For the Times They are A’changin

“The line it is drawn
The curse it is cast
The slow one now
Will later be fast
As the present now
Will later be past
The order is rapidly fadin’
And the first one now will later be last
For the times they are a-changin’ ”

Bob Dylan

I had a wonderful time this past weekend giving the Rainbow Colors Workshop.   All of the participants came from different walks of life, and we were all connected by our fascination with the possibilities of natural dyes being applied to our individual crafts.   We shared our different perspectives and hope for continued connections based on the time we spent together.

One topic that always comes up no matter who I talk to is why we have an ever dwindling textile craft industry in the Western world, as well as few viable marketplaces (other than the internet) to sell or trade our beautiful handmade articles.  Since I have been a weaver, knitter, and clothing maker for most of my life, I can honestly attest to the time that it takes to complete any project by hand.  I have placed the video below because not only does it explain why we cannot compete with the cheap imports of foreign lands, but also it speaks to the sad reality of these foreign textile workers in stark contrast to the way we as children and young adults learn about textiles without exploitation, and why we enjoy such an enduring love of our craft.  Many of us have been lucky and proud to have enjoyed the training and company of other textile artists via the network of handweaver’s guilds that have been in place in the US for almost 100 years and in Great Britain and Ireland even longer.  More on this topic below the video:

How could a young life begun like this ever spawn joy or creativity with regards to textiles?  The industrialization of textiles, in spite to the wonderful technology it has given us, has usurped our god-given joy and inspiration to work with what nature has to offer, namely fibers from plants, wool from animals, and natural color from plants and insects.  We have allowed the cheapest and easiest processes and products to dominate our consciousness, and hence the idea that the bottom line ($$$$) is really the driving force that should be considered.   We are encouraged to compare everything by the bottom line without taking into consideration the quality of natural materials,  beauty of process (which requires time), and the ultimate love (creativity) and passion (design) that may or may not (exploitation) go  into the creation of the textile supplies, clothing and household articles that we purchase.

Don’t you think it’s time to begin to bring this process home?  We don’t need to exploit women, children and impoverished people from all over the world just to have cheap textiles to throw away at will.  We can make our own textiles and make them to last, even hand them down to family members as remembrances.  We should not let others convince us that these beautiful gifts that we give to each other in the form of handmade textiles are silly, little old granny things with no inherent qualities, because they are not bought from some exclusive shop with fancy designer labels.   Secretly, we all know that behind the beautiful shop props and designer labels, workers are exploited and outrageous profits are pocketed by the already rich and famous.

To do my part, I will begin an bi-weekly knit salon starting in October, 2011 for the local people in the surrounding Gent area:

atelier fijnKNIT

brei & haak salon

elke eerste & derde dinsdag van de maand
tussen 15 u tot 21:30 u

kom langs op om het even welk ogenblik

 breng je eigen garen of projecten of

luxe breigarens en natuurlijke kleurstoffen  te koop

 voor breien, haken, & weven

Atelier fijnKNIT:   salviapark 38, 9840 de pinte

contact: Catherine van laake fijnknit@telenet.be  of 09 330 6190

There is no need to register for this, but an email or phone call would be nice.

For the Times They are A’changin  

Rescheduling Indigo Vat workshop:  

1 & 2, October,  2011

INDIGO VAT & AQUARELLE INDIGO   NATURAL DYE WORKSHOP
Saturday and Sunday, 9 am-5 pm                                                                        Beginning and Intermediate
By Textile Designer CATHERINE VAN LAAKE

Venue:   fiijnknit Design Atelier, Salviapark 38, De Pinte, Belgium

During this class you will learn to dye with an indigo vat and the new Aquarelle Indigo that does not require a vat.  On the first day, you will begin working with small samples to achieve different variations of blue in the vat and learn some resist techniques.  On day two you will apply the resist techniques to silk and cotton samples and learn some overdyeing techniques to get a variety of colors from the indigo vats and Aquarelle dyes.

Instruction fee:  150 EURO  includes instruction fee, handouts, all dye materials and silk and cotton sample fabrics for custom dyeing.

Basic materials and equipment are supplied but students are also required to bring: • small embroidery scissors • rubber gloves • apron.   Please wear clothes that you don’t mind getting stained.

Extra yarn and Silk, as well as natural dyes will be available for sale.

Fijnknit Atelier: Spacious studio with facilities for both wet and dry textile techniques. Outdoor patio workspace for perfect light conditions, and lunch, and tea-time.
Sustenance:  Unlimited tea, coffee and biscuits are provided for all classes. Please bring your own lunch as there are no shops close by. The studio has indoor and outdoor areas to eat.

If you are interested in attending this workshop  please fill in the registration below.  There is maximum of 7 participants for each workshop.

About naturalcolor

Passionate about textiles, threads and color. I began knitting and sewing as a little girl and found spinning and weaving via my experience at Marygrove College in Detroit for Waldorf teacher education. Learning to spin, first on a drop spindle, then on a spinning wheel, made me feel as if I had done this in another lifetime. It seemed effortless. Since then, my passion for threads, yarns, color and weave effect, knitting and natural dyeing has led me into the rich world and cultures of textile design. Through the study of weaving, knitting designs and natural dyes, I have learned the archetypal connection we as weavers, knitters and dyers have to each other around the world and the richness of our art as we express our cultures through our craft. Ultimately, my passion is to preserve these life-giving arts through the connections we make with each other and ourselves with our craft, the information we store in our minds and hearts, and the stories and techniques we pass on to the next generation.
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