Sunday, 23 February 2014

Follow the Herring coming to Hull

Check out and (arts development/current projects) It has all sorts of interesting links AND the knitting pattern for the herrings.....
Its a project that takes in 13 venues along the original route of the herring lassies who followed the fishing fleet gutting and packing herrings, salting them in barrels....At each venue the local community is called upon to craft items for the event, a choir to sing in the "choral narrative" theatrical performance and make props for the stage. It's tells of the 1881 Eyemouth  fishing disaster when 189 men were lost. It also celebrates the lives of the lassies and the fishing community as a whole....Hull of course is a port and was a great fishing port at one time and the herring girls would have come here.
In crafting the items it bring people from all walks of life in the local community together creating a new bonds as did the fisher lassies who came from far and wide every year to follow the " little silver darlings" as they called the herrings. Knitting because they knitted in their spare time and when they were not following the shoal of herrings....the men needed their ganseys...(see the post on them)
On  Friday and Saturday workshops were held in a local shopping precinct and at Artlink....a purpose built gallery, workshop rooms and theatre space.
the herring to be knittings

items for the "sea installation"

a man with a fishing background made this net
the herrings can be knitted (to a set pattern) or made in fabrics and stuffed or flat one sided collaged there are several venues for them to be exhibited. There are workshops for adults and for children.
Seaweed...from plastic garden waste bags....on the left knitted.....6 stitches...plain knit..increase one stitch at beginning of the row and decrease 1 stitch at the end of the row. R1 ( m1,k4,k2tog) R2 k6) this gives a twist
to the knitting...the bag handles were cut up to make the fronds that were knotted on. The next two were made from a different bag, the darker plastic is lighter on the inside giving a two tone effect. The flash has bleached them out a bit.
1,000 knitted herrings are needed ! clam shells,seahorses, starfish, to be knitted, the sea needs knitting, pebbles and rocks to knitted, felted or out of papier mache.....there's a big list...A replica fishing cobble has been made to tour and it is also covered in knitting....a coat for a boat....!!! the inspiration of of Ingrid Wager..check her out...and...please check out the websites on this project and read about the lives of the fisher lasses.....could you gut 40 herrings in a minute? Would you carry your man out to his fishing boat so he didn't get wet? They did....

Sunday, 16 February 2014

paper making....and denims

Whilst sorting out my stash of all things crafty...I came across my paper making stuff....I wanted to play with it as I heard it mentioned several times over recent months that its messy....IT"S NOT...or rather it doesn't have to have to be organised. YouTube has all sorts of ideas for paper making...each to their own ...this how I do it.
I collect scrap paper...tear it into postage stamp size pieces and soak. To test if ready by ripping in half all the different papers in the mix...if it tears easily its ready.
The TV guide will come out dark grey...grey print envelopes pale grey and blue envelopes yep...pale blue and computer paper with print...a slightly darker grey than the envelopes...depending on the amount of print. inkjet bleeds and colours more.
Now you need to whizz it up in a blender, liquidiser or large handful at a time and at least half fill the goblet with water and whizz in short bursts...this helps to make sure all the pieces of paper get blitzed. I then pour it into a colander lined with net curtain with small holes or a J cloth ...don't want paper down the sink to block it....I process all the paper into pulp and strain through the net. This is the messy bit...but a quick wipe with a cloth as you go along sorts that. (At this point it can be dried and kept for when you want it. To use...soak and do the liquidiser bit again..It won't take as long...sometimes the paper is better for this.)
Why do I strain it?... So I can add handfuls at a time to the water vat and get the ratio of pulp and water right. The vat is where we dip and swish the deckle and mould...which simply is a picture frame with a mesh  to trap the pulp. Whats right?...when you dip the deckle and mould in the pulp mixture you should be able to manipulate a thin layer over the mesh....if you get a really thick heavy layer...add more water a little at a time until you feel it is right. Shop bought kit will have a mesh covered frame and a deckle..a frame with no mesh which sits on top of the mesh covered frame forming the shape of the finished paper.
To use it, put handfuls into a container and add wants to be a fairly thick mixture... the container needs to be at least big enough for the frame and both your a kitty litter tray will do an A4 size frame (and smaller :) lol ) a smaller container like a plastic biscuit tub could be used for the 6x4 frame.
Here we have a wonderful sieve from the Pound shop and its net curtain...bag of pulp previously made and dried..These sponges wipes £1 for 6 from the Pound shop are fabulous for 6x4" frames...when exposed to air or dried when used they go all stiff and yucky looking...but slurp up the water when reused. Also in this picture is an Ikea 6x4" picture frame with a plastic cross stitch mesh cut to fit...(get 5 to a sheet)... no need for a deckle as the recessed frame provides provides that effect. This size is great for embellishments for card making and by laying them together, bigger sheets...can also use a cookie cutter as a deckle on the mesh and spoon the pulp into it or use a turkey baster... for shapes to decorate... These smaller sheets can be moulded like the bowl below.
I like to use a piece of net curtain around the plastic mesh...long enough to hold at each side while you do the dipping and swishing in the vat of paper pulp. Hold the frame with mesh and net/wipe and dip the bottom edge in the vat, pulling it through the pulp until it can be levelled out, horizontal with the top of the water, swish to make sure the mesh is covered with pulp, raise the frame. Pop one of these sponges on top of the paper and flip the whole thing over so you can remove the wooden frame. Then, with your hands, squeeze the plastic mesh and sponge together with the paper pulp layer in the middle....its amazing the amount of water that comes out.....peel off the mesh and lay the netting on the work surface...gently pull back the sponge in a rolling pull back motion, encouraging the pulp to stay in place on the the net on a folded newspaper and repeat...stacking up the nets. They will dry stacked up in a warm place, they can be pegged onto a washing line...or ironed between two sheets of paper, greaseproof etc. Keep a cloth handy to wipe work surface. Bottom right is a washed facial wet wipe...the paper will bond with this and when dry makes it easier to sew....for paper quilts etc. Bottom left is the stack of mesh, paper,sponge which is how it looks when popped out of the frame and squeezed dry. with or without net or wipe works fine.
Top sheet of paper is couched (laid to dry) on a washed facial wipe...they don't bond....sheet on the left IS bonded as it was folded around the mesh and used to make the paper on in the dip and swish process...both have short bits of denim thread in the pulp.... the other three have threads and denim inserts which were laid on the top of the pulp before squeezing the water out with the sponge.

I think this looks like feathers or fossils....
Paper string, knitted and dipped...a bonded piece with stitched denim be finished with shells etc
These small pieces of paper can be overlapped into a bigger sheet...of many colours......
The 1980s cream brown orange coloured liquidisers have great motors for serious paper making....if you can get one. A one off use of the one in the cupboard well washed afterwards is probably fine....