on the 29th February and 1st March between 10am and 4pm in the Glasgow Botanical Gardens… It is a beautiful celebration of everything Eco, and sharing AND IT IS FREE.

When the world is worried about climate change and cutting down consumption many are trying to find a new way to live, work and create in a sustainable manner…. I don’t have to search too much… not wasting, not buying, recycling, sharing, reusing, remaking has been my way of life for the past 50 years at least … since I was a little girl in North of France and I learned about pollution…

I live my life as an Eco-Upcycler artist… I print the leaves from my local area on recycled fabric and this past year I have done so with my local community in the Woodlands Community garden… we produced beautiful pieces out of recycled bed linen donated by a local bed and breakfast in a big pot on a fire in the middle of the garden… the creators were the gardeners with next to no experience…

I love sharing my skills with people… not artist… just people because they push my boundaries further and make me stretch out my knowledge to “make it work no matter what we use”. I have just had so much fun working with the community. The printers were gardeners, not artists… and visitors to the project. The result was outstanding way beyond my wildest dreams… We produced so many nice pieces out of old rags… printing some local weeds…

I liked that project so much I decided to extend it when travelling to Northern Thailand recently  and to share my skills with the local community (artists, local weavers groups, university students). They taught me how to dye with Anneto seeds and maintain a fermented Indigo Vat… I learned about natural mordant  and I taught them to Eco Print… We worked with their local leaves out of their large pots and steamers and on a log fire outdoor… the cloth again was donated although sometimes very beautiful. I cant speak the language and this time I travelled in areas where next to no english is spoken… but its amazing how far you get out a few words and a smile. I came back with a few great pieces and some new friendships… Many places I arrived as a foreigner and left as a friend having to promise to visit again… I visited places where they don’t buy cloth… they plant the seeds, harvest, spin and weave… it makes very important that you make something beautiful out of what you are given. And we did…..

So it is important to me to share further and I have put together my favourite pieces and some friend artists at the Glasgow Botanical garden during the week end of the 29th Feb and 1st of March… Please join us in the Kibble Palace South Wing… from 10 to 4 both days we will celebrate… Eco Printing, Recycling, Friendship, Skill shares and many other creative things….   You will see there…

From Woodlands to Thailand pieces:

On display will be our beautiful Eco Printed pieces made in Glasgow and in Thailand, every piece is a celebration of sharing and learning together. Our communion with Nature. From the pieces made in the garden in Woodlands to the first time pieces made by remote weavers community from Northern Thailand every piece is unique.

Every piece is a celebration of my “village” work.

How Far does the Hand Reach:

On special loan will be the 100 eco printed pieces quilt of “How Far does the Hand Reach” … a story of sisterhood and communication with Nature initiated by Eco Artist Maria Clark Wilson in 2019. As a Master’s completion project Maria Botanical Being built a global community of 100 Eco Artist (99 plus me)  from Indonesia to Scotland via the USA who each printed a square of silk with their local signature. The quilt is a great story of collaboration and will be on loan for the week end.

On the 29th  we will share making :

Mann craft (Mann Craft instagram) my Thai friend from Sakon Nakkhon (the Indigo Capital of Thailand) will visit on the 29th and share his Tie Dyeing with Indigo

Carola Mokveld (Carola’s website) from Holland is a Cyanotype artist and she will share the magic of her printing on the 29th

Cassandra Barron ((Bookbinding with Cass FB) a bookbinder from Edinburgh will be sharing her bookbinding and showing her botanical books

The exhibition is FREE because everything we are using is RECYCLE…. because all the artists are donating their time… because the Botanical Gardens is welcoming us for FREE… Because it is a community project….   (Off course you can give a donation :))

IT IS NOT FUNDED BY ANY ORGANISATION !!!!  I want to share this with you because I want to believe that beyond political chat and funding bodies  we can do great things together without exchange of money, without damaging the Earth and when we come together and share our resources we can produce great things….

YOUR CONTRIBUTION IS TO VISIT AND TAKE PART…. I HOPE YOU WILL….

