Photographs by Ian Storie
The next Alpaca Adventure in Latvia takes place in June 2018. If you'd like to know more, get in touch.
Catch up with our hosts, Griezītes Alpakas and their amazing alpaca farm on Facebook.
I first found out about Karen Haggis and her Nepal Textile Adventure last September. It had been a very hard time for me and my husband, as we both lost our fathers in the summer. We hadn't had a proper holiday for a while, and this trip to Nepal (including the far east of the country) promised so much: discovering the art of dhaka weaving and 'counted thread' embroidery, participating in workshops on feltmaking and blockprinting and photographing one of the most colourful cultures in the world.
I signed up, met Karen and the 5 other women in the group and, in April, embarked on one of the most exciting trips of my life.
If you follow my blog, you will know that Susan and I go way back. We have holidayed together countless times and, most recently, made several trips in pursuit of exceptional feltmaking experiences. A couple of years ago, Susan gave me a copy of Catherine O'Leary's book, From felt to fabric. Imagine my delight when I saw that, not only was Catherine to be teaching a 3-day workshop on Bodywraps this summer, but that it would take us back to the Netherlands...this time to Atelier Fiberfusing, run by feltmaker, Dorie van Dijk. The location for our felting sojourn on the banks of the River Amstel could not have been bettered, despite the heatwave of the first couple of days and the ever-hungry mosquitoes at our accommodation.
It was a long time in the planning but, in May, I finally got the opportunity to attend a workshop with Hungarian feltmaker, Judit Pocs. The 2-day workshop was impeccably hosted by Truus Huijbregts and her husband at the Dutch Felt Academy in Friesland. We (that is, the Scottish contingent of Susan, Pauline and myself) stayed nearby in the pretty village of Boazum enjoying the fabulously laid-back hospitality of Jan and his wife at Gerbrandy State B&B.
The pictures tell their own story but suffice to say that the workshop was not for the faint-hearted. It was challenging and, as a result, immensely rewarding. Judit pushed us to think about feltmaking with a greater precision that I ever had before. Templates for bags were created actual size and then scaled up proportionately according to how many layers of wool we intended to use, and whether we were going to incorporate silk or not (I was). We also learned how to do flaps, handles, fastenings, pockets inside and out....it actually took me 3 days to complete my bag (we spent a day at the B&B, finishing off). But how much I learned. All in all, an excellent workshop. More than that, it is a great place to visit. I will definitely return to beautiful Freisland.
I hope you enjoy the pictures. The only one that is missing (for the moment) is that of the finished bag. I'll keep that for the next blog post.