Thursday, 31 December 2009

now and Zen

from time to time i flip over to 'Zen Habits' written by Leo Babauta

the most recent epistle compiles his favourite posts of the year on one page so you can leap off into all sorts of interesting directions

you might already be one of the 150,000 plus readers of this site
if not,
you might like to swing on by
here's a link

Tuesday, 29 December 2009


funny how the batfone [that's 'mobile' if you're Australian, 'cell' if you're American or 'handy' if you're of Teutonic extraction]
changes the colours of an image
the one above is taken looking towards the sea
the one below looking back from the same spot
the colours are truer on the one below
that's The Dog there, under an improvised tent between two utes [pick-ups, on the other side of the Big Pond]

fun times were had, grinding small red rocks to make marks on paper

the Dog had a splendid time, enjoying fish and chips by the seaside [we bought an extra piece of fish for her and made sure that there was a dog-sized pile of chips without Tabasco, vinegar, extra salt and Louisiana sauce]

that was yesterday.

today we went to the Vet cos the dog was pretty tired. turns out she has a huge tumour.
far too big to operate.

this splendid and faithful Dog has been my right hand on the farm for the past twelve years. she knows 'go back', 'come by' [clockwise around the sheep], 'come round' [anti-clockwise around the sheep
'sit', 'wait', 'stay', 'lie down', 'slow down', 'bring em on' and 'block em'
she also knows 'go home' for which she'll head from the farmhouse from any point on the farm and sit patiently on the doormat until i appear
this could be a handy trick if i fell off a horse, i could tie a note to her collar and she'd head home to raise the alarm.
luckily it's been a while since i fell off, as she doesn't wear a collar.

she is my best friend. what am i going to do without her?
haven't the faintest idea.

Sunday, 27 December 2009

while we're on the subject

Marion Gorr, proprietor extraordinaire of my favourite silk-and-all-that-goes-with-it emporium, Beautiful Silks, has just let me know that the Waiuku on-farm workshop in March 2010 is nearly filled

one live-in and two off-farm places remain
it's a lovely region in one of my favourite countries
i'm very much looking forward to becoming acquainted with the northern flora as my experiences in Aotearoa so far have been located mostly in and around Wellington with the odd excursion south to Nelson, Blenheim and of course to the Deep - Invercarrrgill. [and yes, the spelling is intentional]

March is a wonderful month for making plant colour [in the Southern Hemisphere] as the plants will be brimming with summer goodness

the four pictures illustrating the post are details of students' work from the Blenheim region woolshed workshop in 2008

Saturday, 26 December 2009

not a bad return

Karen Workman has kindly given me permission to share the contents of an email she sent me - here it is.
i've substituted her friend's name with ****** as i hadn't permission from [the friend] to publish it

Hi India
I just wanted to share with you something extraordinary! At theSouthern Felters Convergence held in Masterton NZ in Sep/Oct this year, I had my landskin wrap there that we made in June with you in Gore. I had taken it to USA and it had been in an exhibition of participants work in Massachusetts, and my friend had worn it to opening night at Haystack on Deer Isle in Maine. ****** ******, a felter from New Hampshire had worn it to her Convivium pot luck with 10 neighbouring women. I had thought she might like to wear it to WOW in Wellington so it was just lounging over the back of a chair, tucked in to a table in ******'s room. At the Bazaar, a visitor, an artist, spied it and asked about it. After ******* claiming that it was the Piece de Resistance of the convergence, she wanted to try it on. ****** brought her over to me. She was trying it on in the mirror, expressing her pleasure and I kept saying, it is not for sale and "I don't sell my samples". I put a price on it that i thought she wouldn't pay, and she paid it. So I have sold my 'sample' for $2000!! I thought you would like to know that I am excited about the method you taught us and Monica from our class has produced amazing pieces, especially with the pleating effect!
Thank you so much for giving us this gift!

that's about a 625% return on her workshop investment. wouldn't mind such returns myself!

Monday, 21 December 2009

let it shine

remember that scene in the film 'Love Actually' in which Hugh Grant's character is door-knocking in search of his beloved
and some small precocious children demand that he sings Christmas carols? remember the look on his face as his minder joins in with a deep and lovely rich fruitcake voice?

i had such a moment today, attending the funeral of an old family friend. the congregation rose for the singing of the 23rd psalm and suddenly the most wonderful tones emanated from the gentleman next to me, a deep and glorious tenor with the velvety texture of dark chocolate that has been gently warmed by an open fire.
and it was generously loud.
so i joyfully sang harmonies, reflected on the great pleasure that singing with others can give and thanked our departed friend for having this other friend
who brought such delight on an otherwise sad day