See you in the Gardens…

Love

Betty xx

 

 

#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

From nothingness to nearly black … 7 shades of blue, Fermenting Indigo with Aboubakar Fofana… I came home in Bali !

I am a textile artist and a lover of blue and I teach Indigo dyeing in Scotland (my next Indigo event) on a regular basis, but I love learning myself and I believe I know so little compared with Master Indigo dyer Aboubakar Fofana so I went all the way to Bali last November to attend one of his workshops on Fermentation Indigo organised by Threads of Life Bali Its a very long way to go for a weeks workshop but The Threads of Life’s premises set in the Bebali dye garden are so well suited to Indigo dyeing that it was very well worth the effort.

I did think it would be interesting but I did not realise I would get this exceptional feeling of  “coming home” … I though it would be about blue… but it was about a beautiful process, mainly about a communion with nature and how you can understanding it by looking at it, smelling it, mixing it, waiting, recording it and off course accepting the result a beautiful vat dye called Indigo, blessing it, maintaining it and finally getting blue from it.

We were a small group of about 12 meeting on the first day of the workshop, such an international group, Rachel, Margot… from somewhere in Australia, Prairie from Thailand, someone from Bengladesh, two ladies from the US … many different expectations, many different expertise, one aim… learning from Aboubakar.

Him, a master of his Art in complete communion with the huge fermentation vats he creates out of African Indigo,  but also a tired traveller that morning, Bali customs had held him for many hours the night before to test the dried mud and the Indigo fermented balls he had brought in his travel bag as a true Alchemist style… may be they were looking for the secret potion they did not find… William Ingram who runs The Threads of Life would be our father and our scientist for the week. I though him as a “frustrated teacher” wanting to find the science behind each process… he makes my day every time he can explain the chemistry behind the magic. I did not get the chance to join a chemistry class in my young days and I am still trying to find out how things work in a recurring manner… Pung the chief dyer of the Bebali garden but also the director of the Bebali foundation  which supports artisans through Indonesia in keeping their techniques and their traditions. Pung is a constant source of information, a smiling source of information, profoundly involved in the local community and so proud of his team.

And we start… Aboubakar is very straight with us… don’t you think this is about Blue… its about you understanding the process… you will grind, mix, smell, stir, understand… make it happen, and if you are lucky you will get to see the fermented vat active… we did not… one week was not enough for the little fermented balls to get their magic going… but I have recorded the smell of African fermented indigo in my head for any future tries… and we went back to the grinding mill… Lets work with paste now, lets reduce… two reduced vats using the Fructose method… one with fructose, one with sugar cane, lets learn from the eruption of our slake lime… lets measure Ph, and temperature, let it happen… by tomorrow surely there will be some blue… one can hope…

But if there is not… the Bebali garden’s vats will do nicely (3 huge vats of 300 liters… yes yes monstrous huge vats…) !!!

Can we dye please… I have crossed half of the world to come and make some blue cloth… please can I dye now????  No yet says the Master… now you have to learn to clean and prepare your cloth… May be tomorrow… OHHH ! Sheer frustration…. 7 small squares of cloth are getting boiled and stirred in Ash water… May be tomorrow.

And today… we open the lids, and we stir, and we smell, and we take the temperature and the Ph… not yet says the Master…. but you can start with the Bebali vats… Pung said yes you can… but wait though… you have to first fit some nets at the bottom… you don’t want to disturb the bottom of the vats…

Please can we dye sir? My hands are aching to be blue and my nails are still so clean… I want to make pretty patterns on a scarf and take it home to show off…

Not yet first you have to master your shades… its not about the pretty pattern its not about the blue… you still don’t understand you silly children its about the process… you must learn the process…

Look now this is what I want you to do… you must dip your squares of purest cotton (now ever so clean) in this vat once, twice, three times as many times as it takes but you must have 7 shades… starting with white and then the colour of nothingness (somewhere between white and blue… almost nothing but still something on this cloth… its beautiful )  … and finish at almost black… its still blue not quite black but so dark the uneducated eye would think it is black…

How many times please sir? As many times as you need to… you will have to stop talking now, you will have to concentrate, you will have to slow down and breathe gently and listen to the water floating in the vats while counting, you have to take turn and learn to wait, you have to learn to observe, your 7 shades will gradually be born, you have to follow a gentle pattern, they have to play blue like a melody, no discordance no big jumps, the right progression…

Will this not take forever sir? I have dipped this cloth at least 15 times, my mind is so tired… please Master am I there yet?

