On Saturday I participated as part of the Art in the Tent activities at the Glascock Building. This included some interactive art activities by Art in the Park Artists and some demos by local Maple Creek Artists. This was part of the Taste of Maple Creek Festivities. I offered sessions of my popular Silk Scarf Dyeing activities. Due to the heat and humidity, I was set up inside the Glascock building with all the art on display. (I don’t do heat and humidity well).
I set up well before my sessions were scheduled. I didn’t have any takers for the noon session – the food was ready to sell down at the other end of Jasper Street. I had to run home and get a bag of pipettes I had mistakenly taken out of the dyeing tote.
At 2 pm I had 6 people wanting to dye. A mom and her 3 children plus another young fellow and his mom and an woman who was going to be dyeing a square to use as a head scarf.
Here are some of the finished scarves dyed by participants in the 2 pm session. Children’s faces shown in photos are used with their mother’s permission.
Logan did something no one else has done in my workshops to my knowledge. He dyed his whole scarf in one go without opening it and re-scrunching it. He got good results with his technique. He used the Rider green with some other colours.
Liam dyed a scarf with his mom’s help. They were camping out at Cypress Hills Park and decided to come in for the Taste of Maple Creek festivities. He did his with some Rider colours – there was a game that started at the same time as our scarf dyeing session.
Joyce used pumpkin with a pumpkin/brown combo for her 30 inch square scarf. It came out lovely. She enjoyed it so much, she came back for the 4 pm session to dye another 30 inch square in shades of blue.
It was a nice relaxing way to spend the afternoon and the 3 fans I had going helped keep me from getting too hot until it was over. Lots of folks dropped by to see what we were doing.
On Monday I was given a couple of plastic grocery bags FULL of crab apples by friends. They had even more. I told them how to prep the crab apples to make juice for jelly – the easiest way to deal with such a crop on a busy hot day. Tues am I got up early and started to deal with my own bunch of crab apples. I decided to take photos of all my steps so others could learn how easy it is to actually process fruit so you can make jelly. Doing it in stages makes it a LOT easier to make the jelly when it`s cooler. Then you can admire the gorgeous colours of the jellies you make.
The first step is to wash the crab apples to get any dirt and dust off them. I do it in the kitchen sink.
The next step is to remove the stems, the blossom (fuzzy end) and any bruises or scab on the apple. I cut them in halves or quarters depending on the size.
Once cut, the crab apples get dropped into a pot with enough water to cover them so they don`t turn brown too quickly. I use reverse osmosis water (which I drink) as it has no taste. This lets the apple taste be more pronounced than it might be with local municipal or well water supply. You can use whichever you prefer.
Once the crab apples are prepared and in the pot to cook, I check the water level to make sure it is just at the top of the prepared fruit.
I use a DIY heat diffuser I made from coat hangar wire on the burner to reduce the chance of the contents scorching or sticking as I heat it on higher heat to bring it to a boil in a canner or other pot with a thinner bottom.
As the pot of crab apples heats up, I stir it every so often with one of my large sturdy wooden spoons I bought at Stedman`s in Wolfville, NS many years ago. These were made in Czechoslovakia and are great for stirring large pots of stuff during preserving sessions. This is a quart canner and the spoon is taller than it.
Once the crab apples come to a boil, they are turned down to a simmer, covered and left to cook until they are soft and mushy, stirring from time to time to prevent sticking or scorching on the bottom of the pot. The aroma in the kitchen while they are cooking is so wonderful.
Once the crab apples are soft and mushy, they may look like they have lost colour from their skins. It is time to put them in a jelly bag and let the juice drain. You may want to let the pot cool before you do this step. Boiling hot juice can scald you quite badly. Get your jelly bag and container you are draining into ready before transferring the crab apple pulp to it.
I have several different methods of draining the juice from the cooked crab apples. The picture above shows the jelly bag (an old or unmatched, clean, rinsed pillow case) mounted on the folding stand with the bottom of the bag suspended several inches above the bottom of the canner its legs are sitting in. I used jute string to hold the pillow case in place so it wouldn`t slip and will stay suspended when the pulp is added. I used a small sauce pan to transfer the pulp to the bag. I had the canner with the jelly stand in the kitchen sink overnight.
