I've just spent a gorgeous weekend in Pembrokeshire, with "The Cheerful Project", teaching rural communities to make natural dye inks and to block print their own Christmas cards.
We arrived in the dark, in the middle of a howling gale, to friends, Melissa and Rowan's, house, perched on the edge of a cliff overlooking the Pembrokeshire coast. I love the surprise of waking up somewhere new in the morning to find out where you are. The journey to our class took us down beautiful twisting, winding, wintery country roads, through little welsh hamlets and farms. The light drizzle and open landscape nourishing the adventure.
Saturday was for making dyes from plants I had foraged and brought with me. We reduced them down and mixed them together with binders and preservatives to create non-toxic and biodegradable inks.
On Sunday we used our inks to experiment with the block-printing process, using biodegradable vegetable blocks and recycled paper from a mill in Lancashire.
We made some lovely colours from a mixture of berries, plum, eucalyptus, dock, yew, onion skins and logwood.
It was really special to meet the people who came to share this time together with us. We had such an interesting mix of folk, from local villages, small holdings and a land-based communities. Among the group was a lady who grew her own dye plants, another who taught science and used cabbage dyes in ph tests, some were artists, lino and screen printers, textile artists and sustainable living enthusiasts. It was such a rich and diverse gathering of personalities and talents. And fascinating to see how different people used the medium to create such a variety of styles.
Thank you Rowan and SPAN Arts for inviting us over! :) Babs x