Monday, 11 August 2014

happy [and dreaming of another roadtrip]

today is one of those days
on which i really really love my day job
doing what makes me happy

even if it does give me cracked hands
and appalling fingernails

the thing about my day job
is that it funds the indulgence of exhibiting
to a certain extent
my teaching

travel does not come cheaply
and workshop fees do not always
cover the spaces in between engagements
but [despite bringing me into disfavour in some quarters]
i love to wander
a wanderbear at heart

i had such plans to take a sabbatical
but teaching is fun
so is wandering
and wondering

and so is
patience with bundles
taking time to open
is rewarded

with slow magic

which leads me to think
while i really love teaching four or five day retreat classes like 'being (t)here'
perhaps it is also time to offer some one-day workshops
because not everyone has the time
to take the time
as my friend John Parkes so beautifully writes

"strange that time is more uncertain than water"


i am considering offering a retreat
that would begin in the early afternoon
which would mean that
the dyeing has the benefit of a restful night
we can share a leisurely evening meal
which i will very happily prepare
the cocktail hour can be appropriately acknowledged
without having to rush back to work

and then
next morning
not too early
allowing for a lovely walk after breakfast
[and time for yoga]
we would gather again
to open the bundles
and wonder at their beauty


the benefits of this structure
would be many:

less rush to get to an early-start class

one night of retreat away from home
in the company of like-minded souls

not having to forage for supper in a strange place


going home with something beautiful to remember it all by


i can think of quite a few places i would like to take this...
among them
lovely Lopez Island, that magical wee house in Inverness (California)
Fort Bragg (in the same state), anywhere in New England in the fall 
riverside in New Orleans, outback Australia, an Oregon beach
Tayside in Scotland, on an island off Tasmania
somewhere up near Cairns (Australia)
as well as possibly

Germany, Austria (in which case the workshop language will be German)
and Japan (where the workshop language might have to be sign language)
oh and i'd love to visit Ireland too
and that is just the very tippity tip of the iceberg

i would also be happy to hear from any kindly souls 
who would like to host this kind of retreat
i think i feel another roadtrip coming on


did i mention that i have been working on a new cocktail too?
allow me to present my
'ginger bear'

ingredients :
gin [preferably that nice one from San Francisco that has a bear on the label]
ginger beer [in Australia, use Ginger Joe]
some fresh ruby grapefruit juice
and the zest of the fruit also
freshly grated ginger root
wild strawberries
method :
shake gin and ice and grapefruit juice
strain into well chilled glasses over more ice
dilute slightly with ginger beer 
garnish with grapefuit, freshly grated ginger and some slightly crushed wild strawberries


  1. Oh no, no, no, no, No! Just as I am enjoying you being home for a bit, babysitting my dog and chickens and lord knows what else on the farm, your boots are leaking sand all over the place.It was hard enough seeing the magic on your blog first and not while still wet . . .

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    2. Tarla. Irresistible. Totally.

    3. i would love to come there Tarla

    4. Oh to have found someone who is game to take the old bat as well! Thank you, I am forever in your debt.

  2. must try the ginger bear, sounds delicious, especially fresh grapefruit juice, not the sort that comes in a cardboard box .. do you have wild strawberries now? my neighbours have them but i think they are over by now.
    thanks for posting all those lovely photos of your work fresh out of the bundle, I love to see your work ...
    and overnight workshops next year ... there's a thought ...

  3. I felt very touched by reading this post you knew it can happen for me , it sounds all so fantastic , you mention also Irland where i have travelled many times , it brings good memories- Cairns up the high north west Au last in 2015? Lovely clothes - of course it might happen a ginger bear must try !!! enjoy your sabbical year see you some where in the world .

  4. Just coming out of the bear cave this sounds lovely to me but then it has to be Germany.........If you'r considering travelling that far i'm happy to join!

  5. WOW images ... and a yummy drink at the end.... somewhere more exotic than Melbourne?

    1. Marion has already smiled kindly on the thought of bringing it to the Beautiful Silks Botanical Studio at Allansford...and I think it will go very nicely at Mansfield too.

  6. How about western Newfoundland? It is very magical here in almost every season but summer and winter especially.

    1. now there's a place i've been pondering...and my uncle has a wee summer place in Nova Scotia so i might even get a cup of tea on the way to the ferry!

  7. Have you ever been to Sweden? We have a beatiful coast and people with interest in ecodyeing. Your drink vill perfect on a hot summer night.

    1. my marvellous great-aunt [and great uncle] lived in Sweden at Värnamo and i have fond memories of being made to taste all of her magicpotion homemade may be time to return!

    2. You must absolutely consider a return but maybe in the summer since our winters are very cold.

  8. What an exciting plan to travel.. wish I could be your assistant or something .. ha .. l love love love what your doing. I am in Florida ........maybe you'd love to be here in the winter?? Either way I will dream of it. dyeing at the ocean which is only a short distance from where i am.

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  10. Beautiful B.C. is a hop and a skip over the Salish Sea! We even have our own gin distilled right here in Victoria. A pajama party sounds marvelous! And of course making beautiful prints.

    1. I'd be up for a quick retreat on my own Island, and I haven't even tried the gin yet.

  11. It is a dream of mine to take a workshop with you. West coast or New Orleans are very doable. But have you thought of Colorado. I know the perfect place--Manitou Springs--far from the maddening crowd of Denver but still close enough to use the airport. And we have a beautiful history, art, people and a mesmerizing landscape--Garden of the Gods will knock your socks as well as your boots off.

  12. yes. there's always a place next to the big muddy...

  13. I think I just heard Sabbatical take a flying leap out the window!
    and planes, trains, ferry boats and HRF chauffeur wagons ever at the ready ;>]]

    1. A House of Dog is always alluring
      one on an Island that is inhabited by a Good Friend

  14. hows about far south coast NSW?

    1. Road tripping up the coast sounds good to me!

  15. Wow - where will this magic happen - Adelaide?? Sounds like a wonderful mix!! You are magic!!

  16. Replies
    1. greetings. i would like to be on your email lst for new orleans. thank you

    2. This blog is the closest I get to running a mailing list...and who knows, maybe Quebec may get a look in...although they are getting quite fierce on the border and don't seem to like Australians much! (Or maybe it is just me!!)

  17. Speaking of alluring places, I just returned from a week in Orkney. I don't know about available dye plants, but...India....I can see you dancing through those Neolithic sites. It's a magical place.

  18. The thought immediately popped into my mind that I would like to host it, but then I realized I don't even know that that means exactly. People would gather and sleep here, and in exchange I would get to attend for free? I live in Ceglie Messapica (Brindisi), southern Italy. Big house, can sleep 8 to 10 people. The language could be English or Italian :-) !

    1. It has been a long time since I was last in Brindisi...but I recall it taking a while to get there. Maybe a three day class would be better to make the most of all that travelling?

  19. Forgot to mention that the house is in the countryside but just a kilometer from town, on 3 and ½ acres, in the region of "trulli"

  20. Ah Allansford, thats the one I'm looking forward to (and booked on). My recent bundle experiments revealed some interesting results, but nothing special. However, I did meet your niece (and your sister-in-law) last weekend - she is at school with my son.

  21. I think your ideas for a one day retreat sound wonderful... I think I could manage one myself... and hopefully afford it :-)
    I am going to hope for Lopez Island myself selfish I know but I live closest to Lopez.

  22. Maine.... please, please come to Maine for the pretty fall colors, quaint New England Charm & to teach young grasshopper your magical ways ;-}