Tuesday 29 November 2011

time is my friend

Agonis flexuosa
bundled January 5
unbundled November 29
posted for the especial benefit
of my recent Blue Mountains class
the samples we produced there
from the same species of plant
were quite a different colour
being more of a pinkish beige

Sunday 27 November 2011

they have seen the light

during my brief domestic interlude in September i set up a little lightfastness test
a handful of fabric scraps, some naturally dyed other unnaturally coloured
yesterday i remembered to look for them
here's how they scrubbed up, after two months in the sun, wind and rain

the two at the top are synthetically dyed and weren't much affected
the third one is eucalyptus on wool...which actually darkened a bit [the exposed side is on the left]
the next was apple leaves on silk, which changed from green to gold
then an ice-flower dye, which clearly didn't enjoy the sun at all
and lastly some heritage carrots, blue purple in the original but then somewhat faded [but with the carrot prints still visible]

on the other hand
the black cotton bloomers that i forgot on the washing line
are no longer black.

Thursday 24 November 2011


it's funny, really
i'm often asked to arrange more workshops in South Australia
but when i do
it's rare for locals to sign up

riverstitch [planned for February 2012]
is very nearly filled
largely with folks from someplace else
but there are a couple of spots left

today i swung down to the brewery at Goolwa
so visit my lovely friend [and the workshop host] Jenni
and catch up with another good friend, Trace
who happened to be passing through on her way west

a fine instance of the Dog Above doing a bit of mustering
to read about a recent class
please visit Elisa Bartels
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Saturday 19 November 2011

a bundle and a really exciting project

as those of you who swing by here from time to time may have noticed
i have a particular fondness for a cloud draped land just a little to the east of my island continent
and have more than once spent time in and around Nelson
where the amazing Judy Keylock
this year created a project for the Maitai School

Jo Kinross kindly sent some images


i particularly like the lupin prints on Judy's dress

in other news... when i was in Pennsylvania in September, Kelly McHaig kindly gave me a jar of chili jelly to take home. it looked fabulous so i wrapped it carefully in a silk scarf and then several layers of packing in the hope it would survive the trans-pacific crossing.

sadly the baggage-mishandlers crushed the jar. determined not the waste it, i scraped the broken glass off the silk and bundled a few extra leaves in it. this was a day or so before i was due to leave again.
for some reason i wasn't keen to open the bundle that week, so i decided to put it aside to await my return. it's so much easier to resist opening bundles when you're on the other side of the whirled.

 it didn't turn out too badly... slightly on the wrong side of aromatic, but not mouldy. and jolly nice colours.

Wednesday 16 November 2011

fieldwork in the blue mountains

they were very kind to me in the Blue Mountains
[especially Marjorie and Loret, who carried the burden of organising]
i stayed with my friend Pam de Groot
aside from being a top class felter and
general Good Sort, understands that it's important to relax with
a little something at the end of the day
and to have a bit of quiet time
because the very last thing you need
after a day on the deck [or at breakfast just before]
is to have your brains picked over by an info-vampire

[...one of the reasons i so frequently camp in a helltell]

one day she even got up very very early
and took me for a wander into the bush
to this magical place

it was like standing in a William Robinson painting
[there's another link to his work on the side bar...]

the images above show some of the delightful colours
we coaxed into cloth from windfalls and weeds

there's another 'fieldwork' class next year
at the Geelong Forum in the last week of September 2012
part of a Design Focus Group
details should be on their website soon
it's already in the magazine

Tuesday 15 November 2011

pond-hopping to the mountains of blueness

i dragged myself from the left coast of one continent
leaving a marker or two

to the right coast of another

where for the past five days
we have been experimenting with the local flora

rumour has it that someone [some time ago]
enlivened her train journey into the Blue Mountains
by slinging Coreopsis seeds out of the window

we did our best to reduce the weed burden
by harvesting for our dyepots

Monday 7 November 2011

Sunday 6 November 2011

travel advice - don't fly United

i quite enjoyed my flight across America
i got to San Francisco
and discovered that United Airlines
had offloaded several checked [and paid] bags
and put them on later flights
to make room for the excessive number of roll-aboards
that wouldn't fit [and don't have to pay when they don't fit]

instead of collecting my rental car and pootling down the coast in daylight
i had to wait two hours for my bag
[because having it sent after me wasn't an option -
the plan was to be roadtripping to spontaneous destinations]

and so
have made it as far as a helltell in Halfmoon Bay
instead of a lot further south

which means
i will never willingly purchase a ticket with United Airlines again

once bitten...

Saturday 5 November 2011


thanks NSCAD
for the gift of a week
in which to re-examine my practice
by coincidence [no such thing as]
began in a place with a view
of the island where the Acadians were detained
prior to 
Le Grand Dérangement
which led to some of them
winding up in Louisiana
where this work will continue

this small rockpile
left as a token
of my appreciation

Tuesday 1 November 2011

happily at the coalface

yesterday's wind has generated a rich harvest
i arrive at the studio laden with fragrant greenery

now you see it

now you don't

it goes into the pot
and then

i have breakfast
lovely rosemary and olive bread
salvaged from the supper table

outside the window
there is a passing parade

inside i inhale the aroma of the dyepot
and play with shapes that echo those of the containers
on the boats

eventually my dumpling is cooked

and the alarm on my batfone alerts me to my responsibilities
i speedwalk back in to the city
and put on a frock for the exhibition opening
am pretty sure some folks in the street think
that i am dressing up for Halloween

i think more people should wear frocks with big skirts
that hide a multitude of sins
[as opposed to the sins of a multitude]

94 starving students turn up
eat cheese and vegetable bits
do a circuit of the space
and rush off to get stuck into Halloween
[i'm told this is an excellent turnout]

meanwhile i am given a splendid bunch
of very red flowers
for which