Monday 29 December 2014

more than i expected!

well thank you, all y'all who have written to ask about
being (t)here in New Orleans

the flood of enquiry was a surprise and a delight - the sort of response that makes me want to leap out of bed in the mornings and dance about in me nightie!

now just to will have to find your own accommodation

but there are lots of lovely places to stay.

as a visitor i'd be looking for somewhere in the Bywater, Marigny, Treme
and then [if you have not a bicycle or other wheeled transport] you can just catch the 88 bus down St Claude
hop off at Caffin Ave
and enjoy a lovely walk southward [well, technically south-southwest] to reach the Chateau

Sunday 28 December 2014

announcing New Orleans (and a bit of a personal reality check)

it's been a big year.

i've exhibited in New Orleans, Atlanta and Minneapolis (USA)
Evoramonte (Portugal)
Barossa Valley, Port Augusta, Adelaide, Murray Bridge and Tamworth (Australia)

i had work acquired by the Art Gallery of South Australia and was rejected by the Waterhouse Art Prize

self-published a number of books and taught at least nine workshops around the whirled.

which seemed like a reasonable achievement until i clicked a link to Amazon from a friend's sidebar and read the critiques for Eco Colour which is apparently a self-indulgent waffle with no useful information AND in which (according to the several reviewers) i apparently endorse the use of chemical adjuncts "without the specific caution that these are quite toxic".
i don't recall that at all. but clearly i am getting old and batty as well as being "somewhat prickly and seems to be the Self Appointed "Green Police" "

the good news for those people is that i have very recently been blessed with a dog and so will be limiting my travelling to much shorter sorties (after i get through 2016) to stay home and be with her so our paths are far less likely to cross.

at the same time i'll be making a serious effort to get my novel together. BE WARNED. it has stories, contains my favourite food recipes and has been completely self-indulgently written in my own voice so if you didn't like Eco Colour or Second Skin avoid it like the plague and don't say you weren't warned.
rather than attempting to complete the trilogy and writing a book about pattern-making i'm building all that into the story too.
(note to self  :  do not read critiques of novel if/when it is eventually published)

+ + +

if, on the other hand, you are not one of the above and willing to brave three days in my company in New Orleans in September 2015

i can tell you that i shall be offering a compact intensive version of 'being (t)here' in the marvellous Chateau Curioso, down near the lazy river, in the lower 9th ward

the class involves drawing and writing as well as the dyeing of cloth and paper and the making of a beautiful 'island book'. it is about being in place.

dates : September 4,5,6

the cost will be US$700 and i will be brewing a daily cauldron of soup (with accompaniments) for our lunch. some materials will be supplied but there will be a small list of things to bring. by and large we shall be working with treasures we find in the local area

if you are keen you may secure your place with a non-refundable deposit of $100*
drop me a line via my contact page if you'd like to sign up

* in the event there are insufficient takers for the class i shall refund your deposit in full

Tuesday 23 December 2014


today would have been Pa's 79th birthday
he slipped into the world on the longest night of the year in 1935
and left it much too soon in 2013.

he left me with the best legacy though
that of always being open to learning
because [as he said] you can't pump water out of a reservoir
unless it has been able to catch enough rain

and having grown up with this philosophy
i've made sure to keep learning throughout my teaching practice
- deliberate learning, that is, in addition to what i learn from
my family, friends, practice and students
bless all y'all

so in 2015 i will have the joy of being a student in Larry Thomas' class at Big Cat Textiles in Newburgh,  Scotland.
Alison and Netti very kindly invited him to teach there at my suggestion as i've been keen to take a class with him for years but somehow the cosmic carpool never lined up

Larry Thomas is in great demand...his drawings are remarkable, his work is represented in collections around the whirled, he teaches at Sitka, the San Francisco Art Institute and Haystack. i had the good fortune to spend a morning with him at his studio in Fort Bragg last year [or was it the year before...losing track of who and where...]

anyhoo you can read more about him here

i'm teaching a two-day class just before he begins at Big Cat, perhaps there may be some amongst you who would like to swing in for both? or of course if you're really keen, join me for 'being (t)here' then take a week to tour Scotland and come back for five days of wonderment and drawing

but i'd get in quick, cos when word gets out, his class will fill quickly.
click here for more detail

in the meantime, have a lovely Christmas or Chanukah or simply a delightful holiday at the time of twinkle lights....and if you're lucky enough to have a good father about, give him a hug.