Well you tell me … it is your cloth after all and you have to learn to play your own music… Do you like this tune ? Are you happy with your own result… I cant tell you it is about you liking your own work !

Ohhhh! Master I don’t want to make a pretty pattern any more now I want to play the most delicate melody with my blue cloth… please can I have more time?

Well I am afraid a great melody is only as good as the paper it is written on … if your cloth is not “finished” properly it will not last… you need to rinse, rinse, and rinse again… until your hands are aching from it. And then only you will be able to say if you love your Melody…. And then you can make pretty patterns… Lets rinse more…

Now you can make pretty patterns… When we are all done we will listen to every one’s melody… Look is it not so beautiful????

Never have I achieved so much and so little at a workshop, this time no suitcase full of Artwork, one beautiful scarf stitched and dipped in an interesting Shibori pattern… a beautiful loose weave cotton woven in Bali and part of the From Farmer to Fabric program  of the Threads of Life… I know now every time I will wear my scarf someone in Bali will benefit from my purchase. But more importantly 7 little squares of beautifully dyed Blue cloth… perfect record of my progression on a process taught to me by Aboubakar…. I feel so proud of them, they are the proof of my understanding of the process… I am so very happy…

On the last day we displayed all our melodies on a table and surprise… all melodies are perfect but still they are different ever so slightly they are all so stunning… see for yourself.

This was such a long way to go but I have learned so much, a new technique, playing music with blue, an infinite patience… I feel in complete communion with a group of dyers, with a community, with even a Master dyer.

My hands did get so blue at the end… it took several weeks for my nails to be fully clean… I will cherish my squares of blue for ever they are by far my most difficult piece of work and I am so proud of them.

Aboubakar Fofana teaches Indigo at The Thread of Life every year. I highly recommend it…. but not if you want to make many pretty things… only join in if you want to be in true communion with the Blue Stuff.

Love

Betty xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Printing in Woodlands, A botanical journey, POP UP EXHIBITION

FREE POP UP EXHIBITION :

23rd November 11am to 4.30 pm

Woodlands Workspace – 66 Ashley Street – Glasgow G3

We will steam bundles  (20 on first come first serve) and show Eco Printing work realised by Artist Elisabeth Viguie Culshaw and novice participants.

PRINTING IN WOODLANDS – THE PROJECT

In the summer of 2019 I eco-printed in the Woodlands Community garden with Betty the gardener and … together, every Wednesday afternoon we welcomed visitors.  Some from the local area and some from far afield… they  helped us creating beautiful prints. We used Botanical material gathered in the garden and some recycled material from my various workshops or donated by Amadeus Guest House a local bed and breakfast with a very generous owner.

We worked in the open air, sometimes under the rain and sometimes under the glorious sun, we just made prints, no agenda but just to adapt to the material I had available from the previous week end workshop. This has been a voluntary project and I have no budget for it. It is always a challenge to create something beautiful when you know your technique inside out. But it becomes a real challenge when every week you work with different material, dyes, mordants… leaves and flowers and complete novices… but still we made prints… beautiful prints… we became more and more confident and visitors kept on coming.

Vicky and Jerry who run the garden for the Woodlands community trust tolerated the project to start with a gentle smile but gradually as I became part of the garden  they welcomed me with a bigger and bigger smile, assuming something beautiful would be achieved by the end of the afternoon…

Heather one of the volunteer searched her back room and her attic for “stuff” to donate to the project, one day a pack of tiles, one day a lovely aluminium kettle which has become one of my favourite container to eco print in small bundles…. a donated baby’s blanket became a stunning Logwood blanket creating our “triptych” piece and some 20 + years old envelopes were simmered in Logwood to create beautiful prints of the Aquilegia plant which always gives a stunning orange imprint….

