Thursday, April 22, 2010

Earth Day at Joybilee Farm

This is Paco practicing his back flips and David watching.
  Our WWOOFers taking a break from the work at Joybilee Farm.

Making a difference.  We approach Earth Day differently than most -- In our world view, the Earth is to be cared for because it is God's creation and exhibits God's message to mankind --  Job 12:7-9  "Ask the animals and they will teach you, or the birds of the air and they will tell you; or speak to the earth and it will teach you, or let the fish of the sea inform you.  Which of these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this?"

This is our motivation for caring for the earth, reducing our consumption of plastics, chemicals and limiting our "carbon footprint", being kind to the wild creatures and domestic animals that dwell here with us at Joybilee Farm.  This is our impetus to share our knowledge about ecological farming through the WWOOF program.  This is also our motivation for using natural dyes. 

The colours that are inherent in natural dye plants are unlike chemical colours -- they exhibit complex hues rather than a single colour molecule and have stood the test of centuries of time.  When I see natural dye colours it reminds me of providential grace.

Today we head to the Grand Forks Art Gallery to demonstrate the fiberarts to groups of school children that will be coming through for Arts and Culture week.  We will make felted bracelets with them, and introduce them to the wonders of wool and natural dyes.  The Weaver guild has set up a loom, which we will also demonstrate to the kids.  And we'll have a few drop spindles to show how wool fibers are made into yarn.

In the studio, today the madder dyed yarn is a brick red colour (day 5)-- not really as vibrant as the flash picture shows.

Yesterday, Sarah did a woad vat using the Spring leaves from 3rd year Isatis tinctoria plants at a ratio of 10:1 leaves to fiber.  The colour is a sky blue, after a rinse in vinegar.  It seems like a lot of leaves for a very small amount of colour, but since woad plants are biennial its quite astounding to be getting any blue at all from 3rd year plants.  We've had about 5 days of warm Spring weather and the snow is gone -- so we'll be pulling up all the woad plants that we don't want to go to seed.  These are the leaves that we will dye with over the next two weeks.

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