We managed a few good dyeings this year, though not nearly as many as I’d have liked, mainly due to a full calendar and highly variable weather for ourdoors work. The Blue Nails Dyers Guild held a couple of dye days at Pitzer Arboretum gardens, one of the many Claremont Colleges, where we had loads of fun. This enjoyable outdoor venue is arranged courtesy of Ruth Schooley, a college complex librarian.
I’d hoped to get more work done on our on-going dye demo samples this year and even be nudged by Sherry Acton-Snowden into making that sample book. She plans to raid my baskets full of older dyed samples, putting them in booklets for better reference. Yay! This project is moving forward slowly with Sherry putting mordanted samples together for dyeing to show how dye colors change with the different mordants. You can find out more about mordants at our Griffin Dyeworks site. Maybe we’ll have more dyeing in 2007…
Last January Kathryn and I helped the Mount Wilson Girl Scouts with their Cookie Kaleidoscope Kick-off event in Arcadia Park, with the much appreciated help of Theresa Boscia, one of our webwrights, and John Trimble, all around water-schlepper and good sport. Various crafts were offered by companies and groups, including Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts showing how to dye quilt or pocket squares with fiber reactive dyes. Natural dyes take too long to develop to use at a demo where the public – particularly children – has the attention span of gerbils.
When it started sprinkling, a few scaredy-cats packed up and left, but lots of Scouts stayed. Our craft was already wet, so though the rain got heavier, we stayed to the last, and are invited back for 2007. John, Kathryn and I also went to Simi Valley to help a group of Girl Scouts and Brownies get their textile badge/patch, since dyeing qualified as one of the textile crafts. Their dyeing enthusiasm included the puzzled willing Australian shepherd pet of the site owner. I assured her that the dye would not harm the dog and would eventually wear off his fur.
Griffin Dyeworks is branching out from dyes and roving to embroidery since we can tap into some amazing talent in that area. We have found some wonderful embroidery designs and are currently preparing kits of historical designs.
Griffin Dyeworks has also self-published a truly informative book on the subject, written by Mary Jenkins, who is Baroness Ealasaid nic Suibhne in the SCA, and an excellent teacher of medieval embroidery techniques. This is a great book for other teachers of medieval embroidery techniques, so students can carry home a reminder of how each stitch is formed, see how stitches were used in a given century, the colors and cloth used, all in a well-illustrated book for only $20.00 plus shipping, so look in our BOOKS section in the Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts online catalog.
This is the plural of a very old low-tech Scandinavian fiber tool used in as a winder for making a center-pull ball of yarn. Norwegian: “Nest-stick”: nøste = nest; pinde = little stick; literally, ‘making a birds nest’. Also known as nøstie, nøsty, nøstepinne, nørstepinde, nystepinne, depending on which Scandinavian describes it. It’s also called a “dib-ble” or “that ball-winder stick thingie.”
Griffin Dyeworks is proud to introduce Mark Lindsay’s turned nøstepinder, hand-crafted from beautiful woods. A plain old broomstick can be a ball-winder, but it’s so much more satisfying to handle a beautiful wooden Quinn nøstepinde, and show it off in your fiber basket!
Mark is retired but keeps busy with his small daughter and working in his home workshop. He is also active in the SCA, where he is known as Master Quinn Phelan, builder of full-sized medieval ballista, catapults and trebuchets used by C.R.A.C. (the Caidan Royal Artillery Corps). He and his hearty band of fellow throwers-of-large-things can be found at major SCA events on the West Coast.
If you showed up here expecting only expositions and opinions on media interests, you may be disappointed. You may find more about fiber arts and dyeing (that’s coloring fiber with dyes, not being laid permanently to rest) than science fiction, Star Trek, Stargate SG-1, and Firefly. I’m still a fan, and still read science fiction and fantasy, along with art books, travelogues, humor, crafts books, dye books, lots of mysteries, and even a romance or two.
Fandom has given us Trimbles so much to be thankful for, especially wonderful friends worldwide. I’m on the Fans of Deep Space Nine Yahoo list so you can talk Trek with me on that list. From there you can find loads of other Trek sites. I particularly like the USS Moontype which serves blind and partially sighted science fiction fans. Their newsletter, Lunar Landscapes, is available in large print, Braille, disc and email – contact USS-Moontype at sbcglobal.net. There is a really nice group of gay and lesbian Trekkers and Disney fans at: USSNautilus2001. One of my favorite Trek sites is Curt McAloney’s Star Trek History sites where he restores film clips, explores the reasons why some things are seen but never explained, and shares a lot of behind-the-scenes stories, jokes, and other information. Try film clips: Location scenes, jokes on the set, promotional pictures, FX information and other trivia: http://www.startrekhistory.com/
Let’s settle some stories that are circulating throughout various fandoms.
The Trimbles are not destitute. Not wealthy, but not bag people yet. Yes, we could use more money, so can everyone else except Gates, Trump, and Oprah. I am not on my deathbed from a stroke or heart attack.
John is doing fine after his heart attack 2 years ago, and at age 70 is healthier than many of his cardiologist’s 40-year-old patients. Aside from fibromyalgia and arthritis, both of which hurt but won’t kill me, I am doing pretty well for 73-going-on-74, and plan on a 2007 weaving and dyeing trip to the Mayan Highlands.
My 75th birthday goal is a trip to Denmark and Sweden to visit museums, attend Viking re-enactment events, and participate in an archaeological dig with Dan Carlsson, Associate Professor, ArkeoDok Blåeldsvägen 3 S-621 50 Visby, Sweden. Email: info at arkeodok.com for more information. Come join us!
