Saturday, 11 May 2013

local colour in California

i've just finished teaching two classes in northern California
though only a couple of hours apart [in terms of travel time]
the colours we achieved were radically different

buckeye or California horse chestnut [Aesculus californica], a cousin of the conker [Aesculus hippocastanum]
at lovely Inverness, the local colour for May is very definitely green
from buckeye, wild carrot, nettles and ferns
punctuated by luminous reds and oranges from eucalyptus
[plants which can also be found there, though they don't belong]
...and a few slices of purple carrot 

inland [plotting a course east by north-east] at Loomis
the climate is warmer despite the higher altitude
and the flowering season well advanced on that of the coast
purple prunus abounded and eucalyptus flourish [weed-like] all over the place

the thread that ran through both classes
[and which runs through them all i think, no matter where they are
or what the exact focus of the class]

is the warmth and community that we share
when we retreat from the busy-ness of the whirled 
to bundle cloth and settle down to stitch
for however many [or few] precious days we have set aside

thank you 
Emma and Sharon at the Tin Thimble ["that could"]
Claudia and Pam [the Gorgeous Grau Sisters]
and all my lovely warm-hearted and enthusiastic students
for welcoming me to northern California

+   +   +

where i am also able to indulge another passion
architecture of the Art Deco period


  1. Such beautiful results from the "natives" [plant natives, that is]. That Aesculus print is beyond-the-beyond green!

    I'm always especially thrilled by the colors given by weeds. Am currently stashing the young shoots of equisetum in the freezer ... in expectation of a September simmer ;>]]

    1. oddly enough the equisetum we pulled from the garden path in Loomis didn't yield colour in our bundles...instead it created the most delicious resist that looked rather like something from a Japanese woodblock...

    2. Well, that doesn't sound half bad. Any chance it's a timing thing ... meaning, maybe it would be better to harvest the *mature* shoots instead? Have been reading all over the internet that the horseytails give a good green ...

  2. although my California bundles of past have been largely disappointing.....I am stashing my supplies one more time for this trip. This week I'll be in Olema, Point Reyes and Yosemite. Any advice is appreciated! ox

    1. Ooops, I just looked at a map and realized how close Olema was to Inverness. I had no idea. I'll note your experience there and 'sea' green. I'll be mostly at the seashore, where I hear the National Park Service frowns on 'collecting' ;-)

    2. We gathered windfalls and dumpster dived for garden waste...

    3. And weeds may be collected anywhere as it is a public spirited thing to do!!

  3. So very beautiful. I live in California and so hoping that next time you are here for a workshop I can participate. I'll be watching for it.

    1. you might want to keep an eye on the Tin Thimble's website [] in case of cancellations...also there's a one-day intensive at Fort Bragg in December
      you never know
      another one might pop up at the Grau Haus in Hollywood at some point
      details on the workshops page at

  4. it seems you accomplished so much. I love the colors botanics.

  5. Oh my! Those colors are amazing! I'm cultivating a couple of weed trees in my yard, just saving them up for some beautiful prints this summer.

  6. Love them all together in a long line of color and legs.

  7. the warmth of shared community..... yes (just like how a wood fire is so much warmer if you split the timber yourself - community gives off its warmth in accordance to how you feed it.... I see a lot lurve in those coloured cloths...)

  8. everytime you lay out the cloths i stand in awe. beautiful, inspiring.

  9. I see California. Bright, bold, sunny and warm.