it's been a while....about a week ago i said goodbye to the wise one and drove 750km (450 miles) east for the purpose of tutoring a costume-from-salvage-clothing class at the Geelong Textile Forum. the wise one was not pleased.
the Forum phenomenon is uniquely Australian and the brainchild of a treasure (the indomitable Janet de Boer) we had the good sense to import from the States over 25 years ago (well, it might be more but you'll have to ask her). for one week several hundred women (well, mostly) gather at one of Australia's most famous schools (Geelong Grammar) to learn a textile skill, dress up without their families watching, have someone else prepare meals & wash up and to have FUN. it's like being on a magical island for a week. (we tutors enjoy it just as much as the students)
in our class sewing machines were banned and after each person had contemplated the character for whom they were designing - complete with language, name, hopes, dreams, favourite colours and backstory - we settled in to the quiet rhythms of hand-stitching. somehow we all found ourselves back in the classroom after the evenings' entertainments, stitching until the pumpkin hour telling stories and giggling helplessly at rounds of ridiculous jokes
as the costumes took shape we added extra detail by beating leaves onto the surface (i call it the 'hapa zome' technique...a Japanese phrase meaning 'leaf dye'). these were Nandina domestica leaves. the image on the cloth looks for all the world like an illustration of the madder plant
our days began with gentle stretches and dances. we listened to flamenco, gypsy and jazz and danced between stitching
an added delight of this week is that traders gather in a large hall for the purpose of accepting monies from participants in exchange for delicious fragments such as this one purchased by my friend Jenni. it's a patchwork from Uzbekistan; seen from behind (above) and through a glass, darkly (below)...Jenni kindly hung it in the classroom window so that we could all admire it
towards the conclusion of our week together we gave a small performance. i'll post the photos when i receive them.
at the end of our last class day my students kindly presented me with talismans...found objects hung on handmade string twined from precious scraps. here they are hanging on the bedpost at home, together with a doll made by one of the Three when they were small
it was a lovely week, but the road beckoned....funny how it took me two days to drive over, but only nine hours to get home...
i think there may be a magnet hidden in the tea-pot