Tuesday, 2 August 2016


Yesterday we held a Shibori workshop at the studio.  Shibori is essentially tie dye Japanese style.  Natural cloth fabric is wrapped, folded, stitched or wrapped up with rubber bands or string essentially you can do almost anything with your cloth to prepare for dyeing.

You can even wrap the fabric around plastic drainpipes. We stitched our fabric into a tube and wrapped string around the drainpipe pushing it down to scrunch it up:

A blue procion dye was added to a salt bath and the folded pieces of fabric, and drainpipes, were steeped in a dyebath, with soda ash added to help with the process, for about 90mins:

We then wrapped the dyed pieces in cling film and then transported them home leaving them to continue to soak up the dye overnight.  This morning they were unwrapped and released from their bindings (very carefully) and rinsed till the water ran clear.  Following this they were then put into a hot machine wash:

And here are the end results of some.  This pattern was made by wrapping a marble in the centre of the fabric and then tying with rubber band at intervals:

This  pattern was made by folding the fabric into triangles and pegging together.  The white rectangles were where the pressure from the pegs resisted the dye:

This pattern was made by wrapping marbles into the fabric and tying off with rubber bands.  The white circles where made from the bands resisting the dye:

These five circles where made by running stitches that were pulled up tightly:

This effect was made by folding the fabric in half, then quarters the rolled up and bound tightly with strong upholstery thread:

The fabric was folded like a concertina and wrapped with tread at intervals to make this pattern:

A wine cork was pushed into the fabri and strong upholstery thread wrapped around the length of the cork was used to make this effect:

Finally. the fabric for this effect was dampened and scrunched up tightly and bound with rubber bands to make this effect:

Now, what to make with them?  I think cushions, scarves and bags!

Monday, 25 July 2016

Batik on the cheap!

Today at Revive we painted on melted wax in a pattern of our own choosing, then we took a clean brush and added colour.  The paint stayed off of the white material where the wax lay.   We ironed off the wax between layers of newspaper and plain white was left where the wax was.

This technique isn't exact and can be frustrating if you're looking for perfection.  It helps your creative techniques to loosen up and you can see the beauty in the imperfection.  When you take away your own limitations of seeking or demanding perfection, of yourself or anything, you end up with a more abstract version and you could discover a new part of yourself and, after all, if it doesn't come out how you want it to, do another one. 

There's beauty in simplicity. Don't complicate things.
I found this morning quite a challenge as my recovery progresses.  Whilst everyone is being very chatty and upbeat, I found myself becoming quite tense and wanting to back off from the room and even go out to calm my tension.   And it's okay to do that.  There are very few limitations on what you can do or can be done for your mental health needs here.  As I've discovered. whilst I'm feeling all of this inside of me, others don't become affected by it and my challenge is simply to be kind to myself and live in the moment.

Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Happiness can be as simple as fresh knickers!

Hello, there

If the only thing you've managed to do is get dressed today, congratulate yourself anyway!  Some days it's like that, but coming to Little Bird SOS can be a getaway from all the stresses you may be experiencing in your everyday life.  For me its the 'light' of the week.  You're accepted, encouraged (without pressure), merely left to explore your creativity or supported to create something you wish to make.

Yesterday. after a migraine for half of the day, my 10 year old child had to cook his own tea, so I didn't feel like the most accomplished of mothers.  But, as Lisa pointed out when I spoke to her about it, it's quite an achievement for a 10 year old.  I'm feeling quite good that I've managed to get here and, as a homeless friend once said, happiness can be something as simple as clean knickers.

Everyone was in quiet contemplation today whilst painting the pots we'd made last week.  Some of us talked over difficult situations we'd experienced during the week, others just immersed themselves in the activity.  For me, I just painted what felt good at that time. I had intended for mine to be pink but somehow got sidetracked with bright green, yellow and splashes of silver.  Hey ho, what ever feels right go for it, right?  (Well, except for acts of violence of course, hehe).  There was more clay for us to make something different but I think we all just enjoyed the painting.


Even if you don't feel like you can create anything, come along. You might surprise yourself. I have.

Monday, 4 July 2016

Getting Down and Dirty

We played with air drying clay today; coiling it to make pots.  An artist called Grayson Perry uses this technique; have a look, they're fantastic.  Lisa describes him as 'reflecting and challenging modern society'...

It was lovely to see a lady we'd not seen for a while and another lady, who's car battery was flat in the morning, who still turned up to have a drink with us towards the end.  If you're not here, at the group, you are missed and we hope you're alright.

There's lots of quiet contemplation whilst creating and in those quiet times you can hear the hum of life happening all around.

The pots looks easy to make, however, when someone had a plan, it wasn't turning out as they wanted, they got 'some unexpected beauty' instead.  I don't like getting dirt under my nails and even I enjoyed 'getting down and dirty'.