Saturday 28 February 2009

there and back again

i've been there and back Halls Gap in Victoria for a marathon 6days teaching and to Ararat for the opening of 'planeta'. 

the detail above is of a sample from the 'mapping country' class. a rich sticky brew from a bagful of eucalyptus bark collected in Swan Hill by a student...from the tree by the veterinary surgery. with no other appellation it became known as "the vet's bark" 

more pictures will come soon meanwhile here's a lovely link from Toyoko Sugiwaka co-author of Handmade style: Felt ...#69 goat and cat

Friday 20 February 2009


here's a mystery...a student brought a bag of leaves to a class recently, in the assumption they were "gum leaves". while they resemble eucalyptus in many ways the undulating margin is unusual. also odd is that the torn edge on the leaf seems to be self-sealing and the whole leaf swells up like a wee bubble when heated in water.

it makes a very pretty ecoprint - gold with tiny purple and chocolate spots...quite leopard-like!

if anyone knows what it is i'd be delighted to be enlightened...

appendix [March 3, 2009]... problem solved by Dean Nicolle of the Currency Creek Aboretum

The tree is Eucalyptus utilis (coastal moort). This species is native to the south coast of W.A., but is very commonly planted throughout much of southern Australia as for a quick-growing screen and shelter, especially in difficult coastal sites. In fact the name utilis is Latin for utilize, because it is so commonly planted. The species used to go under the name E. platypus var. heterophylla, so you might find it under this older name in some books.

Tuesday 17 February 2009

thoughts at dawn

while there's nothing we can do to ease the pain of those who have lost family and friends and homes in the terrible fires ... we can offer support.

donating through the Red Cross helps with the basics and i know of folks who are giving their caravans for housing; but there'll be other things that are missing that are not so easily replaced such as the stash of threads, yarns and fabrics that those of us who work with textiles always have about the place. not to mention those favourite books.

seems trivial but i recall even 10 years after Ash Wednesday thinking i'd just rummage in the cupboard for some treasure or other to make something with and then recalling that it now formed part of the foundations of the rebuilt house

so here's the thought...

we're not such a big country in terms of "knowing somebody who knows somebody"... if we take the trouble to find that friend of a friend who could use some help and make up a care parcel designed specifically for that person it will do a little bit of good towards rebuilding a life.

i've sent one off already and if you know of someone else who could use a little something from India Flint i'd be happy to hear from you. email me via the contact page on my website with a mailing address for the person and a brief outline of their textile interests and i'll see what i can do.

Monday 16 February 2009

clearing claustrophobia

yesterday it was all crowding in on me...and while standing up on our hill breathing in the cold smoke from distant fires & gazing at the dry paddocks round about i felt it was suddenly time to cut and run for a bit.

there's nothing like driving at speed to the coast with the roof open to clear persistent headfog. sadly i forgot [or was that fogrot?] to take a camera so all i have to share is this midnight watercolour [assisted by a splash or two of Bombay Sapphire]

the view from the  Bluff overlooking Encounter Bay was magic...the sealine all misty, waves deep blue, big surf crashing in on Petrel's Cove and giant granite boulders laced with lichens all around. 

Hans Heysen did a rather better job of it...but at least my cobwebs are sorted...for the moment.

Friday 13 February 2009

comic relief?

South Australia - the driest state on the driest continent - already has a reputation as the village idiot given twice as much water [in an average year] falls on Adelaide as the city needs to function...but this water isn't considered safe to use and is allowed to flow out to sea.

those in government still [seriously!] think that the stuff that's pumped from the once-mighty Murray [and has been through seven sets of intestines, never mind the rest of the chemical cocktail it carries] is of higher quality. they've saved a bit of this lovely brew in the reservoirs where the daily evaporation rate of an average half-inch off the surface is concentrating the salts and so forth nicely.

one of those reservoirs has been constructed on the River Torrens up in the Mount Lofty Ranges. further down where the Torrens puddles through the city of Adelaide there's a weir that holds back the "Torrens Lake". or did.

a night or so ago, while the lock-keeper was having a cup of tea and a bickie and not really paying attention having dropped a few stitches on his knitting... one of the little motory thingies that controls part of the lock decided to give up the ghost, let the water gurgle out and dribble away to the sea.

nobody noticed in the dark and so the city woke up to these jolly scenes.

i happened past the riverbank on other business later in the day and was politely informed by a gentleman reclining at the riverside with a bottle in a brown paper bag that the way to park your car in the river like this is to let it roll down the embankment [with some encouragement] and drop it in the river whereupon it apparently floats to the middle and then sinks.

i enquired whether his information was gleaned from a wealth of experience and he giggled. which may or may not have had something to do with the bottle in the brown paper bag.

local opinion is that the river is going to look like that for some least until the next rains; as if they pull the plug on the reservoir upstream Adelaide residents will have to bathe in champagne or asses milk... because there certainly won't be any water left.

and i'm betting any fish that happened to be swimming past the mouth of the Torrens when it was spewing forth its disgusting effluent into the sea are feeling more than a little queasy now - the water is so revoltingly putrid and polluted that bathing has been banned for years! 

Wednesday 11 February 2009

could be worse

it's bloody dry here at Hope Springs. all five dams are empty, so are the soaks and the remaining stock [down to a third of the usual headcount] are relying on water from three bores. 

rainwater is rationed and the lick-spit-and-promise style of bathing [as practised in the lower house] is rivalled only by the Queen Victoria method [described by my mother as a three-point landing, go figure] which is now the custom in the house of my parents just up the hill.

however considering that the 26th anniversary of my "phoenix-birthday" looms large next week i'm well aware things could be a lot worse. ["touch wood" she says while knocking firmly on her head]

that said i am mystified that reporters of the appalling fires to the East still refer to them as "the mighty forces of Mother Nature" or similar nonsense.

the three main causes of bushfires are usually Men, Women and Children -  and in that order....

our thoughts and prayers are with those suffering as a result of the terrible firestorms in Victoria.

to assist the victims via Red Cross please follow this link