Planning for Spring events heats up

Early warmth has brought everything out of hibernation- including us. Just because you haven’t heard much of late from Urban Cloth doesn’t mean nothing is going on- just the opposite, and thought it time to post a bit of what we are up to.

fall workshops…

For our Hastings Urban Farm  component:

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The results of various community fibre processing, blending, and spinning workshops have now been dyed with natural dye made from various pollinator friendly plants- all shades of yellow keeping to our bee theme… then we began waxing the line with wax from the Hasting Urban Farm hives- OUR OWN WAXED LINEN LINE AT LAST!

Spool knitting on handmade frames

Spool knitting on handmade frames

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first little beeskep sculptures completed at the downtown east-side women’s centre

workshops are taking place in the area  to  crochet and knit the waxed line into ‘pollinator-friendly-zone markers’

Our next workshop happens with the Hastings Urban Farm community hive-keepers on March 23- and a few workshop dates are yet to be confirmed.

We have settled on June 6th as the final celebration for the Hastings project component– when the markers will be up along Hastings Street. Sarah Common from Hives for Humanity will led us that day on a walk of the street, sharing why certain areas are noteworthy as pollinator friendly zones. We will end up back at Hastings Urban Farm for tea  and a special presentation that features some of the performative research that has been a part of this project.

Mirae's new dance shoes- the final fitting

Mirae’s new dance shoes- the final fitting

Events are also planned now for this Spring at Trillium North, specifically as the dance and fibre research finds a rooted connection literally through our feet.

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cedar bark and daylily- a hybrid of traditional and introduced plant fibres…

This began back in a early winter group studio date- when Tracy took off on the idea of weaving a pair of shoes…

Suddenly shoes seemed full of potential.

I pushed my weaving skills, and woven a pair that fit Mirae with the idea she could dance in them- then leave them somehow in the landscape as a trace of our actions.

daylily, stinging nettle, new zealand flax and willow bark- the fibers from Means of Production Garden

daylily, stinging nettle, new zealand flax and willow bark- the fibers from Means of Production Garden

Now, we push to find a shoe design and method that can be taught to new weavers in a limited amount of time for use with community dancers who will make their own for wearing and dancing. Rebecca Graham has led me to a traditional Japanese style flip flop that looks promising- using rope we would make, and simple weaving in a method similar to  a back-strap loom… more research  to come!

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our able & expressive hands – a report from the dance process

eucalyptus leaf dye on wool

eucalyptus leaf dye on wool

As we have been working in the gardens this summer, we have been investigating the properties of our hands to both do work and express. And now that we are nearing the end of the season, a series of gestures have collected into a dance for our hands, one that tells the story of our process so far. Yesterday, September 1, With the help of Wilson Liang (dancer) and Mr. Fireman (music) I shared this short hand dance at our celebration event at Means of Production Garden.

Some of the gestures come from working with tools – both general gardening implements and tools specific to fibre production.  I have become particularly interested in the aid tools give us to build, deconstruct, manipulate and ground our intentions and goals – and I’ve begun to think about how tools are a way to connect, transfer, and distribute the energy of our bodies with the environment.  As extensions of our hands, tools accomplish goals and do work in a kind of energetic transfer with the land.

Wilson makes a skein

Wilson makes a skein

As we construct a gestural dance, one that focuses on the relationship between our hands, arms, and head and eyes, it becomes really interesting to see what happens when the tools are taken away.  How do our gestures transform when the focus is on our bodies and our connection to environment, memory, and intention?

At many of our sessions so far, I have introduced a warm-up gestural dance by Irene Dowd, which was taught to me by a colleague, Hailey McCloskey.  I have been thinking a lot about why it fascinates me so much. It is both functional and imagistic. It provides the hands, arms, and shoulders with a really good stretch.  And, it focuses on the connection between our two hands as we press our fingers or palms together and spiral our fingers in and out of connection with each other.  It is this play between our two hands that I realize is an interesting starting point for Terroir because it is the connection that grounds the two halves of our bodies with each other, circulating energy to find balance.  Without tools, our hands are brought in relationship to each other.  We internalize the opportunity to ground and connect with our environment, expressing balance, connection and exchange.

