Tuesday 24 June 2008

fire burn and cauldron bubble

today i am treating a rather nice piece of wool with exceptional brutality. it arrived last week, about 3 metres of loosely woven fine blanketish stuff, to be transformed for the 'sculpted packages' exhibition being curated by Denise Sprynskyj and Peter Boyd as a contribution to the 7th World Shibori Symposium being held in Paris, France in November this year

'sculpted packages' is partly sponsored by Australian Wool Innovations through the donation of wool cloth. each of the selected designers has been issued a length, to be transformed using shibori-zome techniques

i began by sewing a garment from my cloth and have used all but a small fragment (about 10 x 30 cm)...that piece was used for the initial dye test

after stitching was complete, the garment looked a bit like this (guess who forgot to take a photograph)

it was bundled with windfalls for a layer of leafprints

and then i spent a day wrapping individual spikes into the fabric, so that the last immersion would fix the shape (rather different to the image above)...right now it's drowning in a boiling cauldron redolent of eucalyptus and wreathed in steamwraiths.

suspect this one will need two trees planted as eco-compensation, rather than the usual one-for-one... i console myself with the thought that the twigs burning in my fire would have generated exactly the same volume of carbon had they been left rotting on the paddock and that the well-meaning eco-nazi burning a stand of pine trees a few miles down the road has probably done more environmental damage in a day than i'm likely to achieve in a lifetime

the wasteland here looks like Isengard after Saruman started his own little industrial revolution.


  1. funny, but I watched The Two Towers yesterday. Reminded me of what Merrin said to Pippin - There won't be a Shire.

  2. think also Aragorn ...'have a care, cut not the living wood!'... pp462 of my much travelled copy of 'The Lord of the Rings'
    J R R Tolkien was a man of vision.

  3. still, you make me hungry to work with what's been given to me.

  4. I can imagine the fragrance of boiling eucalyptus leaves. Your dying techniques and leaf prints fascinate me. How do you think wood will react to the eucalyptus treatment....painting the solution onto the wood etc? I have been using tea dyes on wood for some time now.

  5. Yum! I can't wait to see this piece. I too have a piece Deb is entering into the same symposium, it's called "Skin's" and is up on my blog. I cannot cannot cannot wait to see this piece, but I suppose I have to anyways. Just don't forget to take some photos(!!!!) with your big ole fancy camera before you post it off.

  6. Hi India - I just saw you on the ABC - sunday arts show and was fascinated, hence I have a Q... I would like to make a 100x100 cm piece of calico and dye it and try and emulate what you do,(then staple it to a canvas for a wall) but as I've never done this before, I would like to know if the water you boil the fabric in has a dye in it? or is it just water and its the bundled up fabric that contains the skins(onion) or leaves? Does the water contain any vinegar?
    I am familiar with dyeing polish easter eggs using onion skins, being of that culture, but fabric may require different rules, so I would love a pointer in the right direction with thanks - your work is just magnificent!

  7. no vinegar in the bundle on the ABC just onion skins...cotton will dye with onion skins but best pre-soaked in protein solution such as milk/soybean water or similar...book Eco Colour has far more detail than can be typed in here!
    have fun, India