Tuesday 30 March 2010

travelling North

went to the North for a while
to make peace with the red dust
[but across the salt lake from where i once lived]
filled my pockets with stuff
[image shows the contents for one day]
marvelled at the sky

and made a bit of new work

Saturday 20 March 2010


one of the wayfarers who wandered with me
on Waitangi Farm in Waiuku last week
has volunteered her own precious sanctum
for a workshop in Brisbane, Queensland

we've decided on September 18-22, 2010
and this is probably as close as I'll get
to teaching in NSW this year

here's the plan
we'll work with bio-regional dye sources and gentle stitching during a week-long explorative journey in a private garden in the tropics, taking windfall walks to collect leaves so as to print beautiful samples and then gradually piecing them together to construct an exquisite textile work

i'm extremely excited about this, not just for re-connecting with a friend but also for the possibility of exploring an entirely new flora
i haven't worked this way in a tropical garden before

please drop me a line if you'd like more details


Ellie over at PetalPlum has put up some rather lovely photographs
of the week at Waitangi Farm
lots of other good things to see at her pages too...including her website

Thursday 18 March 2010

no prizes for guessing where the grass is greener

they do say it's always on the other side
and this time they're right
that's a dusty home paddock up there

as my students know i love unwrapping presents
this morning i found one that i had forgotten
a dress from the 40s or 50s [possibly a nightie]
that my lovely friend Marion had sent me
in a parcel of treasures

it turned out to be synthetic of some sort
and didn't appear to have taken much colour
after the first boil.
i left it in a corner of the studio
when i pootled off to NZ

a tad grainy [batfone image]
but some good colour
which deepened after rinsing and on exposure to air

Monday 15 March 2010


in the faerie tales there are plenty of warnings
about staying too long
eating magical food
and letting places get under your skin


not for nothing does the name of this place
'a longing to return'

i stewed cauldrons filled with harakeke bundles
was permitted to ride a horse
around the country in these pix
and even
along that beautiful beach [above]

they let me plant a tree
and not just any tree
but a Kauri

and i now know who mixes the world's best Margaritas
[not telling, word gets around anyway]
i didn't even mind being eclipsed
[THAT good]

what a coincidence
that the one crumpled piece of paper i found
[and pocketed]
while walking the windblown road with my friend
thinking it might be interesting
to use as a page for a book
turns out to be this...

it's not quite
'of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world'
but it's getting close.

Sunday 14 March 2010

similar but not the same

looking through my photos i was struck by the similarity in pattern between Madeleine Delany's exquisite shibori-zome sample [below] and the inner part of a black taro leaf [above]

the cloth was dyed using Paulownia leaves in a copper pot

Friday 12 March 2010

sea to shining sea [wandering in fields and forests]

my journey through Aotearoa began well
on stepping off the plane the first person who spoke to me offered
"Kiaora, is it a welcome home?"

certainly feels like it

i drove to the Coromandel
making a small detour to visit the McCahon cottage
at Titirangi
where i found that i have something in common
with the artist
beyond a fascination with this country
- we have the same washing line

the Coromandel retreat took place in a secret garden
which looked like jungle from the outside
but within was a quiet oasis
with an abundance of beautiful plants

curious chickens wandered in and out to inspect our samples

at the conclusion of our four days together
i wandered onward
and found myself in paradise
at Hot Water beach

arriving at Waitangi Farm, Waiuku i discovered more magic

the scenes above and below, part of my daily walk to work

this cowshed was our workshop space
one of the more romantic places i have taught in...

piggies visited us in the workshop at regular intervals
and enjoyed a tummy-tickle
but were discouraged from chewing on our boots
[i always recommend students wear stout shoes...but not everyone takes heed]

some participants' work samples from the local flora
- true bio-regional dyeing

and this is where i've washed up now
in Awhitu
pictures worth a thousand words

ain't life grand.