Thursday, 1 October 2015

last call

it's been a long journey
i left home in winter
arrived in Scotland in summer
(this year it was on Wednesday)

i followed a hypericum trail to Austria
played a saxophone in Germany
spent a week or so in France
flew to New York via Iceland
(mentally making plans to spend time there too)
and then stayed a while in my beloved New Orleans
teaching and also establishing a project in collaboration with the Press Street Gardens
that will have me returning many times in the next three years
and will culminate in an exhibition in March 2018.
i may also have acquired some more ink.
the trail led on to Vancouver
where i worked with Maiwa, always a joy
(i'm returning there next year as well)
 then i hopped on a train and then into a jeep and then on a ferry (still in the jeep) and was transported to Lopez Island. a place that (despite a huge hole created by the passing of an unforgettable friend) always warms my heart

after Lopez i went to Portland
too briefly (wish i had had the time to reach out to my other friends there...hoping i will be forgiven for the flying visit and planning to return next year to catch up with the folks i missed) where i was able to dress my friend Sidnee Snell in a few bits of cloth and coax her in front of a camera (something she does VERY well)

now i am in San Francisco
(another place dear to my heart)
tomorrow i begin the long flight home
back into spring

so i'm having a healthy supper with all the vitamins
(a glass of bubble and a Reese's peanut butter thingammy or two)
and writing my new bucket list
 it seems a good thing to do

there are a lot of things on it
that will take up a lot of time + space on the calendar

it seems only fair to advise those of you who have been wanting to take a class in Australia that other than a workshop pencilled for TAFE Brisbane in November next year (that may, or may not, actually happen) there will be no multiple day workshops offered by me in Australia next year.

the last chance to join me for four days is this year in Mansfield in November
either making bloomers and underduds (November 9 - 12)
working on the project of your choice (November 14 - 17)

i'll be cooking yummy food, providing lovely South Australian wine and bringing lots of supplies from my studio; cost of either class $870 

if you're at all interested please drop me a line via 
mail (at) indiaflint (dot) com

it's truly the last chance for a while.
a long while.

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

the Maiwa Symposium

this still taken from a video i made yesterday captures the spirit of our class at the Maiwa Symposium this week, working on a 'wayfarer's wandercoat'
it seemed to me that dyeing and stitching cloth was only a small part of it all

the intangibles...adventure, empowerment, affirmation, acceptance, companionship, contentment, generosity (both material and of the spirit)...were present in abundance

we gathered leaves from the pavements (the area around the Maiwa East studio has everything you could want) and participants brought things in their pockets as well

we re-shaped much loved pre-worn clothing, harvested pieces from other garments to build on and extend our coats
dyed samples
and bundled the coat itself to give it a blue blessing

photo by my lovely assistant Sophena

our five days together were about beginning the building of this coat
a wandercoat that can be worn and added to on the wearer's lifejourney
that has pockets for poems, petals and passports
jewels and journals
love and leaves
(i'm hoping my students will wear their coats if they come to hear me tell stories again next year)

some of us even wrote poetry into the cloth itself

there was the daily ritual of unbundling
each precious bundle opened with respect and wonder

and on one evening
i was invited to partake of supper on a boat
during which i felt as though i were in a faerie tale
and that at any moment the boat might take off
to sail through the clouds

this advice found on the fridge at the net loft (another part of the Maiwa family) sums it beautifully. i think we did all that this week.
some students told me they had begun queuing on registration day at 5am to sign up for this class and i heard that it was sold out in the first hour of registration, which has me somewhat stunned and humbled as well as deeply grateful.

there are places i travel to that i really like to return to

Maiwa is one of them.

happily i will be back at Maiwa next year, am off to lovely Lopez next
and will offer the last of my Australian extended classes at Mansfield, Victoria in November this year  after our journey into the arid lands in October

there may be the occasional shorter one offered when possible but presently my dance card is fairly full until the end of 2017...with some very exciting adventures on the horizon including a voyage up the Amazon and another along the coast of Croatia

for which i had better build a few more pockets into my own wayfarer's wandercoat... so that more people can slip poems into them
(as the lovely Suri did yesterday, thank you)

this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver that had not yet wandered across my path

Monday, 14 September 2015

dodging raindrops in the Press Steet Gardens

the second session in New Orleans was held in the Press Street Gardens
an area of lush abundance managed by Margee Green
and her assistant Elliot 

the colours of the first dyepot were luscious
and things just kept getting better

rain blessed us every day
but despite being soaked everybody remained cheerful
and produced beautiful work

i spent my last day in New Orleans at work in the garden
setting up a new project that will carry me through until 2018
- more of that in a future post
for now i have dragged myself away from Louisiana
and am somewhere in Colorado
en route to Canada

