Friday 30 October 2009

a lull in proceedings

after all that excitement with incoming delights it's now time to concentrate on a bit of farm life
sheep shearing begins on Monday
and for the ill-informed who inevitably protest that this is a cruel activity
let me say in advance
that humans have been selectively breeding sheep for over 4000 years
so that they grow lovely soft stuff
that can be spun and knitted and woven and felted

and if you don't shear them, they die often gruesome deaths as fly maggots hatch in the wool and sit down to an endless dinner on living flesh

the sheep gets wet [in the rain] and then just gets too heavy to get up
fly maggots hatch in the wool etc etc

this one below was just very, very lucky

Wednesday 28 October 2009

did somebody mention that good things come in threes?

third time lucky, again.

i'm really beginning to enjoy collecting the mail.
the presence of windowed bills and suchlike
is being mitigated by much more interesting things

today i found a parcel from Aotearoa
which contained
sox in a box

knitted by the amazing Jo Kinross
who not only organised the workshops in Nelson
[in May this year]
but also gave me the hemp dress that has become my
'daily drive'
now with a small 'boro' patch
and wearing its second layer of dye
solidago canadensis + eucalyptus crenulata

and the sox even came with their very own repair kit!

Tuesday 27 October 2009

twice blessed, again already

the post office is developing considerable attraction
well worth loitering nearby
if magical parcels are going to materialise

wandered in this morning
without great expectation
and found the enchantment pictured above

exquisitely collaged packaging
wee treasures lurking within
and just look at the stitching on the spine

who dunnit?
click here to visit her pages...
thanks, grrl & dog!

Monday 26 October 2009

oi gewalt!

a most mysterious pudding-shaped parcel
arrived in the mail today

the exterior wrapping was comprised of a feed bag
and inside the whole thing was wrapped up again
in plastic cling film
which, when peeled away
revealed a copper cauldron
full of magic

wrapped around the cauldron to keep it warm
was an enormous skein of the softest
5ply merino knitting yarn

and in the brown paper bag on top
were lots of small silken fragments

deeper down a small bundle contained
fragrant lavender
and a few rose petals

yes some of the pictures ARE a bit blurry
your hands would be shaking too if you'd
been surprised like this

unwrapping this wonderful collection
of delightful surprises
i remembered
as a wee girl
finding treasures in that ball of wool

once again,
India thanks the Bird
[and the Elephant]
for their blessings

Sunday 25 October 2009


had a brief diversion this week
and wandered off to Melbourne
for a couple of days
to deliver cake
and help with a family event

which meant i could have a quick
trawl around town on the trams
yesterday morning

at Kazari Warehouse i found lovely Japanese apron
white with a few stains
silk patches stitched onto cotton
a delight

and at Federation Square
no photos allowed

the top of the cake bore resemblance
to some of the other things i do

Tuesday 20 October 2009

gugger petter

Female Head/Madonna No. 14, by Gugger Petter,
a work made from newspaper.

while researching 're-use and recycling' for the manuscript that is occupying my waking moments i found an artist

who has been working with newspapers as her material for over twenty years.
interestingly she doesn't regard what she does as recycling

"Holding a profound respect for this material, I have never regarded it as "recycled" or "trash." Even the yellowing aspect of newsprint has been an important factor in my work, and I often encourage this process of yellowing before my work leaves my studio."

visit her homepage to read more of her own words...

Sunday 18 October 2009

straying from the usual path

remember that scene in 'Harry met Sally'...the "i'll have what she's having scene"?
few people will even admit to seeing the film

tonight's dinner was so good
that i was reminded of Sally
and so
just for once
i thought i'd share it

virtually if not actually

take a bunch of fresh spinach
wash and chop
then add
one finely chopped habanero chili
two finely chopped cloves of garlic
a pound of feta cheese [that's half a kilo for metrics]
a couple of eggs [we got ours from HennyPenny out in the fowlyard]

squish it all together with your hand
until it becomes a lovely greenish mess
the picture up above

melt a bit of salted butter
NOT margarine [only fit for greasing wheels]
and a splash of olive oil
add some zatar
and a good grinding of pepper

nip out to the garden for a biggish sprig
of rosemary
this will be your pastry brush for the evening

unfold a packet of fillo pastry

using the rosemary twig pastry brush
spread a little of the butterOlive oil mix on the first sheet
fold a good blob of the green stuff in
and wrap up up
in triangular fashion
[shibori-zome practitioners will be good at this]

work diligently through the pile of pastry

once the packets [spanakopitas, more or less]
have all been neatly folded
fling the pastry brush on top

bake in a warmish oven until golden
and seductively aromatic

and tuck in
bon appetit

for the record, we washed ours down with
a cleanskin sparkling shiraz
from the wine shop
near the old Mount Lofty Railway station
Big Girl's Ribena
[sorry, statesiders, that one is too hard to explain]

mmm i'll have what she's having....

