Thursday 30 September 2010

Atslan Stone Pendants

Today's upload are these two stone pendants, Malachite & Jaspis. To view these in more detail, click here.

Crafted from a combination of three different threads. Wax coated rayon has been used for the central cores, with hemp and flax worked around the rayon to provide these Malachite & Jaspis pendants with a strong adjustable cord. Simply slide the large bone bead along the cord to adjust the length.

For more pendants from Atslan and Green Glass Tokyo, watch this space as more will be added slowly over the next few weeks.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Linen Crochet Shawl

Today's product upload is this beautiful linen crochet shawl. For more details on this item, click here.

Elegant movement like a butterfly... Crochet Linen Shawl. 

This shawl is beautifully crochetted by Nepalese women using soft linen thread .
The sophisticated design simply fascinates anyone. 

The Linen thread is washed once before being crochetted. 
The more you use it, the softer it will become. 

Monday 27 September 2010

Middle Farm Apple Festival

This coming October will see Middle Farm's annual Apple Festival held on the weekend of 16th & 17th. Sorazora have been confirmed as one of the stalls offering an array of products at this celebration of English apples. A full list of the band lineup over the weekend is available on the Apple Festival link.
Middle farm is a 625 acre working family farm nestling at the foot of Firle Beacon on the South Downs in Sussex. Although October saw us at many events and festivals in Japan, this will be a first for us in the UK. We are a little worried about the weather and expecting to have to wrap up warm. I am sure a plentiful supply of cider will keep the chill at bay!

Wooden Skein Holder

Crafted from elder and oak, this skein (hank) holder has made life  a little easier here at Sorazora. There is nothing unusual about the design, but after just a short while in the workshop it certainly helps with converting ball to hank for dyeing and then back to ball again. It was my first attempt to put my GCSE woodwork skills to the test within the field of spinning, weaving and dyeing. I fear a handloom will be requested of me next!!

Green Glasss Tokyo

When we started Sorazora in the UK at the beginning of 2009, we were delighted to showcase the glass work of Masaya Kuribayashi. Based in Shibuya, Tokyo, Masaya sells his work in person throughout many festivals and events under the name Green Glass Tokyo. His work is also available in a shop called Sakae (link in Japanese only!) in the coastal city Kamakura.
Sorazora is providing, not only a showcase for his work in the UK, but also the first outside of Japan. We had a great response from customers concerning Masaya's glass pendants and have just recieved a new batch which I will craft onto macrame cords and slowly uploaded in the run up to Christmas. To view his previous work in our online store, please follow this link.
There are four different techniques used in our new batch and I shall try my hardest to explain the differences. First there is the classic "Inside Out" technique, where coloured glass is applied to a clear glass tube before being inverted to leave the coloured detail set within the pendant. This technique has been used in three different sized pendants.
Inside Out, Large
Inside Out, Medium
Inside Out, Small
Umi means sea in Japanese and with this style, each pendant has captured the powerful beauty of ocean waves. This is my personal favourite of his different techniques.
Uchu means cosmos and is the name of his technique that creates three dimensional visions of space and its deep expanse. You will see that I have already started to string the pendants using a combination of undyed hemp and rayon. I will also be using naturally dyed hemp, flax and even nettle for some of the pendants.
This technique focuses on layering the glass at the back of the pendant to form a blend of pastel shades in a organic pattern.

From Sorazora, we'd like to thank our good friend for providing us with a further selection of his work and also congratulate him on his upcoming marriage in November. Depending on our work schedule here in the UK, we are not sure if it will be one or both of us that will get to join him on his special day. If I know him well, it will definitely be a great party held in the mountains of Chichibu in Saitama prefecture.

Sunday 26 September 2010

Customer's Crochet Bag Creation

Today's "Customer's Creations" upload is this really cute crochet bag. It was crafted by Lisa in Kent who used Sorazora's naturally dyed hempwool that she had purchased at Kent County Show back in the middle of July.

Lisa used two and a half 100g balls that are a 50% hemp & 50% wool blend. She intends to put a lining in the bag at a later stage. We love this bag and her choice of design really shows off the colours that she chose. We would like to thank Lisa for sharing her work with us and we hope it will inspire others to get creative.

The blue yarn was dyed with indigo and the two different greens are both dyed with pomegranate peel. The use of different mordants creates a different green. Alum was used for the lighter green and iron sulphate was the mordant for the darker green.

