Monday, November 19, 2012

Event Basket 3

My third event basket is made from braided Yellow Flag Iris leaves and was woven as a demonstration piece during the Eastside Culture Crawl this past weekend. 

The Yellow Flag Iris is an invasive plant, it's beautiful yellow flowers producing a huge number of very fertile seeds that help it spread through local waterways - taking over the habitat of local plants such as Bulrush.  The soft pink base of the leaves and the clean white from the inner folds provide interesting colour variations along with pale green, gold, ecru, dark brown and black.

For this basket I pre-soaked the leaves and left them to mellow under a wet towel for the duration of the event.  The leaves were plaited into a 5 strand braid, coiled and stitched.

Woven Top Hat

Woven of Western Red Cedar this chase weave twined hat is on display at Athena Atelier Studio/gallery, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada

Thursday, November 15, 2012

An invitation

You’re all invited to visit my studio space during
The Eastside Culture Crawl!

The Urban Weaver Studio is located at the corner of Keefer St and Heatley Ave @ McLean Park in the caretaker’s suite
(Building B04 on the Eastside Culture Crawl maps) 

Look for the yellow balloons and the sign board

(Address: 710 Keefer St)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Weaving in the Park

I took the opportunity of a free afternoon and spent a few hours enjoying the late fall sunshine.  

With weaving materials in hand I headed for the beach and spent Sunday afternoon walking the shore and checking the high tide line for anything that would be interesting to weave into a piece.  I also added a couple of rows to a 'work in progress'.... a tiny twined basked of yellow cedar and cat tail leaves.


Cates Park  in North Vancouver, BC. 
The ancestral name for this corner of Deep Cove is Whey-Ah-Whichen - 'facing the wind'. 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Horn of plenty

Siberian iris leaves bundled for storage
 Weaving in the studio over the Thanksgiving long weekend, I was reflecting on my changed (upgraded?) perspective on what it means to harvest for the future.

In the studio, it has been a glut of harvesting over the past few months - gathering supplies for use over the winter, spring and early summer when our weaving materials of choice are scarce or not ready for collection. The only material available year round seems to be English Ivy but all the others?  Blackberry bark - the harvest window is late July/early Aug (from the time the flowers begin attracting bees to shortly after the first green-hard berries form).  Iris leaves - best harvested in the fall.  Willow and hazel - late winter/early spring. . . . and so on. . . .
A couple of weeks ago, while harvesting Siberian Iris leaves at the Means of Production garden, I asked myself (when the sun was too hot and my back tired)... "Do we have enough yet?"  In the midst of my grumbling I began to realize that what seems like a huge bounty now (I estimated close to 3/4 m3 of leaves were harvested that afternoon) may in fact still leave us short come late spring....

 So a 'Horn of Plenty' to celebrate the bounty of the harvest and (hopefully) many months of weaving to coming before we grab our garden cutters and head back into the garden once again for next years harvest!

Materials used:
English Ivy - used for the spokes and some twining.
Siberian Iris leaves - twining
Day lily leaves - twining
Day lily flower stalks

Friday, September 28, 2012

From Blackberries to Roses

Weaving with Blackberry bark

Blackberry bark is harvested in late summer starting when the flowers begin to open and ending around the time that the first berries begin to ripen.
For details on Blackberry harvesting see the videos posted on The Urban Weaver Studio site (click here)

Plaited and Twined - a small Berry Basket
Rose pin
Bracelets - bark dyes using (almost ripe) blackberries and Indigo

Rose pins - blackberry dyed using crushed (not quite ripe) blackberries

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Iris & Ivy

A pile of carded indigo-dyed fleece (I'll need a basket for that!) and the arrival of bunches of Water Lily stems to the studio were the main inspirations for this piece. 

Using the newly arrived Water Lily stems, I twisted up a test piece of cordage.  It shrunk quite a bit once dried but was otherwise strong and held it's shape quite nicely in an interesting open spring-like coil. The idea of an open wirey twined basket started to take shape... 

I also wanted to see how English Ivy would behave as the warp when it wasn't held firmly in place by an equally 'strong willed' material.  Using Flag Iris leaves as the main twining material allowed me to gently direct the 'spokes' in this free formed basket with a band of Water Lily cordage added for interest.

Flag Iris and Water Lily stems woven over English Ivy

Notes on working with Water Lily stems:

I found that the Water Lily stems were easiest to work with when soaked briefly in water (until the stems are leathery soft or 'just' flexible) and then wrapped in a wet towel to mellow. By doing this the stems were pliable enough to twist into cordage and, since they hadn't soaked up a great deal of water, didn't shrink too much on drying.

The fully soaked stems, on the other hand, rehydrated back to their original thick and spongy (and let's not forget - slimy) shape . . . not something I would recommend for weaving with unless you want to try your hand at making cordage or weaving with long rubbery earthworms! (Although you may want to experiment yourself just for the sheer novelty of the experience!)