Tecstiliau Meirionnydd Textiles

Eventually I am getting around to telling you about the second half of my Welsh Expedition, and I apologise now for having taken so long to do it.  Life has been a tad busy.

Having spent a wonderful day with the Mid Wales Embroiderers making masks, everyone helped me pack up and pointed me in the right direction for a fabulous journey through deepest (and wettest) Wales to Dolgeliau.  About half  way,  I suddenly had a moment of dejavu:  I drove past a farm track that seemed incredibly familiar, and I had a flash back to when I was about 10 and had spent 2 weeks camping with an organisation called Forest School Camps at a farm in Mid Wales.  There were about 60 kids aged between 6 and 16 all camping under canvas and cooking on wood fires, learning woodcraft skills, singing songs, getting filthy and very wet, and generally having a glorious time.  As I drove a bit further on I knew beyond doubt that I would find a little general store-cum-sweetie shop on the corner,  and a footpath leading up the valley to the farm.  And there it was.  The whole episode brought so many memories flooding back to me, and I could almost see the gaggle of kids wending their way along the valley to the shop.  Nostalgia is a wonderful thing.

Anyway, I arrived safely in Dolgelliau at a lovely little house overlooking the valley.  My hosts were Joan and Chris Robson who made me feel most welcome despite the fact that they had very recently moved in to their new home.  The views from the bedroom window across the valley were superb.  It amazed me that the mountains on the other side were illuminated with the full glare of the sun one minute and then completely obscured by clouds the next, as they surged in from the sea,  scouring the hillsides and blanketing them in foggy grey.

Saturday morning I was due to give a talk (“From Here To There And Back Again”) to Tecstiliau Meirioonydd Textiles and the rain was kind enough to hold off whilst we unpacked my groaningly full car.  Perhaps it was the fact that it was a Saturday morning but no one appeared to go to sleep, and everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and be amazed by what you can do with “plastic”, so this boded well for the workshop the next day.

After taking one member home to Corris, and a quick visit to a craft centre (where we found some Sheep Poo Paper!), Joan kindly took me for a drive out to Barmouth and the journey was a real treat.  The scenery spectacular and we were lucky enough to witness a wonderful rainbow sitting really low over the estuary (the rain had stopped long enough to leap out of the car and take a photo or two).

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In Barmouth itself there was a drum band playing.  They looked wonderfully colourful and really happy and “in the moment” as they say.  The band was made up of all sorts of people, young and old, but they all seemed to love what they were doing and they injected energy and colour to an otherwise slightly damp and  grey Barmouth.  The rhythm and noise was energising.

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Joan and Chris fed and watered me well that night and Sunday arrived all too soon.  Joan had shown me some of her lovely textile work, and proved herself to be completely organised, and meticulously thorough in her recording, detailing and labelling.  I am envious of people who can do that – it is most definitely not my strength!

Sunday was a Bend It Shape It day and I have to say that all you lovely Welsh ladies (if not by birth then by geography) tackled all that I threw at you with a will, and you didn’t flinch when I threw some more techniques at you.  It was a Sunday, it was wet and you all put your hearts in to discovering the pleasures of working with Friendly Plastic and what it can do for your textile work.

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Everyone embraced so many techniques.  This is just one person’s work for the day.

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Almost everyone tried all the techniques, and some had a natural leaning towards Oooze,  whilst others found Lacework to be their thing.  Patchwork seemed to appeal to most of you lovely ladies.

IMG_0297img_0297JPGimg_0297img_0297jpgJPGPatchwork and bead making were the favourite techniques here, although she  (I am sorry, I can’t remeber whose work it was) obviously had fun trying out everything that we covered.  I don’t allow any slacking in my classes!

IMG_0298img_0298JPGimg_0298img_0298jpgJPGDiscussing what everyone did and how they did it is all part and parcel of the class; I believe that students usually learn as much from each other as they do from the tutor. 

I know I had a thoroughly good time with the ladies of this lovely group, and I hope you enjoyed yourselves too.  I look forward to hearing and seeing what you all do with your workshop samples and whether you go on to use Friendly Plastic in any of your creative projects.  When I say “any”, I know that you all do so many different things, it is quite possible that Friendly Plastic will turn up somewhere in all the activities.

A wholehearted thank you to  you lovely ladies in Wales for welcoming me and making my trip to your glorious part of the world so much fun.

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