Monday, 23 May 2011

New Web Site

The Guild's new web site now has all the latest information on meetings and workshops.

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Magic Dyeing

Our meeting this month was organised as a members’ day with the
focus on ‘magic’ dyeing led by Meryl Phillips.

Meryl explained that the procion MX dyes could be stored in
diluted form but would only remain active for a few hours once
the fixing solutions of salt and soda ash were added. Only
three primary dye colours were needed and they would progress
through the fabric at different rates, the turquoise fastest, the
gold medium and the red very slowly.

Squares of cotton fabric were concertina folded in a variety of
ways. They might be folded into squares, rectangles, triangles or
scrunched and twisted in different ways. The parcel of fabric
was secured with elastic bands before the dye was dripped on
randomly from a teaspoon. The results did not look promising at
this stage! ‘Parcels’ were then placed in plastic bags and left for
24 hours before rinsing in cold water.

Members who did not wish to join in with the focus on the day were
free to follow their own projects.

Monday, 4 October 2010

Natural Dyeing

The speaker at our September meeting was Helen Melvin (Fiery Felts) who spoke on natural dyeing. Beginning with her own early recollections of squeezing colour from crepe paper she enthralled us with the history of dyeing: from the earliest recognizable ‘dyed’ fragments from 30,000 years ago thought to be earth colours rubbed onto fabric, Queen Elizabeth the First’s remarks about ‘nasty, pernicious dye’ following poor attempts at a black to ‘modern’ colours from the other side of the world using eucalyptus.

Helen showed us vibrant examples of yarn and fabric dyed from plants in her garden which included coreopsis, cosmos, indigo, dyer’s chamomile and many others. Examples of a variety of techniques for dyeing fabrics such as silk were discussed. Sun dyeing in kilner jars, fabric rolled up with coins, rusty nails or different flower heads even burying fabric in the compost heap were among several exciting possibilities.

Helen makes wonderful landscapes of North Wales from dyed felt embellished with stitching and textiles. She displayed some of her work and sketchbooks.

New, this year, to the National Garden Scheme of gardens open for Charity Helen’s dye garden may be visited by groups. Contact Helen for details of the garden and dyeing courses at or find other gardens in the area through (North East Wales) Blaen Wern, Bodfari, Denbighshire, LL16 4BT

If you are in the ITV Wales area you may have seen Helen’s garden on ‘ Little Pieces of Paradise’ or the BBC children’s science programme ‘Nina and the Neurons’.

Saturday, 31 July 2010

Tablet Weaving

Our July meeting was a talk and workshop on tablet (card) weaving by Guild members Chas Field and Sue Iddon.

Chas and Sue appeared on 'The One Show' on Friday July 23rd featuring their brave decision to have their long Viking locks cut off. The deed took place under the scissors of 'the Street Barber' at Hale Carnival in June and the money they have raised will go to the Little Princess charity who raise funds to provide young cancer sufferers with top quality wigs. If anyone else would like to sponsor them (they have raised £800..........wouldn't £1,000 be wonderful)! please get in touch with Chas or Sue.

Chas' talk provided a fascinating insight into the history of tablet weaving. Thought to date from the Iron Age, with an amazing variety of materials used to create the tablets, the craft provided decorative trimmings for garments. It was astonishing to learn that Vikings of high status had beautiful braid incorporating silk and silver.

So many intricate and colourful patterns can be created relatively easily and in no time at all Sue and Chas had us weaving stripes and chevrons on eight tablets with simple equipment.

Monday, 31 May 2010

Celebration Day for the Life of Joan Marsland

Guest Speaker: Sue Lawty

Following a eulogy about Joan’s life from Marjorie Tomsett and Joan’s niece Judette, who had come over from New Zealand, we were off on a whirling magic carpet ride through Sue Lawty’s life and work.

We visited a young Sue with her mother who taught Sue sewing skills.

We looked at some of the inspirational pieces from Bankfield Museum.

Brief touch downs in places that had inspired Sue included Wales, Nairobi, Jordan, where Sue had been commissioned to produce tapestries for the British Embassy and High Commission, Bhutan, Australia and Tasmania, Morocco, Nepal, Majorca, Italy and the Pyrenees.

We saw a fantastic piece of work made of tiny pieces of stone actually glued to the wall in the V & A and were treated to a look behind the scenes at conservation work and the reserve collections.

The way Sue’s work is developing now is fascinating: ‘stones in space’ with suspended stone ladders and their shadows are inspiring work that darts from linen, lead, stone, shadows and the negative images left behind by beaten or rubbed work.

It is well worth a look at the V&A website to see the World Beach collection of photographs gathered from around the world as a response to Sue’s ideas of creating work with stones: and
or just ‘Google’ up Sue to explore her vast body of work

The audience, which included visitors from several neighbouring guilds, were kept spellbound until lunch time when they were able to browse the trading stands set up by KCG Trading, DT Crafts and the Threshing Barn.

The day was rounded off in the traditional manner with tea and cakes!