Thursday, November 7, 2013

Blue is the theme

Some of the evening weaving students say hello to all of you! From left to right Sanya Lascic, Andrea Kristof and Lana Gregorovitch. 
 At this time of year many people feel blue. Apart from the challenges that life presents to us, perhaps the diminished amount of sun and light seems to affect people's mood and perhaps their energy. This picture from this past week was cheerful, much needed as light diminishes and the cold sets in for the next several weeks and months. According to Wikipedia,   ".... Surveys in the U.S. and Europe show that blue is the colour most commonly associated with harmony, faithfulness, and confidence. In U.S. and European public opinion polls it is overwhelmingly the most popular colour, chosen by almost half of both men and women as their favourite colour. It is also commonly associated with the sky, the sea, ice, cold, and sometimes with sadness. While blue was an expensive and prestigious colour in European painting, it became a common colour for clothing during the Renaissance. The rise of the colour blue in fashion in the 12th and 13th centuries led to the creation of a thriving blue dye industry in several European cities, notably AmiensToulouse and Erfurt. They made a dye called pastel from woad, a plant common in Europe, which had been used to make blue dye by the Celts and German tribes. Blue became a colour worn by domestics and artisans, not just nobles. In 1570, when Pope Pius V listed the colours that could be used for ecclesiastical dress and for altar decoration, he excluded blue, because he considered it too common.
The process of making blue with woad (shown above) was particularly long and noxious- it involved soaking the leaves of the plant for from three days to a week in human urine, ideally urine from men who had been drinking a great deal of alcohol, which was said to improve the colour. The fabric was then soaked for a day in the urine, then put out in the sun, where as it dried it turned blue. 
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The pastel industry was threatened in the 15th century by the arrival from India of new blue dye, indigo (shown above), made from a shrub widely grown in Asia.Indigo blue had the same chemical composition as woad, but it was more concentrated and produced a richer and more stable blue. In 1498, Vasco de Gama opened a trade route to import indigo from India to Europe. In India, the indigo leaves were soaked in water, fermented, pressed into cakes, dried into bricks, then carried to the ports London, Marseille, Genoa and Bruges. Later, in the 17th century, the British, Spanish and Dutch established indigo plantations in Jamaica, South Carolina, the Virgin Islands and South America, and began to import American indigo to Europe
A bamboo woven twill variation scarf by Louise Granahan. 

Marion Kirkwood wove this tencel and beige scarf. 
Interesting how both scarves shown above have an irridescent effect. Perhaps I didn't capture it as well as I'd like in the photograph. 

This Sunday Cedar Ridge in Scarborough is have a show and sale from 12 to 5pm. 225 Confederation Drive. Some talented weavers will have work for sale there.

Noelle Hamlyn works in Toronto

Rose Ruffolo sent me this link about a great beaded art project honouring the large numbers of indigenous girls and women who go missing. I'm looking forward to seeing the exhibit.

Both Karen Bota and Kate Kitchen sent along this link for a free ebook on knitters loom weaving (technically a rigid heddle loom).

Karen Bota also sent this suggestion:

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