Friday 16 October 2009

the times they are a changing

i rarely feel the urge to run with the pack
this year BlogActionDay has climate change as the theme.

there's are several issues i feel are getting insufficient attention.

rainfall in Australia has been shifting in pattern
the mountainous regions are getting less rainfall
other areas are being burdened by excessive falls

over-zealous development plans are chewing up the last remaining
agricultural areas in South Australia

and outrageous irrigation practices will undoubtedly
destroy the world-famous Barossa wine region within 20 years.

if carbon were really the culprit in terms of climate change, we'd be leaving coal in the ground
and STOPPING the decimation of old growth forests NOW.

not chopping down trees would have to be the simplest way of ensuring that the carbon they contain remains stored in a stable fashion.

next time you buy toilet paper, read the fine print on the packet. harvested from forests?
avoid it.
use the recycled stuff
and then
go plant trees
the world needs them.

Thursday 15 October 2009

cat as critic

i put my work down for a moment to brew a pot of tea
and this is what happens

cat as critic.

Monday 12 October 2009

found at sea

click on the picture to go and see work by Imbi Davidson
'lost at sea'

beautiful paintings on found mailbags

and while you're there have a look at this

blanket dyed with fencing wire and Allosyncarpia

another one of those instances
where amazing people
wander through one's orbit
in the guise of students
but really
i think
it should be the other way

Friday 9 October 2009


i'm delighted to advise that Shakerag have published their workshop details for 2010

and that they're kindly letting me offer two courses there next summer

Quiltfelt Landskin
In the quiltfelt landskin class students will undertake daily windfall walks, dyeing strips of fabric to be used in a layered, pieced, stitched , quilted and ultimately also felted cloth whose gentle colours will reflect those of the woods around us. The pieced cloth will grow organically day by day as small dyed fragments are added, before a gentle wet-fulling process is applied on the last day followed by one final overdye to bring harmony to the piece in the form of a last colour wash.


A walk in the woods
Every plant gives some kind of colour, depending on how it is processed. This class will embrace a number of methods for colour extraction as well as protocols for plant collection and plant identification.

Participants will explore the local area around Shakerag through writing, drawing, stitching, and dyeing, taking mindful windfall walks, mapping marks, observing and responding to the essence of the woods.

During the week we will dye silk and wool, using windfall leaves from the woods, and construct a series of small leaf-illustrated textile notebooks that will be both maps of the journey taken and documents recording the week’s explorations.

We will work with plant dyes, stitching, paper, and cloth.

this of course allows me my [fast becoming annual] pilgrimage to San Francisco [don't worry, we're planting trees here to make up for all those flights]
means that i'll be stateside when Eco Colour [the American version] is published there on July 1, 2010

Thursday 8 October 2009

reducing speed limits won't save lives

residents of the Mount Lofty Ranges region have until October 23 to convince the Adelaide Hills Council to see reason in regard to proposed speed limit reductions.

Blanket reduction of the speed limit throughout the region is unlikely to reduce the road toll.

Idiots with lead feet and small gentleman's equipment are STILL going to go fast, no matter what. Threats of vehicle crushing, licence revoking and huge financial penalties have had no effect so far.

what WILL happen if speeds are reduced is that there will be more people driving more slowly on the already congested roads. It will mean that a return trip to Adelaide will take 4 hours out of my day excluding whatever business i may have there.

It will substantially eat into rest and recreation time for already tired commuters living in this region.

it will reduce fuel efficiency and increase air pollution.

it will probably increase accidents from drivers having to constantly watch their speedometer [the SA Police have zero tolerance limits] and certainly increase revenue from speeding fines.

but it won't stop the hoons.

If you live in or travel through the Mount Lofty Ranges of South Australia, write to the Adelaide Hills Council and tell them what you think.

here's the address

Wednesday 7 October 2009

Boro: Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan

gentle readers,
does anybody out there have a copy of this book that they would be prepared to part with?

Rags and Tatters from the Far North of Japan

i'd be happy to give it a good home in exchange for money or if you prefer, a length of ecoprint silk or wool

please leave me a comment if you have it or know where i can find it

Readings Bookstore have just advised they are unable to source this book after all...does anybody have a copy they'd be willing to trade?

Sunday 4 October 2009

a rose by any other name

it's been a glorious spring day.
one for picking flowers as well as
for planting vegetables

decidedly one for eating food
from a bowl one has made

has anyone any idea what this rose is called?
the Adelaide Botanic Gardens are stumped
[i've asked them]
as are several famous rosarians

the rose was planted sometime in the
mid 1800s
whoever inhabited 'the Glen'
on Mount Lofty
at the time