Wednesday, December 23, 2009

An Evening of Middle Eastern Dance at El Camino College Center for the Arts

Back on October 24th we (She'enedra) did a performance at El Camino College. I'm still waiting for the video and professional pictures, that I hope to post; but in the meantime here are some casual shots of us in the dressing room.
We wore sparkly costumes for Le Criminal a French rap song with choreography by Ayse. And we wore lots of purple fluff & ruffles for Start Wearing Purple (by Gogol Bordello) with choreography by me. We were invited to participate by our friend DeVilla and Karin Jensen who is the director of Mandala Dance Works and an excellent choreographer. Also in the show were Sashi and Raine, Celeste, Rahana, Bella Oasis, of course Mandala Danceworks, and Devilla.
She'enedra is mostly Heidi, Tonantzin & myself now, but Tonantzin wasn't able to do this show which was sad. But the good news was! Ayse decided to rejoin us and of course she is always welcome and cherished! After this we did TFF and we included Khani & Gigi too! I'll post some pictures if I find some, in a later blog!
We really enjoyed seeing old friends, and meeting some new ones. The weirdest thing happened though. There were two dressing rooms, we were sent to the back one and while the girls from Mandala (who were in the front dressing room) were off doing a photo shoot someone snuck in their dressing room and took cash out of several of the dancer's purses. One had just been paid and had $200 stolen! It was horrible and the police came and we all got very protective about our stuff and took turns watching the show from the green room window and playing security for each other.
The show was wonderful though and we all had a good time regardless of the one incident.
Oh yeah, here is a picture I got of us from Facebook in our Purple costumes...uh and yeah I'm the shorty!

Me, Ayse, Sashi, Raine, Heidi
Heidi, Me, Ayse (who is unfairly wearing hi heeled boots and she's 5'8" to start with!)

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Around the World in 80 days!

I'm going to pimp the new show for a minute cause well it's going to be amazing! Last year we did Mythical Creatures, this year it's Around the World in 80 days and though you may know the basic story line this show will be full of fun surprises and wonderful belly dancing. Look at our cast list and tell me can we go wrong?
Lee Ali
Politti Ashcraft
Mandala Tribal
Medea Noche
Wild Routes
and Jeremy Hahn
You can follow the 80 days blog at

I dropped a cast iron frying pan on my foot!!!

I think it's affecting my brain! It was first thing this morning and I have been forced to sit on the couch all day. I can't even spin very easily. I can knit but I'm to antsy because I need to be getting ready for my HUGE winter solstice party on Saturday and this place is a mess!
This is not worthy a blog really...
here are some pictures of cute stuff instead
a dog-Cosmo, a bunny-Sir Puffsalot aka puffy, - and a child-Riley...

Puffy is our newest pet, he was at the animal shelter so we saved him! He is part Angora, part Jersey wooley

The ongoing cotton project

Still catching up on the last 2 months of stuff...

These pictures are of our cotton tree...yes I said TREE! I was given the seeds for this tree by another member of my spinning and weaving guild a couple of years ago and I finally got around to planting them. She got them at a demonstration that our guild does annually in the herb garden at the Huntington Library where the parent tree lives. When I was at SOAR I met Phreadde Davis who recently wrote an article on growing cotton in the Spin Off Fall 2009 issue on natural fibers. She told me that these seeds are very special and were saved from extinction by a lady (who's name I wish I could remember) that did a lot of work to preserve cotton varieties. Phreadde (pronounced Fred) gave me some seeds for naturally green colored cotton that I plan to plant on the opposite side of my house so they don't affect each other with any cross pollination. Phreadde also taught me how to spin cotton straight off the seed. It's such a great thing to learn, now I don't have to sit around picking seeds out of the cotton balls. I plan to post video of how to do this soon!

In an earlier blog I posted pictures of the cotton bolls before they opened. Now they have!

We picked as much as we could before the rain this weekend. It's mostly mine & Riley's project but we have had to enlist Robert's help because the tree is so high we can't reach the topmost branches. When Robert helps us with the picking Riley and I run back and forth in the garden with baskets catching the cotton he throws over his shoulder! I wish I had pictures but then it would require enlisting another person in our project.

See how big our developed cotton balls are?

Here are pics of Riley & I carding cotton (before we learned the new way of spinning straight off the cotton balls), and spinning on a takhli.

I'm just now teaching Riley how to spin, pretty good for a 6 year old I'd say!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Tribal Fusion Faire-TFF-last minute insanity!!!

