Lockdown week 7

I’ve been spending more time in the garden this week, where the sunny weather is definitely encouraging more growth, which in turn requires more weeding (as well as pulling out dead daffodil leaves to dry for cordage!).

Perhaps fortuitously, then, an email arrived from basketmaker Hanna van Aelst with a link to her video on how to make a Catalan tray from foraged materials.

It’s not that easy to get out and forage at the moment, but I did have a pile of prunings, mostly forsythia but also some bay, hebe, fuschia and an unknown plant invading from next door. So I used these instead.

Inevitably, it wasn’t as easy as Hanna makes it look! Forsythia branches, I have discovered, are mostly hollow, so they break quite easily. And my hoop wasn’t very level. The fuschia leaves have now died, so I will cut them off. But it was fun.

I also combined some of the dandelion cordage I made last week with the rhubarb cordage I made the week before into a tiny bowl – I love the colour combination here. And a week on, with everything dry, the colours remain vibrant.

dandelion and rhubarb bowl dandelion and rhubarb bowl

The rest of my creative time has been spent making yet more samples for my City Lit coiling project, which is going on indefinitely as we have still heard nothing about when or if the course will resume.

I will write a more detailed post, probably next week, about the process I’ve been going through, just in case anyone is interested! But for now I will tell you that the theme is animal markings. Here are a couple of the samples – I wonder if you can guess the animal that inspired them? Answer next week!

This week’s garment from the V&A kimono exhibition is an early example of recycling. In the second half of the 19th century, as Japan opened up to the West, Japanese items became very fashionable, including kimono. For some, it represented luxury and non-conformity, free of restrictive corsets.

However, this is an example of a conventional dress cut and retailored from a kimono imported from Japan. It was made around 1876 by the London dressmakers Misses Turner. The satin silk features hand painting in ink, stencil imitation shibori, and embroidery in silk and gold-wrapped threads.

As the V&A puts it, “the dress thus had a familiar structure but an excitingly foreign appearance”.

Stay well!

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Flextiles uses shibori, ecoprinting and felting to create original, one-off upcycled pieces. Extending the life of a garment by an extra nine months reduces its environmental impact by 20-30%.

9 thoughts on “Lockdown week 7”

  1. I’m amazed by the little dandilion/rhubarb bowl, such a gem. Will be interesting to see how it lasts–hopefully a good while, as it’s truly lovely!

  2. Your tray is great and aren’t projects always like that, harder than expected 🙂 and the dandelion and rhubarb bowl is the cutest thing. It’s great that the color is lasting so far. I just had my stitch class done online instead of in person. Not quite the same but it at least keeps me moving forward.

    1. You have to be expert to make things look easy. Same with beginner felters, who always seem to have problems pulling off bits of wool top. I guess it all comes with practice! 🙂

      Glad you’re managing to keep up with your classes. Our basketry group meets up with our tutor online for an hour every week – not the same as having a full day in person, but at least it allows us to see what we’re all doing and encourage each other to keep going.

  3. A Zebra perhaps?
    Great to see that the beautiful colour is lasting thus far.
    How much will your tray shrink if you’ve used ‘in-the-green’ branches? I admire your tenacity.
    The recycling from 1876 Was obviously undertaken by very skilled hands.

    1. Good guess Antje, but not a zebra! All will be revealed next week.

      I suspect the tray will shrink quite a bit, but it will be interesting to see. It wasn’t brilliantly made in the first place, but it was a good introduction to a popular technique.

      I wish I had the sewing skills to be able to transform one garment into another, but for the time being I’ll have to stick to dyeing to make a difference. 😉

  4. Great idea for the Catalan bowl. We could have given you loads when we did some radical pruning on the evergreen honeysuckle we cut down! And bamboo! I love the little rhubarb and dandelion bowl, it’s very cute. I have slowed down a bit this week as kind of lost my mojo. Hoping it will pick up soon. Take care!

    1. Haven’t tried honeysuckle yet for cordage or binding – one to add to the list! I know what you mean about losing your mojo. I was kind of hyper in the first few weeks of lockdown, revelling in all the extra time I had to play and experiment. Now I feel I’ve run out of steam a bit, but it’s probably more like returning to “normal” after a frenzied period of activity. That’s OK too. Be kind to yourself – go and do something else for a bit. It may give you further inspiration. Stay well!

      1. I have been in a type of lockdown since just before Christmas as I work as a temp and things are slow for a couple of months and now it seems things are dragging on a bit too long. I was very productive also and that was good. But I am running out of steam! I might even do a bit of cleaning! Haha! I made some flat felt as I needed some. It was productive if not inspirational. 🙂

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