NOTE: however you strain your pulp for juice, it`s important not to squeeze the bag. If you do your juice and jelly can be cloudy – not the clear see through jelly we strive for.
This is another method I use. I use a clean jelly bag (or clean rinsed pillow case – you don`t want detergent or fabric softener in your juice) open in the bottom of the pot the juice will be drained into. I add the pulp with a smaller sauce pan or large measuring cup. Once the pulp is in the bag, I tie it shut with a sturdy string or rope, leaving a good end to hang it with. I used to have cupboards that were the right height to suspend it from a wooden spoon between the handles and drain into a pot on the counter. In this case, I suspended it from my firmly attached shower curtain rod into a pot balanced on the side of the tub – not one I plan to do again but it worked this time because I was the only one in the house. You do what you need to do but you should do it safely.
Here is a closer look at the stream of juice coming from the jelly bag. While you are putting the cooked pulp in the bag, a lot of juice will go through very quickly. Once you hang the jelly bag, the juice will be come a stream that will gradually get smaller and eventually turn into drops. I like to hand the bag for at least 12 hours to make sure all the juice has drained out. Once you remove the jelly bag, Discard the pulp in the garbage and take it outside unless you want endless numbers of fruit flies in your house.
Once the jelly bag has stopped dripping, you can remove it and see the juice obtained. Look at the lovely pink colour. When this is made into jelly it will be a lovely colour. It will be come more transparent when the sugar is added and it is cooked some more. One of the grocery bags of crab apples with water gave me about 20 cups of juice. I cooked the bags separately. The first batch was cooked while I was preparing a second pot of crab apples to cook.
At this point I can either make jelly or I can measure the juice in amounts required for a batch and freeze it. I often choose to prepare the juice and bag it in batches in a gallon Ziploc bag with the amount of juice and type of pectin I plan to use so I know which recipe I am following.
I prefer to use Certo Light and make a cooked jelly. It uses 30% less sugar than the regular pectin, has a fruitier taste and ensures me consistent results without having to do jellying tests as I am making it.
I used to have a preserving business and my Certo Light jams were the ones favoured by my customers. The jelly making part will come when it`s cooler and I have the rest of supplies needed.
I need to make some dedicated jelly bags for my assorted stands, etc from some of the unbleached cotton in my studio, instead of using my pillow cases. I don`t have an unlimited supply of pillow cases and many of the fruit juices will stain them.
I hope you enjoyed this trip through making crab apple juice for making jelly at a later time.
Thursday I received one of the posters that will be put up around town and other locations advertising the workshops I’ll be doing as part of my Guest Artist in Residence stint at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, SK,. This is the 3rd year I have participated in this program. The first year was a couple of workshops, last year I had an 8 day Artist Residency and this year I will be there from Jul 19- Aug 6/13 – a total of 19 days. It’s always exciting to see yourself on a poster. Connie Gibbens has done a great job of creating a theme for this years posters using the beautiful wildflower photo and colours. As usual,double clicking on the poster will enlarge it so you can read it.
The workshops are the giving back part of our Artist Residency. I am quite excited about having this block of time away from the usual day to day rhythms to create some new work and explore ideas and techniques I’ve been wanting to try .I’ve probably been overthinking how to make the best use of this block of time. It is such a gift to be able to take this time to explore my art and art practice. Meeting new folks during workshops and open studio hours is always a treat for me as well.
If you are going to be at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park, SK from Jul 19-Aug6, 2013, I’d love to see you. My schedule and open hours at the Artist’s Cabin will be posted as soon as I get it all figured out. Right now I am finishing workshop samples and deciding what to take.
This year all the Flowering Crab trees in Maple Creek seem to be loaded with blossoms. Their scent has been quite strong all through town. My neighbors across the street had one just loaded with blossoms. I went over and asked permission to pick some blossoms to use. They were surprised/amused but told me to help myself.
Last Thursday morning I decided I had to go pick the blossoms before the predicted wind and rain arrived to strip the blossoms off the tree. I gathered up my blossom picking equipment and headed over to pick some.
