Tuesday, 4 August 2009

Catching Up

I can't believe how long it is since I wrote something! Life has been absolutely manic - and isn't slowing down yet either!
Trying to think about where we have been since Penryn - well there was Azincourt at the end of July, it was a really fun trip - I went with a friend called Claire who encouraged me to join the Sealed Knot way back in the very beginning - you could almost blame her for where I am now!! (John was working at Kelmarsh demonstrating dyeing at the English Heritage event "Festival of History".)

I had to borrow Claire's tent for Azincourt so here's a photo of the stock laid out, it worked quite well in her round tent, the only trouble was I had to camp in a modern tent over by the museum - very uncool at a medieval event!!!

I returned home on the Wednesday and did a quick turn round to Norton Priory - there on the Friday for the "Medieval Mersey Traders" weekend. Sir John Myddleton's Companie are their signature event each year drawing their best visitor numbers - and we even managed to increase them again this time! We were shortlisted for a prestigious Merseyside award "Tourism Experience of the Year". As our competition was Liverpool Museum and Art Galleries in their "City of Culture" year, I think we came out rather well!!

I love going to Norton it's such a tranquil place - in the middle of an industrial estate (albeit an upmarket one) with a major dual carriageway running alongside it - the gardens are beautiful. This photo is of the avenue we were camped in, there is also a medieval herb garden (which was featured on the Secret Gardens programme on BBC) and there is a huge walled garden which houses the national quince collection (and I believe gooseberries as well) there's a good cafe and the amazing St Christopher statue as well as the excavated ruins!!
I haven't any dyeing news at the moment - we've been away too much for me to do any, but I'm home for the next week and a half and hopefully will re - visit the brazilwood dyeing I attempted earlier in the year when running my "dyeing the reds" course for the Online Guild.
I find writing this blog helps me focus on what I'm doing (I know I've not written anything for about a month, but I do have an excuse!!) and I'm really enjoying going back over photos and reliving events - they seem to flash past when we're away this much! I was updating the events calendar on the website earlier and realize that it goes on into October before we really get any let up - it's no wonder I never remember Christmas!
Many thanks to all of you who read and follow my blog, I will hopefully have something more "meaty" for you soon!


Benita said...

Do you soak your brazilwood in alcohol first? I soak my sawdust overnight in Everclear (which is 199 proof grain alcohol), then strain it, bag the sawdust up in something to keep the dye pot clean, add the bag and enough water, bring it to a boil and add the wool. I get the most AMAZING colors and the dye pot usually outlasts me.

I can't wait to see what you get.

Debbie said...

Hi Benita,
I've never thought to soak my Brazilwood in alcohol - but will certainly give it a try now you've said it. The experiment we are trying is a follow on to something I did a couple of years ago - I put an exhaust bath into a black bin, with a black poly bag on top excluding air - forgot about it for about 12 months and when I used it again the colours were incredibly rich and a really deep crimson red.
I'll write it up in a couple of days with the results I get this time (no doubt they'll be no where near as good, cos I'm trying!