Yan Tan Tethera -Mandala Construction #2.

   

In May 2014, Prick Your Finger presented the first opportunity for a  Knitted Mandala at the 'Yan Tan Tethera' Show at Cecil Sharp House in London. The Show was curated by David Littler, who gave us a wonderful chance to go through the Vaughan Williams Memorial Library at Sharps and pull out songs about making textiles, which we could then sing with Aimee Leonard's Folk choir.

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Last weekend we went on tour to Winbourne's Walford Mill,  to show our works and take part in the Winbourne Folk Festival. Here we all are,  at the mill, gathered like we are in a band photo, in between Freddie Robins's artworks.  We were all camping in a field down the road, and as you can see from the photo, we had kept 'it' all together.  Top left is David Littler our curator, and the one who makes everything funny and possible. In the middle is Aimee Leonard, who sings like a lark, with a soft Orkney accent, and can get any tune out of her drum, which she made herself.  Shane Waltner is crouching down at the back, and he is our master of lace dancing in the street, and on the dance floor.  He can calmly mastermind many dancers to weave fabric whilst dancing to a fiddle.   Faye McNulty with her practical boots, is a wizard in the print room, and runs the events at the English Folk Song and Dance Society. This means she can  make anything run smoothly, and give you that feeling that you are  on holiday, which is the emotion that I am expressing on the  floor on the right hand side.   Those flipflops were hopeless for barn dancing later.

 

walford_ytt_mcgrath1We missed our absent friends, Freddie Robins, Stewart Easton, Celia Ward and the McGrath Makers, and all our friends from Spin Cycle.  Here is a morris dancing outfit made by the McGrath Makers, the adults with learning difficulties, who would have loved to see all the other Morris Dancers at the festival.

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The idea of a Mandala came about when thinking about  the communial knitting projects we had experienced before, and the singing of traditional songs to help us get through the work. Curating site specific knitting events is always strange because time has to play such a huge part in your plans.   Here is a booklet I produced for Yan Tan Tethera's knitters, showing patterns for little charms which could be added to the mandala.

Knitting is slow, so music and dance can be the key to getting a project finished.  There is a temptation for group knitting projects to produce something 'big'.  The knitted mandala was designed as an event piece having no beginning or end, and small pieces could be made and added to it at any time.

 

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Here we are one year ago, at Cecil Sharp's with the Mandala Mark#1.  This mandala had a solid, knitted background, which we realized made the application of charms, less fluid.  Each charm had to be stitched on, which prevented it from being moved easily.  We learned that charms need to be moved so they can relate to other charms as they arrive.

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The fluidity of the Mandala came with a re-build from 'string art'! Using the 'Knit by Numbers' range of Merino DK, the new background was woven in multi - shades of the same colours, giving a new depth and plenty of space to hide, gather and accentuate the charms which had been added. string-manadala1

As new groups bring new charms to the piece, we can now arrange new patterns.

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It took a long time to bang in all the nails around the edges, but the work was a joy to make and it cast beautiful shadows on the floor.  It was fun hiding the sheep in between the grass, and letting the mini socks fall out of the sky.  string-manadala4Sometimes the mandala looks good with lots of yellow ducks gathered together to form the sun, (as seen above)  and sometimes it is nice to have the space in the middle just left black. string-manadala5

 

Here are the Winbourne knitters having a go at the Yan Tan Tethera Patterns.  Aimee taught us folk songs while we worked, and pretty soon we were all joining in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

walford_ytt_knitters2David Littler our curator, learned to knit again! He's really good when he gets going, but his little tie is still too small to wear. It really doesn't matter though - he got us all there in the first place, so we reckon he is a great knitter whatever he does.

walford_ytt_knitters7The Winbourne knitters made their contributions in acrylics, despite the free matching merino on offer. It was their choice of yarn, and as a result their work really stands out, so we will always remember them!  walford_ytt_matthews5The amount of knitted orange chickens continues to overwhelm us. They are so popular.

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It's a nice vibe at Walford Mill.  If you don't want to knit you can sit and watch the YTT film in one of the arm chairs, which is asking for embroidered graffiti.  There are Shane Waltner's Bobbins from his lace dancing hanging in the window.

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Shane's lace dancing was great out in the street. Ben played the fiddle and Amiee her drum and her you can see all the threads from all the dancers, taking over the street.

walford_ytt_waltener_performance_13It's a bit like maypole dancing I guess, or friendship bracelets on a rather large scale. Shane calls the finished piece a 'score'.

These were my favourite Morris Dancers, the Exmoor Borders.  I bet they wear John Arbon's teal and purple 4ply alpacca socks in winter.

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Spin Cycle at Cecil Sharp House

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EFDSS.CSH_spin-cycle_banner-550x113 We’d be delighted if you were able to join us Next Thursday 25th September at 7.30pm as sampler-cultureclash presents Spin Cycle as the finale event of Yan Tan Tethera at the English Folk Dance and Song Society.

Help us to celebrate, toast and draw to a close a wonderful season of events – as a host of traditional musicians, Gaelic and English songs combine with beatboxers, electronics, and all manner of textile machines and sampling goodness in an exploration of all things that spin, rotate and oscillate.

Joining sampler-cultureclash regulars and previous Spin Cycle performers David Littler, Jason Singh, Hector MacInnes and Anne Martin is Aimee Leonard and the Dulwich Folk Choir, alongside textile artists Deidre Nelson; Rachael Matthews (from Prick Your Finger); and musicians Laurel Swift and Ben Moss.

After five months residency, the Graffiti Chairs will be gathered up from various sites around Camden to be displayed together for the first time. Encouraged by Mr X Stitch’s cross stitch wizardry and tutoring, locals have been busy stitching their textile song related words to transform the chairs.

Catch the final performance from Shane Waltener and his Bobbin Dancers, following the success of their Lace Tell stairwell weave-in; the film of which created by Roswitha Chesher will premier during the evening.

The 25 September will be the last chance to view the exhibition featuring new work from Freddie Robins, Prick Your Finger, Stewart Easton, Shane Waltener and the McGrath Makers; alongside printed broadsides of textile songs from the Vaughan Willians Memorial Library and the Pepys Library.

Promoted by the English Folk Dance and Song Society (EFDSS)

Spin Cycle was originally commissioned by Atlas Arts with Deirdre Nelson and performed at Skye Bike Festival 2013.

We’d love to see you there. from David and the Yan Tan Tethera artists, sampler-cultureclash collective and everyone at EFDSS.

BOOK YOUR TICKET HERE!

http://www.efdss.org/component/content/article/21-shared/shared-events/1335-spin-cycle

www.textilefolksong.co.uk www.samplercultureclash.org.uk