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Busy as Bees

I’ve just heard from Jane – she’s currently in Kolkata and whoo boy are her days full of excitement and activity. Unfortunately she hasn’t had half the amount of internet access that we all expected and so, we’re going to have to wait till she’s back on Salt Spring to hear about her adventure. She’ll be writing a whole series of stories about all of the wonderful people she has met and the incredible things she has seen and learned while travelling in India.

Until then, all of us back here at the Studio wish her a continued safe, enlightening and fun journey.

Lots of Love

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Beautiful Language

A Message from Jane:

***

After several days of traveling we are now in Bagru, 30 miles south of Jaipur in Northern India. We arrived in Delhi around 1 in the morning and drove though the night. I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined our drive.

Trucks travel at night because they are not allowed into the cities during the day . This means that 1000’s and 1000’s (and that is no exaggeration) of trucks carrying the goods that supply a city of 31,0000,000 people travel on a somewhat divided and completely under construction 4 lane highway. For the first hour I couldn’t look ahead without covering my eyes and trying to swallow my gasps. The moon was full and provided overhead lighting the whole way, perfectly illuminating the terror in front of me. Everyone else in the car had been to India before and were completely at ease with the situation. I was paralyzed with fear. I will never, ever again, complain about tourist drivers on Salt Spring in the summer. We drove all night and arrived in at Maiwa’s block printing and dyeing studio around 8 am exhausted but alive.

Within moments I was looking at a way of life that has existed for 1000’s of years. Walking through the farm I saw 80 or 90 lengths of cloth laying out on the ground drying after being printed and dyed.

Indigo Kaka (indigo uncle) has been dying Indigo forever. Beside him were bolts and lengths of fabric that had already been dyed in Alizarine (a vegetable dye like madder) and then printed with a mud resist, waiting to go into the indigo vats.

The word Maiwa means ‘beautiful language’ and the language of cloth was spelled out in it’s many syllables all around us. We saw vats of indigo, madder and huge scouring vats. Oh, what a site!

***

Stay tuned for the next week’s installment of Jane’s adventures in India.

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Textile Travels

Well howdy everyone.

I’m just ending my first week here in the studio without Jane. It’s been weird and I miss her a lot. I was pretty nervous at first but am actually finding out that I know a lot more that I thought I did. Whew!

I’ve heard from her a couple times. As most of you know, she left for India on Sunday and is travelling with Charllotte Kwon and the Maiwa Foundation for the next 3 1/2 weeks . She won’t get into much detail this week because of the limited internet connection but did say that her first 24 hours in India have already completely blown her away. Her first stop is Bagru, Rajasthan in western India. A village famous for it’s intricately designed wooden block printing and natural dyes using indigo, pomegranate, madder root and turmeric. I can’t wait to hear about what she gets up to! I bet you can’t wait either!

We’re working on the warps for our next workshop coming up fast at the end of February: An Exploration of Colour and Design . There’s one spot available! If you were hoping to take this course, now’s your chance. The other Colour and Design workshop in April is already full. I’m having a blast working on these warps, the colours are all so happy! As I continue to learn about weaving I’m able to absorb more and more information from each workshop – I’m really excited for them to start up again!

So, we’ll do our best to keep you posted on the stories from Jane’s travels, and the goings on here in the studio. And if anyone has a burning desire to share their thoughts and feelings, fire away with your comments.

Until next time ….

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Gestation

It’s been 8 months since I started to work at JST! Wowee! It’s been fun, scary, exciting and very fulfilling.

I have met many kind and inspiring people so far: Jane and her family, my wonderful co-workers and Jane’s students and customers. It’s such a treat to be getting to know all of you.

I have watched the seasons change from spring to summer to winter here in this lovely studio tucked away amongst the trees and flowers.

As Jane’s studio assistant I have learned how to write (a bit) in 2 different programming languages, use design programs to create patterns and newsletters, manage an online store and just how much yarn you really can cram into one little shipping envelope.

As a brand new weaver I have learned what the heck a warp is and how to wind one, how to calculate SETT and loom loss, how to read patterns, combine colours, dress looms and all of the other wonderful details of the weaving world.

Working here has been and I’m sure will continue to be inspiring, challenging and fun. I so look forward to learning, growing & celebrating with everyone here in the studio and in our wider community of weavers and friends.

Have a very cozy winter filled with steaming cups of tea, warm fires, close friends and flying shuttles.
Charlotte

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Visits and Upcoming Sale

 

We’ve got one spot left for our November 8-12 Lacey Places workshop for intermediate weavers. Lace weaves are a time-honoured tradition, appreciated for generations. You will learn: Canvas Weave, Huck, Swedish Lace, Spot Bronson, Bronson Lace and Blended Lace, the structural differences between these often similar looking weaves and why one might be more suitable than another.

 

One of our greatest joys is when old friends drop by. Joan Churcher from Ladysmith, a weaver and long time friend of Jane’s paid us an unexpected visit on Tuesday and made Jane’s day. She gets all kissy when she sees old friends.

On Monday we also had the Victoria Weaver’s Guild come by. We had a lovely time discussing yarns and patterns. What a treat to have so many friends around!

We’ve just heard that the Tzouhalem Spinners and Weavers Guild are having a month long sale at the Loft Art Gallery in Mill Bay just above the ‘Valley Wines to Vines’ in the Mill Bay Shopping Centre. There will be on-site looms to try out as well as demonstrations of Japanese braiding, inkle band weaving, spindle spinning and basket weaving, for the four Saturdays in November. Great timing for beautiful one-of-a-kind gifts.

