new local fibre work

Life is providing me with such bounty these days I  do my best to find a balance in it all. Being pulled in multiple directions constantly with ideas, possibilities and opportunities means I often run in  what look like circles. Mainly because circles, or laps, are indeed what I am doing. Running around a big fibre  quest maze with multiple paths. When I am lucky, I stay put long enough to actually do something with what I am learning. But more often then not I just feel like a big sponge absorbing information and storing it for a  later squeeze-out of creative juices.

Last week found  David and me up a mountain with Tracy and Delmar Williams for a cedar bark harvest with a group of others all with fabulous tracking and  plant knowledge. What an experience!

Culturally Modified Tree

Culturally Modified Tree

It was a strange and powerfully moving experience, impacting such a long living being as a cedar tree so radically. Giving thanks and a blessing to the tree is only right. My hope for myself is that my future weaving project is worthy of the gift. It was also  such a privileged to  participate in one of the  seasonally annual harvests that Delmar and Tracy do for their weaving projects ahead.

Other   exciting foraging fibre initiatives of late have turned up two intriguing things…

1. the blackberry harvest is weeks and weeks early this year! Last year I had it marked as 10 days ahead of the previous 4 years (  around early July) This year, I am harvesting blackberry fibre  that is good for  basketry work first week of June! A sign of our  unusual long, dry, hot spells. hmm. shifting seasons and global warming?

2. Aside for blackberry for possible spinning, I have also had luck getting  fibre off the stocks of tansy- A first! At least for me, am curious now about any tradition of spinning with tansy, I am going to experiment with drying and retting and  just  green processing for spun fibre.

cracking inner path away, in the same method as used with green nettle

cracking inner path away, in the same method as used with green nettle

skinned tansy fibre

skinned tansy fibre

We also found a patch of stinging nettle nearby on the edge of a community garden. I  showed the folks working with me the nettle- it is not so common here that we grow up knowing it by sight for self protection. I also showed the plantain ( left) and Burdock ( right) that can be used as a poultice rub or chewed into a pulp for sting relief. I have yet to find a place that nettle grows without one or the other close by!

nettle in the centre

nettle in the centre

nettle  retted and carded, ready for spinning. It is a surprisingly slippery fiber to spin, but the staple length and colour are great!

this nettle was harvested at Aberthau last year,  I threw it in my flax retting tub for 5 days, two shy of my flax time

this nettle was harvested at Aberthau last year, I threw it in my flax retting tub for 5 days, two shy of my flax time

the process of learning my local environment and what possible clothing fibres exist continues to be an interesting rabbit hole to have fallen down. So I keep running in circles, in geographically smaller and tighter circles, gathering fibres and plant  knowledge as I go.

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