Sunday, October 19, 2014

A woven week

It is sunday and the sun is shining. It was cloudy and iffy looking at 8:30 this morning but now it seems like all has changed again. The air is warm and if you are in the sun it is time to put on a hat.
I have been getting acquainted with both an old and a new icon this week during weaving class with Apolonia at Apulaya.

 This red and purple one on one of the teacher/students warps was fun with the colurs, and a challenge until I had thought long enough about it. This moment in time I think I would have to go back to my graph paper to just check up and see that I really had a hold on the right end of the 'thread'
This one was a challenge for I had chosen to make a warp with four colours + the dark burgundy on the edges. Being mindful of your pickups and dots and keeping it all together is more challenging when one chooses to play with colour as well as pick up a new or long forgotten pattern.

What is important for me in this process is to stay focused. To not allow thoughts to go anywhere else but on the warp and the fibre in front of me.

There is for instance a flock of loros (little loud green parrots that will not fly still for a photo) that live close by. The neighbour has a most delicious tree with some orange flowers or fruits which appear most tasty to the little green free spirits. These loros (unknowingly) distracted me the first few days of the week.
 I thought that I would be fast enough to untie myself from the weaving, jump up, grab the camera, turn it on and get the big glass door in the studio opened before their flock had levitated from the delicious tree and made it both to, past and way past our weaving spot. Sadly this was a misconception.  I have now come to the realization that.....these loros are not flying past for my photo pleasure. They are there for their own joy of life, flying, talking and finding food. I get to joyfully observe their flight patterns as they cross overhead and also listen to their calls of encouragement and perhaps gentle banter.
This slim-waisted wasp I did get to observe closely though with and without the camera, for he/she was busy figuring out how to get past the window and I just had to get up (my camera right beside me from the loro attempt) and click the button.
It is time to head for the market. Out into the world and Calca we go to see what we can see!







Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Peru, Pisaq, again!

I am here again, in Peru, - going to school at Apulaya Centre for Andean Culture  in Calca, El Valle Sagrado de los Incas. The difference this time is that I have my husband here too and we are both learning and expanding our horizons.
We have been here for two weeks now and each moment is a new adventure and experience - like the day we went to Pisaq - as per usual with Apulaya we start at the top and after we had worked our way around the main pre-inca buildings we headed out on the path that would carry us down over the mountain, through all the other sacred spots and small temples in all their glory.
There is a tunnel, not a very long one, but a tunnel never the less. As I was about to enter from my end I saw a young woman come towards me - the moment she saw me she turned around and went back out. I didn't think more of it but continued, encouraged by Soren and Emerita coming up behind me. At the other end of the tunnel (which truly wasn't very long) the young woman was waiting.
She had the sweetest little boy on her back, his name was Johan and ........ she was very interested in selling us some of her weaving. Perhaps I was not super enthused to start with, but greeted her to the best of my ability in my new found Qeshwa as did Soren and then.....she asked if we would like for her to sing us a couple of songs? That was not to be refused and so we had our very own little concert of a medley of I think 4 or 5 different traditional songs in Qeshwa - and after that perfomance there was no way back, we did buy some of her weaving and we did make a million faces to the little person observing us over his mama's shoulder, his hat askew and his eyes sparkling above the toothless grin he bestowed upon us.
This is one little story - the walk that day did last from 10am to 6pm at which point we were downtown Pisaq - the sun dissappeared completely as we descended the last little piece of the way and as we got to the beginning of the now closed for the night Pisaq market we turned around to look at where we had come from and ........the almost full moon rose in the sky over the sacred spot of Pisaq. It was a most magic and beautiful experience.



Saturday, July 5, 2014

Summer Storm!

Hurricane Arthur or his tail end or front end, what do I know........the part of him which does not at this point seem to be as vicious as we were warned he would he would be.....is whipping around the poplars.......the poplars we planted twenty years ago when we moved into the house.
They were but thumb thick knee high babies when they were placed in their growing spots. Now they are taller than our two story house, they are so tall that where I sit about two meters in from the kitchen window they fill the whole window frame up.......a lovely multi green waving entity at the moment.

In front of the poplars are a few darker maples, not exactly as tall but never the less also waving vigorously.
And last but not least are the spruce trees doing more of a body undulation on the front row with their little prickly leaves so short and tightly set that they almost dance to a different drum.
One spruce by the way is very short......a month ago the horse was pasturing out by the trees, coming and going with his buddies the sheep.......and it was fly season.......horses have tender bellies and inner thighs .............as I was admiring all the trees, talking to a friend on the phone Buffy started rubbing up against the spruce trees.......and then he backed in over on spruce. It was considerably taller than him however in one smooth movement he maneuvered his butt into position, until the tree top stuck out under his tail!
Moving back and forth with slow determination his whole underside was now getting a most delicious rub, soft pale green new growth on the tips mixed with the mature rougher texture of the older parts of the branches.......ridding him of the winged pests which so eagerly find and chew his vulnerable spots.......from where I stood I could see the glee in his eyes........and then it was too much, the tree snapped and now it stands proudly tall only with its first two layers of branches, circular like a ballerina's skirt, the sister tree is oddly crocked........it has not been broken but it definitely has been given a good shove.

The wind comes and goes now, pretending to be done, but really it is only about another big breath being pulled in and then......yet another pile of powerful gusts whip around the house, making the trees dance still wilder.

And this is sort of a post script. The wind is back, the lawn is strewn with freshly ripped green leaves. One of our trees was down on the power line and I have to say I am infinitely happy to be back from the Wolfville Farmers' Market in one piece. There are many trees down, lots of outages.......haven't heard about casualties (yet) and I hope I won't.......one step at a time, thankful to be safe!

