Helen Deighan – Coil pot workshop


A group of 15 members were led by Helen on her last ever workshop, and we all enjoyed learning how to use plastic-covered rope wound with a variety of textiles and machine-sewn with a small-ish zig-zag stitch to make a small shaped bowl. 

The effort and concentration involved were mighty, but we all managed to achieve pleasing results.  The great variety of results was a testament to the use of the variety of materials we used – from sari tops to striped or flowery light-weight cottons and silks  – and whether we had turned over the edge of our strips, or left it raw.  Twisting the material to cover the rope and then holding it with a small clip,  was rather time-consuming but Helen assured us that we can do this while watching TV with practice.  Holding the rope straight while machining was quite absorbing, and we learned that altering the tension allowed us to produce pleasing curves and in-out gradations in our vessels. 

We were encouraged to pre-dye material or to dye pots after completion using her dye in a plastic bag method.  We also learned an easy way to turn down edges of strips using an iron and a strategically placed pin which delighted everyone. 

Helen was a delightful, fascinating and encouraging  guide, and we wish her well in her determination to devote herself to further inventions in her own studio.

Report and photos by Clare R

Thank you, Clare!  Ros

Helen Deighan – May 2016

Our speaker this month was Helen Deighan and her talk was entitled “Going Potty”.  Helen studied textiles at College and then went on to teach.  She had to invent a special way of helping disabled students to follow her technique of dyeing fabrics and she established her well known method of using plastic bags to contain the products.
Helen was a very generous speaker and explained that she only uses three colours for dyeing, turquoise, lemon yellow and magenta.  She talked about using plastic bags and cat litter trays, the different results obtained when the fabric is wet and when it is dry and the various folds, scrunches and twists to obtain the different tie dye patterns.
Whilst visiting a French market Helen saw coil pots constructed from fabric wrapped around a washing line and on her return she experimented with the idea.  To begin with she stitched the coil in place by hand but now uses a zigzag on the machine and now sells a special cord which she sourced from China to help with the construction.  Helen showed us a wonderful variety of pots and bags made from her own colourful hand dyed fabrics, bought materials, sari silks and yarns. Helen has written a number of books on dyeing, creating coil pots and braids. 
This was Helen’s final talk and workshop because she wants to spend time on her new interest, spinning and weaving and she showed us examples of her work.

Report by Ros