Friday, February 20, 2009

Jane Callender comes to Kuwait

In January Jane Callender flew in to give us a talk about and run a workshop in her indigo dyeing and shibori work. WOW!! no WOW already!! this was fantastic. If you ever see one of her talks or workshops advertised, go. and if you run a group looking for a speaker or workshop leader, she is your lady.

She flew in on the BA red eye, so I took her home to sleep the morning away, and then vaguely refreshed, we jumped in the car and went out on a look/see and photography trip. In the end, we only drove up the Arabian Gulf Road for about 10 miles, but it took us over 2 hours, because she kept needing to stop and take pictures. Normally it takes 20 minutes, - 30 tops depending on how bad the traffic is.

The following day we went to Sadu House to put up her display for her talk. She had brought with her several pieces of her work, and they looked fabulous hung on the racking around the central courtyard. Then on to the home of Paramjeet Bawa, who had volunteered her basement to hold the workshop in to prepare the indigo vats. Poor Cally almost had heart failure when she arrived. all the paving around the house, the stairs down to, and the floor in the basement are all white marble tiles. Indigo, obviously, is blue, and stains. There were going to be 20 people dipping and dyeing over the next 2 days - it was not going to be pretty!

this large piece was facing everyone diagonally across the courtyard as they came in, it is called Kaleidoscope, and 150cm square.

The rest are in no particular order, but just give a flavour of her work.

flushed with the success of the evening, we went home and got everything ready for the workshop the next day.
still convinced that she would be facing hideous bills for replacing acres of marble irevocably dyed blue, Cally still managed to put a brave face on and get things going. A run through of different techniques and we were off to make a shibori sampler. The silence was a testament to the level of concentration - I mean, when have you ever known 20 women in the same room, who all know each other pretty well, be quiet? For ages? Eventually, a few nimble fingered souls had stitched and gathered and were ready to dip their monstrous creations. 4 dips of a minute with 20 minutes in between. Did we have that much patience? And each time that magical moment when the cloth comes out of the vat coloured green and turns blue in front of your eyes. I love it.

2 days of this, which was just heaven, we stitched, we wrapped, we scrunched, we bound, and my, the work the ladies produced. It will be interesting to see if any of them use any of their creations in quilts or finished pieces for our exhibition in May.

Cally ended up staying with me for a week. I hope she went home with a good flavour of living in Kuwait - I tried to give her a sample of lots of things, and we were both exhausted by the end of the week. She took home a gazillion photos, and several pounds of excess baggage which we managed to get through ok because the plane was not full, phew! We took her to the fabric souk - twice, the heritage souk for dinner, for a pedicure at a nailbar in a shopping centre where we had valet parking, to the Friday market, to a concert by a local singing group, The Ahmadi singers, and took photos everywhere. I know that it was a fabulous week for me, and for the KTAA, and the ladies are still talking about the workshop and how fantastic it was. I got lots of brownie points for organising that. So I repeat, if you get the chance to listen to her or go to her workshop, you will not regret taking it. Promise.

1 comment:

Homeleightigger said...

Hi Sara - WOW what a week you had. I am exhausted just reading about it! It sounds absolutely super, I would have loved to share it with you - pix make up for it though. Thanks for dropping by my blog and for your lovely comment. Val