Lectures on Crafts
Many people with a deep interest in one craft, also try others from time to time. Over thirty years Christina has explored a full use of herbs in her favourite crafts. With spinning, dyeing and basketry as her main interests, she grows a wide variety of herbs to provide dyes, fibres, weavers and stakes. Some experiments, with her stem baskets for instance, literally grew out of gardening. Unwilling to throw any part of her herbs away she used the many stems cut from herbs hedges to make fragrant baskets. The miniature gardens of dried herbs also came from wishing to use small side stems removed when making posies and garlands. A talk inspirational in its range and detailed with illustrations of the plants and samples of craftwork.
Concentrating on dye plants offers much interest for gardeners as well as spinners and knitters. Natural colours rarely clash and offer wonderful shades, many of them light and wash-fast. The numerous factors which affect the final result: - recent rainfall when the plant is gathered, the maturity of the plant, the ph of the soil, temperature of the dyebath, mordant etc, all combine to make each result exciting and new. These factors also make dyers more aware as gardeners. Growing the plants, mordanting, preparing dyebaths and care of dyed woollens are all discussed. The range of harvesting covered by the talk is wide- from roots, stems and leaves, flowers, seeds, berries, fruits and husks to bark. Some 40 herbs are detailed for the garden.Samples of dyed wools and spun threads for crewelwork and crochet, felted and woven garments and bags are displayed along with dye plant materials.
Not all would-be dyers are spinners and this talk opens the subject to everyone. Part demonstration, it illustrates ways in which to use dyed wools, making garments or articles with the peg loom or by felting. Simple methods rely heavily on colours from the herbs and sympathetic design to work effectively and these are discussed and illustrated. From slippers to toys, waistcoats to bags and cushion covers, the emphasis is on enjoyment and time saving methods.
Inspiration from nature fits perfectly when using soft herbal colours and natural fibres.From plant forms to cobwebs, cloud formations to swirling water, beauty, form and texture are all around us and this is an eye-opening talk created to increase awareness. Nature constantly reveals brilliance in her design methods. Having viewed examples of this in the slides, ideas are given for taking a leaf from her book - often literally. Leaf prints on silk and other fabrics, blending naturally dyed silk yarns for special effects, making flower buttons and more, open artistic design to those who have modest talents in art combined with a deep interest in craft.
Herbs have been portrayed in many forms of needlework, from crewelwork and stumpwork to realistic and natural designs in modern embroidery. The vast range of their intricate beauty is drawn from the herb garden to be revealed in stitches. The talk looks first at those herbs most popular through the centuries, and studies both their form and cultivation. This is followed by the history of capturing the beauty of spring herbs in a modern tablecloth design. Ways of incorporating more than one colour to give the depth of natural shades and dyeing embroidery silks with herbs to achieve a series of shades of the same colour, are covered in the talk. A display of dyed silks and the embroidery of Anna Hay, which includes a kit for an embroidered fragrant cushion accompany the talk.
This can either be given as a talk illustrated with slides of the most beautiful and useful herbs for drying and making into swags, posies and garlands, or be presented as a demonstration of making these and the techniques involved in the dried miniature herb gardens. The nature and some uses of the herbs are given in either, as well as simple cultivation details, where required. In either case samples of the items will be displayed and references made to the language of flowers for including messages in posies. Historical information on past uses of posies and garlands enlivens the talk or demonstration.