Saturday, 30 October 2010

shakerag 2011

if i weren't already teaching elsewhere in June 2011
i think i would be signing up to this workshop
at Shakerag
home of dancing fireflies
prickly pears

Friday, 29 October 2010

desert dreaming

a brilliant new exhibition showing at the Art Gallery of South Australia
drawn entirely from their collection
charts the evolution of contemporary indigenous painting in Australia
some of the works can be viewed here
all of them are reproduced beautifully in the exhibition catalogue
the sort of publication that i wish i could
carry dozens of - in my travel bag
to give as gifts when i go wandering

visit if you can, it runs until January 26, 2011

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

what's in the water?

Lotta Helleberg over at inleaf posted some spectacular images of bundle-dyed cloth
in which it appears that the local water is acting as a mordant [surprisingly, the most intense colours
are being achieved on cellulose fibres]

the process of dyeing with plants
can sometimes reveal invisible things
we might not necessarily know WHAT is causing the magic
but we can hypothesize that SOMETHING is there
and then use other means [scientific analysis]
to find out what it is

Lotta says that her town is situated on a limestone basin
which may well have something to do with it

the legendary textile bush camps run by Edith Cowan University
were held in an area serviced by a calcium-rich well
often producing spectacular green dyes from local plants inlcuding
Quandong [Santalum acuminatum]

while i was looking for the link to the bush camp [worth visiting for the story by John Parkes]
i also found a link to the text of a lovely talk
given by Leigh Warren
at the opening of an exhibition some years ago
here it is

at the foot of the text, Leigh is simply described as "an Adelaide dancer"
...understatement of the year

Sunday, 24 October 2010

england, america and possibly also australia

England and America are two countries separated by a common language.

George Bernard Shaw
Irish dramatist & socialist (1856 - 1950

there was a comment made in regard to the previous post
that set me thinking

the words were
"what if you did?"

here in Oz, it could suggest that the subject of the remark
was of little interest
on the other hand it may have indicated an enquiry
who knows
and it really doesn't matter

however it made me google the quote [above] and now
forces me to acknowledge that i have been erroneously ascribing this gem to Oscar Wilde
[and sometimes in a weak moment, Winston Churchill]

so that's sorted. good.
here's a Sunday harvest
bouquets all round on a glorious day

Friday, 22 October 2010

drawing with a sewing machine

i wondered what would happen
if i cut along the seams of two shirts
and sewed them together
without removing any bits?

and quite liked the result

website mailing list

from time to time i send a missile out
through the website mailing list
fifty or so of them bounce back, spat out by various spam filters
and now
the site has decided i can only send 500 at a time
so i have to find the cut-off point on the list to send out another batch tomorrow
all too hard.

so here's what i wrote
in case anybody here is interested...

hello everybody
it's been a fabulous year so far, with lots of interesting journeys, classes to teach and nice people to meet - and it isn't showing signs of slowing down any time soon
i've recently had work shown in Paris [at Trend Union] and published in Bloom magazine [visit  if you'd like to secure a copy]
the manuscript of 'second skin' is in the hands of Toyoko Sugiwaka [my favourite book designer] who is creating magic around the words and images, so i think it will be a beautiful object as much as being [i hope] useful. Murdoch Books have decided to hold publication until July 2011 [apparently other things are planned for the "mother's day market"] - this simply means we have more time to devote to making it. not a bad thing at all.
the virtual sewing circle at  is growing like topsy and welcomes stories + images about sewing/mending/finding/dyeing - email me your contribution and i'll post it to the blog. quite a few people have already volunteered as 'gatherers' for their region, so that real sewing circles can come together and share stitching and stories over a cup or tea or two. this is making me very happy indeed. 
i've finally had time to update the workshops page on my website - i have a couple of others pencilled [including Alice Springs] and will add them in once they're confirmed - several trips to the US as well as a workshop in Switzerland following on from the ISEND 2011 Natural Dye Symposium at La Rochelle, France
contact details are listed on the website for those events not being organised directly by me
Beautiful Silks has slipped in a mid-December workshop - involving customizing and bundle dyeing a prepared silk garment - an opportunity to wrap yourself in beautiful silk to celebrate the coming New year
and one last thing, there are two places left in a reconstructed fashion workshop being held at Nelson, NZ in the last week of November this year - please email Jo Kinross if you're interested in participating
have a lovely spring if you're in the South
enjoy those falling leaves in the North


ps and a big thank you to the 449 people who have signed on at my blogsite, i'm humbled [and honoured] that you take the trouble to swing by

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

in love with a sunburnt country

followed that marmalade trail
into the wild
where flowers are blooming
that haven't been seen for 21 years
under stars
and over stones
into sacred places
shadow and light

Saturday, 9 October 2010


this fragment somehow reminds me of Paddington bear
who accidentally followed a trail of dried marmalade
on his map
i like to do that too

Friday, 8 October 2010

the Museum of Economic Botany

the Museum of Economic Botany [Adelaide Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium]
is possibly my favourite museum in the whirled
it holds seeds, fruits, timbers and dye samples

recently a friend showed me a new book
published by the Museum
it comprises a series of essays by various people who have worked there
and have been involved in exhibitions
or other things

rummaging through the pages i found my name together
with some information that i though needed correcting
the correction appears below

the funny thing is
that even though i have offered [in writing] no less than three times
to prepare a set of eucalyptus dye samples [free of charge]
for the Museum [and donate it to them]
i've never had a response
and so eucalyptus dyes are not represented in
the Museum of Economic Botany

sad, really, when you consider that eucalyptus dyes and wool are a
match made in heaven...

Thursday, 7 October 2010

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

two minutes

i have no idea who this person is
a snippet in an interview entitled
'two minutes with Gregory Ackland'
caught my eye
makes sense to me

Saturday, 2 October 2010


i'm still waiting for them to send me pictures of the exhibition
the image above is from an old paeony experiment...

Friday, 1 October 2010

home alone

today i decided i'd done enough stitching
[for the time being]
on the dress that is to embellish
the cover of my next book [all being well]
so i dropped it on the pavement

sprinkled it with a bit of slosh from that bottle
[not exactly what it says on the label]
then it sat for a bit
before I added carob leaves [Ceratonia siliqua]
and a few other things
suspect the onionshells will be less fun to remove
than they were to sprinkle on

bundled it all up
and now the pot is simmering
over a gentle fire
let's give it a few days
before we have a look