Saturday, 19 December 2009

crockett cottage studio

we had such a wonderful time at Mansfield earlier in the month
working with stitch and cloth and plant dyes at the beautiful Crockett Cottage Studio
that it was decided there should be not just one retreat held next year, but two
especially as
several brave souls from the first class
have already put their names on the list for next year

the studio is owned by Sally Harvey [who also took the photo above]
a woman of passion and vision
who has beautifully retro-fitted an old cottage
so that it features a lovely big well-lit studio
outdoor dye, print and felt area
with a sweet deck off the kitchen
where one can enjoy the end-of-day sundowner

pleasantly located on the fringe of Mansfield
overlooking the golf course
and with an abundance of interesting flora in the region
it's the perfect place for
gentle sewing circles
bio-regional dye investigations
and satisfying walks

i left Sally with a list of dye plants
to help inform choices as the gardens are landscaped over the coming year
so as the years pass we'll have even more lovely growing things to choose from
popped over to the studio website [in order to get the photo at top]
and found that several people had very nice things to say about their time there
you can read them here if you like

and here's the plan for 2010

November 1-5 Mapping Country
November 8-12 the FeltQuilt

workshops run 9.30am-4.30 with morning /afternoon teas and vegetarian lunch supplied
cost AUD$590 includes materials kit

the first workshop overlaps the High Country Festival so it's wise to book accommodation early for that one

please click here to send a message if you'd like more detail on the classes
and to see what other workshops are being offered at Crockett Cottage Studio you can access their website here

and last but not least i'd like to wish all the friendlies out there in Blogovnia a very Merry Puddingfest [apply that to whatever you celebrate during the holiday season] and all the very best for the coming year

...i'll be dreaming of a White Christmas

Thursday, 17 December 2009

climate change policy

just in case all those delegates in Copenhagen are trawling the net looking for answers in between their bickering
here's my "climate change policy".

STOP logging the forests NOW

take back the chainsaws and give the loggers spades and seeds so they can plant more trees - it'll be gentler on their backs and will mean that their grandchildren might have air to breathe.
[and in case you're wondering, half of that paddock above is now planted to trees]

trees convert CO2 to Oxygen, handy stuff if you want to stay alive
no trees = no rain
no rain = no food

now that we've sorted that, we can start tackling the problem of reducing polluting emissions.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

blink of an eye

flitted briefly to Sydney to visit Planet
and catch up with friends
who'd come all the way from London

Sydney's bones under the brickwork

marks underfoot

marks on trees

marks on cloth


the waterfall paintings of Hiroshi Senju
found in a delicious book
at the Art Gallery of NSW

Monday, 14 December 2009

orienting myself to boro

while navigating my way to the airport and trying to avoid toll roads as well as Melbourne's zero tolerance speed cams
i chanced upon Tombo, in High Street, Northcote

it's a rather lovely store full of delicious oriental treasures
including several large
indigo boro pieces

i also found an exquisite Indian box
just the right size for my tide of pearl buttons
and justified its purchase
of course i need that box
so i can fill it with buttons
and photograph it for my next book

good thing there was space in my Brown Bag

Sunday, 13 December 2009

now that i've caught your attention...

when i went to Ohio earlier in the year to be an anonymous student and refresh that lovely feeling of being an innocent abroad
i met lots of lovely folks in my class
some of them kindly send me notes from time to time

Christine Mauersberger [whose exquisite textile work fills me with awe] has just acquired a plot in the virtual country of Blogovnia
the place where we all meet and play from time to time

though barely begun
it's full of fascinating links
and well worth keeping an eye on
click here
to swing on by

Saturday, 12 December 2009

the bird in the tree

somehow i can't bring myself to flatten the surface
that's the front above
behind, below

and if you look closely
you can see the silk has birds woven into it
it makes me think of a book i read as a child
'the bird in the tree' by Elizabeth Goudge

and also of the Phoenix
magically reborn in the fire

the recent time in Victoria brought forth many fire stories
at Healesville there wasn't one of us
who had not been affected by fire in someway
whether recently
or back in '80 and '83
ash-dusted sisters
relishing the fresh greens of the whirled

Thursday, 10 December 2009

more high country stories

on my 'day off' i drove up to Jamieson
i collected maple leaves
and borrowed a beautiful stone
from the river

when i returned to my digs
i sewed [by hand]
a shift dress
from some lovely silk that my friend Marion had sent me
tucker in that wonderful copper pot

i wrapped the shift around the stone
with the leaves
and with some other things i had gathered
along the way

those cherry coloured marks are from Hypericum perforatum
[St John's Wort]


Mansfield...spectacular country, spectacular dye results

Monday, 7 December 2009

honey[s], i'm home...well nearly...

i've been away a while and now have the luxury of blobbing in the Q lounge and catching up on a veritable avalanche of mail
the interpixies weren't available to play in Mansfield [or Healesville]
so i had the luxury of catching up on writing and stitching
without the de'il's tempting me astray

i dawdled my way to Healesville
gathering fragments from railway lines
and pockets full of windfalls
[birds-eye view above]

the venue they'd organised was delightful
with a lovely deck overlooking the Maroondah Dam
and distant hills
here's proof
in a reflection

one of the students brought her dog
since everyone was happy to have pet therapy
we encouraged her to bring the dog in

when said hound realised that sticks were needed for the wrapping of bundles
she brought in LOTS
but was so busy and fast that all my shots are but a blur

after each day's work
i walked in the beautiful forest
ferns and small blue flowers
flourished amidst tall blackened trees
this koru
reminded me of my soul home across the water

whereas the one below brings back another one
and the purple-leaved plum trees
on Nob Hill