Wednesday, 7 December 2016

journeying




it's nearly 9 years (next March) since Eco Colour (a book i wanted to call 'botanical alchemy' but was told the title wouldn't sell) hit the bookstores. in that time what i initially referred to as 'ecoprint' has spread far and wide. thousands of people are making a living by printing with plants.

hilariously, though i was the first to publish the technique* i usually see myself referred to as an "also ran" in various media. a recent book about natural processes in textile art listed me merely as a "practitioner" of the technique (though instructions for ecoprinting are scattered generously throughout its pages).

i've seen colleagues absorb my work into their teaching practices, and observed "fashion labels" created after people have taken classes....sometimes only a one day class.

and there are so many people out there teaching "ecoprinting" (though much of it is not ecologically sustainable at all, as toxic adjuncts are increasingly employed) that i no longer offer basic "how to" classes. it would be like having to play "twinkle, twinkle, little star" over and over again.

not much fun for me, and ergo less for my students.

which is how 'being (t)here' took root and has grown into a retreat class that embraces being fully present and at the same time exploring the poetics of place.
it gives me such joy to be able to offer something more than just a class about printing with leaves.

for me, 'being (t)here' is a way of experiencing the whirled that helps open the cracks that let the light get in (thank you Leonard, for that phrase) no matter where you are. it offers a pathway to beauty that can be rolled out whether you're in a verdant forest, a shimmering desert, an urban wasteland or your own private paradise.

we observe and see, write and draw, print and dye. we fold paper into books...  the island book fold and its bigger cousin the river book, making a journals from single sheets of paper :: without having to thread a needle.

together we make discoveries, in ourselves AND in the dyepot. the other lovely thing that's been happening is that many of the students keep in touch with each other after the workshops. sometimes they make a facebook group, sometimes a blog. others just wrestle with an email list. but they maintain the connections and forge deep bonds. it's wonderful.

i've been teaching less through institutions (though i remain loyal to a select few), and more in beautiful and sometimes unusual places. the Yellow Ferry is one of these. there is something deeply magical about being on a boat, which is why i will be back there in February 2017.
i've reduced the class numbers and though the feedback from many people is that they consider the fee too high, the investment for the class is actually the same as for the first one, it's just that i have sourced a richer collection of materials for each person to work with, with treasures such as a limited edition silkymerino dress to take home.
 as a business proposition it is laughable because the expenses won't balance against the income...but to me it is absolutely worth it for the experience we will all have.

because it is the journey that matters, in the end.

and i am loving the ride.



*you'll see references to "nature printing" that are earlier, but that is a technique where the plant is dipped in paint or dye and pressed against a substrate of some kind

11 comments:

  1. I am soooooo very pleased (indeed I would go so far as to say smugly so) that I went (t)here


    thanks for the generous gift of time and space, light and laughter that you give to all who go on the journey india

    *hugs*

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    1. and thank YOU for all that you brought to the workshop...I'm finding more and more that those times we gather together around a cauldron end up being "greater than the sum of the parts", if you get my drift. (And a big hug back at you)

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  2. How wonderful the Yellow Ferry sounds, in so many way non financial... thanks so much for being (t)here. Eco Colour was just such an exciting opening for me, and continuing to learn from you has been such a pleasure (and treasure)!

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    1. and i take great pleasure in observing your prowess!!

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  3. I loved the experience of being (t)here in New Mexico earlier this year, so much so, that I have signed up for Maui in January. The experience is so much more than just eco-printing.

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    1. It will be lovely to see you again, me dear...and thank you for the kind words

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  4. Hello India I attend a workshop you ran in the Blue Mountains NSW a few years ago. I absorbed the techniques you taught us and practised them at home. Whilst I don't regularly Eco-print on fabric I have taken the spirit of your lessons and incorporated them in my ceramic work. I thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with you and that group of women and thank you for your creative generosity which has influenced my ceramic work.

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    1. i have fond memories of that workshop (and your buttons)...several good friendships grew from it, too!

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  5. Oh India, Being (T)here is a priceless experience - and each one I have experienced has increased my interest in place, and being there. Love the variety of words, pictures, prints, books. So much looking forward to Being (T)here in the Lud Valley next month, and in New Mexico in October - and I love the friendships I have found in those groups too. Thank you so much for creating such a wonderful space in the Whirled. x

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    1. teaching the "being (t)here" retreat

      is a bit like planting potatoes...little bits of sprouting stuff tucked into fertile ground, that after some months become big solid nutritious handfuls of gold :-)

      I say this because (as you know) I love potatoes!

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  6. Dear India, your books, work and the authentic character of it all, is deeply inspiring. In all different ways your work has been take up/ovber, that is what is always there for me. I often wondered how that must be, and am so glad to read how you take up a next dimension! Hope to enjoy once! With all love and respect for what you gave to the wordl.

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