Monday 30 May 2011

when too much is too much

i sometimes sense an air of disbelief when telling students that there is such a thing as "too much" and that string-making is one of the solutions
the piece above was my travel companion during the recent European pilgrimage
it was stitched and dyed in various places
hidden in the surface are prints from hazelnut leaves in France
tulips in London
walnut leaves in Switzerland
the last immersion at home was simply too much
it will become either pockets on an apron

Thursday 26 May 2011

if it's not one cat, it's another

here i am working like a dog to fulfill a pile of promises before i skip across the next ocean and certain felines are having a splendid time chasing leaves or trying to shred cloth. keep telling them i don't need to make string right now but nobody is listening

Saturday 21 May 2011

indigo blues

those who know of my commitment to bio-regional dyes
may express some surprise on reading 
that i've been dabbling with indigo
but after observing the demonstration by Michel Garcia
[at ISEND 2011] i must confess that
i was very keen to see if i could replicate the process

so i brought home some powdered indigo
[purchased from Maiwa, who seem to be 
doing the right thing by their suppliers]

thank you Michel Garcia 
for so generously sharing your methods
it's proof of an excellent teacher
when the information 
[despite being delivered in French, 
not my first language] 
was clear and concise enough for me to comprehend 
and easily recalled to mind some 12 days later
on the other side of the whirled

Friday 20 May 2011

sweet home south australia

am home and have waded through two snowdrifts of mail
one very real
the other virtual
carried by e-pigeons
and now
there are several cats draped across me at various points
helping me type

there was a lot of stuff in the mail 
some delightful
other things a bit odd
for instance someone sent me a piece of cloth from a coat
said they'd "seen my book" and wanted advice on how to dye said garment
enclosed reply paid envelope for return of dyed sample
must try that ploy myself next time i need to consult a professional

some of the delights in the pile included
a beautiful hand-bound book [with ecoprint and embroidered cover] made by Judilee Fitzhugh
also a small apron and a patched fragment from SRI textiles
and another apron i had found at a brocante in La Rochelle
along with a box of stuff we'd posted home
a pile of gorgeous photos from Helen Lyon [visit her pages 'an archive' via the column at left]

[big smile from ear-to-ear]
my advance copy of Second Skin

thank you, Murdoch Books
and thank you Toyoko, my lovely friend and the wonderful designer of the book
who incidentally has a very nice website here

Wednesday 18 May 2011

homeward bound

on the way to the Jewish cemetery in Prenzlauer Berg
[where i needed to go because on Saturday, Shabbat, i heard someone
singing prayers in the dark as i passed by the walls in the night]
there are two men playing Bach at the Alex

Bach pierces the heart when found accidentally like this
much more so than when sitting among the stuffed shirts at a formal concert

in the cemetery all is quiet
here and there a stone rests on a bigger one
- a sign that someone has visited

the graveyard dates back to the 1700s, i think
the Nazis vandalised it 
more recently, others have too
i don't understand why 

on a lighter note
here is a treasure i found at one of the fleamarkets
[it's destined for a friend]

when you hold it up to the light
there's a face at the bottom of the cup

fingers crossed it survives the baggage handlers...

Tuesday 17 May 2011

babbling in Berlin

Berlin is a place of intensities
some you can't really put a finger on
a city with subterranean sadnesses
but on the surface quite friendly
reminds me of New Orleans in a way
especially since Katrina
complete strangers will invite you to dance
while down in the U-bahn
little ratties play amongst the rail ballast

i carry coins to drop into the cases of musicians playing in the street
in the long passage between lines under Stadmitte
a young woman uses the accoustics of the space
to transform simple improvisations in a minor key
to the music of the angels on her shabby violin

wandering on i stop to let my fingers read the braille of old bullet holes in the stones of battered buildings

in the less salubrious streets a respiratory filter is probably necessary
when walking at night
judging by the tide-mark of graffiti
otherwise you'd be breathing in a lot of of stray spray

above arm-reach the walls are smooth cream, yellow, white,grey
flowers bloom on balconies
and some even sprout trees

under the Alexander platz a young man asks for money
he's thin and unkempt
and surprised when i buy him a cheese and salad roll at the sandwich bar
i consider it an excellent investment and wish him Guten Appetit.

Monday 16 May 2011


in Berlin you can buy a day ticket for the U-bahn
that will be valid until 3am the next day

there are lots of trees
and for some reason the public parks grow long
meadows in the middle of the city
cost cutting as opposed to lawn cutting, perhaps
it looks beautiful
and attracts the bees

but perhaps not these ones
they are Napoleon's particular passion
and you can find them in the Museum der Deutschen Geschichte
where we cram 1500 years into an hour
on the way to a quiet moment at what is left of the wall

and the monument created so that we won't forget

daisies bloom on this part of the Wall

elsewhere there are aprons
both in the stores
in the museum [mentioned above]

in Berlin you can take your dog to the public house
to a shop
and on the underground

and below some paper sculpture spotted in the window
[closed for Sunday, fair enough]

exhibition "knots and facets"
Jens Risch & Michael Hansmeyer

Sunday 15 May 2011

in the shadow of the wall

10 hours of Very Fast Train later
and we're in Berlin
after having to think carefully every time i open my mouth
in the Francophile regions
it's good to be in a country where the words come easily

tomorrow i have a special errand
taking photos for a Berliner back home
whose travelling days are behind her

Saturday 14 May 2011

boussy sur moudon

a magical place in rolling green fields full of belled cows
edged by cherry trees, walnuts and quinces
perfumed by roses and wisteria
anointed on the last day by a drop or two of much-needed rain
which brought out giant escargots

it was a truly delightful workshop
the soft colours of the bio-region predominantly green
with splashes of pink from red rose petals
a parcel from California was opened
unleashing the brightness of eucalyptus

rumour has it there may be a few more events like this in other rural areas of Europe
in 2013...

Monday 9 May 2011

and on we go

hey ho
off and away we go
onward and upward to Switzerland
where a farm and fields await
feet looking forward to padding over soft grass
after a couple of weeks of the hard stuff

Sunday 8 May 2011

chinese whispers?

this is quite funny [thanks Asa]
and my French friends may find themselves scratching their heads
according to the Sydney Morning Herald
La Rochelle is now in Paris
and apparently i was doing some "launching".

not exactly...
just showing some frocks
which featured Milkymerino
along with beautiful silk

off to Switzerland now
i'll leave you with this lovely cauldron
found at the British Museum

Saturday 7 May 2011

things to do in London

you can only marvel at the Regent's Park management
here the gardeners are pulling out tulips in full flower
ready to change the arrangements
i have such trouble coaxing these bulbs to flower at home

so i gathered some windfall petals
before the black ones were ripped untimely from their beds
they've been tied in silk
but not cooked yet
i was too busy
having fun at Madame Tussaud's Wax Museum

i discovered by accident that if you stand quite still
[for example while reading a piece of text on the wall]
people become quite confused
and begin to stare at your details

twice somebody walked up and tweaked my sleeve to see if i was real

here's a picture of a gypsy telling George Bush's fortune
[outlook not so good]