Hey Salt Spring Island in British Columbia, Canada – we’re back! My friend Laura and I returned once more for another weaving adventure with a favorite weaving teacher, Jane Stafford. Colour and Design was offered at the beginning of April, so we coordinated schedules and headed up to the island studio once again.
This time we weren’t able to get a Farm Stay, but ended up with comfortable accomodations down the road at the Green Acres Lakeside Resort, just a short (but invigorating) walk down the road.
Jane had unlimited examples of using division of space, sett, gradation of color, throwing in a color zinger. The sky’s the limit and each example was a springboard for so many more ideas. No way you can write all this down – it’s something that gets absorbed through repetition, observance, and actually doing. Doing is the operative action here.
One of the exercises we performed was pulling colors from pictures that we found inspriring and/or that spoke to something inside us. Nature has so many interesting combinations of colors that aren’t necessarily intuitive from our cultural training. It’s all a matter of recognizing the box we’ve drawn for ourselves, then stretching outside of the self-imposed limit. No judgement, no frustration, just observing and reacting. If you start thinking about it too much it just doesn’t work.
My new design tools…..sketchbook, pencils, imagination.
Laura and I made sure to get some outside time on the island – Salt Spring is very beautiful and has many hidden crannies that beg for exploration. Observing nature while taking the class gave us different pespectives on natural division of space and use of color.
As a group we all drove into town to visit a local fiber exhibition, which included work not just from Jane and other local artists, but many former students of Jane’s that went on to become recognized artists.
Here’s Jane demonstrating poper technique when using a warping wheel, one of many tips we picked up during the class.
Here are my samples – trimmed and washed. In each sample, we basically wove the weft in the same color pattern as the warp. It was an interesting study in balance (and being able count, on top of that). It was all in 8/2 unmercerized cotton, which I have to say was very pleasant to work with. I had only used mercerized before, but liked the hand of this much more.
Airflights are far and few between, so we opted to repeat last year’s overnight stay, this time in Victoria. We were able to catch a decent ferry off the island, which allowed us to tour the Gardens at the Horticultural Society in Victoria. Sometimes I wonder if gardens I visit seem so spectacular because I live in a desert environment and don’t get to see much green. But, based on my previous lives, I thought this was particularly attractive on its own merits.
Dinner at a Tapas restaurant in town, an evening walk, and the next day brought us back to the airport and homeward bound. Thanks to Jane for such a fun learning experience, and to Laura for sharing it with me!