Friday, 22 April 2016

Madder Silk and Wool Work

If there is anyone reading who fancies a go at metalwork jewellery, contact Mike at Tangled Web.  My sister and I went on a day course last year and during the morning, we both learned to make a silver ring .  Mike is a relaxed expert, a thoughtful teacher and a thoroughly nice bloke.  After chatting about my spinning, he twisted up a bit of copper wire into a new orifice hook for me in less than a minute, then helped me spend my afternoon making a copper diz.

We went again this year and while BG and Pip created silver accessories, I spent the day sawing out a circle of copper sheet and hammering it into a gong, while Mike brazed cross struts and fixed driftwood onto a frame of copper piping I just happened to have brought along. He is a total star and the jewellery he makes has a wonderful flow, I've been a customer on and off for years.
Back home, I draped the frame with some silk chiffon contact dyed with geraniums and had a go a spinning silk fibres dyed in a madder root afterbath.  Just as well the effect didn't work out right, because neither did the yarn. Threading up the frame with some common or garden grey wool, handspun from a sheep of unknown breed, might be less of a statement, but in this instance, less proved to be more, as
the whole lot was solely intended as a backdrop to fibres dyed with fresh madder.  A batt of mixed shades got tweaked about and fixed on with a combination of needlefelting, weaving and sewing.  Dissatisfied with any of my other dyed silk fabrics to cover the bottom of the frame, it occurred to me to keep that part simple too, knitting some heavyweight, felted Zwartbles single yarn, using short rows to
shape the piece to fit the space.
After I had hung it on the wall and stood back to consider the effect, my companion, Elinor Gotland, wandered in, .
"Calling that art, are you, Beaut? "
"I'm calling it a Silk and Wool Work.  Knitwear and fairies are not my only fruit.  Actually, Elinor, I think I will call this one 'Rose'."

Elinor peered at it from a safe distance.  She still hasn't quite got over meeting Belle Dame 2.
"You've put a fairy in that fire.  Who's she - Vesta, goddess of the hearth?  Looks like she's burning down the house." 
"Well, that's good, I wasn't aiming for cosy domesticity.  More Ceres without her Proserpine."
Elinor went a step closer.
"Assuming this Rose is another of your 'Belles Dames sans Merci', where's her bell?"
"That round thing.  It's a gong.  And the midwinter spring sun.  The fire and the rose are one, if you catch my drift."
Elinor set her hooves on her hips.
"You need a nice lie down with a wet flannel, Beaut.  T S Eliot's rose is too heavy for a scrap of wool.  Still, All manner of thing shall indeed be well, soon as we've got the kettle on."


  1. oooohhhh I like that there Rose. Well done Fran. Tell Mrs Sheep ewe did well ;)


    1. Thanks Jaki. Funny how it is always me making the tea :}