The weather has finally turned beautiful here in Savannah, and I've been enjoying the few fleeting weeks of spring before it turns to sultry, swamy, skeeter-infested summer here.
It's been especially good timing as I've been preparing for a new workshop I will be teaching this summer, called Nature as Source. I will be teaching at West County Fiber Arts in Sebastopol, CA June 9th and 10th, and at Contemporary Craft in Pittsburgh, PA June 23rd, 24th & 25th.
The class will cover a range of textile surface design skills, from natural dyes, shibori resists, embroidery and smocking. What I'm most excited to share with students is my love of nature and the deep connection between the natural world and fibers. I am always amazed at the contrasts between structured, repetitive processes, and the organic forms that result.
We will use our gathered plant materials to create natural dyes through bundle dying, eco-printing and smashing techniques, as well as cooking up a couple big vats of color. Students will get several lengths of silk and wool to work on, which could be cut up into smaller samples, or left whole for use in a future project. Natural silk embroidery thread will also be dyed, and silk scarves will be available so students can finish the weekend with at least one completed piece.
Day One will be spent gathering materials, creating dyes and coloring our fibers. We will continue with dyeing experiments on Day two, but we will also learn to use embroidery and smocking as another layer of mark making on fabric. The workshop in Pittsburgh will have an extra half day in which students will be able to plan and start to create personal projects with me, and have a final critique as a group. The class can easily be tailored to suit specific student interests and I am very excited to see what everyone comes up with!