Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Workshop with Janet Bolton in France





I felt so fortunate to be able to go to Janet Bolton's workshop at Les Soeurs Anglaises in SW France. Above are some of Janet's beautiful textile pieces that she had on display.


Janet is a wonderful teacher and to spend a week with her and the other fellow stitchers was a dream come true. She shared how she makes her textile art and many stories of her life and art adventures as well as how she put together her books.


My home for a week was in the lovely chateau this time.


I had my own cozy bedroom with a view of the garden and stream nearby.


The sitting room outside my door with the most comfy chair and a kitty to keep me company!


The gardens were particularly beautiful this time of year!





We made our visit to the local brocante, Ali Baba's cavern of delights! 


And a trip to the local farmers market for some lunch goodies...


A quick stop at the vintage shop for more fun things to bring home.


Our lovely hostesses kept us smiling with their delicious meals....


Lots of time for stitching and help from Janet....


I got in a photo with Janet up at the studio on the first day.


Lovely meals outside with the English chefs kept everyone well fed and happy.


Here are 3 of the pieces I was working on...


Our show and tell on the last day...and the sisters came up to view as well.


A big Thank You to all who made this such a wonderful trip and experience!

Monday, May 04, 2015

Mexico and beyond...


We met up with our wonderful group of artists at the Casa Colonial in Oaxaca.


It feels like our home away from home...many of our group have returned for two and three times and we enjoy all of our time together trying new  creative projects and many fun and informative field trips. There is always something new to see and experience in the thriving and beautiful World Heritage city of Oaxaca.


Our workshop at the Casa featured working with pre-felt . A fun little supply bag greeted everyone.


Before getting to our felting we had two incredible days of dyeing with natural materials native to the Oaxaca area. So many beautiful colors were obtained ....cochineal is being ground above before we begin the dyeing process.


Love these colors of handspun....


So many beautiful colors....all from natural dyes!


Time for some fun felting...so many fun and colorful creations from our talented ladies!


Just a small sampling of our Fun with Felt time.



We had some wonderful meals....


and wild and crazy field trips...


Always time for some shopping...lots of hearts just before Valentine's Day!


On our last day we always leave a gift for the Casa...this time we each made a felt flower. They made a great bouquet for the communal ding room. 

We are already planning our next trip for Jan. 2016 and would love to have you join us!

Please contact Colleen Darling at: colleen950@gmail.com for more information or to reserve a spot for our next exciting trip.

And now, tomorrow morning, bright and early I board a plane for France! Once again the Les Soeurs Anglaises beckons with a workshop by the wonderful English fiber artist, Janet Bolton. I will be traveling with childhood friend, Barbara Colvin who invited me to share a room with her. I have always loved Janet's work and am really excited to be able to spend a week stitching and enjoying the wonderful ambiance that the sisters have created. Lifelong friendships are formed and I love seeing what everyone makes as we inspire each other. I'm sure the time will fly by in one of my favorite places in the world. 
Hope you all have a creative week ahead....back soon!

Monday, April 13, 2015

A visit to San Cristobal de las Casas


It's always wonderful to travel to somewhere you have never been. Before our workshop  
 in Oaxaca began we had the chance to visit San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas, Mexico.  We only had a few days to explore this charming town but we made the most of by taking a field trip to two different Mayan villages near by and taking the time to walk around town exploring the markets, trying new restaurants, and even finding a French bakery.
 Above is one of the colorful walking streets in San Cristobal-shops full of art, textiles, jewelry, clothing and lots of restaurants line each side of the street.


One of the churches with beautiful decorative design work by the main plaza.

Beautiful skies and perfect weather greeted us....


A style of embroidery that is special to this area, done on handwoven wool.




Our first visit was to the Mayan village of Chamula. Our Mayan guide was from a different village and gave our group a historical overview and took us to visit the local Shaman's home and  explained all of the symbology behind the altar and images within. 


The Shaman's front door is decorated with herbs.




We went to the central mercado with the wonderful church facade.


Chamula women with their wool skirts.


We also visited the Mayan village of Zincantan. Famous for their flowers that are shipped all over Mexico, their embroidery is covered with bright floral motifs.  We visited the home of some local weavers where we were treated to homemade tortillas and salsa. Delicious!


Some of the Zincantan embroidery, even the men's shirts were covered in flowers.


Fresh corn tortillas for our group.


I found these colorful embroidered hearts in the market back in San Cristobal.


We had time to visit the Textile museum in San Cristobal located in a remodeled convent. The collection of embroidered huipils from all over Mexico and Guatemala was amazing and so inspiring.Everything was beautifully displayed in lighted drawers. The work was breathtaking and included so many techniques from so many different areas...almost too much to take in ....in one visit!







Just a tiny taste of the wonderful embroidery...


Our hotel had lovely folk art everywhere as well and great breakfasts, too.



Our next stop was Oaxaca and time to meet up with our wonderful group of women and get ready for our field trip and two days of dyeing with natural plants of Oaxaca.