My daughter and her boyfriend when visiting from Germany came to print him a sleeping bag bedlinen for his trip to the Highlands. On the last day we had the visit of a long term Instagram follower who could not contain her joy when we opened our bundle… Her smile is forever in my memory as a souvenir of a fun day in the garden.

Printing in Woodlands is one of the best experience I have ever had with Eco Printing and it beats by far any organised workshop. It has been a spontaneous, generous, challenging and so very rewarding experience. My creativity and technical knowledge have been pushed to the limit. How to make something outstanding with NOTHING ! has become my forte… If I can make it work standing under the rain with the wind blowing my leaves out of the way and the fire refusing the catch on… I can make it happen everywhere.

My participants have made me work with some seriously weird material out of necessity, like the painter’s heavy cotton canvas… or the cloth I have been carrying in the boot of my car for an odd 20 years which is now holding one of our best prints… I have used onion skins, Logwood, Sapanwood, Heather, St Johns’ wort and so on as dye and some rain water for water. I have dipped my hands in icy cold tub of water to wet my cloth and carried my very large size catering Aluminium pot every week  to the garden in a huge Ikea bag… so much that the neighbour smile when I was past… They all know where I am heading for…Off course I could have driven there but its not very environment friendly and you cant park there anyway… I have made friends with the gardeners and the volunteers… I have my favourite trees and bushes I pick up leaves from on the way. Like a Botanical map of the West end…

I love the colourful tiled bbq in the garden where my pot stands… its right in the middle of the garden and from there, wherever you look its all green and lush, with to the left those huge lush artichoke leaves … the ones from the banner in the photo. Huge purple flowers a bit like thistle just not quite. There we stand chatting away while the pot steams the bundles waiting to see what magic is going to come out of it. That pot never failed to please our sense of smell (yes simmering leaves have a delightful smell) and off course the delightful prints which emerge during the “Big Reveal” are a total pleasure to the eye. I am rejoicing every-time with the OHHH and AHHH and OMG look at this:)

So no wonder I want to share with you all we made…The Garden printed through the 6 months of our project … every single of our afternoon from the fuzzy prints of our debut to the very successful Triptych.

If you could not make it to our Wednesday afternoon sessions do not worry… we will be back in the garden next Spring from May 2020 onwards hoping we can meet you there and take up where we stopped. New leaves… New prints… We will go through the greens and the reds till the leaves turn red again… I just cant wait to be back but in the meantime… please come and marvel !

Pop up exhibition :

23rd November 2019 between 11 and 4.30 pm   – Woodlands workspace 66 Ashley Street Glasgow G3

29th February and 1st of March 2020 between 11 and 4.30 – Glasgow Botanical Gardens (Kibble Palace). We will put some bundles on, We will show the peace cloth and some hand made books by Cassandra Barron, we will run simple bookbinding demo and some cyanotype demo.

Both exhibitions are FREE and Eco friendly…. If you want to donate any material to our project please bring it along (PS we only take natural fibres and paper).

Cant wait to meet you…

With Love

Betty xxx

 

The Fashion Revolution meets Eco Printing ! Farcap Fashion in my Glasgow Studio

This week was just super, I was teaching Eco Printing to 4 individuals well connected with The Fashion Revolution…. AZADI FASHION visited me and The story is …

Sometimes you know that you meet someone who will be present in your life for a long time and will make a difference. Barbara Denker, Head of Fashion School of Nuremberg came into my life a couple of years ago when I was running The Big Banner Project during the Mackintosh Festival. Her Fashion students wanted to take part and learn all about Mackintosh stencilling. We got on really well and the rest is History.  Since then we speak from time to time and we have been involved in several projects. I was invited when her students presented the most superb fashion items in a fashion show at Kelvingrove during the Mackintosh year…. So I was not surprised when she came to ask me to organise an Eco Printing workshop for some participants who were involved in a Dye garden and had just won an award about sustainability for a clothing project…

Barbara, Judith, Rainer and Elke arrived a couple of days ago in my studio to spend two days learning all about using Natural dyes and Eco Printing… they were textile based and beginners. We had a ball, they learned a lot and made beautiful pieces… they asked a trillion questions about dyes, mordant, more mordant, about prints, leaves, blankets, cloth, and so on… and they told me about their project…