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

down in the ninth


 'being (t)here' in the lower ninth was so absorbing i hardly took any photographs at all. but here are a few...we walked along the levee
and wandered through the streets
finding several enormous pecan trees whose inhabitants were cheerfully hurling unripe nuts to the ground
those nuts made a fabulous brew
as ever, the bundles were a source of joy. we worked with cloth and paper
experimented with kitchen-sourced mordants and spent time considering words in gentle poetic forms

New Orleans water has a quality all its own. the reaction to the spent gladiolus flowers was particularly beautiful. that blue came instantly
we had interest from a pair of goats who seemed keen to join us in the studio
not to mention a rather lovely cat who happily rolled in our poetry after hours,
rearranging the words to his satisfaction

at one point he took centre stage on the shared work table and cheerfully faced each offered camera in turn so that everyone could enjoy a photo opportunity

i'd like to thank each of my students for being t)here, for sharing your stories and for adding to the general pool of wisdom. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

this one's for you, Ma

one of the things I love to do in New York is get up earlyish and totter across to the Chelsea Flower Market

it's a visual delight and the fragrances are intoxicating - i wish this could be a scratch-and-sniff post

and then the contents of the gutters had me wishing for a dyepot

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

the year to come (and where to find me)

I’m sitting at my table here in France writing while at the distant edge of the fields the sun is beginning to think about rising. Outside a lone bird witters away to itself and about twenty big paces away from my window a brook continues its mad rush over the rocks. Today is day four of our class here – past students will know what that means. Time to bring out the chocolate!
It’s a good time of year to be dyeing in Europe. Elderberries and blackberries are ripening in the hedgerows. The first walnuts are almost within reach. The last of the St John’s Wort, that ubiquitous little yellow flower that rewards us so beautifully in the dyepot, lingers along the roadsides. Evenings are long and soft, washed clean by the occasional rainstorm.
The St John’s Wort reminds me that a few places still remain available in the two retreats that will be held in Mansfield, Victoria, Australia this year....both are limited to nine participants and are one-of-a-kind events unlikely to be repeated elsewhere.
November 9-12 'bloomin lovely' making beautifully dyed, hand-sewn bloomers, slips, scanties and undies 
November 14-17 'spring sewing circle', working on your own project with guidance from me (and support from the rest of the sewing circle – always a source of much wisdom, not to mention a good deal of laughter)
You’ll be supplied with delicious lunches, wine, fruit, chocolate and a package of useful treasures to supplement the materials you’ll want to bring. We’ll work in the light-filled garden studio at Crockett Cottage and gather our dye materials from the abundant eucalypts in the district. Poetry and drawing will add further richness to our days. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the odd small book didn’t appear and dive into the dyepot as well!
2016 is shaping to be a very full year for me with two solo exhibitions (USA and UK), a residency at the Arid Lands Botanic Garden in Port Augusta (South Australia), a tour of New Mexico, workshops in Canada and the USA, a return visit to bonny Scotland AND my mother’s 80th birthday – so these (and the two classes at Beautiful Silks Botanical Studio) will be my last workshops in Victoria for the foreseeable future.
And why did St John’s Wort remind me?
Because most years the Mansfield district has an abundance of it. In Australia it’s a noxious weed and can be gathered with impunity, whereas in Europe it's a wildflower that I gather either with permission on private land OR when it is clear that it is about to be mown from the roadside
Please drop me a line though the contact page here if you think you might like to give yourself the reward of a retreat to Mansfield in November. I think it will be a very fine time indeed.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

music to my ears

two trees entwined

moss hat

sweet meadow

one of the 490 varieties of hypericum

beautiful Austria


on the way from Scotland to France i spent almost exactly 90 hours immersed in my first language and emerged somewhat astonished at how very much being surrounded by the sounds of my childhood/adolescence/family life affected me (in a good way).

don't get me wrong. i was born in Australia and love it dearly but when push comes to shove there is no denying that all of my DNA (including the dash of Kazakh that gave me my brown skin) is northern in origin.

so when the steward on the Lufthansa flight to Paris asked me whether i was German or American (darf ich fragen, sind Sie Deutsche oder Amerikanerin) it was with a wee chuckle that i replied "weder, noch" (neither)

i rather like being a citizen of the whirled and being able to meld into various cultures as required (even if only as a walking replica of the local compost heap). whether my rusty French will allow me to do so for the next week or so is a matter for speculation.

guess i'll report in due course.