Thursday, August 2, 2007


The last week and a half has been really hectic. Our annual arts festival was happening and I spent a lot of time there this year (I unfortunately didn't have anything there - I kick myself every year that I don't get some stuff together). We spent almost every afternoon there with work and then I took three workshops. A porcupine quill earring workshop, a fabric basket workshop and a birchbark basket workshop. I think this is one of the first years that I'm actually sad that the festival is over. I had a lot of fun there this year and got to see some old artist friends (the guy that did the painting of my photographs was there) and meet some new ones. I also got some good info that will help my own art along (re: packaging).

The porcupine quill earrings was the first workshop I did. I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting into - ie: style of earring wise. But I thought it sounded cool and I'd never worked with porcupine quills (actually, I'd never even seen them in real life). The girl that put the workshop on was really nice. She's taking some sort of textile arts course at Uni. so we chatted about dyeing things. She dyes her own quills so that was pretty cool. We got to choose between blue, natural or green quills and then pick our beads to match. The whole workshop was a lot of fun and went by really quickly (started at 1:00 and finshed at 2:30)

The next workshop I did was fabric basket making. A lady in town had made and embellished all sorts of fabric baskets and had them in this years festival. They were really neat and I was really excited when I read that she was doing a workshop - I was also really curious on the construction of them. We got to pick our fabric and thread and basically pick the size of our basket (the size is just a matter of how big you make the bottom and how tall the sides are). Getting started was a little tricky - I think you just have to get over your fear that the sewing machine will break from sewing something other than fabric. Basically you wrap strips of fabric around braided cotton (or polypropylene) rope, coil it then zigzag stitch the coils together. After doing all that kool aid dying my gears started turning when I saw the rope came in cotton - you could dye that and sew it instead of using fabric and then I thought that instead of putting sides on the baskets you could just make large discs and use them as rugs. I've already make another basket since the course and I've started on an
experimental piece.

The last workshop I did was the birchbark basket workshop. It was probably the one I was most interested in since I've seen the baskets at festivals (and stores) and they're extremely expensive (so the $40 fee was a steal). Well, I have a whole new appreciation for the time and effort that goes into making them. We started our workshop at 1:00 and didn't finish until 7:30 that night. I think the only flaw in the workshop was the fact that we had TOO much choice. We should've only been able to make one size and then have a choice of say 3 patterns to put on (they're embroidered with porcupine quills). And it probably would've helped if the pieces for all the baskets were cut out beforehand. The only reason I'm mentioning this is because the workshops are supposed to only run from 1-4 (5 for late). I was supposed to be working that day (start at 3) but my boss knew I'd show up after I was done - the residents were at the festival that day watching a movie which was supposed to finish about the time I was. Luckily one of my neighbours took the workshop too so we sat together and chatted. Besides it taking a crazy
amount of time, it was a lot of fun and something I'd do again
now that I'm prepared for how long it takes.

And now for the non-Arts festival related crafting, I finished a knitted hat out of my dyed yarn. The colours in the picture don't really do it justice (it flows a lot better there's a bit more pink it in) but I'm really happy with how it turned out. I'm mostly happy with the fact I didn't get an ugly pooling mess (it started to pool a little bit at the top but it's really only noticeable in the picture). I'm just about done another dyed hat - the one that my brother's girlfriend helped with and I'm SO excited to post about this one. It's turning out so neat. After that I'm hoping to tackle the baby surprise jacket. That's knitting-wise anyway... There's sooooooo many things I want to make (quilts, baskets, quill work, dyeing) and I just don't have enough time. I definitely need to think of a way to be able to craft full time.

Anyway! I think that's all from me for now!

Sunrise: 5:08am
Sunset: 12:47am

Temperature: 11C (overcast)

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