It all started with a young Indian girl visiting Elke in Germany talking about a AZADI a NGO in India, a safe place where young girls who had been involved in trafficking learned a new textile skill and could work safely, get a new future.  Elke like a lot of us had heard about the terrible tragedy of “The Plaza” in Bangladesh and saw a great way to work in cooperation with skilled and deserving workers who needed to earn a reasonable wage by producing great garments. Farcap was born as a Social Enterprise and has been growing from strength to strength…    Every year a collection is designed, and the workers of project AZADI make them in an ethical way, earning a good wage, a wage that allows them to have a good life and be safe.

They make the clothes and Elke’s company sell them… So what is Barbara doing in there… well we all need a good designer for a great collection and Barbara is Head of Fashion in the Textile college in Nuremberg. The cooperation goes further and further when you include young students in fashion to design Fair Trade Fashion no? No Fast Fashion there…

How exciting for me was it to be asked to teach Eco Printing to a Head of Fashion, to one of the Textile experts in Nuremberg and to two Fair Trade entrepreneurs all of them involved in this Award Winning project… I truly believe in the Fashion Revolution and have been so for many years now. I feel so blessed to be able to add a little bit to this project and I had such a great time working with those four individuals with such great drive and passion.

So they learned all about cloth, mordants, dyes, leaves, blankets, colour fastness etc… we made many tests… in between we had coffee and kept warm by my cosy fire as the weather in Glasgow is now truly Autumnal. We achieved a lot and I learned a lot about how to run a small social enterprise… this is my one little step towards getting closer to The Fashion Revolution.

I have not yet made your clothes but I may have taught something useful to someone who will be involved in making them…

Oh did I not say? We recycled some cotton from my local bed and breakfast during the workshop and my visitors stayed the night in that very place… My world is a Village and I love it. Everyone is so very interconnected !

Love

Betty xx

PS : Barbara left me her travel bottle so she will be back for sure… I wonder who she will bring me next time… I cant wait to find out !

P

Open studios – Up cycle your old jeans in our studios

Everyone has some pairs of jeans in their wardrobe… those that you cant quite throw away but don’t want to wear anymore…

Cassandra Barron from Bookbinding with Cass and me .. The Lansdowne House we have decided to welcome you in our studios this winter… We want to share our  amazing creative spaces with you and recycle your old jeans in good looking books…

Open Studios -19th October – From Sashiko to Bookbinding book here for Glasgow workshop

Open Studios – 20th October – From Sashiko to Bookbinding Book here for the Edinburgh workshop

Open Studios – 16th November – From Boro to Bookbinding Book here for the Edinburgh workshop

Open Studios – 17th November – From Boro to Bookbinding Book here for the Glasgow workshop

Two different people than us two is difficult to find…

Me, French middle aged Eco Up-cycler in Glasgow, Christie’s trained and working her Art in an old Victorian kitchen in the West end of Glasgow she loves everything Art and walks about a bag on her shoulder and a pair of clippers in her hands in the search for the perfect leaf…

Her, British young and upcoming Bookbinder (with a deep love for recycling too) Art School trained housed in a trendy studio container in Leith, Edinburgh and walking around dragging a suitcase full of awls and curved needles … give her your old handbag she will make it into a book…

And Yet !!! the best pals for a few years now and running regularly the most amazing workshop as a duo, we Indigo dye and make a book, we eco print and make a book, we stencil and make a book and so on… many of those books can be found around, made with LOVE and our skills… I found one of them, Indigo dyed at the Glasgow Botanical garden workshop at the GSA degree show this year as a visitors book… and another one Eco Printed at the Bridgend Farm Eco Retreat found its way to the Eco Pavillion of the Kilt Show in Birmingham…

SO WE JUST HAD TO OFFER OUR COURSE FOLLOWERS SOMETHING REALLY EXCITING FOR THIS AUTUMN…

It went a bit like this…

“Cass what should we do this autumn… I would like to do something Blue?”

