ByrdCall Studio
Happy May, Friends!  For many of you this is your first Byrdcall Studio Newsletter.  Welcome...  
The past month has been a wild and crazy ride.  I'm a little behind in my book-writing, so the minute I hit "send" to you all, I will get back to serious work on it. Lots of big things happening.  Take a few moments to scroll down for anything that interests you.
Relax your mind...enjoy the photos.

I n this issue: 
  • My exciting week teaching Rya in Hartford, CT
  • New Fireflower Rya in 5 Shades of Gray ...
  • What!?  I'm still doing T-shirts?
  • Registration underway for Common Ground on the Hill.  My rya class may still have room for you.
  • How you can help others learn about rya
  • My Book Progress
  • Frequently asked Questions
  • DROP IN DAY and Rya Sewing Circle! 5/24/17


Unveils Rya to Thousands at the Connecticut Convention Center

Suffice it so say I had an amazing 5 days at the Connecticut Convention Center with thousand(s) of people who really know yarn.  But 99% of them did not know RYA YARN and the rya rug-making craft.  So I was there on a mission to educate and excite people about this midcentury modern phenomenon celebrating the art going back to the days of the Vikings in the Scandinavia. I was a guest of The Yarn Guys who are my suppliers of Rauma ryegarn (rya yarn), backings, and kits from Norway.  
I taught  a 6-hour class in rya design and technique to 9 eager and creative students.  They will be sending photos of their completed projects soon.  Last week I posted an "Open Letter" blog for you and my class.   Click here to get the inside story and get the first peek at the complete or nearly complete ryas made by the class.

Moo Dog Knits Magazine shared this immediately after the  con ference. Take a look!

Special Thanks to my sister, Laurie LaConte for joining me in Hartford to assist in the classes as well as demonstrate in the exhibit hall booth.
For those of you who "do Facebook" you can see 55 more photos of the Conference, Exhibit booths, class photos, a fashion show, and more by clicking here.  Then scroll down to the May 4th posting.  Go ahead and "Like" my Byrdcall Studio Facebook page for updates more regular than my newsletter.


A New Color Spectrum for the "FireFlower" Rya Kit Series

I started this one on the road to Connecticut. (No, my husband was driving.)  At least 50 people at the conference learned how to make the rya knots on this demonstration rya.  Now it is complete and offered as one of five color choices through my etsy shop. All natural grays.  (Just like me!)   Check out the listing on etsy and see the other colors.


"Are you still doing the 
Hand-printed shirts, or not?"

I declared a year or two ago that I was gradually phasing out the printing of my woodcut and linocut shirts because my path was leading me tow ards the revival of the rya craft.  An d that was, and is, true.

So why did I have   a booth at the Sykesville Art & Wine Festival last weekend?  Simple.  I still have more shirts that need homes, I love Sykesville ( "The Coolest Small Town in America"),  I love wine, and I love art, so it was a good fit.  And I had a good time.  

My good friend, Barb Easter, shared her whole day with me making my work easy.  I loved seeing you all there.  I might even do a Farmers' Market booth or two this summer to keep those shirts moving.

So, the low down on the shirts is, I still have many.  My goal is to "move" all the silkscreened shirts through shows and my etsy shop to free up the bins in my studio that could be holding skeins of yarn.  And I will maintain a small supply of the hand-printed shirts so I always have a small bin (about 15 shirts) in every size for men and women.  If you need shirts for gifts, "personal use," or whatever, just email me and we can set up an appointment when you can swing by my studio to gather shirts at will.  If you are in the Westminster area,  Eclecticity is now carrying many of my most popular shirts.

I'm not going to promote them much so I can focus on finishing my book... and then take the next step for keeping the rya craft alive.  (?)  Keep an eye out for my Open Studio Days where drop-ins are welcome.  Next Drop-In day is Wednesday, May 24 from noon - 6 PM.


Still Time to Register for my 
Rya Class at 
Common Ground on the Hill...

Having just fired up to teach "on the road" in Connecticut, I am all the more excited to teach for my third year at Common Ground in July in Westminster, Maryland. 

The class will be each weekday morning from 9 - 11:45.  You won't complete your rya project, but you will be well on your way!  Register soon because rumor has it, the class will fill.

If you aren't familiar with the program, I recommend you click on this link and watch the very interesting and informative 3 1/2 minute video.   


How Can You help Others with Rya questions and Challanges?
Yesterday morning I received a phone call from Debby in Washington state who had inherited a partially complete BIG Nordiskas rya rug kit from her mother 30-40 years ago.  She doesn't know the rya knotting technique (yet) and she was wondering if I knew someone who might be able to finish it for her.  I told her that was a possibility, but since it was her mother's, wouldn't it be nice to learn how to do it and complete the rya herself?  She wanted to do that, but felt she needed a coach.

