Phew, what a scorcher! After a wet start to our summer we are now experiencing daily temperatures of 32º-36ºC (that's 89º-96ºF) in the shade! Normally, we don't get as hot here as the French Riviera, though clearly we experience our fair share of hot summers days. Whilst rainfall levels remain moderate, falling in short showers and thunderstorms, this is also the time when the grass will turn from green to yellow to green again within the space of a week, and the sunflowers that currently surround us have just enough water to keep them blooming before rapidly turning to seed.
Claire Wellesley Smith, our Weekend Workshop leader for October is someone we know is interested in turning shades of green. She teaches extensively, working in adult education, schools, community projects, museums and galleries. Her workshops involve sustainable stitch, repurposed cloth, and traditional techniques. A consumate planter, dyer and stitcher, well known for her beautifully fragile "slow stitch" collages - Claire takes the same principles of balance, connection, sustainability and rhythm initiated around food by the slow movement, which started in the 1980s in Italy and applies it to textile processes - she is passionate about domestic plants and how to utilise their oft-times hidden hues to colour equally gorgeous vintage textiles for her collages. Many of the plants she grows herself in her native West Yorkshire, but she's looking forward to sharing with participants the adventures of discovering the autumnal colour variations of warmer climes proliferating in our mature gardens for theSlow Stitch workshop from 7th-10th October. Late summer/early autumn is a particularly good time for nuts, roots and late blooms that offer natural yellows, oranges, blues, reds, greens, browns and greys.
Claire recently had the pleasure of working with Richard and Arron from R&A Collaborationson a film as part of the Devon Guild of Craftsmen project Home Ground. They spent a day with her at her studio and allotment (pretty cold in early February and not many dye plants growing...) and talked about slow, localised craft practices, producing a fascinating insight into Claire's methods.
We'd love to fill the studio with stitchers who are particularly interested in natural dying methods that can be employed on a domestic scale, and we're offering
We also have one copy of Claire's recently published book, 'Slow Stitch: Mindful and Contemplative Textile Art', worth £20 ($26) and published by Batsford with wonderful photography by Michael Wicks, to give to the first person to book a place on Claire's workshop with this code.
Earlybird tickets available still for the bi-annual Gigspanner concert we hold here, this year the weekend before Celia Pym's workshop. So if the idea of some first class music, followed by a few days of quiet B&B accommodation in an amazing location, before moving into the world of stitching, we'd be happy to sort it out for you. Bring your partner and we'll give you a special rate.