Wednesday 30 July 2014

shapeshifting in September

i am teaching a 'shapeshifter' class near Bunbury, Western Australia that never made it to the website because it was fully booked from the moment it was conceived last year.

but now it seems a couple of spaces have become available : life happens and people's plans change

so if you can see yourself wanting to spend five days in the wildflower glory that is the West Australian spring, hand sewing a celebration dress from a collection of pre-loved articles weeded from your wardrobe

September 1-5,  2014

please contact Jane Flower for details

Sunday 27 July 2014

reflecting on deep things

i had an email this morning from someone who required to know whether my books were printed on recycled stock.
she wrote :

"I am curious. Are your books printed on recycled paper and with other eco-friendly materials? I have Eco Colour but borrowed Second Skin from the library. They look like they were expensive productions. Please tell me they are produced with recycled paper and earth friendly inks and materials."

i wrote back and explained that the Australian edition of Eco Colour and the first edition of Second Skin were indeed printed on recycled stock and with vegetable inks but that the United States edition of Eco Colour wasn't [it was out of my control along with the advertising that appeared in the back of the book much to my surprise : for the record i do not endorse any of the advertised products] and that the second edition of Second Skin wasn't either [due to management changes at Murdoch Books]

but afterward i wondered whether she was typing her message on a computer made from recycled parts and using only earth-friendly energy? hmm.

and is there a reason why a book made from recycled paper should not look sumptuous?

that would imply that those of us who choose to wear environmentally 'friendly' clothing should perhaps dress in sackcloth so that we don't look too elegant. [admittedly my family too frequently observes that i look as if i am wearing a sack but that is another matter. entirely.]

the Blurb books are not printed on recycled stock. nor are the inks made from plants. i accept this is a drawback. on the bright side, though, the "print on demand" platform means that there will not be warehouses full of remaindered books rotting away because nobody wants them.

i've had that problem before, having overestimated the catalogue numbers for the exhibition 'watermarks' back in 2008. fortunately they were printed on recycled stock with vegetable inks so the box of extras [which nobody wanted at the time] made environmentally friendly [if expensive] weed suppressants in the garden.

i was hoping that 'shapeshifter', the handbook about clothing that i am preparing to publish in the Australian spring could be printed using as environmentally responsible means as possible.
that it would be a limited edition available by direct subscription, even if that meant i had to package them all personally [unlike Blurb which has printing houses dotted around the whirled and does all the packaging and mailing]

i'm still debating whether i will be able to fund it myself or whether to dive into something like Kickstarter. or whether i should go that road at all.

the cold hard fact is that though it's really exciting for me each time some kindly person buys a book, total sales [of all titles] through Blurb so far this month number only 352 and 30% of those were 'e' books or PDFs.  in order to keep the unit cost reasonable [so that with postage it is affordable as well as returning something on the investment of my time] i would need to have at least 1000 printed. and there wouldn't be an 'e' version. the thought of investing it what may become yet another pile of unwanted weed suppressant is somewhat dispiriting, so in the interests of market research...

what are your thoughts, oh gentle readers?

make a huge financial investment in eco-sustainable printing the hope of breaking even?

or stick with Blurb?

neither way is perfect. neither am i. but as i wrote to the correspondent above, i'm doing the best i can.


don't forget folks, those of you who have bought the Bundle Book still have until August 3 to enter that lucky dip for one of three ecoprint tsunobukuro bags, details

 PS this dam was constructed by bulldozing legend Sam White for my father back in 1997. the bulldozer is not, in all honesty, and environmentally friendly tool, but in the hands of those above it created a very beautiful place for quiet reflection...even if that goat insists on coming along for a walk.

Thursday 24 July 2014

last two chances to fly

i love it when somebody puts their hand up to organise a workshop
it means i don't have to do it
my skills lie elsewhere, though i'm getting quite good at finding reasonable value airtickets

having already embarassed myself by emailing someone from the waitlist twice
and being slightly pink around the gills
i am not going to attempt another rummage there
but simply tell you that

a couple of places have become available for the Second Skin class at Mansfield, Victoria [Australia]
in November this year

November 11,12,13, in fact.

here are the details

Join me at Mansfield in Victoria’s beautiful High Country for a three-day retreat during which you will make and dye a beautiful and versatile Silkymerino  secondskin to keep you warm while wandering, together with an exquisite hand-stitched bag in which to carry it with you on your travels.

Each participant will receive an  ecoprint silk goodie bag containing several metres of fabric and a selection of beautiful threads as well as a signed copy of India’s zero-waste dress-making workshop handbook ‘shapeshifter’ and a few surprises. Aesop, bless them, kindly provides us with fragrant cream to keep our hands soft while we sew.

A delicious gluten-free vegetarian lunch [dairy components kept separate to allow for dietary considerations] served with your choice of wine, juice or water will be provided each day, together with morning and afternoon tea and coffee, supplemented by fresh fruit and Haigh’s chocolates.

please send your carrier pigeon through the looking glass if you are interested in securing a place [it will be the last time i teach anywhere this year]

+++ update added July 26 : thank you my friends, the class is full again!