I looked at my USA map on the wall of my office with  pins of all my rya customers and  lo and behold, just 10 minutes away there is an experienced rya rug maker who was in the same situation years ago of inheriting a partially-made rya herself!  A quick email to Denise resulted in an enthusiast response that she would love to help Debby get acquainted with the art form and in fact, they had already exchanged emails and phone numbers!

Denise and Lloyd
So... that got me thinking... many of you, maybe all of you who have made a rya rug could be the key to learning for someone within a few miles or a few hours of your home where you could be the one to help them through the first steps of getting started.  

If you wouldn't mind me referring a rya-artist-to-be to you for assistance, send me a short email saying so. I will put a highlight marker on your tab on my map, then when someone is looking for assistance in your neighborhood, I can send you the contact info and you can make arrangements to meet--even at your local library or coffee shop to give them tips to get started.  You might make a new friend, and you will certainly make them the happiest person in the world.

I am only one person in mid-Maryland.  But you all are scattered all over the country and the world.  I'd love to share my joy of getting people started on their first ryas with YOU if you are interested.  Just let me know.  My highlighter is poised over your map tag!  Have no worries of being overwhelmed with requests.


So, what about the book?

I have had multiple time-consuming "interruptions in routine" all great for the cause of bringing back the rya craft...but they stall me in book progress.  

Here's the scoop:  My niece, Jenna LaConte, has completed editing the Designing Chapter--a very challenging one. She has returned the document to me and as soon as I send this newsletter, I will be totally focused on incorporating her suggestions into my document.  Then that section goes off to the book producer who will add the photo-illustrations and await the next chapter.

It is 95% is written, but as I send each section off to be edited, I just move onto the the next section and tweak and imp magic_stars_book.jpg rove to make it easy and fun to read as well as full of subst an ce so all your questions will be answered in this one book. (That way I won't have to write another!)

It is truly coming along, though I do feel a little embarrass ed it is taking so long and so many nice people out there read this every month wondering if the book release date will be announced....  I thank you for  your patience!  
I never forget this huge priority in my life, I promise.

T H A N K    Y O U !


Frequently Asked Questions...

The most commonly asked question is:  

Q:  Where are you located and what are your hours?

A:  I work out of my studio located in my backyard in Woodbine, MD.  I do not have regular business hours, but I am more than happy to make appointments at the studio with anyone interested in what I have to offer. Give me a call at 410-549-4889 and leave me a message.  I'll get back to you quickly.

Drop in this month on Wednesday, May 24th between noon and 6 PM.  Please take advantage of those days when you do not need an appointment.

Finding my Work
at 15 E. Main St., Westminster, MD now carries my Unity shirts.  This month, they are also offering a random color and size selection in:  Listening, 3 Crows, Waste Not, and Thoreau/Simplify.

Off Track Art in Westminster  I just d elivered some of my original block prints mounted on wood for a ready-to-hang piece of art--no framing required.  

The Market Tavern in Sykesville   Ask for my  Art Notecards in a Basket if you don't see them.  Have a beverage on me.  (Just kidding!)  Instead, write a note card to a loved friend while you sit by the window and sip a glass of something.
My Etsy Shop has just about everything for online buying.  When you buy through etsy, you allow me more free time to work on the book since written and verbal correspondence is minimal...Not that I don't love communicating with you, but that is my #1 time consumer in the day.


Rya Sewing Circle Invitation
Drop In Studio Day!
Wednesday, May 24... noon - 6PM

  OK, local rya rug makers, clear your calendars and join us in the studio to knot with your fellow knotters.  I think we can seat six of you, so please let me know you are coming.  

1103 Hoods Mill Road, Woodbine, MD

If you want to start a small kit, like a Fireflower, you can do that during this time.  
All past knotters welcome and new ones too.  (LM, DS, HG, DR, LM, MS... and Daisy, hope you can make it.) 

I will also be giving my Studio Work Angels many jobs to help me out, so it will be an active day!  Please let me know if you plan to attend--and about what time you'd be coming so I can be ready for you.

T hanks for sharing this time with me. Feel free to share this newsletter with anyone you like.

Happy Spring!  See you next month!

Momma Bluebird
feeding her babies in the old hollow holly tree outside the studio


Melinda Byrd

Byrdcall Studio
Woodbine, MD


Save the Dates!

Open Studio
Drop-In Day and Rya Sewing Circle and 
Studio Helper Day May 24th 
from noon - 6 PM

Common Ground on the Hill
June 25 - July 7
See Write-Up
Sign up for 
my rya class!
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