Friday 21 June 2013

on the other side

after a slow departure from the deep south
due to rather a lot of
f    o   g
and then missing the connection in Auckland
due to a combination of that
f    o   g
the fact that the wheels had fallen off the airbridge
and so we couldn't get off the plane until a good thirty minutes after we landed
[i thought NZ was the land of number 8 wire and RP7???]
i arrived in Los Angeles shortly before 3 in the afternoon on Tuesday
turned out to be a jolly good thing
i have never in my life been so speedily processed
through border security

admittedly being the ninth one off the plane helped.

much chuffed by this splendid beginning to things
i hightailed it to Claudia's house
and zoomed off with her to the nearest thrift store
where i acquired a number of treasures
since when
i have been gathering leaves
sitting at a table on a deck high on a hill above the Hollywood Bowl
stitching and dyeing
 plotting tomorrow's class,
hoping a few people will turn up tomorrow evening
so that my luggage will be a good bit lighter
when i hop over to Haystack this weekend
thinking how nice it is that what i call work
is what i would do anyway
even if it didn't pay the bills


Saturday 15 June 2013


in seven days time
i will be in Hollywood
showing a few dresses, some wraps and
a couple of other things

which seems a little surreal
possibly even comic, when you think about where i live
and how i work
right now
i'm enjoying some boil-ups
the watchful gaze of the angel
[wearing a beautiful crown - thank you Ben and Sally]

the colours are singing

and so is Miss Pigsley

she wants MORE.
not sure exactly what of,  but more.
Boston [wearing a fetching coat]
is hanging about sympathetically

if you're in LA on June 21 [the solstice eve] do swing by the Grau Haus
the gardenias are flowering
and we'll give you a warm welcome

Friday 14 June 2013


opening the mail this morning i nearly choked on my porridge
when i read the unequivocal statement below

while the second sentence is true,
my response to the first was quite simply "bollox".

if you don't know what that means, good.
if you do, be assured that i have put a gold-coloured coin into the swear jar.

the reason green is traditionally considered to be a "difficult to achieve" colour is quite simply because of the way the plants have been processed.
most water supplies contain at least a little sodium
which tends to make everything yellow.

if you're lucky enough to live in Philadelphia
or Göttingen or other places where the water is rich in calcium; or if your water comes from a copper-rich bore/well then you'll be familiar with beautiful greens too
 or you could go play at Mount Tamborine
where the climate and soil and magic-in-the-air gave us lovely greens

there's an old Japanese dyeing family whose name sadly escapes me for now
but you could google them if you had half an hour to spare, Dr something-beginning-with-K
spoke at the UNESCO dye conference in Hyderabad in 2006
and i distinctly recall him showing slides of the 167 repeatable and named 
shades of green that his family could dye to order
[i'm pretty sure there must be either copper or calcium or both in their water]
their sample books go back over six or seven generations.

the samples above were dyed at Gore, New Zealand
and here's a link to the process we used at Warrnambool, Victoria

bundle-dyeing or ecoprinting [much the same thing]
is by far the best way to achieve greens
as the outside of the bundle acts as a filter
so what reaches the inside is relatively pure steam
without nasties that will dull the greens or change them to gold

and if you've pre-soaked your cloth
in a diluted copper+vinegar solution 
[NOT copper sulphate, it is toxic and corrosive]
success is guaranteed.

now that i've got that off my chest
i'll clear up the mess of spluttered porridge
and get back to the dyepot...

its contents have to be packed and on a plane on Tuesday.

Thursday 6 June 2013

mercy it's June already

i suspect the first six months of this year slipped while i was looking the other way
quite suddenly
it appears to be June

i should be pruning my roses
instead, i have been smelling other people's [er, roses, that is]

i headed south from the mango forest
stopping only to assist with a dyepot
plumbed new depths of ingenuity [sacrificing a bit of alfoil in the process]

to keep a fire going in torrential rain
[yes, i got wet, but this time i had the sense not to wear my cowboy boots]

at Tamborine Mountain we found blue skies
and more glorious greens in the dyepot
[my friend R murmured something about that being Queensland in winter]

i am treated to perfect coffee
and drink it standing on the red earth AND by the trees
that it grew on

i think that pretty much defines 'terroir'.

once again we had canine guidance
[there are so many lovely dogs around the whirled]

inspired by the bundle above, we unfurled the dresses to the tune of
'do or die' [spelling it differently in our heads] 
from the album 'teeth and bones' by John Fohl

i could happily have hung around here for a while longer
it wasn't possible

+ + +

heading much further south a day later
i turned up at Glenmore House as the sun was setting
in time to filch a few leaves from the roadside

we spent an intense day
working colour into winter wraps

using local windfalls
in the evening
i found another friend

but now, by way of something completely different
 i'm on the way home
to sew and dye
for a trunk show in Hollywood
[no, not dreaming!]