What with selling up in France and moving everything across to Leeds finding workspace for the business and becoming part of a significant new EU funded project I think 2023 can class as an interesting one.
Let’s start with discussing – or not discussing the research.
I am absolutely loving my time at Leeds, for years I have wanted to really know what happens with the mordanting process and at last I am being allowed to delve into it in depth. Part funded by the Cotton Industry War Memorial Trust (to whom I express my undying gratitude) I am obviously looking at cotton and cellulose in particular but started this year looking at wool and how the alum mordant bonds best with the protein fibres. I’m bursting to be able to tell you some of my findings, but of course until I get to write up my thesis and defend it all in my viva I must keep schtum. I’m getting a much clearer understanding of the chemistry, it is as important as I thought – and fascinating! I look forward to being able to teach what I have learnt explaining the science and making it easier to understand.
Samples … I’ve done so many experiments I’ve totally lost count – the majority of my samples are colourless, as in the image on the right – well of course they are, they’re the mordant process! Colour is only used as a test so we can see if the sample is light or wash fast. I trust you can see that the samples tested have lost quite a bit of colour and there is staining on the multifibre strip? If selling your naturally dyed items, even as a crafts person it is really important to know that your work comes up to standard.
In May I moved the Mulberry Dyer into workshop space in the centre of Leeds – Fabrication 2. A thriving community of craftspeople including @anachronalia a long time friend from The International Medieval Congress. (well Lynette suggested there was a space …!) I am delighted to be there and look forward to spending more time getting to know everyone better in 2024. Hopefully later in the year I’ll be able to run some workshops too. There are already jewellery and bookbinding workshops being run there – take a look at the website. There is also a shop and craft space in York, and 2 shops in Leeds, it’s a really inspirational space!
On the 1st July my research came under a new European Horizon funded consortium called Colour4CRAFTS, I am now working with researchers in Finland (including Lapland), Estonia, Belgium and France. The work is going to be very exciting and to see what is happening it may be worth following the specific blog (link below) or Instagram and X (both can be found @colour4crafts) posts.
The house in France is finally sold and everything moved back to the UK (mainly still in storage, but some is already at Fabrication2 thankfully) This means that I can now start putting some effort back into embroidery threads instead of travelling to France and sorting over there. I am thrilled to say that the majority of the dyehouse equipment has been brought back to the UK by Katie of @loopyewes, who has great plans for the future. Some went with Micky of l’atelier de Micky in France, another historical dyer who researches and experiments to ensure the colours are accurate.
I think it’s time for a revamp on the website, so things will be changing on here. As I’m not very techie it may take longer than I think – but hopefully you’ll like it. The shop will close for the time being whilst I’m working on it all, feel free to email if you need anything. I’m thinking of going back to writing a practical blog, rather than just news and updates. Hope that’s OK?
I’m finishing this post whilst listening to the New Years Day Concert from Vienna, I haven’t missed a concert since being a child when my father first introduced me to it. I’ve been applying for tickets since 1972 – each year in January I used to send off my letter, these days of course it’s all online. Every year I get the letter or message to say “I’m sorry you have been unsuccessful”, the dream of being in the Musikverein on the 1st January continues – who knows maybe 2025 will be my lucky year???
I hope that you all have a wonderful and textiley 2024 creating and doing what you like most.
Happy New Year!
with love, Deb xx