Tuesday, 26 April 2011


i am in La Rochelle, France
and have learned not just the shiny big new word above but several other new ones.
the ISEND conference is certainly living up to expectation
people and things of all colours and accents abound
as i have unexpected internet access
i'll share some of them with you

they include views from the small apartment where we have established base camp

i tell myself they look better than they taste

some familiar frocks 

work in the ISEND exhibition by Marjory Salles

exotic adornments

an exquisite darn on a brocante find...

but these last two images are of something that made my lower mandibles hit the ground with a bit of a thump

a display in the poster section of the conference showing some very beautiful
dye samples from lichens. 
 it wasn't the beauty that made the jaw drop
that someone went out and harvested all these lichens
without identifying them first!
and then
was not at all embarrassed by asking [on the poster] for anyone who could identify them
to fill in the names.

rule No:1
identify the plant.

if you know what you're looking at you will also be able to determine if it is [for example]
protected or poisonous

but to go harvesting lichens [some of which might only grow a millimetre per year]
without knowing what they are...

i would prefer to err on the side of caution.


  1. Lichen lady just proves that SOME PEOPLE ARE STUPID and you are too nice a person to put it that way. I bet you thought it though.
    Love the photos, I think you should try at least one cake so we know they taste amazing. surely you are not going to be in France and not have coffee and cake. Big sigh here it would be the first thing I would do

  2. No, India, I'm afraid that those cakes taste even better. But They are easy to share!

  3. We shared a fleur de sel +
    Caramel pastry instead...

  4. i think a sad degree of separation from the earth (and good practice) is evident in such ignorance. i've used lichens, i've collected them with permission, in moderation. and did the research first.

  5. I wonder if you had a chance to educate the lichen collector? Probably had not a clue that some grow so incredibly slowly.... I hope at least, she said thank you when she took them, but, probably not...

  6. So glad you have internet connection! That we can live vicariously through you! And you don't have to play catch up on the other end!!! And I LOVE your unexpected (because of logistics) comment on my board!..........micro 'me's......funny, and true! In Joy! ox

  7. mmmmm is that FRENCH PASTRIES? (I lose my head a bit when I spy yummies... if I wasn't experiencing a total sugar lust I'd say something like velma..... our separation from the earth breeds ignorance, and the misguided idea that nature = plunder..... but right now I'm too distracted by my pastry envy) have fun!

  8. I have learnt a lot since finding you, your blog and your book about what to do and not to do in the Natural world around dyeing. I am so grateful to have learnt about identifying plants ect first before even thinking about experimenting with them.I always ask permission if l want to use someone's plants or lichen before collecting them. I wish l could persuade the whole world to do the same thing but..maybe little by little we can achieve that India. Love the cakes but then l always do, which is why everytime l go to france or switzerland l put weight on!Ha.x those cakes do look gorgeous. Wish l had been able to do the upcoming course and finally met you but family comes first, as they say. please have a great time and maybe if you come to England or europe again..l will jloin you.x lynda

  9. There is something about rooftops... and mouthwatering patisserie displays... oh my!
    Lichen are one of our most sensitive of species.

  10. base camp with such a wonderful view and internet access....... lucky girl, but you deserve it after such a long flight.
    Have fun and enjoy ISEND!

  11. Hello India

    Hope that you are enjoying the same wonderful weather that I am enjoying here in the East of England. Your photo's are wonderful, it's been a year or two since I last visited France and they have brought back many happy memories. Thank you. Have a glass of wine for me...

  12. India...
    reading this post reminded me why your work is so necessary ... keep publishing and teaching ...never stop!!! Unless of course you get over it!
    You lead with the critically important facts ... always... they are not a given!
    This is the world that produces shows like the "Masterchef" phenomenon in the era of nonstop Food Security and Sustainability Talkfests and people think it is godly to simply buy organic from Woolworths etc!
    So many cpnnections to make ...no one does it better than you... all the while producing exquisiteness for us to see!
    Find companions to enjoy those patisseries... Paris looks fabulous!

  13. If only that pastry shop was closer to home - divine!

    I wanted to say an enormous thankyou for Ecocolour..I have been immersed in it for the past few weeks. You have inspired me to dye wool with our own oak bark and also try hapa-zome. There has been MUCH fun going on here, thanks to your informative, humourous and down to earth advice. From a newbie at dyeing, I can't say how grateful I am to have stumbled across your book and to begin a journey down the natural path. Thankyou! (and thanks to Ronnie for the directions to your blog).

  14. I never use lichen, its so precious. do you know that geomorphologists use it for time dating on certain old rocks.... my major at uni was geomorphology


  15. cakes? what cakes? all i can see are two gorgeous dresses and can't help but compare with the terracotta rooftops. enjoy my lovely if u can ever get a decent sleep. sounds a bit nightmarish actually. xxx
    ps. enjoyed the resounding comments from sophie munn in this post and the one about people copying ur work.
    pps. agree with sophie. that is why u exist and that is why ur work is valuable. u bring an angle that is obviously not yet common knowledge well, not unless one has sat in ur workshops and had it grounded in that we collect 'windfall' and beware of toxic and rare plants! see, i was listening while caring for a new born. ;)