There were some blossoms already scattered on the ground so I was glad I opted to pick them. If you actually try to pick the petals off the blossoms, they tend to tear. So my method is to put the branch in the bag and bump the loose ones off. Some times the whole blossom comes along. I managed to get about 1/2 of a gallon Ziploc bag full of petals.
When I went home I called the local florist for her recommendation on how best to keep the petals until later that day or the next. We discussed several options and I decided to divide them into 2 ziplocs to give them more space plus add a wet paper towel to each bag to keep them fresher. One went in the fridge and one stayed on the counter. The next morning they were still very fresh. I put the 2nd bag in the fridge as I wasn’t sure I would get to sunprinting on Friday.
Saturday I had a scarf dyeing workshop booked, so it was Sunday am before I got back to the petals. They were still in excellent condition in the the Ziploc bags with the damp paper towel.
Sunday morning was great weather for sun printing outside. Very little wind (often an issue here) and temp predicted to be in low 70′s later on. I don’t often fabric paint or sun print out side due to the wind issues here so this would be a nice treat. I set up in the shade at the side of the garage.
I got my butcher papers prepared for 30 scarves in 3 sizes hoping I could do that many in one day. I had my paints mixed and set up on my trusty bus cart and ready to go. I generally mix a palette or colours to work with for the session.
As each scarf was painted and sun printed it was moved on the butcher paper backing to the grass in dappled shade on the other side of the yard.
As you can see I went with a light bright palette for spring. It seemed to suit the blossoms.
Next in the process is ironing, signing and labelling the scarves. I hope to finish that this week so they will be all ready to go to Bazaart on June 15/13 outside the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina. Watch for more photos as I get them done. You may be able to scoop one up before they get to Regina.
I’m hoping to try sun printing a few scarves this week with lilac and caragana blossoms. I have those in my yard.
Saturday I had a booking for my ColorHue silk scarf dyeing activity at Jillian’s 9th birthday party at a local home. Jillian, her sister Tiffany and their mom had participated in my scarf dyeing workshops at Cypress Hills Park last summer. I would be doing this scarf dyeing workshop with 12 8-9 year olds. A nice size group and a good age to work with. They were an enthusiastic and well behaved group.
We had a little discussion about colour choices and did a few exercises to become familiar with our tools and how the process works. Then the colour choices began and the girls started creating their scarves.
I was invited to have some of the birthday cake made by Jillian’s mom Ava. It was an amazing looking cake with strands of hair on the dog and blades of grass.
I enjoyed being invited to share in the birthday festivities and see what happens at birthday parties now. Some things never change but I noticed some differences from when I used to give parties for my children. These lucky party goers also got to make 3 crafty things at this party!
I offer my ColorHue silk scarf dyeing activity for groups as small as 4 at my studio. I can do it at your location as well. I have also done it with family groups creating gifts for Christmas, friends, senior’s groups, educators, school classes and in drop-in public settings with people from 2-92 years old. Contact me if you are interested in booking your own scarf dyeing party either here at my studio or another location.
Yikes! Where has the time gone. When I send in my application it always seems like a long time to go before Bazaart will happen. We usually find out in late March or early April if we’ve been juried in this year. It still seems like a long time until mid-June. Somehow that time gets shorter every year until BOOM – it’s only a month away! This year is a special one – it’s Bazaart’s 40th Anniversary on Saturday, June 15, 2013 outside the MacKenzie Art Gallery on Albert Street in Regina, SK
What is Bazaart? It’s the largest outdoor arts and crafts show and sale in Saskatchewan. It’s juried, which means that every year a committee chooses the vendors who sell there. You have to be juried into Bazaart EVERY year, even if you’ve previously been juried in. Bazaart is about quality workmanship and unique and interesting items from artists and artisans. There’s music and food creating a wonderful creative atmosphere for shopping. It’s a lot of work for vendors to get there and set up for a one day show but it’s worth it! It`s always great to see fellow artists and artisans and welcome new ones.
This is my 3rd Bazaart. I have return customers who look for me there in Booth #119 - the same booth I`ve had every year . Since Bazaart is my 1st Sale of the year, I often premiere new types of snow dyed items there. Last year it was chiffon scarves. This year – well, I’ll keep that under my hat for now.
