We have been feeling the need to inject a bit of fun into our working life, setting up a new business is a challenge and to do so in a pandemic has left us a little frayed around the edges. So we planned A Grand Day Out as an opportunity to head into the Devon Guild of Craftsmen to visit the ‘Colour Naturally’ exhibition curated by Jane Deane.

Our first stop was the Devon Guild, and whilst I had seen many photos, I don’t think I was remotely prepared for the truly breathtaking wall of colour that greeted us.

Each skein, hand dyed and detailed with dye, mordant and any modifier. It is a testament to the skill Jane has as a dyer that the glorious hues cover the whole spectrum, which certainly don’t fit the narrative that natural dyes are a bit murky and dull. That these colours are produced using non-chemical dyes and methods that are increasingly practised with the planet in mind, certainly gave us much to think about.

The exhibition also has had solar dye jars (all the yarn, mordants and dyes left in a sunny spot for 12 weeks) maturing over the course of the exhibition, and look like they will produce excellent results. There is also a display of the dyes, mordants and modifiers Jane has used.

It is impossible to capture in a photo the vibrancy of the pinks and reds that Jane has achieved. If you can make it to the Devon Guild of Craftsmen before the 26th September, it is worth the trip.

Jane is running her second natural dye workshop for us on the 9th October. This time, we focus on cellulose fibres – fibres from plants that need to be treated differently during dyeing to animal (protein) fibres. You can read about the first workshop here

The second part of our Business Trip to Bovey Tracey was to the epic Craft Festival . This has to be one of the highlights of the year for anyone with an interest in craft – it’s a real celebration of making with plenty of opportunities to get hands on and admire those who have honed their skills to perfection. Our primary aim was to chat to different textile makers with a view to bringing different talks and workshops to The Loom Shed. Thank you to all who who had patience with our enthusiastic waffle! We also had our portrait sketched by the kind Rubbish Portraits which will grace the walls of The Loom Shed in due course.

All in all a great day of networking, team building and business planning without a paintball gun in sight!