You will read a lot about The Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc., a medieval historical re-enactment organization popularly known as the SCA. Many of our fiber activities and in-person sales are within the SCA. Here I’m known as Maestra Flavia Beatrice Carmigniani, Order of the Laurel (arts), Order of the Pelican (service). John is Master John ap Griffin, OP and once one of the best field heralds in the entire SCA. We are also Court Baron and Baroness, which means mainly that someone on the throne liked you a lot.
Griffin Dyeworks sets up merchant booths at several large SCA ‘wars’ or other events through the year, and though our activities are presently in the Kingdom of Caid (Southern California) and the Kingdom of Atenveldt (Arizona), we hope to soon have the wherewithal to travel to other kingdoms in other states with our wares. We’d love to have the money to travel to Pennsic War in Pennsylvania, but that’s a lot of high gas mileage from Southern California just now.
Some people are second and third generation SCAers (or SCAdians) including our own children, who grew up in the SCA and in SF fandom: Lady Kathryn du Griffin (Kathryn Trimble) and Viscountess Lorissa du Griffin (Lora Boehm, see picture above). Lorissa is Seneschal of Altavia. You don’t have to be an SCA member to visit an event or to buy medieval goodies from Griffin Dyeworks. You’ll meet a lot of really nice, as well as fantastically talented, people. Most are very willing to welcome you in, teach you how to sew garb and do as much fiber art as you want to learn. Oh yeah, if you really want to wear hot armor and clonk your fellow man or woman with a rattan sword (see below), you can learn that, too. Find an SCA group in your area by going to the SCA website.
We are not zoned to sell from our home in Monrovia, a small foothill town near Pasadena, so don’t try to visit our store. We don’t have one, though it would be great if we at least had a working studio and store – any million-aire investors out there? GDW ships from a mailbox where the nice people will be happy to see you but won’t tell you where we live.
If you plan to visit Southern California, contract us by email about a time when we can meet and talk about dyecraft. We can, however, hold dye and crafts workshops in our backyard. If interested in a workshop at our site or yours, contact us. Summer in Southern California makes us appreciate our big 50-year-old avocado tree in the back yard. Most GDW activities take place under that tree, sometimes with a mister spraying a delicate wetness on hot faces and arms.
I’ve not suddenly become independently wealthy (darn!) to afford this Mayan Highland Backstrap Weaving and Dyeing Tour, Chiapas, Mexico. A fellow fiber artist wants to go but husband would be bored out of his skull. So he’d rather pay my way (yay!) to be her companion.
‘Our group’ currently consists of: Ruth Schooley (she taught sock knitting at our last Dye & Retreat), Margarete Mehrabian who owns the new Stick and Stone fiber store in Van Nuys, CA, and me. I am soooo excited about this trip but we need more people to join us.
This is a genuine hands-on experience, not just a stroll around quaint villages looking at the friendly natives. Tell all your fiber groups, and any fiber individuals you know. For non-fibery folk, Chiapas has genuine insect-filled amber, and the ruins of Toniná (300–800 AD) are nearby. If you teach any fiber art at all, you can take the trip off as a tax deduction! For full information, go to: Traditions Mexico, find ‘Fiber Arts’ in the left sidebar then click on NEW! Highland Maya Backstrack Weaving and Dyeing Workshop.
This business concept, familiarly known as GDW, started some years ago when John & Bjo Trimble sold trim and other fiber materials at historical reenactment events such as the Society for Creative Anachronism, Inc (SCA). We also sold books, T-shirts and other merchandise at science fiction and Star Trek conventions as well. However, advancing years (ahem!) slowed down both Trimbles enough so they needed help. Enter stage left the Actons, a vital young couple with an adorable little girl. They were looking for a creative outlet that would also bring in some money. So the Trimbles and the Actons formed a loose partnership and set to work making GDW into a viable business. We got the help we needed to pack and set up at events, to build new shelving in ‘GDW Corporate Headquarters’ (our garage) and to help hold workshops. Since we work out of our garage, we can’t tie up our budget or storage space with large spinning wheels and large looms, just yet. Next thing we knew, the Trimble adult children and a few interested bystanders started getting involved in GDW activities as well. Selling at events often means a merchant pavilion full of helpful people, which makes the event a social occasion for us and visitors to the booth.
Well, OK. So… here I am again… is this thing on????
It’s me giving blogging another try. Our daughter, Jenn, is a blogger: http://www.cluefairy.com and urged me to try blogging. She helped set up my first blog, and nudged me into saying something on it. But I had no real focus and found it difficult to believe that a mess of people Out There in Internetland really want to read all about Fred the Cat eating a whole chocolate cream bundt cake (she survived), or hearing about going through airport security with a 3″ teddy bear in my purse.
Then I started reading creative people’s blogs; how challenges were met, resources shared, research was carried out, and applications were made to the arts! There are a zillion crafts sites that offer everything from simple paper crafts to intricate philosophies to go along with amazing and stunning creations. Now those are blogs worth reading and sharing, which I’ll do as this blog develops and I find nifty blogs.
So here is the start of yet another blog on the Internet or maybe just a rambling newsletter. You’ll hear a lot about our home business, Griffin Dyeworks & Fiber Arts and about our annual Dye & Fiber Retreat which is loads of fun for even non-fibery folk; check it out. I’ll share a dye recipe or two and run some ideas past you as well. There will also be news about other fiber artists, too. So send me some news about what you are doing! There will certainly be forays into the realms of beads, buttons, and other embellishments. I have so many interests, and am such a conversation kangaroo, anything may turn out to be a topic!
Below are pictures of some silk scarves we’ve dyed: indigo; brazilwood, osage orange, and indigo; and several using commercial MX dyes.