Welcome to the Year of the Sheep

Or should that be Year of the Goat?  Apparently the Chinese word means either.  Anyway, the description of those born under this sign sounds far more like a sheep to me.

DSCF8204‘People born in the Year of Sheep are tender, polite, filial, clever, and kind-hearted. They have special sensitivity to art and beauty and a special fondness for quiet living. They are wise, gentle and compassionate and can cope with business cautiously and circumspectly. In their daily life, they try to be economical. They are willing to take good care of others, but they should avoid pessimism and hesitation.’ with thanks to TravelChinaGuide.com

Happy Year of the Sheep….

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A Barn Covered in Fleece

While we were on holiday last week we noticed yellow signs around for the C Art Open Studios happening in September so we paid a visit to an installation near Ashness Bridge to look at the work of a couple of young artists – one who had covered a stone barn in fleece and one who had filled it with animal skulls and feathers… well what’s not to like about that!!

Barn Covered in Sheep Fleece

Barn Covered in Sheep Fleece with wool balls – Annabel Lewis

 http://www.c-art.org.uk/artists/annabel-lewis/galleryDSCF8182

http://www.c-art.org.uk/artists/natalie-williamson/gallery

We hummed and aahed about buying one of Natalie Williamson’s skull sculptures but in the end I settled for a pendant made from old copper jewellery and mouse skulls!

There were also a number of woolly balls scattered around the area and we clambered around the hills looking at them…This is me sitting on Ashness Bridge with one of them…DSCF8168

No wonder I look so happy with such a beautiful view to look at…and in the sunshine too!

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The Open Studios are on until 28th September 2014.

Let’s Hear it for Natural Dyes

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Having spent last week learning how to pick dye plants and make natural dye colours I am now a fan. 

The colours have a natural subtlety which meant I was more concerned with putting them side by side to show off the contrasts, and less with working with the carders to blend them together so they didn’t look too ‘flat’. 

We used a combination of plants from the surrounding area eg. bracken, tree lichen (of which there was lots as the air was so clear) and broom, bought in natural dyes such as Madder (my favourite), Logwood and Indigo and everyday household ingredients – who knew that onion skins could turn white silk threads into something that looked more like gold…

There is something wonderfully primeval about washing fleeces in the open air, mordanting wood (to help the dye take) over a log fire and then dying it with something you have picked yourself.  By doing a first, second and sometimes even third dye plus adding part of some colours to the indigo pot we ended up with over thirty shades and colours.

So thanks again to Rosie and the team at Wild Rose Escapes.  I shall be back….