Friday, 3 January 2014

to be : and a bit of roll-up-and-dye

somehow one year has rolled into another
it seems timely to look at what lies ahead

and to try and think about living a better life.
not that my life is bad, far from it...i just happen to think that it should get better with each passing year

and by better
i don't necessarily mean financially [although it's pleasant to have "enough"]

my hope [ambition is too strong a word for me] is to do and be the best i can each day
so that when it comes time to lay my head on my pillow [that my grandmother made for me fifty years ago*] at night
i can feel comfortable about how the day rolled out

making New Year's resolutions hasn't worked well in the past and i think it's likely because they seemed to be quite negative
"i will not...."
"i will give up...."

this year i'm proposing a more joyful approach
some of which began when i returned home from my recent visit to the US.

i arrived on my birthday and decided to mark the occasion by taking up running again.
well, more of a fast shuffle
but i'm pleased to say i've only missed three days [on which i substituted a walk]

so this year i hope to

be kinder
be healthier
play more
listen more deeply
and find more space

that seems a nice list to be working on.

[i wanted to embed the video but it wasn't cooperating, just click on the coloured words to be inspired]

and in the interests of kindliness i thought i'd share a recent playtime with y'all

my friend Lindy had sent me this lovely linen shirt
i've worn it quite a lot [because i love dust colours] but decided to celebrate my return home
by wandering about the farm and seeing it with fresh eyes
and taking the shirt out to one of the dams, where there is much to play with

i tossed on whatever was within reach

laid a dogspike at the cuff of each sleeve

and rolled inwards

then i rolled from tail to top

and needed a foot as well as a hand [because the other hand had the camera]

a lovely tight bundle

the beautiful trunk of Corymbia citriodora

leaves and bark from the tree above, crumbled into my yabby pot

after boiling [there was a bit more old iron involved to get that black]

i wanted to leave the bundle for longer
to take advantage of the alchemy of archaeology
but it was way too big for a jar

i guess i could have tossed it into the dam

 tied to a long piece of string
but somehow it didn't feel right
it's sitting at the bottom of the studio "sink" instead
[water is delivered to my workspace from a tank outside]
which is a beautiful blue bowl

as long as i keep that topped up
- which mostly happens as i'm filling other vessels -
that shirt should be ok for a while
dreaming that it is at the bottom of some deep, far off lake

it won't be coming out for a while yet
be sure i'll post pics when it does
it will be very slow[dyed]cloth[ing]

Happy New Year.

* yes it is getting a bit lumpy but i love it very much.


  1. Good list. I've seen Stefan Sagmeisters's rules on TED and do appreciate it. I give myself a motto each year. When you met me in 2009 it was "I'm not going to do anything for anyone I don't want to". this year it's "Wake up and smell the coffee, pay attention to your body and mind. Don't fool yourself, you will not live forever". Cheers to you for running. I run/walk sometimes a full run for 2 +miles others it's a half and half. Depends on my feet. Keep it up.we'll be following you my dear India.

  2. Happy new year India! It is not often I feel apt to pass on advice to you, but here is my chance: Don't run every day. Every other day is perfect, altering with brisk walks if you still want to exercise. Running daily, will increase the risk of injury and wear, especially if you are just starting out… This said with affection… Can't wait to see how that linen shirt unfolds. XO.

    1. thanks Lotta, i have a gentle system...stretching and yoga first, then i walk to the top of our hill and run as far as it feels good, sometimes walking in between trotting. and i walk the last bit home again... am wary of damaging my body so being very conscious to only do as much as feels good! it is splendid thinking and watching time and i'm feeling so much more energetic as a result.

    2. That sounds great. Yes, gentle running is one of the best mental health practices I know. breathing, seeing, focusing, and letting go...

  3. OH. PS. In 2009, it was "I'm not doing anything I don't want to do". funny how I miso-remember that one. So happy you are here. xo C

  4. thank you so much for your bundling tutorial... love the way you rolled the sleeves in... that was one issue that i had challenges figuring out. and a photo is worth a b'zillion words. happy new year!

  5. Love reading about your thought process India - and you have such a way with words that always inspires me to do more and reach further - also love seeing how you gathered up just what was near to use for your shirt! I'll be watching out for it when finished, can't wait!

  6. Thanks for kind words and a grand tutorial. I have found larger pieces somewhat difficult to bundle and will apply foot power next time. I don't make resolutions either, as each morning I recommit to Don Ruiz's Five Agreements and include a sixth, to be compassionate with myself.

