Sunday, 30 June 2013

Woolfest 2013 - where the woolly things were

A visit to Woolfest is always a feast for the senses (and that includes the sense of wet legs from the driving rain that followed us from car park to entrance...oh well it is the Lake District after all!). To be fair that was Friday up to mid afternoon and Saturday was much better.Visiting this year after missing last year I was able to ponder on what had changed, what different trends did I see etc

Mesmerising exhibitor stand - stare at it long enough and it makes your eyes go funny!
So, there was more exhibition space, music at both sides which was slightly disorientating (didn't I have my feet tapping over yonder already?) and super deluxe mobile toilets to put an end to queueing, yeah! (although in previous years I've spotted more friends in the queue than wandering up and down the aisles so it was at least very sociable).

On a more exhibitor-focused note, one thing which really struck me was how much felting has come to the fore. There seemed to be lots of exhibitors with an association of some kind with this great wool pastime, including dry needle felting as a sculptural activity as well as felt making itself. Clearly the magic of this has fired the woolly-community's imagination and quite right too. Surely though it must involve some kind of 'pixie dust'? otherwise how is it possible to create usable fabric from loose wool fibres sprinkled with soapy water and rolled in bubble wrap on a beach mat or create a cute lovable creature from the same loose fibres rolled into little sausages and stabbed with a very dangerous needle ....
This is my super-cute (and much admired) needle felted fox-friendly scarf;
I made it myself and have the scars to prove it
The other thing which I noticed was the way in which the wool of, and the products made from the wool of, rare and native breed sheep seemed to be occupying a lot more space. This was great to see, and it was possible to fully appreciate all those lovely natural colours, every hue ranging from dark to light in the black, brown, cream, grey spectrum and making fantastic things to wear or carry.

Sorry, don't know what she is; took her pic at an earlier show, she looked cuddly...
For me as a textile artist there was lovely skills to admire all round but what caught my imagination most was the brilliant fairy-tale inspired work by The Materialistics; their wall art (created collectively) was fab. It included the wolf in the bed from little Red Riding Hood (complete with crochet square blanket) and a frieze of creatures from Where the Wild Things Are brought to life by using a range of textile techniques.
Read from top left to bottom right - sorry didn't have ability to capture it in one go!
Finally, one tip to share is that in going round again after 4pm you get to see things you might have missed when you toured earlier on when it was busier; and you've time for a late picnic and good old natter with mate(s) before you set off for round two. After all I couldn't have got near to my favourite alpacas for this photo when everyone was standing round earlier admiring them!

Alpacas - the mop top hair is superb
Thanks to Woolclip and all those involved on the day and behind the scenes for making it a great day out, those on two legs and those on four too.

When I can I'm making textile art or blogging about it; here's my gallery; or follow me on Twitter for knitting and textile art news.

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Yarn bombing - what's not to like?

So, I was looking at this on-line news item about yarn bombing and one negative comment posted after it said something like 'I hate this, surely you people could spend the time more usefully knitting socks or something'. My first thought was oh yeh just another person who lists as his hobby (and it was a man's name) pouring ice-cold water on other people's thoughtful and creative endeavours a.k.a trolling. Then I began to wonder more about what lay behind the remark, just what was it about this particular kind of activity that had rattled his particular cage?

Granny square covered craft and folk art museum in Los Angeles
option 1 - he doesn't like more colourful streets. Maybe he's of a naturally melancholic disposition and anything that brightens up his environment and challenges his grey mood is to be avoided.

Feels more like a playground now!
option 2 - he likes more colourful streets just not softly textured ones. Maybe he's into brutal modernist architecture with all those hard lines and surfaces (they're so manly) and softer texture is a betrayal of the purist's treasured concrete landscape.

option 3 - he doesn't like knitting/crochet that's escaped from it's more usual place ie on the body. Maybe he copes with the world by organising and categorising it, keeping everything separate so it doesn't get mixed up (like dangerous chemicals that might inadvertently mix and cause a dangerous reaction).

A third of heat loss is through the head
option 4 -  he doesn't like art on the streets. Maybe he thinks art is to be treasured and cossetted, kept safe in climate controlled galleries, protected from the ravages of weather (and of course dogs).

Sorry, nowhere's safe.
option 5 - he doesn't think knitting/crochet can be art or that knitters/crocheters can be artists. Maybe he thinks that art is something that can only happen with a liquid medium and some sort of applicator and that needles/hooks and yarn don't count.

When you press the nozzle, yarn comes out...
 option 6 - he's a conservative, male chauvinistic, narrow-minded misery-guts.

 Answers on a postcard please...

Two iconic London objects (one slightly altered)

When I can I'm making textile art or blogging about it; here's my gallery; or follow me on Twitter for knitting and textile art news.

note: any search on line brings up loads of great images. Here's links for where I found the ones above, finding the original source was in some cases impossible.
LA building
Coloured steps
Bus Shelter with hat
Dog in gallery
Knit covered spray cans
Knit covered London telephone box