Indie Shelf: Doe Arnot
During August we've welcomed Doe Arnot's beautiful yarns on to the indie shelf. I've always been inspired by how much Doe manages to accomplish - and what a beautiful weaver and spinner she is. I caught up with Doe to talk a bit more about what motivates her.
When you aren't busy dyeing what else do you do?
I look after my husband’s Osteopathic Practice 4 days a week and I work in The Oamaru Textile Emporium every Sunday.
I also weave, handspin and crochet. I actually spin nearly every day for at least an hour in the evening if I can. I love to go out and select my fleeces off the back of the animals and process completely from raw fleece to yarn. I custom spin yarns for individuals and small companies.
What is your number one favourite part of being an indie dyer?
Hearing how people react when my husband tells them I’m busy ‘dyeing in the shed’.
My favourite part is still being inspired and learning from the craft after more than 30 years of doing it. I enjoy both natural dyes and synthetic dyes. Natural dyeing is challenging and takes a lot more patience but it is how I first got into dyeing by using plants from my garden and it has a very different colour range to synthetic dyes.
How did you get into spinning and weaving? Are you a process or a product crafter?
I worked as an art therapist in a very large hospital in the UK and discovered some unused weaving looms in the Occupational Therapy department. So I taught myself the basics and was offered a spinning wheel by another member of the staff. I became particularly hooked on spinning as it was a relaxing thing to do in the evening after work when I was too tired to think. I’ve dyed fabric and yarns to knit with since I was a teenager.
I think I’m a mixture of both, once the project is near completion I’m already planning the next thing. I can let the finished item move on to its next life quite often with somebody else.
We all have colour tendencies - what's yours? Do you find this comes through in your dyeing?
I adore blue and in particular indigo. It is difficult to capture the colour with synthetic dyes but real indigo blue from the plant has many nuances and subtleties and I never tire of the colour. Plus you have to work at it and be patient and the indigo goddess then blesses you with a colour.
Blue features heavily in both my work and my clothes.
If you could go on holiday anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
It’s probably a bit of a cliché but I love Scotland. Particularly the Highlands and Islands. My husband’s family live in Argyll and I have spent many summers and autumns there. His family has a holiday park looking across the sounds to Jura and we came close to moving permanently to the Isle of Mull. In the end New Zealand won and we came here instead. No midges to bite you but equally stunning scenery.
Anything else you would like to share with us?
I love tweed, both the fabric and yarn. I like that you have to get up close to view the complexities of colour and tone. So I dye my yarn and fibres blending with different colours mixed together. Whilst I enjoy working with yarns in bright saturated colours from other dyers I seem incapable of not muteing and mixing the shades I dye. I like soft changes in value and yarns that have pinpoints of different colours in them that merge together from a distance.
I also love overdyeing natural animal colours such as moorits, greys and browns.
Yarns that inspire me are Jamieson’s of Shetland, Alice Starmore and Brooklyn Tweed.
If I could afford it I would commission a mill to produce my own tweed yarn line from NZ grown fleeces in colours dyed in the fleece and blended that reflect the colours of New Zealand.
To celebrate my Tweed love and my pleasure in having my yarns feature on the indie shelf for August there are a very limited number of my handspun heathered yarn packs in the Holland Road Yarns Wellington shop this month.