This weekend I'm performing and teaching and vending at Tribal Fusion Faire at San Luis Obispo. It has always been one of my favorite festivals because it's more like a get together of the California Tribal Bellydance community. It's 3 hours from L.A. and 3 hours from S.F. so it's smack in between for all of us. And it's a great opportunity to do a little holiday shopping, take a workshop from someone awesome and famous like Amy Sigil or Zoe Jakes or someone NOT so famous like ME!!! haha! It's really an honor to be asked to teach at this event! I hope lots of people come to my class, it's called Island Influences, and that is EXACTLY what it is about, not a Hula class, not a Tahitian class, but a belly dance class where I teach some of the Polynesian moves as they can apply to belly I hope it will be fun and a good workout too.

That is a picture of me the first time I danced at TFF way back in 2004 or 5 I can't remember!

Here is the link in case you are interested in going or just want to see what it's all about!

So tomorrow She'enedra is performing at 6:40pm and on Sunday my student troupe (which is pretty amazing right now) is performing at 1:20...

come out and see us!!! Yay! I have to run and finish many many details for the weekend now! xoxo

AND on Monday night I'm dancing and vending at this little event at my friend Donavon's place too!!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I was made to GATHER!

The guild I belong to "Ventura County Handweavers and Spinners Guild" has an annual harvest sale -this is anachronistic because it happened before I went to SOAR, so it's actually in the wrong spot in this blog- and I did a bit of what I am genetically designed to do gathering. Oh! The fibers!

This is a camel/silk roving purchased from Redfish dyeworks

Which became this yarn, I think the pictures do not do it justice...

I am planning to knit it into a lacy cowl, it's 4oz and 370 yards.

This is some purple yarn that I purchased, I aspire to spin something like it eventually. But my intentions for this is to make a jacket w/ this yarn at the cuffs, collar and front. I found an Eggplant (dyed) colored Polworth fleece at Soar that will make up the body of the jacket.

And I also purchased this Alpaca/wool Indigo dyed roving that I spun up into yarn. It is not spun as fine as the camel silk but it's pretty nice. I just don't know what it will become yet.

I purchased a few other necessities a beautiful handmade niddy noddy and some unnecessities but did not take their pictures! And can you believe that Robert asked me when I got home if these purchases were part of my SOAR budget? Of course they were NOT I didn't buy them at SOAR! : )

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I went to SOAR!!!

It's hard to believe I haven't blogged in almost 2 months! My life is just like everyone else's this time of year, crazy busy! I'm not sure why I let this happen but I'll try to fit a few of the highlights from my calendar that are just too exciting not to share. It may take a few installments on the blog...

First of all I went to SOAR-Spin Off Autumn Retreat, a dream of mine for quite a few years now. This event is an annual one put on by Interweave Press, it has a limited amount of registrants and I think I got in because the economy is so bad that a lot of the usuals didn't go. The teachers are the most well known and respected fiber artists in the country it was a great opportunity to learn and network and be with people who share the same crazy passion I have! It was pretty expensive undertaking, I'm trying not to feel guilty about the cost! I'm just so grateful that I went.

I had to buy myself a traveling spinning wheel which fit in the overhead bin on an airplane. Here is the sweet little Victoria wheel next to my Schacht wheel.

In preparation for going I wanted to make myself one of my handspun & woven belly dance belts to submit for the gallery...although I didn't finish my project in time - I ended up borrowing a belt from Nisan, who commissioned one from me a few years back- I'm happy I will finally have one of my own's hard for me to make time to finish a project for myself.

Here is the yarn I dyed & spun for the belt

and being measured for the warp

Here are a couple of shots of the warp going on the loom

And being woven

It's hard for me to express the happiness I feel when I see a warp on the loom, it's just such a satisfying thing.

I didn't take nearly enough pictures while I was at SOAR but here they are:

This is Sarah Swett- she is an incredibly inspiring woman. She actually used to live out in the wilderness in a cabin with just a mule, and during her time there she learned to spin. She is an exceptional artist, she only uses her own handspun yarns, prepared from fleeces that she dyes exclusively with natural dyes, she then designs her own handknits and tapestries.

Unfortunately I was really sick while at SOAR I didn't feel well enough to take pictures of all the great things she brought to show us...but I did get to try on her vest, so that's me w/ messy hair and all wearing Sarah's vest.

You can see a few of her things on the table behind me in the picture.

After that class I went to a class with Sarah Anderson, another exceptional artist, on Designing in Spinning. She had a whole table of white yarns she had spun using different techniques, I was very inspired by the consistent and organized manner these women have developed to get so much work done. Here is Sarah Anderson's hand as she demonstrates how to wind yarn for Andean plying and several of her yarns that were on display.

After Sarah's class I took some pictures of paintings and the lodge to show Robert and everyone.

Then I became incredibly sick and couldn't do much else, I missed my class on spinning for socks (heartbreaking). I somehow got through the class on hand cards but I was too sick to take pictures. There is a picture of the bed I spent too much time in and the view I had of the fireplace from the self same bed!