Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Still here-just busy

I have finished the project at Bodfari School and loved every minute of it, although a friend who is a retired primary school teacher and who had a class of 28 thought it very funny that I arrived home absolutely exhausted after merely teaching groups of four or six!
I find that every event I do learn something either about how to run a workshop or it gives me ideas for the next or something develops. The Bodfari school project is a case in point as they wanted their school bell motif in bronze. Browsing through my favourite book Dominque Cardon's Natural Dyes I found that 17th century French dyers had a bronze colour that was dyed for the Marquis de Pompedour and was called after him. No precise recipe was given but apparently the silk was dyed in weld and over dyed in brazilwood. I experimented with mixing the extract dyes and found I could get a colour from golden yellow to a dark bronze. The bell colour came out well and almost everyone at the school said how much they like the colour so as well as teaching I learnt something too. One of the other things I learnt was that dyeing is not very interesting to children. I took my slow cookers and dye stuff which one or two children looked at thoughtfully but I realised without having gathered the dyes themselves it was a bit of a meaningless exercise and as interesting as watching paint dry. This worried me somewhat as I am supposed to be dyeing tomorrow with 10-13 year olds making felt Celtic brooches which also involves dyeing. and my next big school project the week after next does too. How I wondered could I make the dyeing interesting to them? Today I was pottering around my studio making more samples for tomorrow. What was I doing? Mixing extract dyes in paper cups , dipping yarn in and giving it a 3 minute blast in the microwave. Easy peasy-instant natural dyeing. Ping it was like a light went on in my head . I rang the project I am working for tomorrow and said this was what I wanted to do with the children/ Fine said the organiser absolutely fine. So I shall dye yarns with extract dyes for Tan y Fron tomorrow which they will use to create spirals in their felt for Celtic brooches and also at LLanrheadr school next week. Yippee

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