“Why don’t we recycle some jeans? Berenice said she has loads of jeans her boys have grown out of…”

“Cass do you think we should offer one workshop a month this time again?”

“Defo… load of folks enjoyed making three books for Christmas present… just imagine using your own old denims to make three trendy books for Christmas present… that would just be so …. ZERO WASTE !  CREATIVE ! UNIQUE ! ”

“What techniques ? You said blue”

“Well I am thinking Japanese type of thing… like some of this stitching I have been doing for fun … I mean like we could mend the holes using some of my Asia fabrics … Blue on Blue would be just beautiful… The good pieces we could print them … or stitch patterns on them… wait that’s three techniques…

Boro – Japanese visible mending

Sashiko – Pattern stitching

That sounds like a plan… where do you want to look for premises??? Wait how about we do them here? …. WHERE??? Here in our own studio… Ok I would have to tidy up a bit but your studio and my studio are just so very … Unique… what about we welcome people here in our studios and make books out of their old jeans…

And so was born the idea of our Winter special “Open Studio” workshop and we are so very excited about them …

So will you join us for this… we cant wait to do good work with you saving the world by Upcycling your old jeans and make gorgeous books in our workshops…

See you soon.

Betty xx

 

From Weeds and Rags !

JOIN ME FOR SOME FUN ! 

You can join me most Wednesday in the Woodlands Community gardens in Glasgow to help printing the garden through the seasons… this runs from 1pm to 4pm and is free, the work produced is kept for the project exhibition later this week. details here

I will run a full day workshop in the Woodlands workspace on the 15th of September where we will print some on the garden’s botanics and stitch what we print… if you want to join look here

I will run a full week end workshop in my lovely Glasgow West end studio in October in Eco Printing… details and booking here

I will be running a creative retreat week end in Edinburgh with the bookbinder Cassandra Barron on the 1/2nd of November we will produce beautiful work with recycled material and some botanical material… bookings are here

THE STORY :

Everyone who knows me will be aware of my passion for leaves, any leaves or botanical material sends me into deep meditation… I am well known for crossing a busy road at rush hour to pick up a couple of small leaves on the other side to print on a piece of paper/cloth. It is an addiction , but in this case something I am proud off. It connects me deeply with Nature and the real world.

I have never been much of a drawn but by printing this material onto surfaces I know they will produce the most delicate watercolour type impression. And I cant stop myself from testing on any possible surfaces 🙂 my worst possible surface so far a glazed mug and the best … my recent banner initiated in the community garden I work with this summer onto Painter’s cloth… a beautiful impression of the seasonal changes of the garden.

When it comes to selecting material I am quite choosy… it has to print well, be of good nature and be very very cheap… I just can not cope with wasting lenght of silk on testing colours at a beginners worshop. So I use recycled all the time… and if preferable if it has been donated to me by local bed and breakfast… and I invest in my own time at preparing it to give the best print.

I am an Eco Up cycler. Off course I love a beautifully printed raw silk scarf … but nothing pleases me more than seeing a beginner unrolling their first bundle and finding out about the magic of a print from the leaf they only picked up in the garden earlier.

I am a child of the 60’s and I first discovered the concept of pollution in the 70’s so the whole Climate Challenge/save the world thing is like the music on which I danced my adult life … and it makes me cringe to see the wastage in “creative material” all around me in the name of “hobby time” my participants always leave my workshop with harmful of achievements having learned a lot and recycled a lot … but before anything … it is beautiful!

I like working with communities and this summer I am running an EcoPrinting workshop in the Woodlands Community Gardens in Glasgow with the locals and it is so much fun … every Wednesday we print whatever the garden has to offer.  This is a typical Weeds and Rags work but it does not mean that the technic I use for it is Hap Hazard…

I like to be in control of the results I produce nothing happens by complete accident… that is what happens when you lack knowledge and don’t understand fully your skills. You play with it happy with whatever result you get. I prefer to know in advance that I can get a great result… for that reason I prep always all my workshops wether they are with a full fee paying group or a community group. I like the technique I use to be fully proof because I like participants to be able to understand what they do.

My love for Rags and Weeds comes from a deep sense of achievement when you produce great work out of your sheer determination to save the world 🙂 don’t you agree thats a great way to live your creative life?

