I am just back from Summer School with the Association of Guilds of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers, held this year at the University of St David in Camarthaen. And what a fun week it was! We laughed a lot, met friends old and new, learnt new skills and luxuriated in intense creative energy for a whole week.
I did Janet Crowther's course "Bags of Bags from Bits" and I am fairly sure that all 14 of us there came away thinking that we had been on the best course. Initially all squashed together in one muchtoosmall room, with 14 sewing machines, piles of our own materials, mountains of Janet's own bags and her own super-stash of materials and (the most immediate threat) no kettle to make coffee with, we could have felt overwhelmed and defensive against these obstructions. But quite the opposite happened: with good humour, we found the extra workspace (and a kettle) that we needed and the experience of being forced together toomuchtoosoon left not barriers or negativity but instead an openness to ideas and a cheerful camaraderie that lasted the whole week through.
Janet Crowther described herself as "a dabbler" in many crafts. At it's best, as in Janet, I think this means someone who is open to art and craft in many forms and sees inspiration and potential materials all around them. Combined with her teaching skills (she used to be a primary school teacher - hence the playschool jokes), this made Janet a great tutor for this course, where, alongside practical techniques, she could also convey the creatively different "ways of seeing" that produced some really beautiful and inventive work by the students. Below is a gallery of photos of some of our work.
Many thanks to fellow bag ladies Janet and all the other students on the course.
Last Friday and Saturday we were at the "pop-up shop" in the National Grid office in Nailsea with the Avon Guild of Spinners, Weavers and Dyers. Given that it was the hottest weekend of the year and we were demonstrating spinning and weaving with nice, warm, snuggly wool, we weren't expecting to be anywhere near as interesting an attraction as the ice-cream shop nearby! Nonetheless, there was plenty of interest in our crafts. Lots of people loved looking at the handspun yarns and handwoven textiles (mainly women) and several wanted to have a go at spinning and weaving (mostly men and children). It's always so rewarding at this kind of event when someone comes in and says "I used to do spin/weave/knit/crochet but I haven't done anything for ages. You've inspired me to start again.." Hopefully we will see a few new members and guests at the Guild in coming months.
If you would like to find out more about the Guild, see the website at www.avonguild.org.uk
We are just back from a weekend in a very hot and sunny Madrid, where the people were lovely and the tortilla and sangria were just delicious.
Around every corner there is inspiration for yarns to spin and cloths to weave. These are some of my favourite photos I took in this beautiful city, where even the trees in the park had an inspirational architectural quality.