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Category: Event News

2014 Retreat is Scheduled! New Location!

We are so excited about the retreat this year that we nearly couldn’t contain ourselves until we signed the contract!

When: June 13-15, 2014

Where: Arrowhead Ranch Conference Center, Lake Arrowhead, CA

Arrowhead Ranch has cabins featuring real beds and private bathrooms, and come in different configurations that can accommodate between 2 and 7 people. There’s a large dining hall and plenty of indoor and outdoor space for our classes, and a pool, jacuzzi, hiking trails and more for your downtime! It’s a great location if you want to bring your family along for the weekend - Arrowhead Ranch is located in the natural beauty of the San Bernardino National Forest, just minutes away from  Lake Arrowhead.

Cost: $350 (shared cabin) if registered before May 15; $450 on & after May 16. Register & pay online via our store.
Contact us at info@griffindyeworks.com for prices for kids, partners, and families, or if you wish to attend classes but not stay on site, or for a private cabin.

The price still includes ALL food and lodging from Friday afternoon until Sunday afternoon. This year, however, you we won’t be roughing it quite so much – you won’t need to bring your own bedding, rugs, or pop up tents for our outdoor tent city! No canvas tents – the cabins are all well-appointed, clean, and include private bathrooms, tvs, and wireless internet. You can see some photos of the cabins on the Arrowhead Ranch website! This event will truly be a retreat – not a campout!

Vendors

Vendors are welcome at the Griffin Dyeworks Retreat! Please contact us at info@griffindyeworks.com to learn more.

Teachers

Teachers are given a discounted entry fee based on the number of hours they are scheduled to teach classes. We’re accepting class submissions on our online form.

 

April 12 is our Spring Frolic!

Calling all teachers! We’re now accepting class proposals for our next Frolic, which will be held on Saturday, April 12 at the Monrovia United Methodist Church in Monrovia, CA.

April 12 Frolic

Teachers can submit a class proposal via our online form, and this post will be updated as soon as we have the usual downloadable form.

Is there something you’ve been itching to learn? Let us know in the comments and we’ll do our best to find someone who can teach that class!

What the Retreat Means to Us

John and I started the Griffin Dyeworks Fiber Retreat because there was nothing else for small fiber groups in Southern California at that time. There were several Northern California conference and workshops, but not here. There were large conferences held around the state, but they were more formal and less hands-on. These many years later, other small conferences have appeared and seem to be well-attended, too. So we asked fiber friends if they would teach classes and got an enthusiastic response.

Retreat Panorama

With this encouragement, we starting looking for a venue. An Eagle Scout friend suggested a Tehachapi Mountains camp within easy driving distance of Los Angeles. We went to meet Ranger Terry Hall, camp director, and ended up selecting Camp Verdugo Oaks (CVO) for our first Fiber Retreat.The event was far more successful than we’d allowed ourselves to hope, which delighted us and encouraged us to hold another Fiber Retreat the next year. And the next. And the next.

There have been nine Fiber Retreats so far. We plan to continue for as long as there is an interest in attending a cozy, encouraging, friendly Retreat.This gives Retreat participants a chance to ask questions of the teachers, or even request an impromptu class in something not listed on the schedule. It is common to hear a teacher say “Class in naalbinding over here in 15 minutes!” Or even to have a participant show a hitherto unknown talent that they are willing to share.

 
Left, Dodder in a dyepot and dry, and Right, Scotch Broom in a dyepot

We have explored many dye techniques and materials, including the Scotch broom brought in by one participant. She stopped by the side of a freeway to pick the flowers, which must have startled passersby. Another dyestuff was dodder, a parasitic yellow web often seen in Southern California.

Ranger Terry is a Mountain Man, with a fine collection of vintage trade beads. He often joins the spinning circles to bead feathers or sew leather trousers. The fiber folk welcome him.It gives us immense satisfaction to stand under the moonlight and see the outdoor work areas filled with chattering, laughing, busy fiber folk, all too excited to go to bed. This is the creativity we love to have encouraged!

Ranger Terry, with some of his Indian trade beads

Since the camp is in the wilderness, we had Bruce the Bear trolling for goodies during the night, but we seldom saw him. Ranger Terry would run Bruce off with rock salt in a shotgun. Alas, all that is left of Bruce is a large green footprint on the lodge sidewalk, the result of his investigating a newly painted picnic table. Sparky, a black and white cat, is proficient at dodging all the wildlife at Camp Verdugo Oaks. Sparky likes to hide in vehicles. Fiber folk usually get only as far as the I-5 Freeway before discovering him, but others have carried Sparky all the way home.

The finest Retreat accolade started with a tragedy. John’s sister in Montana was failing, so we got a phone call on the eve of the Retreat to come quick. It was far too late to cancel the Retreat, so we contacted several of our teachers and asked them to take over. They agreed with alacrity, and ran the Retreat so well, we doubt if anyone missed us.