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Weaving, Workshops and Contemplations

Jane left Wednesday for Vancouver where she is teaching her Weaving in the Maiwa Tradition workshop. Her students are learning double weave, cording, double width, fringe on four sides, denting with elasticized silk and some contemplations on the Zen of plain weave. Her inspirations come from Maiwa’s elegant and ingenious textiles.

In November we have two Lacey Places workshops here in the studio. The last of the year!  We have been winding the warps and threading the looms for all of the beautiful and exciting samples soon to be woven.

Our October Newsletter went out last week, with information about our discount policy, the JST Towel Exchange on Ravely, some talk about potatoes and Jane’s much anticipated teaching schedule for 2011!

Who knows what we’ll be talking about next week! Stay tuned.

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Fall is a Festival of Colour

 

Well, the Equinox has come and gone. The days are getting shorter and colder and the studio driveway is strewn with the burnt orange of fallen leaves. We are surrounded by the yellows, reds, greens and browns of the changing season.

So much material for inspiration!

One of our dear friends, Rita John sent us this beautiful photo of seaweed that had washed up after a storm. It was amazing because I had just been putting together a similar colour combo.

 

Our Honing Your Basic Weaving Skills class was a lovely day of warping, bobbin winding, shuttle throwing, selvedge control, beating and tie-up. Oh, and delicious food too. We had home made onion soup and fresh vegetable sandwiches compliments of Jane’s garden. Yum! It makes me excited for the two Lacey Places workshops that we have planned in November.

 

Our October Newsletter will be coming out shortly – look for new patterns and the 2011 class schedule!

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Weaving Community

Well, Jane’s back from the Peace. She had a wonderful time teaching her Pushing the Boundaries of Plain Weave workshop in Fort St. John. Twice a year weavers and fibre enthusiasts from all over Northern B.C. and Alberta gather to meet somewhere in The Peace. They gather in the spring and the fall, some driving for up to 4 and 5 hours to have their mini-conference. Jane really felt honoured to have so many women coming from such distances to study with her.

At the end of the workshop the ladies presented Jane with a beautiful book of stunning photography showing The Peace in it’s four seasons.

All the warps for the Weaving in the Maiwa Tradition in October are wound and sent out. They should arriving on doorsteps soon.

That’s all for now, happy weaving!

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Gibsons

Well, Gibsons Fibre Festival has come and gone. For a while it seemed that this might be the last one too, but from the sounds of it, the word went out at the right time. Before the festival everyone knew they might never get the chance to come back which seemed to create concern and excitement for the cause and hopefully drew in a new generation of fibre enthusiast volunteers.

From my position in the background, I helped Jane get all the books, yarn and fibre accessories loaded into the van for her to head off.   She came back, exhausted but brimming with stories, photos of the booth, the rest of the show and her smiling students from the Principles of Colour and Design workshop.

Everyone had a great time and learned a tonne of inspiring techniques.

So, we’ll miss it next year for sure, but here’s hopin’ that we haven’t seen the last of it.

Jane’s next teaching venture is a Pushing the Boundaries of Plainweave workshop Friday, Saturday and Sunday in Fort St. John. She’ll also be teaching a Warping with Sticky Threads seminar on Friday evening. All this means she’ll come back on Monday totally pooped and in need of a good snooze. However, the garden, the studio and the fam will be calling and I bet she won’t stop for one second.

Our Monthly Newsletter went out yesterday.  For anyone that’s not on the list, click here to read about the latest shenanigans at JST.  If you’d like to be on our email list, send us an email and let us know you want in on the fun.

And, guess what! I made my first warp and dressed my first loom last week! I made towels out of bouclé cotton at 12 epi and 12 ppi in plain weave on a Jane Loom. I’ll have some finished pics once I’ve taken it off the loom. For now, look at this!
Until next time, happy weaving! Charlotte.

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Shake Hands with Charlotte

Well, hello there. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of you lovely weavers already, but not everybody. So, I thought I’d give myself a little intro.

I landed the dream job of working with Jane in her studio about 4 months ago. She told the universe that she needed someone who had office experience, was willing to cook retreat lunches, wash dishes, weed brassicas and climb the ladder up into the storage space. The universe came through, for both of us. I was looking to continue my newfound profession of ‘fibre/textile worker of some sort’ and wanted an employer who knew what they were doing. And you all know that Jane knows what she’s doing.

I have always been a yarn person. I started knitting 28(!) years ago, spinning and dyeing 2 years ago and my weaving education has just begun! I made my first warp and dressed my first loom ever last week! So, I’m a total newbie weaver. But just you wait, with one of the best teachers around, I bet I’ll knock my own hand spun/dyed/knitted socks off. There’s something about the textures and colours of yarn, all the different fibres and textile techniques that I just can’t get enough of.

I spent 10 years working as a corporate legal assistant on the 55th floor at King and Bay in the heart of Toronto’s financial district. The view was great, the people and pay were great, but there was always something missing. In 2008 I moved from an apartment in Yorkville to a tent on Salt Spring spending the next year or so working in various gardening and fibre related jobs.

My growth in this position will mean that Jane gets more time at the drawing board, on the loom, in the garden, in the kitchen and with the fam. For me it means I spend my days in a creative and beautiful workplace, learn to weave from Jane who is so passionate, fun and knowledgeable and get to participate in a business that excites, challenges and inspires me.

Hooray! I hope to have the pleasure of meeting all of you over the coming years and shake you warmly by the hand.

Nice to MeetYa, Charlotte