Thursday, 7 August 2008

wool craft log week ending 2nd August

This week was one the busiest ever - and there has been little time to take photos or write things up. So here is therefore only a brief summary of all in one.

The week kind of started with Anneruth and friends on the East-coast of Scotland collecting dye-plants (sorrel from the Pentlands and yarrow from the Bamburgh coast), as well stocking up on fairy wool via another visit to Moondance Wools near Eyemouth.

On Wednesday the 30th of July the feltmaking workshops at Plantation Productions, Govan, kicked off with the Taster session facilitated by Flora and Anneruth, alongside other craft acitivities in the large room at the Portal in Govan Road, as part of the launch of an Art in Mental Health Project. Everybody marvelled at the colours and the feel of the wool and the display felts, and the four woman who dared to dig in with soap and needles were enthused by the felting fun.
Here is the first dry felting practise work of four of the students: based on the theme wholeness and the four elements .
It is great fun to teach folks who are so keen!

On Thursday Eileen and Anneruth worked out how to mordant 500g of Blackface loose wool and how to operate as dyers in the main workshop - quite an adventure, with the gas zylnder fired dyepot, and long ways to lag the water to and fro.
It was so great to see Luis and Eugene, 2 Galgael wood, clay and iron work volunteers, being so fascinated by the plant dye process and especially by preparing the dye plants. All sharesd this experience: how much the smell of the plants reminded them of childhood in the countryside! Eileen and Anneruth would not have managed all that work of separating seeds from stem (sorrel) and bundling (yarrow) without their help.

The next day, Friday, Eileen and Sarah-Jane then put a third of the mordanted wool through the dyebath of the sorrel seeds, carefully trying to time the temperature of wool and dyebath. This is the fawn colours the sorrel seed dye yielded, the darker one being the one left longer in the dye:

Meanwhile Mary and Lynsey lovingly packed dozens of bags of coloured wool for the Pollok Family Day event, some with the sticks for bead felting, some just with loose wool.
They were accompanied by Sarah-Jane, Eileen, Verene and Anneruth trying to learn Gaelic spinning songs and woolcraft terms from famous Norman Maclean. What a treat to have the 'real thing' - a man from the Hebridees, to teach the gab! VERY difficult, though! Will take lots and lots of practising!

Whilst Sarah-Jane and Eileen hang up the dye plants behind the big loom in the foyer and in the sail loft, Anneruth and Lynsey went forth to find the place in Pollok Park they were supposed to do the felting with kids the next day at the Family Fun day. Upon return the car got loaded with the gear and taken to the activity centre at the Pollok stables, near which the site of action was. Anneruth then still had to do the signage, heading for a late night.

Next morning, Saturday 2nd August, around 8am, two bleary eyed folks (Lynsey and Anneruth) unpacked the gear under constant showers into a slightly flooded gazebo! The day ahead seemed very daunting! So little space and so wet! But thanks to the help of our host and neighbours, Woodland Workers, our own inventiveness (in sheltering the tables from the rain with tartan plastic) and above all for the breaking through of the sun :-) .... we felt soon ready for the crowds with our colourful display and various felt and weaving crafts to do.

Naomi came, too, and with her, it seemed, the crowds. We were kept very busy and the kids and parents loved the felting and weaving. See and read more of that on

The day and one of the busiest of woolcraftyatgalgael weeks ended beautifully in Naomi's garden with a lovely meal she had cooked for us and her family, and with lively entertainment provided by our new Galgael angel, 6 year old Emma. Thankfully, Naomi was also able to offer to store the felting gear until next week... !

This week was very confirming of the strength and purpose which our woolcraft team has reached: people are ready to follow their own initiatives, to do things and to learn things, - there is a real demand both for goods to sell and for teaching and demos to deliver, - and there is supportive community of women, catching up on the rich Galgael lore ("how did it start? who is who? what is the community magic we all feel about?") and taking leads for projects.

The more learning and giving there is, the more abundance there is and the more there is to learn and to earn....

In many ways this week was a true 'Lammas' festival, by default: celebrating hard work and good skills, first harvests and making plans for the fruits of our labour ...

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