Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Global craft

Our daughter emailed to announce that Cynthia Tinapple's new book,
Polymer Clay Global Perspectives, arrived in the post  -  I'm excited from afar! I have project and interview near the center of the book and have images of work on the front and apparently back covers.  The book is available for pre-order and will ship on July 30.

I've finally managed to find someone on the island with an oven thermometer and since I have an electric oven instead of a wood-fired one as expected I'll be making some polymer beads for SHAPE. They have a great little oven/stove combo thing. They use the "hob" (burners)  for candle making but I've put out the feelers out to see if  they'd be interested in using the oven to start making some simple polymer beads as well.

Today was my 5th flax class and I was thrilled to be able to produce this small bag in one morning. The woven green flax must dry, weighted, pinned into shape for a couple days. Then it will permanently hold its shape and I can freeze it to kill any "critters". (Bugs abound in a sub-tropic environment.) This is a completely different material for me and I've really enjoyed exploring it. Flax grows all over the island and you can just park along the road the cut what you need. Up until the invention of nylon rope in the 1960s, flax was used to make rope/cord and Saint Helena provided all the flax used to bundle mail for the British Empire. So its pliable and strong and because you can tuck it and fold it and weave it you can make things out of it with no connectors or glue or anything.  I love this simplicity. Yes, if we were staying I would definitely be continuing my once/week class.

Step one of a square bottom basket
The bottom is complete

Weaving the sides

Folded and wove the top back through to make the points - then decided to pinch the top and add a handle to turn the basket into a purse. 

Eleanor helps Josie with a her large market bag
I enjoy the camaraderie of the mornings as well. The teacher is an accomplished craftsperson (You know the kind who's good at everything they put their hand to? Thats Wanda. )  who makes her living doing tailoring and upholstery. My classmates today were Saint Helenians, British expats and one South African yachtie here for a few months while making her way north through the Atlantic...a very global group!


  1. Flax looks a lot like the palm leaves we used to weave at church, Genevieve. Does it retain its green colour once dried? Your projects look like great fun!

    1. Yes, I think lots of different fibers could probably be used the same way Monique.
      If its dries naturally its ends up as dark green but if you freeze it turns a gorgeous golden color. Thats what I plan to do with my purse once I get the handle attached.

  2. St. Helena looks like Paradise.....thank you for sharing your vacation with us!
    I just found your blog today through your Etsy store & I'm enjoying it all!
    Sophia in S.FL.