Friday 29 June 2012


it becomes clear that a chosen path is the right one
after taking the first few faltering steps
signs appear

a kind weaver wrote to tell me of a loom in her safekeeping
that had been gifted to her
and was looking for a home

i went with my good friend r to have a look
and fell in love with it

we had to take it apart
to transport it home
the experience of constructing the Saori from flat pack
was very helpful
as was my friend r, who has [unlike me] been formally trained as a weaver
[my training is from my Ma, who can be formal but mostly prefers not to be!]

together we reconstructedthis wonderful passed-on gift
and now it awaits some loving care with hot beeswax
before i warp up

first though, i'm off to Melbourne
where i hear the Natural Dye Symposium is already in full swing in the concrete jungles of Fitzroy.

Thursday 28 June 2012

more magical workings in the universe

a couple of months ago
i was musing to the rocks on the paddock and a passing sheep or three about not having been to Aotearoa [New Zealand] for a while.
i even mentioned to the passing ones
that i would really like to spend a little more time
at Titirangi

the Dogs Above were listening
did a bit of mustering, lined up the cosmic carpool
and to my delight
an email arrived inviting me to give a workshop there
which i am thrilled to bits about
[Titirangi is one of the places where Colin McCahon lived]
and then
i was thinking about other places i love in New Zealand
and about the wonderful time we had at Cable Bay
when we all walked into the water wearing our reconstructed dresses
to pre-mordant them before windfall-bundling them around some local rocks
[the rocks were returned to the beach later]
again the dogs were listening
and now we have another workshop happening in the beautiful Lud Valley again [which is very close to Cable Bay and also to Nelson]

following some days after the class at Titirangi
...but allowing me some time in between to put my bare feet on the ground at Awhitu, a place whose name most appropriately means "a longing to return"

contact details for both workshops are on my website here  [you'll need to scroll down to the bottom of the page]

and just yesterday another wee pigeon flew in from afar
with an inquiry about a possible dye workshop in Los Angeles
- it would be at very short notice, from July 30-August 1, 2012
we need ten participants to make it possible so i'd love to hear from anyone who might be interested or missed out on a place in the Santa Barbara class

Tuesday 19 June 2012

an interesting life

i lead an interesting life
because i find endless fascination in the wonderments of the whirled
am delighted to be able to assure my readers that
boredom is not something that afflicts me.
it can be a life of extremes
i hang out with fascinating people
Bumble and Felix [while pruning roses]

as well as with my No1 son-in-law [an excellent shearer and generally very helpful chap]

you can't really see him...he's standing behind that pile of wool that somehow hid in the woods and escaped shearing last year

and at the end of the day
Johnniecat is always happy to discuss philosophies

in between writing and teaching
weaving, dyeing, stitching and dreaming
there isn't much spare time

that said,
i made time a while ago
to sew/dye/embellish a frock for someone
who said they wanted it for a red carpet event
and in rather a hurry
it involved several fittings [with long drives back and forth to town]
and some extended nights of handstitching
no payment was offered
and [yes, silly me] i was too shy to ask
sadly i cannot find any images of it being worn anywhere
[and none have been sent]
so the only pictures i have of it
are blurry phone-snaps.

i hope it doesn't end up in an op-shop somewhere.

it was an interesting experience
that momentarily left me feeling not quite "the lucky one"

[altgough other recent life events have reminded me just how lucky i really am]


the next special frock i make
will be for me
for an event at the Art Gallery of New South Wales
where I have been asked to come and tell stories
as part of the events arranged for a spectacular exhibition

Kamisaka Sekka - dawn of modern Japanese Design

maybe i will see some of you there?

Sunday 17 June 2012

alabama chanin organic cotton

some while ago the kind folk at Alabama Chanin
sent me a piece of their lovely organic cotton jersey
so that i could play on it with colour
it feels like whipped cream
i was so delighted with it
that i immediately ordered Natalie Chanin's latest book
which is simply wonderful on all counts - content, design, philosophy
[there's a wonderful line in it about "loving your thread"]

i cut some of it into smaller pieces [the jersey, not the book]
pre-soaked and marked and drew on them with
various substances [mostly from the kitchen]
and some from those brews of metal and vinegar
that fester away in jars
rowed along the wall of workroom

a few months have intervened
[life getting in the way etc]
allowing the mordants to cure very nicely

today i am dyeing
fortunately [and just like Anne of Green Gables]
with an 'e'

Tuesday 12 June 2012

musing on international orange under blue skies

there was a time
when i was small and orange
were my favourite colours

they still make my heart sing

if your heart needs singing practice
you could try taking it to Melbourne
where it could exult in the Fred Williams retrospective
'infinite horizons'
the paintings are so vibrant
they seem backlit

Debbie Herd writes about her experience here
Fiona Morgan shows more images here
if you can't visit the exhibition in person
consider investing in the catalogue
worth every cent.

Sunday 10 June 2012

studio assistance/assistants

meet Bumble
she's been hanging around me a bit of late
looking for entertainment

Martha is usually close by as well
here she is, sorting out some important studio stuff

today Bumble ventured into the workroom
to make sure i wasn't just reading a book by the fire

[yes the pix are gloomy, i didn't want to fry her retinae with a flash]
but there wasn't anything good to eat
particularly exciting going on

so she went back out to play with Martha instead

Thursday 7 June 2012

cold in them thar hills

"there's no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong choice of clothes'
thus spake Billy Connolly
waxing lyrical about the land of his birth

it's so cold here in the Deep South that things need to be dried by a fire

even books

and having made a fire
i figure i might as well use the warmth to heat a dyepot

luckily it has been raining
so i don't need to go far for water
it's provided right outside the workroom
in bowls that aren't too heavy to carry
[thank you Dogs Above]

some contain mordants as well
[not of the canine kind, quiet in the stalls!]

while i'm watching the paper dry
and feeding twigs to the flames

i can stitch another book

knot a fringe

be grateful for small treasures

play with amusing filters on my pocket pinhole camera

and be grateful i woke up breathing on such a lovely day
any day, really