Bazaart is a fund raiser for the MacKenzie Art Gallery in Regina SK. You can check out all the details here http://www.mackenzieartgallery-bazaart.ca/ including a map of the booths and information about participating vendors.
You can follow me here or on my Skyswept Designs Facebook Page http://www.facebook.com/SkysweptDesigns to see what I`m up to getting ready for this year`s Bazaart.
Hope I see you there! Stop and say hi.
I am pleased to be one of the artists featured Saturday, May 11, 2013 at the Cypress Hill Park Summer Sampler at the Royal Canadian Legion in Maple Creek, SK. You can come and take a short workshop (1 hr or less) from a variety of the artists who will be doing an Artist Residency at Cypress Hills Interprovincial Park this summer. My Artist Residency will be from July 19-August 5, 2013. I am really looking forward to the longer session this year.
I will be offering my silk scarf dyeing workshop at 10:30 am and 1:30 pm. Cost is $10 per scarf and includes everything needed to make an 8inx54in silk scarf. There is a limited of 12 persons per session so you should call Connie Phillips at (306)662-3629 to reserve your space.
Skyswept Designs and I have been featured on the GoHere Destinations blog this week. Read about it here http://goheredestinations.com/2013/03/14/dyeing-for-snow-and-with-it-too/ ,
Gail Kesslar and Elizabeth Heatcoat joined forces in 2012 and started GoHere Destinations to promote all that Southwest Saskatchewan has to offer. You can read about them here http://goheredestinations.com/about/ . I follow both their twitter feed @GoHereDestinat and Facebook Page http://goheredestinations.com They keep me updated up the great places, events and people in Southwest Saskatchewan.
Skyswept Designs is celebrating its Grand (re)Opening at its new location at 202 Sidney St, Maple Creek, SK on Wednesday, March 20, 2013 from 1-7 pm. It is the studio home for mixed media fibre artist Louise Perrin, a Professional Juried Member of the SK Craft Council. She will be on hand to demonstrate and show a variety of traditional sewing, quilting and mixed media techniques as well supplies she uses in her work, classes and workshops. You are invited to help welcome Louise and Skyswept Designs to Maple Creek on the 1st day of Spring.
For her first workshop in Maple Creek, Louise is offering a 3-day Fibre Camp for Grades 1-12 from Tuesday April 2 – Thursday, April 4, 2013 (Easter Vacation). We will be creating our own fabric and making something from it using age appropriate techniques. Enrollment is limited to 4 participants per section early registration is recommended. Further information is available at http://skysweptdesigns.com .
Louise offers Basic, Intermediate and Advanced Workshops in Sewing, Quilting, Surface Design, Embellishment & Design. These are being offered as 3 hr day or evening classes, whole day 6 hr classes and multiple weekly classes that cover a topic more thoroughly. New this year are “Open Studio” sessions for adults held weekly and the 2nd Friday every month. Come and work on your current projects away from the distractions of home. Check out the list of classes being offered on her website http://skysweptdesigns.com/workshops/ and see what suits your schedule. All studio classes and workshops are limited to 6 participants, depending on techniques and equipment being used so register early. Louise can also plan workshops to suit individuals or groups on a custom basis. Her silk scarf dyeing activity is suitable for all ages, seniors, youth or other groups.
As a mostly self-taught, lifelong learner, Louise has continued to develop her interests and skills in photography, sewing, quilting and other handwork since she took her basic quilting course in Paradise (NS) in 1982. After spending close to 30 years in the Maritimes, Louise returned to her beloved Prairies in late 2004. She started Skyswept Designs full-time in July 2009 at her previous studio in Swift Current. Her latest passion is surface design, hand-dyeing and hand-painting fabrics, as well as finding innovative uses for her own photos in fibre art. She incorporates many of the new techniques she uses into her work, which continues to evolve in new directions. Louise’s original fibre art has been exhibited in juried shows, art shows and galleries, locally, nationally and internationally.
You can contact Louise at (306) 741-6404, email@example.com for information or visit her website http://skysweptdesigns.com and Facebook page, http://www.facebook.com/SkysweptDesigns to find more information about the Grand (re)Opening Celebration.