August Collaborations

August evenings have found lots going on in the various  project sites as we become more familiar with each location and take new steps forward in how this collaboration  is unfolding.

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At Means of Production we did a solar dying workshop and harvested more willow bark and partially harvested the flax crop.

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At Trillium North we are learning about our new space and experimenting with the old wheels that were donated to us by the West Point Grey Community Assoc. ( long term loan) and Martin adapted them so we can drum a beat while we spin…

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And at Hastings Urban Farm we have been exploring the movements of spinning labour and connecting these actions into movement phrases. It feels like a place of honour, to sit at my wheel and witness the actions I do without thinking as a spinner – being dissected and studied into these elegant and poetic moments!

We have had a small but dedicated group of local community members that have been coming out on a regular basis and participating in both the spinning and fibre gathering/processing as well as dancing and movement research. As witness to how Mirae leads a group of dancers, I enjoy hearing how supportive the group is of each others movement exploration. The group shares ideas and gets excited about possibilities they see in these actions while Mirae brings it all together, gently keeping focus for the group. It is a pleasure to be a part of these evenings

In  a few weeks time we are doing our first sharing of work to date- at both the MOP and Trillium sites, and I look forward to where this shall all lead as we launch after this into fall workshops of  fibre blending, spinning and more dance.

As in every creative process, the first steps are always about gathering. Gathering ideas, possibilities, building visions.

Soon we begin to  play more with what we have now gathered and editing will happen, a honing of direction. For now, we sit briefly in this place of beautiful potential.

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Site Potential: early days of dreaming

First few weeks of being on site at each location- getting weeding, planting and first foraging under way has set my brain on fire with what  is possible…

Means of Production:

Native species on site include: mock Orange (Philiadelphus lewisii) Ocean Spray (Holodiscus discolor), Pacific Rhododendron (Macrophyllum), Nootka Rose, Shore pine, Soapberry ( Shepherdia Canadensis), Blue elderberry (Sambucus caerulea), Douglas Maple (Acver galbrum) Oregon grape ( Mahonia nervosa), Flowering red current ( Ribes sanguineum), Garry Oak (Quercus garryana),Hardhack (spiraea douglasii), and Indian Plum( Oemleria cerasiformis) and one dead Arbutus tree

This inspiring form holds much potential

This inspiring form holds much potential

Ideas thus far: The Arbutus tree is both sad to see gone, but can provide an anchor point for our work at MOP- we shall use some of it for dye, as well as smaller sticks for drop spindles, tool handles and then leave the trunk and main branches as an on-site loom, or woven installation.

berries galore of elderberry and Indianplum should provide a nice dark rich dye

milkweed and flax from up top can be a fibre base, with a small amount of stinging nettle

lots of Scotchbroom/ blackberry that could be fibre

yucca, NZ flax plants and iris stocks in the top beds can be installation fibres too

Trillium North:

There are lots of Indian Hemp plants! Alas all too young yet for harvesting, so we will curb ourselves to the local flax crop growing, local edge of park fireweed and tansy as well as some stinging nettle from 2 blocks away ( maybe our furthest fibre range) There is lots of lupines for dye, and also some iris that can be cut back this fall for more fibrous weaving.

new plantings at Trillium. Photo: S. Wong

new plantings at Trillium. Photo: S. Wong

Project-wise, the place is very sterile and new, with lots of chain link and metal calling out to be softened, so perhaps a woven panel for the shipping containers or fence? Time will tell…

Hastings Urban Farm:

Our cloth shall be spun from milkweed and flax fibres we grow in one of the gardens 4x40ft raised beds. There are lots of pollinator plants in surrounding beds, including lupines and Rudbeckia, so we can dye the fibres, and then we will spin and wax the line with beeswax from the local rooftop hives. Our local one-city-block-sourced waxed line can then be crocheted into markers that will hang in trees identifying where the pollination areas are in the downtown eastside along Hastings Street.

newly planted milkweed  at Hastings Urban Farm

newly planted milkweed at Hastings Urban Farm

Meanwhile we have fun on Tuesday nights with our first  gatherings for working together.

Tracy and Sharon's first night at MOP.  photo: C. York

Tracy and Sharon’s first night at MOP. photo: C. York