Gifts With A Story

One of the nicest parts of holiday sales is hearing, “That’s perfect for….” and the story of who and why. It’s like you become part of the story, as well as the extended family.

Botanical print scarf from my etsy shop at https://www.etsy.com/listing/480107880/silk-scarf-eco-fashion-plant-dyed.

That happens a lot with the botanical dye scarves and yarns I sell. People are looking for something they can feel good about giving, and they like being able to honor a giftee’s love of nature. I love that people are interested in the techniques and materials I use, and that those items go out in the world to spark conversations.

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Willow Harvest

In one very productive week and with help from Bill and friends, my willow crop is cut, sorted, and the long rods have been cleaved and coiled for skeining next year. 

Donna Kallner with some of the 2016 willow harvest.

The time to harvest willow for basketry is generally when the plant is dormant. I like to cut my beds in late November — after the leaves have dropped but before the snow starts to pile up. Last year’s crop I harvested late so I could peel the willow after the buds broke in spring. That worked really well, but other uncertainties make it better for me to harvest in fall. So we’re trying another method generously shared by Dawn Walden.

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Holiday Sales Begin

If we didn’t have an annual studio open house I would probably never get my windows washed. The cleaner version of my work space only lasts a short time. But for one weekend a year, Bill and I return to our retail roots.  

We enjoy visiting with friend and hearing their questions and comments about our work. They give us lots of good ideas! This year, we extended our hours to include Friday afternoon as well as Saturday. It helped spread out the traffic and I think made it easier for us to talk with just about everyone who came.

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November Means Studio Sale

Our annual holiday studio sale is this weekend, which means the next few days will be a flurry of pricing and tagging products to sell, cleaning my working studio (which truly needs it), and transforming that space into a comfortable place to shop.

donna-kallner_studio-sale

It never feels like I’m quite ready, but this year especially feels like a lot of things have slipped through my fingers. Including the typo in the image above. But after being gone for three weeks in October, I feel like it’s an achievement just to be wearing clean underwear.

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Singing The Fresh Leaf Blues

My latest attempt at an organic vat from fresh-leaf homegrown Japanese indigo has me singing the blues — the pale, grayish, stinky blues. And while this batch of yarn counts as a dye fail, I learned some things getting here.

The yarns look better than they really are, but there’s no point letting them dry out for a photo. I’ll keep changing the water until the odor is gone, then overdye them. Probably in a fresh-leaf vat reduced with Thiox. Because it’s the end of August, which in northern Wisconsin means our growing season could end in six weeks or six days. 

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Snipping My Way To Color

Natural dye material is ready to harvest just about everywhere you turn here in rural northern Wisconsin, where I’m snipping as fast as I can. It’s nice to have a reason to slow down for a bit and enjoy dyeing with a friend.

The angel who started my Japanese indigo last spring came over yesterday morning. We combined leaves snipped from her plants and mine and had a nice visit while the pot warmed gently over a two-hour period. 

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