Home » follow the story » natural dying

From natural dying

Riverbend Christmas Creativity returns!

waw_riv_christmas2014

WE ARE SUPER-EXCITED ABOUT THIS YEAR’S CHRISTMAS CREATIVITY AT RIVERBEND BOOKS, BULIMBA!

With warm tactile leather + fabric alongside sustainable design processes, we are proud to present a fresh new take on Christmas decorating!

Of course, these are first and foremost children’s classes and so we are excited to jump into the wonderful world of artistic inspiration from the famous Alexander Calder on through other screen printing + fibre artists. From this inspiration we have developed skills-based classes that are fresh and contemporary!

For the first time this year, we are offering an ADULT CREATIVITY CLASS and also a PARENT+CHILD CLASS! In these classes, you are able to choose the project you would like to complete – please read the class description carefully and leave your selection in the comments section of your booking.

Take a wander through the classes we have on offer below and click on the title of the class to go to our events page and BOOK NOW – these classes fill very quickly! We hope you enjoy:

29 October 2014 011

WIRE + LEATHER WREATH

Alexander Calder was an American sculptor known as the originator of the mobile, a type of kinetic sculpture made with delicately balanced or suspended components which move in response to motor power or air currents. Calder’s stationary sculptures are called stables. He also produced numerous wire figures.

Using inspiration from Calder’s work, we will experiment with the wire medium to form 3D shapes. We will use these twisting+bending techniques to create a unique Christmas-inspired wreath form. Calder also added solid forms to his mobiles for counterbalance. We will look at ways to weave gorgeous leather + fabric leaves into our wreath-sculpture for a truly stunning result! The perfect marriage of art + craft for Christmas!

Each student will create 1 wreath in this class.

IMG_3841

LEATHER STARS

Oh soft caramel leather you truly make us weak at the knees! Students will engage with the slow art of hand stitching to create these beautiful leather + fabric ornaments or gift tags.

These are a beautiful layered addition to your tree, a hanging garland or a unique handmade gift tag. Students will choose and cut fabric stars from our beautiful selection of handwoven + naturally dyed fabric and accented with vibrant felt in Christmas green to layer behind their leather stars! The sparkling bronze adds a festive touch as the students thread + stitch their fabric soft sculpture together!

Each student will create 3 stars within this class.

29 October 2014 035

PRINT YOUR OWN FABRIC + PAPER WRAP

This year we are excited to announce a class with a sustainable message!

WEAVE+WONDER are proudly offering the gorgeous naturally dyed and handwoven fabric sourced from traditional weaving families in rural Cambodia. As we introduce this gorgeous fabric into the Australian market, we are motived toward sustainable uses for it. We couldn’t think of a better beginning than using custom sized pieces as fabric wrapping for Christmas!

In our printing class, we will learn simple printing, stamping + stencilling techniques and work on pattern repeat in order to create unique designs for our fabric wrapping. We will use humble brown paper also as a ‘test run’ for our fabric pieces but also as useful wrapping in itself!

Students will print 1 large fabric wrapping sheet (can be used as two smaller sheets) as well as significant length of custom printed wrapping paper.

There will be additional fabric wrapping sheets available to purchase in all classes.

the start of the thread

28 December 2013 137a 800px

Every story has a beginning.  A place where, when you unravel all  that is woven and tangled, you find the start of the thread.

This is the start of the thread, the start of this story.  A tale of people I met in Cambodia in early 2008, good and honest and beautiful and humble and hardworking and creative people, whose lives and livelihoods wove in and out of the six years of days I lived in Cambodia.

This is a narrative written on pages of fabric, raw and natural and authentic fabric, that ignited in me a creative response that would both spark and glow, scald and burn in my Cambodia years.  This is the fabric we use in much of our WEAVE+WONDER creating, making that flows from our tactile response to its natural beauty.

And so the thread starts…

My feet were bare on the worn smooth timber floorboards, shoes left at the door as is Cambodia’s custom, keeping outside’s dirt outside.  The light stayed outside too, the small barred windows only dimly illuminating this house of dark timber walls and floors.  But what I could see was shelves filling one wall of this house stacked high with rolls and folds of fabric.  Beautifully imperfect handwoven cotton textures.  Muted botanical colours.  Loose wefts escaped from their warps.  Colours over and under making stripes and checks.

376 800px

In this land of bright patterns and vibrant colours, polyester and cheap brand knock-offs, the treasures held by this little house sitting quietly unannounced on a dusty Phnom Penh street made my creative heart sing.  And to meet and connect with people whose days were filled with the rhythmic labour of dyeing and weaving, creating fabrics using nature’s colour-pot and time-old weaving techniques on timber looms smoothed by years of busy hands, was a gift.

This is a small community built on big ideas.  It is the passion-hope of a beautiful family from South Korea, who wanted to work alongside Cambodians to empower and teach, equip and nurture.  When they arrived in Cambodia they weren’t sure what this would look like, and took time slow to consider the needs of the people and the sustainability of options.  This couple, a pilot and a teacher/artist, connected with weaving communities in rural Cambodia and became determined to help preserve and stimulate traditional weaving skills which were in danger of being lost by mass production, low wages, and a younger generation moving to the city to seek secure employment.

