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Tag: workshops

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.

 

Teaching at USC Archaeology

Spindle whorls from USC Archaeology

Last fall, word spread through the LA fiber arts grapevine that a professor at USC was looking for people to come in and teach her students to spin on a drop spindle. As an alumni (and a spinner), I jumped at the opportunity and arranged for myself and two other teachers, Ercil Howard and Debbie Coyle, to head to campus with all our drop spindles and combs, cards, and plenty of different types of fiber for the class.

The course we were crashing is a freshman seminar in the Archaeology department called ”Human Survival: Learning from the Past” and during the semester the students learn some ancient skills such as making fire, forming bricks, and preparing food with only stone tools. It was our mission to teach the eighteen students how to spin.

We arrived early and had the opportunity to check out USC’s growing collection of antiquities, including a number of spindle whorls (pictured above)!

We broke the class of eighteen students into smaller groups for hands-on instruction. Everyone was very attentive and learned quickly how to handle the fiber and the drop spindle and were soon spinning merrily away!

We had just two hours, so during the first hour we focused on getting everyone spinning, and in the second hour we were also able to cover carding and combing fiber, show many different types of fibers, and demonstrate some of the different types of spindles used around the world. Almost all the students got to try combing or carding, and many continued spinning for the whole two hour class!

During the second class session, we came back and brought Bjo Trimble with us, and the students learned about dyeing and weaving on a warp-weighted loom or an inkle loom. Again, with just two hours on the clock, time was of the essence, so we split the class in two and had one group tackle dyeing first, while the other group tried out weaving.

We used cochineal, onion skins, and indigo so the students could also experiment with overdyeing to achieve more colors than just red, yellow, and blue.

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During the dye session, we showed samples of various sources for dyes – roots, leaves, flowers, bugs – and spoke about how the different mordants and modifiers can affect the results too.

For the weaving, we were lucky to borrow a ‘portable’ warp weighted loom and get it set up in time for everyone to try weaving. Ercil was in charge of that loom, while Debbie demonstrated the inkle loom and had samples of different types of inkle and card weaving.

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The classes are all completely hands-on, so everyone got to try carding, spinning, weaving, and dyeing for just a small taste of all the effort that went into making fabric in the pre-Industrial world. You can read the students’ point of view on their class blog, the Hunter Blatherer.

Interested in having a workshop or demo for your class or guild? Contact Us today!

Back again after a short pause…

Only two years later, I am re-blogging (is that a word?) with so much more to tell anyone who has found this blog or who may soon find it. I will be showing a lot of my dye workshop photos here as well as dye recipes for those who would like to learn about natural dyeing. Watch this space!

Meanwhile, though we are still in Monrovia, our Griffin Dyeworks business address has changed to: 174 W. Foothill Blvd #343, Monrovia, CA 91016. This is _not_ a store front (don’t we wish!) but simply a mail-drop to ship our online and mail orders from. If you show up at this address looking for us, you will meet some very friendly people who won’t tell you where we live. Sorry!

The reason for having a mail-drop is because it’s cheaper to get UPS deliveries at an official box than home delivery. I have no idea why this is.

The reason we don’t have a store-front is lack of money. Nobody has shown up with scads of money to back our business venture, either. So we still have our Corporate Headquarters in one-third of the family garage.

One of my major dreams is to have a crafts center, not just a store, that could house a small crafts store, a supplies store, a large crafts work space, and perhaps even a tiny tea room so we can get snacks on site. This would not have to be in the center of town. It could be in a safely-lit light industrial area, or in a large old house in a commercial area, or other such building. One such fiber crafts center was in a defrocked church. It was really neat.

I have found a great building in Monrovia that was once one of Charlie Chaplin’s many small movie studios. But there is no way we could afford the entirely reasonable lease for it unless we could round up a goodly collection of other artisans who wanted to rent a space. I don’ have the business head for this kind of thing. Vision, yes. Business, no.

So it’s not likely to ever happen for me unless I win the lottery or one of you Out There wants to set me up in my dream.