Tuesday 21 September 2010


From the 17th to the 19th of September saw 2010's Out Of The Ordinary festival on Knockhatch Farm near Hailsham. It is pretty much the last festival in the season as outside events start to fall out of favour with the weather. We were very lucky with the weather over the weekend with it keeping dry. The cooler night temperatures were kept away by staying close to a fire in the evenings. Any fire visible was surrounded by festival goers keeping warm.

This year, Sorazora held a workshop/demonstration during daylight hours for those interested in basic macrame techniques. It was a nice way to get to know people and give them the skills to make their own bracelets or pendants.

Mark Sidders was again giving demonstrations on spoon carving. It was at this festival last year that we had the pleasure of meeting Mark and being his neighbour for a great weekend. Mark's website is still under construction, but can be viewed by clicking here!

We had upsized our stall from last year's 3m x 3m to 4m x 4m. This new larger size is more suitable for our shop as it gives us not only more ground area, but extra height for decoration. We weren't the only stall to upsize....

....MUU (whom we had the pleasure of meeting for the first time at last year's OOTO) had also become much bigger with an impressive new frontage. Muu is a popular stall and I can state from experience that their yakisoba and curryballs are absolutely delicious. Please visit their website for further details of their upcoming events and menu.

Tuesday 14 September 2010


It is that time of year again where we will celebrate the end of the festival season and grab what good weather is left before the winter kicks in proper.

What better way to celebrate than to be at Out Of The Ordinary (OOTO). The festival is held at Knock Hatch Farm in Hailsham, which is just north of Eastbourne. The opening ceremony is on Friday and the festivities run through to Sunday. We'll head down to Hailsham tomorrow to start setting up and hopefully catch some down time.

Sorazora will be holding a couple of workshops during daytime for anyone interested in trying out macrame or crochet. We having been looking forward to this festival since the closing ceremony of 2009. We hope to see some old friends and hopefully plenty of new friends too!

Monday 13 September 2010

Mayor's Thames Festival 2010

Last weekend saw our second appearance at the Mayor's Thames Festival. This annual event is held all along the South bank of the river Thames from Tower Bridge right up to the London Eye. Last year we opened our stall near the London Eye, but this year we had a chance to see the happenings at the other end as were were much further down the river situated right by HMS Belfast and with an impressive view of Tower Bridge.

We had a great response from the public and as always, customer feedback is important to us. We enjoy meeting the customers and having the chance to explain our production methods in detail and also hearing about customers' experiences with natural fibres or natural dyes. We would like to thank Brenda & Bobby for making the trip down from Lode to see us and also our family members who came to show support and have a day in London.

It would be nice to be able to list all the people who helped make this festival a great weekend for us, but I feel the list would take up too many pages. We were kept fairly busy and didn't have as much time to check out the other stalls and attractions along the Thames as we'd have liked, but there were a few things that caught our eye.

The London Guild of Weavers, Spinners & Dyers were there showing members of the public aspects of these important traditional skills. Their website can be found here! We also had the chance to catch up with a few traders from Greenwich Market and an amazing busker.

This festival takes place each September and is the largest free outdoor arts festival. It transforms unusual spaces on and around the River Thames with a mixture of street arts, performance, carnival, pyrotechnics, illuminations, art installations, exhibitions, river events, massed choirs, circus, music and dance, food and feasting. All this is finished off with an incredible fireworks display fired from the centre of the river itself. This is one of the few festivals from last year that we returned to this year and we will be looking to return in September 2011.

Wednesday 8 September 2010

Lodestar Festival 2010

Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th September saw this year's Lodestar Festival. Held in the small village Lode near Cambridge, this young festival is destined to become bigger and bigger each year.

Since his teenage years, Doug has dreamt of staging a festival on the flat fenland that has been in his family for four generations. Now that dream has become reality.

A large area of flat fields has been planted with grass for festival use and there is plenty of room for this festival to grow. With a beautiful view of the expansive night sky, it is the perfect spot for a festival.

This year we were all blessed with a weekend of clear sky enabling the festival goers to chillout on the freshly cut grass and listen to a selection of rock, pop, indie, folk, electro, acoustic and even comedy.

With only a few traders, it was a much cosier affair than many of the festivals that we usually attend. We could easily see that the festival customers enjoyed their time at Lodestar and we believe word of mouth will make this festival naturally grow year on year. We had a very relaxing time and made many new friends with locals who really appreciate having an event like this on their doorstep!