28 December 2013 092 800px

When a dear friend introduced me to them in 2008, this couple had gathered around them in the city a small community of people learning together the technicalities of weaving, the art of natural dyeing, and the realities of establishing a sustainable business model.  They lived together, worked together, grew together, struggled together.  They worked with families from rural weaving villages, supplying them with the long skeins of cotton dyed in pots of boil-colour, visiting them regularly to mentor and monitor, and returning months later to purchase the rolls of fabric.

It was this fabric, these rolls of fabric, that sparked my creativity.  But it was the people, the beautiful Cambodians and their Korean mentors, who softly spoke to my heart.

To know those who toil and labour to make and create is a gift of authenticity. 

Handmade is stamped with integrity and purpose when you know the reasons undergirding the making.

These were important lessons I tucked away and held close in the coming chapters of this story.

390 800px

[ Grateful thanks to Melissa for inviting me to be part of WEAVE+WONDER, and encouraging me to share this story.  There will be more threads to follow on another day when the remembering comes quietly… ]

 

what we’ve been up to: weekday weave

waw_blogcolB_020814_600px

There have been some wonderfully exciting changes going on as the leaves have turned and fallen and we find ourselves cozy indoors. 

WEAVE+WONDER is expanding and branching quietly into storytelling through product design. Tentatively offering new buds of making in new arenas.

We turned the page on 2014 in remote rural Cambodia sharing the simple necessities of life with truly inspiring people. We learned of the life changing impact that creating + making can have on generations of families working to support their loved ones through the age-old art of weaving – sitting amongst women in the open air turning bicycle wheel spindles to spool yarn for their looms.

When we returned and received an invitation from an inspiring maker I deeply admire, to provide a product range for a ‘raw and natural’ handmade market, I had a clear desire to showcase the beautiful handwoven + naturally dyed fabrics we saw being made in Cambodia.

Playing with some abstract stitch designs with a modernist twist was made so much more enjoyable when working with the dusty subdued natural tones of charcoal + river gum. Stitchings became wall hangings and the seed of many more artworks evolving.

I wanted to send a friend off overseas with an old fashioned ‘note of friendship + gratitude’ and just love how the hand stamped quote delivers a message of love sealed on natural flax cotton amid lines of blue + red stitching. I received some lovely feedback on these handmade fabric pages and feel that they perfectly reflect the art of simple heartfelt beauty embodied in the fabric. 

Lightweight tote bags are the perfect compliment to the earthy woven fabric, we love making the timeless design with two fabric tones and gorgeous leather handles: our carry-all is perfect for that quick dash out the door, keys, wallet and smalls!

I’ve long loved the raw beauty of natural leather: the smell, the butter-soft texture, the sublime honey-tones. Seeking a design that responds in a utilitarian and honest way to compliment the inherent beauty of the natural material, our simple rolls, designed to keep and carry all your tools: from pencils to tech pens, crochet hooks to paint brushes perfectly fit the bill! I tote mine everywhere to be sure my ability to respond to creative inspiration is always at hand.

Alongside these gorgeous natural materials, winter wouldn’t be complete without a crochet hook and some baby-soft alpaca slipping through my fingers, a unique vessel taking intuitive form in my hands. After a lengthy hand felting process, these vessels are dotted around my home, enveloping all manner of treasures + utilities!

And the big news! Amid all these simple honest products coming to life, a dear friend of mine whom I am deeply inspired by, has agreed to climb up into the branches of the WEAVE+WONDER  sapling, put down creative roots and share the passion to inspire + nurture creativity in the everyday. Look out for her handmade products and beautiful weaving of words in this blog space in the days to come! I am honoured to welcome Caroline Berry as she joins WEAVE+WONDER.

caroline a

If you are inspired to purchase any of our offerings, please visit our new Etsy Store. We look forward to this new venture as well as continuing to inspire through creative workshops around our city!

The very exciting online market we are honoured to be a part of is for the esteemed Temple & Webster online marketplace. The incredibly talented maker Jacqui Fink of Little Dandelion curates four handmade markets for Temple & Webster each year. The theme of this market is ‘raw and natural’ – a theme close to our hearts!

This market goes live today and finishes on Thursday – please follow this link to shop this beautifully curated event!

Jacqui has also written an introduction to the makers included in the event – her blog post can be found here.

We will post more about this exciting opportunity in the coming days!

 

 

just because * part I

Last week these arrived
Just because…

It has been a big few months
There has been considerable success
There is cause to pause and be grateful

And as these cut beauties dip their heads,
I gather their feather-soft but still radiant petals
to chanel my creative energies into a new experiement
natural dying using gathered and found things, kitchen produce,
adding a new sense of purpose to our wanderings
I will bring you part II of the experiment soon…