Saturday, 14 May 2016

Nature Girl

Looking up

The last two weeks of house-sitting were crammed with too many things crowding my brain, and I'm still trying to resolve what remains: this is typical, but I was more keen than usual to find a way to avoid most of them. As is my usual modus operandi, I resorted to abandoning the city for the countryside.

Public art through the viewing port

First up was actually going south and east to Ralph Klein Park when it was open: I had great hopes of seeing lots of action in the constructed wetland ponds and exploring the large public art installation.

Sadly, there weren't many birds, and the installation is still fenced off: the problem, I've been told, is that when the grassy pyramids were built -- you can see one on the left in the picture above -- they were built by just piling up fill, instead of constructing them like one would do in a backyard, by having a good layer of humus on top of the fill.

It's why the grass isn't "taking" on the pyramids, and until someone who can do anything about it figures out the problem and fixes the issue, it will continue to be off-limits.

In the distance

The second adventure, on Beltane, took me north and west to Glenbow Ranch Provincial Park. I hadn't intended to walk very far, just wanted to get away from the crowds up near the parking lot, find a place to sit down and pour the contents of my overthinking brain out through my disposable fountain pen onto the page, and leave.

Well, that was the plan.

Of course, by the time I escaped the crowd, I had to keep walking to find a place to sit down: that was eventually accomplished, but by the time I took a different set of trails back to the car, I had walked ten kilometres.

And I probably got as much good thinking done while walking back as I scratched onto the paper while sitting down near the river.

Idyllic path

Another outlet for my thought-crazed brain lately has been filling in for the regular host of Breaking The Tethers on CJSW: three of the last four weeks have seen me playing an eclectic selection of music on Monday mornings: check out last Monday's episode here.

The advantage of filling-in is being able to check out all the new music that's been coming in to the station: I sure hope I get to check out the new album from Mammal Hands when it drops at the end of the month. Here's a video they've released of one of the tracks!

Sunday, 8 May 2016

True blue

Blue and stinky

If you own a pair of blue jeans, you're familiar with indigo, the dye used to colour them. Indigo, which is a legume like peanuts, has a long and fascinating history and while not the most straight-forward procedure to get the dye into the cloth, it's not that challenging if you have all the supplies and a proper studio in which to work.

As I don't, I took advantage of a half-day class with Lyn Pflueger, a wonderful felter, dyer, spinner, and weaver (and long-time friend) who lives near Calgary, to explore shibori techniques and indigo, a classic combination, at a half-day adventure put on by the Esker Foundation.


The first technique we did used folding and clamping before putting our packages into the indigo pot: here's mine hanging up after two dips. I got too keen on the clamping part to the extent that the fibres in the centre were untouched by the dye, but I did get kind of a nice border pattern.

Second dip completed

Time for technique two: sewing. It would be an understatement to say that I'm a sewer: in fact, I so don't like sewing that I knit as many things as possible without seams. Heck, I even avoid darning-in ends whenever possible! But for this project, I took needle and thread in hand, choosing two straight-forward patterns named "mare's teeth," which forms the border, and "spider web" at the centre of the piece of fabric.

After two dips, drying, pulling the threads out, then washing, the finished result is below: I'm rather pleased with it, although I have no idea what I'll do with it.


Sewn shibori plus indigo

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