These wonderful fiber friends have been a mainstay in keeping the Retreat going, planning new activities, and finding guest teachers. They are so invaluable to us and to the Retreat. This is what makes the hard work of organizing such an event worthwhile!

Where do we see the Retreat several years from now? With the enthusiasm and hard work our amazing teachers and helpers are willing to put into it, the Retreat will continue for a long time. — John & Bjo Trimble

Retreat Wrap Up


Spinning wheels and looms at the 2013 Retreat

Our ninth retreat was two weekends ago, and I’m sure you’re all in the same boat as me – still processing everything you learned, uploading (and tagging!) photos, and maybe unpacking.

Bjo put it best when she wrote on our email list:

Wow! Our 9th Fiber Retreat was absolutely fabulous! It was very high energy, everyone learned something new (including the teachers), and there were some delightful surprises.

Pixies invaded the camp one night with a basket of crocheted flowers and butterflies. They proceeded to yarn-bomb the fence, several bushes, the Camp Verdugo mailbox, doorknobs, and vehicle antennae! Plus Ranger Terry’s own chair. We point no fingers.

  
However, many of us took at least one flower or butterfly home with us.

Our dye classes had a lot of people but there was no crowding around the dyepots. It looked as if everyone had a good time achieving various effects with tie-dyeing, mixed dyes, and color changes with mordants and modifiers. I have seldom had such a satisfactory dye session! 

Ercil was a wonderful cochineal teacher and her students were delighted with the amazing range of reds and purples they got.

  

Katerina again ruled the kitchen, assisted by her daughter-in-law, Taylor, and by Sarnat, who is short enough to wash pots in the Scout-height sink without killing her back.

Thanks to all our consistent Retreat participants who helped everywhere, some taking up impromptu teaching when asked. Several new folk added to the general fun. We sincerely hope they return again. Everyone assisted with tasks, and helped so well in packing up and cleaning the camp that we all got to go home hours ahead of time! We are very, very grateful. Thank you all!

Very high appreciation to our wonderful teachers, who always come through for the Retreat, making it a great learning experience! We tried to repay our debt to them with a selection of good books, but of course there are not enough books or other thanks enough to cover their amazing willingness to volunteer.
Thanks again, all, for coming and making this Retreat so memorable! — John & Bjo
We very literally could not hold the Retreats or the Frolics (like the one coming up Sept 21!) without volunteers both behind the scenes before the event and during them. Thanks are not enough!

Fall Frolic – Sept 21!

We’re excited to announce that we have a date for our Fall Frolic! It’ll be Sept 21 at Monrovia United Methodist Church. Class proposals are being accepted and registration is open.

There’s more information on our Frolic event page!

Now Accepting Retreat Scholarships!

Thanks to the generosity of our Frolic and Retreat guests, every year we offer one or two full or partial scholarships for our three day Retreat weekends! Click here to download the form – it’s due by April 15!

Our popular destash table, starring the Scholarsheep bank for donations.

Our popular destash table, starring the Scholarsheep bank for donations.

Our three day retreat is a great deal at $300.00, which includes your room, board and most of the natural dyeing over the weekend – but let’s see how some other retreats compare!

Spin Off Autumn Retreat (SOAR):  Seven Days
$700+ for workshops and retreat, plus $100+ for class materials. Accommodations and food not included. (Costs from a previous year’s info)

Squam Arts Workshop: Five Days
$1200 - includes all workshops, evening events, 4 nights lodging, full meal plan, or $675 without the lodging and breakfasts

Knot Hysteria Retreat: Three Days
$795 – Classes, materials (except tools) and meals included.

Madrona Winter Retreat: Four Days
No registration fee, but a per class fee: 3 hr. classes: $90; 6 hr. classes: $180; 2 Day (12 hr.) classes: $325. Meals and lodging not included.

Fiber Frenzy: Three Days
$250-$305 entry; Workshops are $60+$15-$35 for materials each (up to 3), or classes (up to six) have a small materials fee. Meals and lodging included.

You can register today for our 2013 Retreat (June 14-16) with a $50 deposit!

The raffle at the Retreat is a major scholarship fundraiser!

Colorful Frolic a Success!

Miki Lawrence of Funhousefibers.com teaching a color blending class

We’ve been hosting Frolics once or twice a year for a few years now – I’m pretty sure the first one was in January of 2009 – and every time we meet new friends, welcome new teachers and vendors, and most important of all, everyone learns something new!

The dyepots started bubbling early with Bjo Trimble’s indigo class. Check out the beautiful dark blue results!
Indigo-dyed yarn and roving

The Color Blending class (pictured at the top) was very popular! Students received roving in red, yellow, blue, black, and white, and a color wheel – and just by blending the different fibers together with different amounts they each created a staggering 27 colors! We were happy to host a new teacher for that class, Michelle Lawrence of FunHouseFibers.com. Everyone is looking forward to see what she’ll teach us at our Retreat in June.

