On my last cruise we made beaded bracelets which I have mentioned before.
To be honest I found them a nightmare to teach but they were popular. We had a safety pin crises where pins were too big or too small. There was a problem with the elastic over stretching but the project was very popular. The thread was almost impossible to knot and pins slipped off the end. But they remained popular. We had “gluegate” when we tried to secure the knots but they were still popular. I must admit to swearing that I’d never do them again no matter how popular.
THEN I met one of the craft guests at the airport going home. She had made ( successfully) two bracelets as Christmas gifts. She and her husband had been for afternoon tea in a smart hotel in CapeTown . There in a glass display cabinet were the very same popular bracelets marked at £20 each!
I guess I will offer these popular bracelets as an option on my next cruise!
Many people ask me what I do. Well, apart from being very happily retired, I do crafts! Multiple crafts, some old, up-cyclingn, some new and some for fun. This love of crafts has led me to teach my art on board cruise ships! Simply put I am cruising the oceans sharing my love of crafts. I do not profess to being a qualified teacher but what I am good at is creating a group of people bonded by craft projects. I like to think that I inspire people to “have a go”
I cater for around 30 people per project and have to take all materials with me. There’s little opportunity to shop for glue or yarn off the coast of Africa! (Where I am at the moment) This is an onerous task and involves lots of “arguments ” with suit cases.
The really hard work is in the prep. Deciding what projects to offer and how much fabric will be need to be bought. The reward is seeing someone struggle with a project and being delighted with the result.
We left Cape Verde with a great deck party. We sailed away with approximately 1000 nautical miles to go to our next destination of Ascension Island . At this moment there is in excess of 15,000 feet of water below us. Now that is deep! We are “somewhere” in the South Atlantic.
In Craft today we continued to work on beaded bracelets, did some block printing and generally had a good chat.
As I said I recently spent a beautiful weekend in Plas Tan Y Bwlch with the North Wales Embroiderers Guild.
At first I was overwhelmed by the talent of the other Guild members, but then I decided that I can only learn from them. I learned a LOT.
There were three tutors on the weekend and we each chose to attend one “craft” There was screen printing, machine embroidery and Appliqué. I chose to stay in my comfort zone of appliqué.
Our tutor was particularly good as she showed slides of her journey through Uzbekistan and the textiles which are a specialty of that area. The Suzanis were very similar to the textiles that I saw in India.
A ditty is a short rhyming song. For example:
A Ditty box was issued to sailors to store their personal belongings or tools
Ordinary Seaman Peter S. Kennedy was my grandfather. He survived WW1 and went on to drive ambulances during WW2. He later became a fireman and was awarded a medal for bravery.
This Ditty box now contains some of my treasures and memories.
These cushion covers were embroidered by my Nanna ( Grandmother) in circa 1950 They were embroidered using a variety of stitches and stranded silk threads.
The cushion covers were worked onto white linen and have to be stitched onto the cushion pad as there is no zip or fastening. They have been freshly laundered and had some running repairs today. They now have pride of place in my lounge and I adore them!
They are NOT for sale in my Etsy shop!
Whilst my trip to India was a wonderful adventure, I was extremely disappointed to find on arrival in Delhi that the block printing section had been removed from the itinerary ( as were most other people on the tour) The travel company “Colouriscious” had removed that leg of the holiday and no one realised until we arrived in Delhi. The remaining elements of the adventure however, were amazingly good.
We did see a small example of block printing when attending other workshops.
Used blocks covered in Indigo paint.
Cloth printed and partially embroidered. This fabric is destined to become a sari. When the embroidery is complete it will be washed in the river ( Which didn’t look too clean!) and dried in the sun. The washing removes the indigo print and leaves the white embroidery. It will become a beautiful, very white sari.
Bear with me! Only one more Textile Adventure blog to go!
Rural India where artisans make fine hand knotted carpets. Here, in the village centre,the cows relax in the shade.
The village “pond” where clothes are washed and young men fish for dinner. In the foreground cow dung is drying in the sun, waiting to be used as fuel.
Young men dying the silk in cold water vats. The hanks of silk are dunked and rotated through the dye vats. The women stay at home and work in the fields.
“Boilers” waiting to be fired up to heat the hot water dying vats. Note the winding apparatus to place the hanks of silk on ready for dying.
Field of drying yarn hanks both silk and wool. Destined to become carpets. This region ( Bhadohi) employs 2.2 million rural artisans in a 100% export orientated industry.
The end product Beautiful silk carpets. Which incidentally, reached the UK within 10 Days.
When in Agra I visited a marble workshop where men worked day upon day creating marble masterpieces. They inlaid semi precious stones into the marble to make gorgeous tables coasters and hand carved elephants I couldn’t carry one in my hand luggage ( and neither could I afford it) but they were absolutely beautiful.
Agra is also the home of the beautiful Wonder of the World known as The Taj Mahal I visited just after the dawn on a magical misty day. I am so very grateful to have had the opportunity.
This Textile Treasure Hunt here in Varanasi India just keeps on giving. Today we visited silk weaving. This is carried out in the homes of local people in rural areas. I
am in a permanent state of shock, both culturally and dietary. The people are lovely and regard us as odd because many rural communities have not seen “white”faces before, especially the children.
The silk weaving is the main occupation and carried out by the men. It is a patriarchal society.
The silk produced is beautiful, colourful and hand woven. It is mainly produced for Saris, scarves and for dressmaking.
This morning we visited a Hindu village where the looms are hand driven just as they have been for hundreds of years. During the afternoon we went to a Muslim area of Varanasi where the looms are motor driven . We had the inevitable shopping opportunity where a beautiful silk scarf found its way into my bag!
just an example of some of the intricate weaving.