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Magic Mega Blanket!



 One student........one large idea........three very full bags of balled wool, MacAusland's, Briggs & Little and who knows what else.
Point of order......no order shall prevail, other than.....this is a double woven blanket, ie...width on loom is 44" and when done it can be opened up to cover twice that, or a little less after fulling. And so the balls were lined up like colourful beads on the floor and the trapeze was engaged for the 4 meters of rainbow dreams.



The waterfilled bottles were hung for tension and the warp wound on, centimeter by centimeter, or yard by yard, meter by meter, layers of bristolboard placed strategically so no warp collapse would take place. Many times during the setup Virve (the most dedicated student) said - oh, this is taking a long time - and it did - for weaving takes time when you have to work your way through the planning, setup and execution of preliminaries....nothing takes just two mins.
Then the weaving began, randomly picking colours out of one bag.

 Once a spool was made, this colour was put aside so as not to be used in the weft again until all the initial colours used in the warp had been randomly woven into the blanket - the warp stripes were 1", 2" and 3" wide and the weft stripes were wider or narrower as Virve pleased. And she played, wondered and smiled bobbing along on the rainbow of colourful intersections she created throwing the shuttle, watching the weft move along from side to side, visible magic in the top layer, hidden wonders in the bottom layer.

And then the end was near.
It took  longer to create this piece than we had expected. I hadn't really thought about a time frame in depth, but knew as the setup progressed that....it would not be done in two hours! We added a couple of extra weaving days on our first time estimation and I had the privilege of weaving along on one of the other looms in the studio as Virve worked her way one pick at a time. Great was her joy when the last piece of bristol board fell away and we could see the loops at the end of the warp.





It was time to roll off the whole beautiful exciting piece......3 meters and 10 centimeters is what it measured right off the loom......and in a double weave that equals the number of picks you would have put into more than 6 meters of cloth woven in a 44" width!
On top of that I have to congratulate Virve....she had only one thread where the bottom had tangled into the top layer......she looked pleased and I was impressed with her stamina and determination.



And here it is...full width, the one glitch cut loose so the blanket could be opened up, all fringes and other tidbits got to be fixed in front of the Olympics.......and as it is, on cold days all 5 members of Virve's  family fits under the blanket on the couch........not to mention that she has found vibrant combinations in the blanket that she really loves and thus she can use this for a  colour sampler for future projects......Congratulations Virve on a wonderful piece of weaving!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Kale Princes and Princesses





 The day came when in my bag of unsprayed kale from a local green house I found one leaf completely covered in aphids! How joyful a moment that was..... as you perhaps saw in previous posts I had been wondering what to feed those no-longer-hibernating-in-the-wall-cracks energetic ladybugs that helped me cook every day......

One leaf full of goodness...... and not one little red black spotted bug in sight...solution was to return the leaf to the fridge and hope that the aphids would stay as fresh as the leaf in those cool conditions.

Preparing breakfast and looking out the window to the bird feeders I realized that there were 3 of my spotted guests wandering around on each their window pane.







I scooped them up, gently, gently and ..... produced the leaf from the fridge..... aphids were still intact....... but not for long........the ferocious aphid fighters went to work immediately and by evening the aphids were gone and the leaf had shrivelled up, the red coated workers had gone to rest in some obscure corner and I have been looking for aphids ever since, but have been plain out of luck!


So for the occasional ladybug I once again produce a piece of pepper, red or yellow or orange, strictly vegetarian for the next little while










Back to the loom, where there are still Andean Stars and slow moving leather back turtles in the warp - such a pleasure.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

guineapigs and llama meals/orno!

I am still weaving, mostly on my big looms but in my head and heart I am also practicing the weaving skills I learned in Calca. Soon two years will have passed since I spent 10 weeks in Peru studying and learning with the kind and knowledgeable people at Apulaya. These photos are from a meal we had just a few days before my stay was over.

The food is going into the 'orno', an outdoor clay oven which is filled with wood and left to burn until there are only large embers left.
Then the potatoes that grew behind the studio
and the sweet potatoes from the market (i think) went into the orno and the front opening and the side air hole was closed off with rocks and clay. The two roasting pans shared space with ...........
The guinea pigs which had been butchered and prepared that same morning,
The salad which came from the garden, with a fresh green taste and a smooth vinaigrette.
And finally my plate.... I did not get a full guineapig, but about half of one on my plate. It tasted deliciously - the 6 year old daughter of the house finished her guinea pig off in minutes and was she ever happy and hungry! I had seconds and ....... as it is I am looking forward to going back to Peru in the fall, again to spend time at Apulaya, and will bring my spouse this time.... he won't be weaving but I will, and he will be learning language (quechua with me) and looking at agricultural practices, music and enveloping himself in this new to us culture of food, language, laughter and people.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Winter Visitors

It is Winter still and in an old house there are lots of nooks and crannies for small beings to hide out. These past few weeks I have never been all alone when cooking at any time, day or night.
I figured if I wanted to keep the company happy I had better put something nutritious on the table - the stub of a cauliflower was my choice and I even added a drop of honey and a drop of water
And there they sat..... content (I think) or confused......they would fly off and come back later
Sharing a meal or a snack is also not out of the way for a ladybug, these two quite enjoyed a piece of orange pepper

And then there is the clean up mode... did you know that a Ladybug washes her face just like a fly, a squirrel or a little mouse, one foot flies up over the face and touches the whole surface, this was one busy cleaning creature for a while. 
And finally..... another yoga position, one hind leg sliding out under the other.... is this perhaps some version of pigeon?  I do love creatures, big and small and it is wondrous to get to take the time to observe.