On the weaving side of things, we had classes in color patterns with warp & weft, 3/1 Twill, basic card/tablet weaving, the ram’s horn pattern, and advanced cardweaving students learned to weave their names.

The name dawn woven into a band

Sadly, I can’t cover every class, but we do have a lot more photos from the Frolic on our Facebook page – and if you have photos to share, feel free to link them in the comments below!

March 2 Frolic Classes Posted!

Our class schedule is being finalized and sign ups will start soon!

Check out this Frolic’s offerings on our Frolic Classes page.

Remember, people who have already paid for the event get first choice of classes.

You can learn more about the Frolic on our dedicated Frolic webpage or visit our store to register & pay for the event!

Dyeing with friends & teaching

BLUE NAILS DYERS GUILD: Another Yahoo list I’m on is the Blue Nails Dyers Guild, a loosely organized group of fiber enthusiasts, particularly dyers, but it is open to all who love fibery things. We welcome all like-minded souls who enjoy dyes of all kinds: natural, laboratory-made, earth oxides, even powdered drink mixes. Those of us who live near each other in Southern California gather for occasional hands-on dyeing and experiments with all dyes and dye processes.. Online, we talk about dyes and dyeing, exchange research, give out information, answer questions that newbies come up with, and enjoy each other’s company. “Blue nails” was a medieval derogatory term describing the color of indigo and woad dyers’ hands so it’s time the term got some respect. The nails shown here are medieval finishing nails; heraldic puns were common practice back then. Though many of us are members of The Society for Creative Anachronism (SCA), the Blue Nails Dyers Guild is not strictly limited to this group, but open to all. Join us for discussions, announcements, workshops, and dye demos!

TEACHING CRAFTS CLASSES: For an all-too-brief time this fall, I taught 24 to 32 developmentally disabled adults in the Villa Esperanza Services Adult Day Program. The ADP is held at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Pasadena, California. My students’ disabilities included dementia, cerebral palsy, severe rheumatoid arthritis, Down’s syndrome, other types of retardation, hearing and sight impairment, Alzheimer’s onset, and a variety of other problems. Some of them had several disabilities, which made teaching even more challenging. It was daunting but exciting to redact crafts and sewing projects to a level that many of the participants could handle. For some students who had no eye-hand coordination or whose physical problems would not allow them to use the floor pedal, I put it up on the table to press on by hand. That got very exciting because the person holding the fabric through the sewing machine had to say “Stop!” early enough to avoid a well-sewn thumb. We turned out some fun items, including elegant pillows with woven trim centers that delighted my students. They had never had such beautiful crafts materials to work with.

But there came a sad day just recently when I really could not deal with some of the administrative personnel without appearing on the evening news. So I am no longer collecting crafts and sewing donations for ADP. My wonderful former students don’t even understand why I left, so it would hurt them to see me arrive with donation boxes but not stay to teach. Locals are welcome to drop by the church or bring donations to the Villa Esperanza office, corner of Craig and Villa, Pasadena. Alternatively, collect crafts and sewing donations for your local retirement homes, which are always in need of something to do. Or bring donations to your Youth and Children’s Activities people. All these agencies are on severe budgets, so can use just about anything you can donate.

Dye & Fiber Retreat 2006

We had a smaller Dye & Fiber Retreat this year than in 2006, but that was mainly due to the wildfires that scourged the Tehachapi Mountains between Los Angeles and Bakersfield. Watching the local news on TV it often looked as if Camp Verdugo Oaks had been lost in the conflagration, and we could not get any news for a long time. Everyone was on tenterhooks wondering if the Retreat would have to be canceled at the last minute, while I fussed about people coming from a distance who could not be reached in time to prevent their trip. Especially one participant who was arriving a week early from Sweden!

But the fires were finally conquered and our Retreat site ended up, as Ranger Terry described it, “an oasis of green in a vast sea of black”. The Forestry Service grudgingly allowed us access to the camp since there was little else that could burn. When we got there, we found that the fires had burned out the camp’s archery and rifle range, but all buildings had been saved.

Those who attended the Retreat had loads of fun while learning more about fiber and dyeing from our excellent fiber teachers. Barb Klessig (The Dread Viscountess Seelie) was an enthusiastic addition with an entertaining slide show of Northern European textile finds. Jennifer Tan, one of our new teachers (Tunisian crochet) brought her 7-year-old daughter, Joey, who gave a child’s-eye Retreat Report at Spindlicity. You can also read my 2006 Retreat Report.

We welcome one and all to the 2007 Retreat, which is still in planning. Join the Retreat discussion and tell others about it, too!