The dance we have been working on contains hand movements from clearing undergrowth, using a drop spindle, drafting fibre, winding skeins … and rather than organize them in a chronology, they are linked together by a play between our hands. Sometimes this connection is very close as we press our palms together; sometimes it is taken to its edge along specific lines in space.  In this way the dance plays with balancing energies between both halves of our bodies, distributing intention to the furthest edges, to interact with our environment and community, and bringing it back to our centres, when we join our hands at our midline in various ways, to bring our left and right halves together.

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Wilson, Mirae, Mr. Fireman – Means of Production Garden, Sept 1 2014

Tuesday nights

Lots of discovery and fun has been happening as we get things under way. Ideas are blossoming as fast as the gardens are growing- Spring is a good time to start a project.

Tracy shows us a hand-powered drill  that functions like a drop spindle

Tracy shows us a hand-powered drill that functions like a drop spindle

All the beds are seeded, and many are sprouting

Katrina from EYA helps walk the flax seeds into the soil at the MOP bed

Katrina from EYA helps walk the flax seeds into the soil at the MOP bed

Tracy and I do our first survey of the MOP native tree section, its great to rediscover plants I haven’t visited for a few seasons. This will be the first year we ever harvest or focus our energy on this area of the garden. Many plants trigger stories  for Tracy that she has heard from her elders, so she takes sample clippings of the ocean spray and Indian Plum.

 the Indian Plum pitch can be used for waterproofing, hmmm..

the Indian Plum pitch can be used for waterproofing, hmmm..

We spend some time processing  local new zealand flax and  spin some fibre

Christi's first spinning!

Christi’s first spinning!

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the drop spindle on the right allowed us to spin our fibres quickly for binding rocks and sticks as new spinners…

And then we bind rocks to arbutus sticks with our spun fibre, so we have drop spindles made from the land for future spinning.

new workshop dates: Dance in the Outdoors

Dance in the Outdoors

Dance with us in different gardens through-out the spring, summer and fall. Explore connections between labour, land and community as the growing season inspires our dances. Ongoing sessions will lead towards participatory performances linking place & local materials. Wear movement friendly footwear, sun hat or rain gear. Open to all. Contact Mirae for more information: miraerosner@gmail.com.

Wednesdays 6-8 PM in June

June 4    Means of Production Garden   Corner of E. 6th and St. Catherines

June 11  Hastings Urban Farm  58 West Hastings St.

June 18  Means of Production Garden

June 25    Hastings Urban Farm

Spring Foraging Dates Announced

5 dates just announced for some spring fibre foraging…  it’s a part of our research actually. You see, I figured out by fluke years ago that Himalayan blackberry has a specific date for harvesting the bark for use in basketry- that is late July here in Vancouver. Harvesting during that time and then  attempting to process the inner bark into a spun fibre has shown some positive results, but the fibre is very scratchy!

I think if we try gathering and processing from late May through June we might just get a fibre we can then later ret and process similar to how we process flax. So that is the objective!

Spring Foraging:

Join Tracy and Sharon for locating, foraging and processing spring fibre plants. Wear closed toe shoes, bring leather garden gloves and clippers if you have them. We will be gathering and processing blackberry stocks for fibre research. Each day we will meet at our designated location and forage in the area for gathering local invasive plants. (tools/gloves provided) Trouble finding us? Call Sharon at 604-363-0220

Tuesdays 6-8.30pm

May 20  Strathcona Park Fieldhouse   857 Malkin Ave. near Hawks

June 3  Means of Production Garden   corner of E. 6th and St. Catherines

June 10  Strathcona Park Fieldhouse

June 17    Means of Production Garden

June 24   Trillium North Park  580 Malkin at Thornton meet at Thornton St sports field entrance.