One muscian that I feel deserves a special mention is Ryan Keen (pictured below). He was the last to play on the main stage on the Friday night. His acoustic set with Lee Eksioglu on the cajon and also backing vocals was a real treat.

Lodestar is a festival that we would like to return to next year and we will be recommending it to anyone who likes small chilled out family friendly festivals, But hurry, as I don't think it will stay small for very long!

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Customer's Linen Creations

At Sorazora we always encourage customers to send in any photos of garments they have made with materials purchased from our store. The first customer to do this has blown us away with some amazing items crafted from 6 balls of linen purchased from our stall when at Greenwich Craft Market.

Crochet Linen top (front)
Crochet Linen Top (back)

Mild (from Thailand) was travelling through London when we met her at Greenwich. She bought the linen balls and asked her grandmother to crochet a top. We are very impressed with the quality of her work. The coincase and pouch were made with the remaining linen.

We would like to thank Mild and her grandmother for sending us the photos as we really appreciate seeing the creative works of others.

Natural Dye Fisherman Pants

Two customers who don't wish to remain nameless allowed us to use their photographs for our blog. Mark (pictured left) we had the pleasure of meeting at last month's Tribal Earth Festival and Claudio (pictured right) is our long time friend and a fellow stall holder. Claudio's photograph was taken at last weekend's Lodestar festival.

Mark is seen sporting our "Sakura Tee" and a pair of our "Natural Dye Fisherman Pants". Tribal tattoos were the work of our neighbouring stall. We hope to have the pleasure of meeting Mark again soon (hopefully at OOTO 2010). Claudio, also wearing our "Natural Dye Fisherman Pants", we will meet very soon and also expect to see in his stall with partner Emi at OOTO on the 17th of this month.

Wednesday 1 September 2010

Lodestar festival 2010

We are now confirmed to be trading at this weekend's Lodestar festival which runs from Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th September in Lode near Cambridge. This will be our first time at this festival and we are looking forward to seeing you all there. For more information about this event, please visit their website.

Towersey Village Festival 2010

This bank holiday weekend saw us in Oxfordshire for the 46th annual Towersey Village Festival. Towersey is more than a weekend event and certainly a lot more than a village fete.
Running from the 26th of August until the 30th of August, it has over 300 events in 69 hours over 5 days in one beautiful village. You can arrive for lunch on the Thursday and stay for breakfast on the following Tuesday morning.

For more information on this festival and details of how you can join in the fun next year, please visit their webpage.

We hadn't planned to open our stall at this festival and were originally booked into trading at Festinho up in Bedfordshire. Due to our being totally dissapointed in our original booking, we were really fortunate to be able to secure a stall at Towersey at the last minute. It was the first time for such a last minute schedule change for us, but one that proved worthwhile as we were certainly made to feel part of the celebrations and festival in Towersey.

There was a vast array of workshops for festival goers to get stuck into. Ranging from clog dancing and morris dancing to yoga and musical instruments, even circus skills.

The weather wasn't particularly kind over the Thursday and Friday, but the weather over the weekend was bright enough to dry up some of the thick mud. As murphy's law would have it, Tuesday turned out to be a beautiful clear day, making sure tents and marquees were packed away dry.

Sorazora was part of the International market place were we were happy to meet up with fellow traders with whom we had traded at previous festivals and also there was ample chance to make new connections and friendships with new traders. A couple of new friends who deserve a mention are Larry from the Golden Fleece Trading Company who had a fine selection of fleeces and Moroccan crafts and Sinja Streuper with her beautiful selection of African arts and crafts (currently no website available!).

Apart from the International Market there was also a crafts marquee and musical instruments marquee. Fine foods could be found throughout the site. One particular favourite would have to be the Belgium Waffle stall. Another aspect well worth a mention were the three funky grandmothers who circled the site on their adapted Segways. (pictured below).

We thoroughly enjoyed this festival and would recommend it highly and would like to thank the festival organisers for their help in making us welcome at such short notice. Let's hope we have the opportunity to trade there in 2011 also.

Last Minute Schedule Change

After a last minute schedule change, our stall was opened near Towersey in Oxfordshire for the Towersey Village Festival instead of the Festinho Festival as advertised on our website and blog. A full review of our time at Towersey will follow shortly!