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Silly season

It's the silly season
and I forgot to say Happy Birthday Herr Beethoven yesterday ( his 244th!)
I'm offering a little party game on Instagram 

Tuesday 16 December 2014

wandering + wondering

last Tuesday i packed 'back country' into the back of the ute [that's a pick-up if you're American] and headed out via the World's End Highway, the Goyder Highway and then the Barrier Highway up to Broken Hill and across New South Wales to deliver and install the work at the Tamworth Regional Gallery. [that's a little over 3000km there and back again]

and then yesterday i got up before sunrise, climbed into the [now much emptier] ute and pointed it in a westerly direction. Augustus [that's the ute's name] could smell his home paddock and was eager to go. 
me too.

i was also eager to see the Geminid meteor shower that's lighting up the night skies at present, so as the sun got lower i began to look for a suitable campsite. it's been years since i last slept under the sky in the outback. when the children were small we simply camped in a paddock at home and in recent years much of my travel has been to destinations overseas where camping isn't a practical response to the challenge of finding a bed [and where there are ticks, which give me the heebie jeebies]

about 120km east of Broken Hill i found a small red dirt road labelled Wirreanda. it looked suitably infrequently used so i turned up it and drove until i could see just the lights of the trucks on the highway but not hear them [thinking that i wanted to be within walking distance in case Augustus didn't want to start in the morning]. i also took a screen shot of the compass on my iPhone and messaged it to the folks back home so that they would have the coordinates in case that was the last time they heard from me and had to search for a body. 
then i unrolled my swag in the tray of the ute [there's just enough room for me to sleep diagonally] and hung a mosquito net over the top. perfect.


in the past i have always had a dog along when sleeping out but the pawprints left by Kip when she passed on July 19th, 2010 still haven't been filled so the precaution above [given the lack of canine company] was a simply sensible thing to do. you never know.

it turned out to be a splendid night, initially enlivened by lightning displays around the horizon and then beautifully clear with a myriad shooting stars, including one that seemed almost a Min Min light, bright green and travelling horizontally about 10 degrees above the northern horizon.

and then a couple of hours before dawn the moon rose in the east, cunningly disguised as a big slice of candied orange. at one point a tiny passing bat grazed my cheek with its wing as it flipped by, casually disposing of a mosquito

i had brought a book to read and also a set of solar powered twinkle lights [they'd been charging up on the dash all day] to read by but i never so much as turned a page and after testing the lights, turned them off as well. 


it was such a luxury to have the time to watch the sun go down, see the stars appear and truly appreciate the slow transition from day into night, listening to the birds organising themselves for sleep, the brief concerto of singing insects and then the rich velvety silence of a desert night, so quiet that it seemed i could hear the passing stars
i'm pretty sure the shades of the seven lovely Dogs who have blessed my life were there as well 

in the morning, after a bit of yoga [that 33 year old swag doubles nicely as a yoga mat] i packed up and discovered i had not been alone after all

there were also "tail-drag" marks from a kangaroo who had visited in the night, maybe to ask me to stop snoring. i hadn't heard it at all.
 i headed off again, stopping for a musical interlude under a bridge just outside Broken Hill while it was still cool and before the flies got busy. i like the acoustics that big bridges offer.

i found that others had been there before me

oh yeah? well i had sax under the bridge. 
far less messy and i'm guessing it probably sounded better too.


