Friday, February 10, 2017

Weaving Workshops with Deborah Cantrill at the Hahndorf Academy

Learn some great skills from Deborah who has years of experience with weaving and collecting materials

Sunday February 26th      
10-3pm $50 includes all materials

Deborah will introduce you to weaving with natural materials.  Explore useful materials and how to prepare,  harvest and store them. Make 2ply string and weave a garlic basket.
Suitable for Adults, children over 14years.


Sunday March 5th
10-3.30 pm $65 includes all materials

Deborah will introduce you to weaving with natural and recycled  materials. Find out about useful     materials.                                                                                                                        Explore weaving and twining through creating a small basket from a takeaway coffee cup then   create a sculptural piece with sticks and leaves.

Suitable for Adults, children over 14

For bookings please contact the Hahndorf Academy
8388 7250 or
There are limited spaces, please bring your own lunch

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Preparing Stinging Nettle Fibre.

Now  Stinging nettles  are one of my favourite plants that are utilized in many ways here.  Most importantly its one of the biodynamic compost plants along with its use in the chooks mash. I also use it like spinach, herb tea, green pasta to mention a few. 

Stinging nettles (Urtica dioica)is a herbaceous perennial growing to 1.5mt, with coarsely toothed leaves. They can be cut several times in a growing season. They can become invasive and should not be planted near paths. 

 So back to its use as a fibre .I decide to prepare some to make string, after researching  the method I modified it a bit and this is what I came up with.
1.     Choose the tallest nettles, ours grow to about 1.5 mt but the ones I used where a little under 1 mt. Cut nettles off at the base (best to wear gloves)

2.     Starting from the bottom run your hand to the top removing the leaves. (use these to make some liquid fertilizer)  Run it up the stem a couple more times to remove the hairs.(the bits that sting)

3.     Each stem is hollow in the centre like a tube, except at the nodes where the leaves grow. The part you want is the outside ‘bark’ so now put the stems through your pasta rollers. You can adjust the width to suit the stems. Put them through once then tighten the rollers and put them through again. (you can do several at once)
4.     The tube-like structure of the stem is now flattened and on the inside of the Nettle the harder woody material and the outside of the nettle have separated it is now easy to separate off the soft bark and woody material.

 5.     The soft material then can be  separated into 3 or 4 strand and hung up to dry

6.     To use for string, lightly damp and twist away.   

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

A Busy Winter/Spring Creating

Winter and early Spring have been very wet here in the Adelaide Hills, which means I have been getting lots of basketry projects underway and completed. Starting with a commission of a very large circular light fitting of grapevine woven on steel frame.
(W 134cm H 50cm) I’m now waiting to see it fitted once the house is built.
Grapevine Light fitting

Before the real wet moved in the winter workshops where very successful in inspiring students to the possibilities of natural fibre basketry techniques.
Happy Basket Makers

Once the workshops concluded I was able to start the other major project of creating works for my exhibition at theHahndorf Academy which will be from February 18th to March 19 2017.This exhibition opportunity was a prize for my work ‘It all starts with a Seed’ at the 2016 Heysen sculpture Biennial.
On top of the World

As the exhibition space is large I’ve made some large  pieces as well as some to hang as well as some large platters/baskets. I have also remade my ‘seeds’ as the originals where firstly exhibited outside for nearly 6 months and then exhibited on my veggie garden fence as this was their designed use.
'It all Starts with a seed 2'
Working almost full time on these projects has been an interesting experience. At first I  was overwhelmed by the thought of creating enough pieces but as I sat weaving away new ideas came rushing out so much so that only materials and time will limit the flow.What I have learnt is that I really like creating a series of related objects. A few years ago I set myself the challenge to make as many different rib baskets as I could in a year – the basket tree Then with ‘It all starts with a seed’ I challenged myself to make a range of seed shapes using a range of techniques and materials. This I really enjoyed doing so this winter for the exhibition I set out to make another set of ‘seeds’ some similar and some very different .A set of leaf forms also have emerged from a mix of sticks and leaves.
Storm Basket

I’ve also discovered ,out of all the basketry techniques I've used ,rib construction is by far my favorite .It is extremely versatile , can be manipulated into a wide variety of forms , it suits the materials that grow here and my desire to weave rather than stitch.
Now the sun has come out it’s time to get back to my real job of managing the orchards and start the big cleanup of fallen trees caused by the storms. Basketry then gets relegated to a couple of afternoons a week.
With most projects finished my next challenge is finding places to store them til the exhibition in February.