Why don’t you join me one day to see how it works? my next dates are above.

Have a great recycling day…

Betty x

How Far does the Hand Reach – Global Botanical Collaboration

Each craft technique has its own community and very often in the past geographical areas have been instrumental in groups or sometimes even guild being thrown together with the aim of giving all members support, companionship, collaboration, training in practising their technique…. In past days one set of Eco Dyers gathered in a specific area to perfect one specific shade of blue, working with local plants and recipes… while on the other side of the world another group of the same Eco Dyers worked with local roots on a shade of red… and so regional specificities were born and local secrets were transferred from father to sons and remained geographically bound.

In my earlier life as an artist saw collaborations inter-frontiers happening to a greater extend through publications, exchanges, even sometimes funded by public bodies to increase knowledge and skills transfer. I once worked on European projects promoting such a great cause… making local knowledge available across borders, allowing great craftsmen and women talk to one another, exchange their know how and all gain in fraternity, skills, standard, sharing practises and knowledge…

And the Internet was born…. a true game changer, a page was turned and in what seems like a second… I was able to speak to my “sister” eco dyer in Norther Thailand and swap recipes with her on how best dye with Sapanwood. That was a generation ago… I am from the generation who saw this miracle happening… I am one of the ones who think the web has added such a quality in my life and has made the World my village… brought me a lot closer to those I share so many ideas with. So unlike many children of the 60’s I embraced it and got myself on as many Social Media sites as possible and joined pages, and groups to start the dialogue…  Finally after years trying to find local people with my passion it was here just next to me at “Hands reach”

I do really feel that the current young generation while benefiting from this somehow miracle does not quite grasp how HUGE it is and treat it in a casual way… They have no memories of writing REAL letters to their family when working abroad on their year off and having to wait about two weeks to get the answer. Everything is now so instant…

So when Maria Clarke contacted me to see if I would take part in her Global Project “How Far does the Hand Reach” it stroke a cord immediately… what 100 people sharing their Botanical signature all stitched in the same blanket? One cloth cut and sent away to destinations as far as the post can reach on the other side of the world being printed in local pots with the makers very own version of Eco Printing sounded just MAGICAL. Those cloths printed then would be returned to Maria who would lovingly stitch them in a big technicolor blanket… made of the colours of the world of Eco-printing.

So I made my squares, one of silk of my local Horse Chestnut leaf with a lovely Logwood blanket and a running stitch across the bottom of the panel, and a cotton one folded in my travel printing kettle just like what I like doing… both representing who I am, where I live and what I do…

They are below for you to admire 🙂

Many used their local leaves and local techniques, the result is like Joseph’s technicolor dreamcoat…

That was a huge undertake and for working in collaborations I can just imagine how many hours Maria put into this project, relentless communicating, coaxing, organising, answering, sharing all this while completing her own degree… because lets not forget that this project is part of Maria’s textile degree and not only she was giving her “sisters” a great deal for what we were sharing back with her… but she also had to come up with a very high standard and was being judged on it. I honestly hope that she is getting the top marks for what is an amazing project…

100 squares of the most beautiful silk were stitched together and form the most delightful cloth, representing all I was not able to see happening in my young years as an artist, GLOBAL COLLABORATION, like a magical ring around the world of creative and kind ladies sharing not only their designs but also their warmth, stories, worries, hopes, questions, exchanging and sharing their projects…

See the beautiful cloth here

And All because of one individual and Facebook … yes yes… the very Facebook which is getting so many criticism but brought a group of 100 ladies from around the world in this enormous ring of love and creativity

So the blanket is ready now and will be part of an exhibition in Norwich this coming few days… should you be in this area you should go and see it

Botanical Signatures

Textile Art Exhibition by Marie Clarke-Wilson and

100 other Botanical printers lovers from around the world

Studio 20, 20 Wensum Street

Norwich NR31HY

18 to 20th July between 10am and 4pm

I am hope to be able to host it in a local venue… I will keep you posted…

Have a great day… I am off to print some leaves in the garden.

Big Hugs.

Betty xx