  7. Thanks for kind words and a grand tutorial. I have found larger pieces somewhat difficult to bundle and will apply foot power next time. I don't make resolutions either, as each morning I recommit to Don Ruiz's Five Agreements and include a sixth, to be compassionate with myself.

  8. thank you India always inspire... I am waning in the heat wave here and just needed your inspiration to bundle on and set my positive thoughts for the year ahead.. looking forward to seeing said linen shirt

  9. Hello, and happy new year India! I am so pleased to learn you have taken up running. I certainly miss my running days, but overdid it and now content myself with a far walk each day.
    I will be looking for the linen shirt to emerge from the bottom of its imaginary lake. Best wishes, sus

  10. Happy New Year India! Your beautiful new book arrived today...a grand treat! Happy gentle running to you...

  11. Now I'm reading your book, I am understanding the quality of patience that comes with the process.

  12. Kind of marveling at the relationship between that tight bundle photo & the Corymbia.
    [not to mention seeing that trunk-lord for the first time ... turquoise blue, really? what a beaut!] Rethinking dogspikes, thank you very much ... and crossing fingers for all, with a special thumbs up for #5.

  13. duh. Lemon-Scented Gum. Geesh, taxonomy ... ;>]

    1. It was perfectly happy bring a eucalyptus for years and years until some peanut in a white coat decided it wasn't ...

    2. A pox on auto correct.

      Being. Not bring.

    3. thanx. Guess its obvious I go a bit looney when I think I'm meeting a genus for the first time ... 'specially such a purtee barked one. HA! did auto correct just have some fun with my "p" word.

  14. Great list! Inspirational as always. Happy New Year. Jacqui

  15. I'm loving it all (including the talk of running.... which nowdays for me is just a long lost dream.... I DID however get a ronnie-friendly bike from santa.... pedal power again! yee harr!)

    1. i do miss my bicycle...she's still in New Orleans...

  16. india , thank you so much for the tutorial very good ----- you wishes for the new year can we all use i think expect playing , i tried guitar do not success, do not change so much we cannot see in the late summer you still are India !!! i have started print and dying with privet berries , mordant with alun went wel , but silk without only vinegar in the water turned lilla , when i washed it most colour disappered , i need your new book and should have put it in a jar with the berries for week !!!!new expericence happy new year

    1. don't worry Bodil..i'll still be India, just a slightly bouncier healthier version i hope [but not quite as bouncy as Tigger in Winnie the Pooh]

  17. keeping the old horse active and happy does wonders. congratulations! remember knee care and enjoy the happiness of taking care of the mare. the tute is fine, too.

  18. oh that's fascinating, India, thank you. having just read the new book which just arrived (printed in belgium, I think, gobbled up with great glee as soon as the fedex man brought it) I see that it's because it's linen that you are dyeing it so very slowly. am I right in thinking that if it was silk, as it's eucalyptus, you could take it out as soon as cooled? and the way you fold the leaves into it, that is so much help ... I hadn't quite worked out how to get the strings resist pattern in the middle ... very much looking forward to seeing this when it IS ready ...
    and as for New Year's resolutions, I have never been into that! Events usually make me resolve to do better, or to do things differently .. but I love your list, it is inspirational.

    1. exactly....eucalyptus is the tree of instant happiness [but can also be left for long and slow processes, in which case i choose older leaves]

      linen is the cloth of long and slow...

  19. love how you do this India, you have such a gift for communication with words & pictures and I was so fortunate to hear you speak in real life with your magic bag of cloth here at the Art Gallery of NSW... so that's it ...I'm going to buy the book right now at just after 3AM, on day 4 of 2014, a good beginning!

    1. well i was truly chuffed that you came to the Gallery and delighted to meet you. thank you for buying the wee book...

  20. pssssst ... I just tried to email you with the pony address and it refused me .. have you changed it? just wanted to ask permission to use a photo in my blog ...

    1. hmm that's odd...not changed. you can always sling me a line through the contact page in my website if you like
      anyway it's nice that you wanted to ask. happy for pix to be used with credit and link, thank you

    2. that's very kind, thank you .. Google told me that it tried to deliver your message, but it was rejected by the server for the recipient domain by [].

      The error that the other server returned was:
      550 Requested action not taken: mailbox unavailable or not local
      weird! have been putting links whenever I mentioned you and your work ...

    3. how bizarre. i have no idea what's going on. [nor do i understand Google circles, but that's another matter]

      ...where will i find your blog??

  21. it's here -
    you will see my feeble leaf dyeing efforts ... bit embarassing but ... :D
    I have just sent the message on your website contact page, I had forgotten that ....