This year festivals are finally back and CND Studio was lucky enough to go to Galstonbury with a residency in the Greenfields Craft Village.
Debbie has been to Glastonbury before as a punter with her children age 4and 10 but that was way back in 2010 so was extremely excited to go this year as a worker. Angela has never been to a festival before or camped so getting to go to the most iconic festival in Europe as her first was brilliant. Lilith being Debbie's youngest daughter only has vague memories of dancing to Lady Gaga age 5 and spending lots of time in the circus tent!
The build up and gathering all that was needed to get through 9 days of camping and 5 days of teaching was immense. Event to the point of having to buy a roof box for Debbie's electric Zoe - was the Zoe even going to make it there with all the weight. Taking a 5m Bell Tent which weighs as much as a baby elephant is bad enough, but add to that the family tent, table, cooking bits etc and wow the car was stuffed! We also had to take a fire pit to heat the dyes on and brickettes in case there was no wood.
Once there on site it was amazing. Worthy Farm is in such a beautiful part of England you cannot fault it, and the atmosphere of Glastonbury was as always amazing. Everyone was so happy to be there and it could have rained all week and really no one would have cared.
Getting the bell tent up, decorated and ready to go was slow but that was also a beautiful way to lead into the rest of the festival. Being in the Greenfields area was so calming and having moments such as celebrating a birthday on the summer solstice watching the sun set are memories you cannot pay for. Stumbling at 4am to the composting toilets in the scared circle however is one best forgotten!
The teaching and educating side of the festival was great fun and we met some brilliant people. Debbie's favourite was Jan who is local and is obsessed with spinning and weaving nettle fibres. This is something Debbie, alongside Alice from Little Black Pants Club, is exploring with their enterprise of London Urban Textiles Commons. Jan came with a bag of nettle samples and delighted us by dyeing a scarf and a sample piece in the indigo vat. The differing depths of scouring of the nettle fibre resulted in two wonderfully differing shades of indigo. We also had a lady who dyed some wool we happened to have with us to complete a 40 @ 40 challenge she had set herself to dye and knit something made from wool.
Our main focus though was dyeing ribbons, scarves and t-shirts with the public. We had our youngest person was 4 and our oldest... Well you don't ask! Needless to say it was a wide range. Using just an indigo fruit reduction vat and a pot of marigolds we created a wide variety of colours. Obviously the silk scarves took colour and pattern the best. To our delight the indigo vat kept on giving despite a huge drop in temperature in the evening and one day that was particularly cloudy and cold.
The indigo we used came from Indigowares in a cake form so we were able to talk to people about how indigo is ground into a powder and then hydrated using marbles in a jar. So many people were fascinated by the process with a few coming back several times to dye extra bits and ask more questions. We really hope we have inspired people to start looking at dyeing their clothes natural to add new life to them rather than throwing away.
At the end of the festival we packed up and left no trace. The fire pit was put back to grass. The marigolds were buried under the grass turfs we removed to give back to the field and help the roots recover. The indigo vat was thanked and returned to the earth as well with blessings for all that she gave us. The bell tent was wrestled back into its bag, and the car stuffed to the gills again.
Returning to London took way longer than getting down there as we had a 4 hour wait to get off the site - but we saw some of the gorgeous Worthy Farm cows on the way out so that made the slow progress worth it. We were bronzed, tired and we definitely smelt interesting but smiles all round.
Will we go back and do it all again? Like a shot - if we are lucky enough to be asked.
However we are doing it again at Wilderness in August.... So watch this space or if you are going to Wilderness come and say hi!