Friday, 24 October 2008

No reds but turquoise and artisans.

I started to blog the other day -meditating on whether I had been hit by the recession ( unofficial as yet but definitely here). Well I nearly fell asleep reading it so I decided not to inflict it on you either.

I have been dyeing , but the sort of unremarkable routine dyeing of fibres for lots and lots of up and coming workshops. As I was making up packs I got panicked by lack of certain colours so I have been doing much panic stricken dyeing mostly greens and purples and thisis despite the fact that my studio is a sea of boxes full of dyed fibres. I usually use the extracts for emergency dyeing but even with them and mixing I really have a problem with getting reds, because a) I have soft water i.e. not easy to get red from madder , b) a lot of reds turn towards the purple when felted (it is the alkalinity of the soap that does it). Brazilwood is the worse for this. I then discovered to my dismay I am out of bugs, although I could have sworn I still had a 200g left-
:( so I can't do my favourite cochineal/madder mix for reds. No reds. Ho hum! I have got turquoise though, lots and lots of yummy turquoise, using "green" extract over dyed with indigo.

I am simmering cosmos as I write so tomorrow or possibly Sunday there will be an update on that! ( it is looking promising with a deep orange coloured bath from 300g of flowers).

PS What do you call a craft market when the word craft has been so bastardised. As for handicrafts -bleh. I have come up with "Artisan Market" with a nod of thanks to Karen Casselman who uses this instead of crafts. I would be interested to know do you all who read my blog think artisans is better than crafts person or man/women and is Artisan Market better than craft market?


  1. helen, I am looking forward to the cosmos results....
    I think the title craft suggests people at home, diddling in all kinds of things and making ok stuff out of it. and artisans - those are the people who have a lot of knowledge about their chosen area and do phantastic work in it - it sounds more like "artists" - and to me this is what those people are, even though a lot of people don't allow the title artist for those craft areas. so if you wanted to promote a market with very high levels of work I'd go for artisans - and I'd use craft market for those school markets etc. where kids and proud parents show off what they can do (not that there's anything wrong with that either! it's just a different area)

  2. Hi Bettina thanks for your ideas. I realised after I had blogged that this had also been discussed on Lesley Prior blog too so it is obviously an issue that has been simmering away in my mind for a bit.

    The Cosmos has gone a deep red and as all I had to dye was some silk laps I have slung those in and a little bit of teeswater so I am being very unscientific.

  3. I like the term Artisan, it represents to me someone who has been honing their craft for a long time, and of course then has been able to get "artie" with it but this is becoming an age old question and there never seems to be a good answer. The cosmos look great and would love to see the fibre that comes from that. Wish I could have an enys...she sounds like an "artisans angel" lol

  4. Artisan is far better. Some of the crafts at our craft markets come from China and it is debatable what they are. Artisan for me suggests an artist who enjoys creating and selling what she creates.

  5. Hi thanks to Cedar and Ambermoggie-and welcome Ambermoggie to my blog-
    thanks for your input on artisans. A great help.

  6. G'day Helen,
    I'm dragging my heels here with this thread but only just found your blog... Crafts person verus Artisan seems to be a 'global' issue, doesn't it ...
    I just had this very conversation with my girlfriend a couple of hours ago ... I definately agree with Artisan & I agree with your others commentors that an artisan is one that has put the hard yard in to learn [& keep learning really] all that is possible in their chosen medium ... but somedays you do feel as if you are hitting your head against a brick wall with un-informed/un-interested folks that have no idea or inclincation to know, WHAT IS involved in your chosen medium. I really think they think you just pick up a brush, paint/rubber stamp/needle & thread/dye/or whatever and all the knowledge & 'practice' you put into making it all look so professional [& you to become a professional] is done from the first time you attempt your chosen medium ... don't they realise also, that some of us have tried many mediums before we come to the one we love with a passion ... sorry I do go on about this somedays - sorry today must of been that day ... ha ha ... good luck with it all ... OOroo from down under ... Bethel of Bethania