Monday, September 15, 2008

And the madness begins

It's September, which means I've got less than two months until the Southeast Animal Fiber Fair and the Kentuck Folk Arts Festival to prepare my wares, and finally, I feel like I'm making some progress. I celebrated my reunion with my drum carder last night by braving insomnia and carding the first arts and crafts batts I'll be offering for sale at SAFF. It was cathartic, and left me with these three lovelies.
I used generous portions of silk with natural neps, merino, bfl, alpaca, and pretty much anything else I could find lying around my studio. The batt in the center is my absolute favorite; it's base is indigo-dyed BFL. Everything I carder into this fiber just added to the batt's depth and texture. I am so tempted to spin it into some yarn for myself, but I am determined to save it for the fiber fair.
I've been working hard at scouring fleeces and planning for massive dye days, one of which will be happening tomorrow. I'm going to attempt to dye a few pounds of fiber with cochineal and walnut. I'm excited about having the new colors I'll have to play with once it's all dry.

Aside from SAFF prep, I've also started the Olympian task of making paper for my next book. Last week, I spent five days preparing pulp and pulling 200 sheets of paper. I chose to work with cotton and flax, and the resulting paper was well worth the effort.
I dried in spurs, so it's got a lovely watercolor texture, and it's a creamy golden shade. It will be perfect for the linoleum block illustrations I plan to print on it. Now that I've finished this edition of paper, I'm ready to begin preparing for the endsheets, which will be made from blue linens and cottons.

As if papermaking and fiber prep aren't enough to keep me busy, I'm also teaching some bookbinding workshops at One Night Only Artique this weekend and the following weekend. This week's installment will be on Saturday the 21st at 9:00 in the morning. We'll be making a limp leather journal with only the most basic of bookbinding tools. Next week I'll be teaching a two-day workshop on the secret Belgian import. In order to make myself seem all official, I've made a flyer for the latter event. I'm distributing as many of these as possible; I'd love to teach a full class!

I'm excited to see who enrolls in the classes, and if these are successful, Tuscaloosa can look forward to many more like it. This is especially true since the formation of the Why Knot Fiber and Book Collective, a group myself, fiber artist Beth of Whorlingtides, and Librarian Sara of PetuniaLu, recently founded. My bookbinding classes are some of the first we will offer under the umbrella of Why Knot Fiber and Book. I'm excited about what we'll be able to accomplish as a collective!

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