Friday 28 November 2014

here and there

a couple of days ago my lovely Wild Rose kindly frocked up and let me take happy snaps of some recently finished pieces. i'm fortunate to have a family prepared to assist me by modeling!

a simple shift dress in SilkyMerino

sometime next week i shall be loading up the ute (that's a pick up, if you're American) and pootling off across the interior of Australia to deliver and install back country in the Tamworth Regional Gallery
the opening has been set for the evening of December 13th (which is also the feast day of Santa Lucia)
and there's a chance i could offer a one-day intensive workshop on Sunday December 14th if there is sufficient interest - please drop me a line in the comments below if you think you'd care to join us

earlier today i spent time in the Tardis at Australia's national broadcaster (Auntie ABC) pre-recording for the program Talking Plants with Tim Entwisle (Director of the Royal Melbourne Botanic Gardens) and fellow guests John Wolseley and Jim Fogarty, which turned out to be rather fun.


to fortify my courage i wore amazing socks knitted by my friend Sidnee Snell
who (as they used to say in the better fairytales) is as clever as she is beautiful
the series begins on December 21 but the program i took part in today will air at 9am on Sunday January 25...i will be in New Zealand so won't have to listen to myself murmuring away.

on the way home i dropped into the wonderful emporium in Hahndorf called Poet's Ode. the proprietor Alia and i talked about me maybe having some work on display there in the near future (which would be lovely as i don't currently have anything on show here in my home state)

it's a clean and beautiful space with the most glorious pressed tin walls.

and now i'm out to give the cowbabies their warm supper, before sitting down to a cuddle with Yoda-San

close to this lovely fragrant Hoya bella

Monday 24 November 2014

back country

i returned from the sea refreshed in body and spirit
so today i tackled the task of processing the 'back country' story
via Blurb
though it crashed several times
have managed to get it all together and LIVE.

for those of you who expressed interest when i showed the Milk+Moleskine version
here's one at a much more affordable price
with the images and text condensed into 40 pages from the original 60

Sunday 23 November 2014


on Thursday last week i filled a cauldron with bundles
set a fire underneath
and promptly absconded. 

i was in need of friend, dog and ocean therapy. 

happily i was blessed with all of the above. 

(that dress has special pockets for my Sabahs

and now back at home i have a cauldron full of bundles to unroll...
but i think i might give them another night's sleep.

Monday 17 November 2014

Crockett Cottage Studio, Mansfield

Philadelphus filling the air with fragrance
i loved my time at Crockett Cottage Studio this year
(students came from France and New Zealand; West + South Australia and Queensland as well as Victoria and, for the first time in my visits there...Mansfield itself)
so much so that i've booked it again for 2015
in November the local gardens are awash 
with roses, peonies, philadelphus and magnolias
- even a huge liriodendron in full bloom
and the diversity of eucalyptus species available in the region is quite remarkable

i will offer a couple of workshops
one of which, by popular demand, is going to be about bloomers
and scanties and soft things to wear to bed

and also a retreat to which you can bring your own work
(provided it doesn't require noisy machinery or potentially toxic materials)
and share it with like-minded souls in the joy of the sewing circle 
more details soon but essentially
we'll share stories, i will brew daily dyebaths for you to work with
and be available to offer guidance if you need

i shall also be preparing lunch, as the studio has a fine
centrally positioned kitchen area from which i can answer questions
while i happily chop, stir and season
thus combining two of my (several) passions

Julie Pearson looking fabulous in her gorgeous top

the tray of our ute came in handy
not just for opening bundles but also as a very fine cutting table

local colour

it is very important to be nourishing the inner bear.

in other news, applications to attend the Retreat to Tin Can Bay
in Queensland next year are being received until December 9
Roz Hawker and i will be taking turns at sailing the boat
there'll be dyepots (i nearly wrote dyepoets!)
the opportunity to make small things in metal
or make bigger things in situ from found objects 
some quiet wandering and gentle writing
(i'm thinking that a class book may ensue as a memento for participants)

 if you'd like me to send you the bits to fill in
please drop me a line via the contact page on my website
dates : April 19th - 24th, 2015 (arrive on Sunday evening, depart Friday afternoon)
cost: (including vegetarian gluten-free food, 
twin-share accommodation and some materials) $1300

and ONE place is available in the Bower Bird Blues retreat
in the lovely Lud Valley in New Zealand

Wednesday 5 November 2014

fieldnotes, revisited

'fieldnotes' has opened at the Quarter Gallery in Minneapolis
sadly I couldn't be there (apologies to my friends in the region but this month I was geographically, temporally and somewhat financially challenged!)
but they've done a fine job of hanging it in my absence 
even included an extra dress (one that had stayed with them from the 'windfall maps' show of 2011)

Howard Oransky, Director, kindly sent me some images

and you can find the catalogue here