Tuesday 22 July 2014


tis a fine thing
when the infants take an interest in the construction of things
especially when those things are warm and comfy
and are given to me

my Wild Rose [aka the Eldest of the Three] who has a B.Sc Hons and was recently awarded her wool classer's stencil
is not content with being able to do clever things with statistics and fling fleeces on tables
and [thanks to instruction by great-grandmother] churn out exquisite tatted lace at machine speed
has now turned her hand to knitting
and discovered a passion for socks.
- unlike me she can actually make two objects that are exactly alike.
the first pair went to her beloved.
i scored the second lot.

so of course
i bundled them up with some eucalyptus leaves
i love my socks

and was tempted to sling them in here as well

but i was firmly restrained.
they said enough was enough.

guess i shall be wearing contrasting socks.

Saturday 19 July 2014

the word of the week

if i had to choose a word for this week
i think it would be abundance
it has rained abundantly [this is good, the cup runneth over and two out of four dams are also!]
there is mud here in abundance
and the abundance of chaos in the studio is gradually resolving into tangible objects...

further afield all sorts of marvellous things have been happening

musician Helen Davey very kindly asked if she might compose some music in response to my part of the exhibition Sete Filhas, Sete Irmãs currently installed at Evoramonte, Portugal

when i listened to it late last night on my batfone
it brought the feeling of castle back to me
though, so far as i know, Helen has not actually been there. magic.

here are her links

then Kari from Melbourne sent me this delightful story about making an ecoprint romper

and Christi alerted me to Emma Riley's lovely blog [the link is to a post about our recent class but the rest of it is well worth a rummage...gorgeous images]

Jill [maker of fabulous chocolate and possessed of magical healing hands] also wrote about our class

it does make me very happy when folk write kindly things after a period of reflection.
thank you. all y'all.

and now i have another wee thank you to make
to the truckie who taught me how to tie a hitch
way back in 1984 [or thereabouts] when i was a bright young thing
working with [what was then] the Arts Council of South Australia,
driving exhibitions into the back country of the state
and setting them up in unlikely places such as agricultural shows
that hitch has been indispensable over the years
and was used again this week
when i brought home a mattress purchased ridiculously cheaply at auction
deciding it was time to have a comfy sleep at home
as well as when i am away. i have piled it on top of my ancient one.
stacking them up like the princess in the fairy tale

lastly thank you, friends, for buying my new book
and thank you Mary for writing nice things about it

that's all folks, have a lovely weekend.

Monday 14 July 2014

dyeing paper

much as i enjoy wandering
i also love being back in my studio
pottering about, stoking the fire
and of course opening up bundles

 at the risk of boring y'all
with too frequent references to my new book
i just wanted to make sure that those of you who had already bought it
knew there is now a lucky dip involved
[i'd mention it on the Blurb site if i could]

i wrote this book for those of you who don't have a chance to attend classes
as well as those who just like a refresher or
to read about the process in different words
and of course there's the field i haven't discussed in print before,

++ dyeing paper ++

Saturday 12 July 2014

transported : and a lucky dip

one minute i was in rainy England
the next [well, not quite, more like 1560 minutes later] I was back in rainy South Oz

i flew back on Emirates and while their seat wasn't quite as comfy as Qantas
the food was simply fabulous. best airline fodder ever.
[long haul Delta still does the best cocktails]
you may think these are small things...
not if you are spending 26 hours in transit.

i finally arrived home at about 11 o'clock last night
and after the usual formalities [saying hello to a multitude of furred and unfurred people] tucked myself up with a loudly purring Martha-cat

in the later afternoon today the sun came out and so i pulled on the wellies
for a plod about my favourite paddock

 stacked a few stones
[you can't tell in the picture, but the stones of home are sparkly]
 found the soak to be full [small happy dance]
 enjoyed the setting sun
and the rising moon
and then i had a very good idea

if those of you who purchase the bundle book
[and those who have already bought it]

i will make a lucky dip
choose three names from a tsunobukuro bag
and send a hand-embellished ecoprint tsunobukuro bag
to each of those three people

if you happen to mention the book on your blog or facebook
[and send me the link]
you will receive a bonus entry for each separate site on which you do so

entries will only be accepted via this email address

the lucky dip closes at sunset on August 3rd 2014, Pacific Ocean time

Thursday 10 July 2014

A hertz-felt thanks

I went west for a few days
after we had finished our class at Newburgh
and I had committed the Bundle Book to Blurb
I needed some thinking space
to sort a few things out
quiet time in wind and rain and sun to mull over things
to smell the heather
and to gaze into deep waters
and to rearrange small pieces of the whirled
while considering new ideas for classes
and pondering different ways of presenting
it was a splendid wandering : made even more enjoyable by Hertz who upgraded my very basic four-door reservation to this glorious chariot.  
I named him Wolfgang and the keys had to be prised from my fingers when we parted at Edinburgh airport. He purred along for over 400 miles on a scant half tank of diesel

I even managed to write a small poem.
it was a very productive time.
and thenI found that the Australian Embassy in Lisboa
kindly mentioned our exhibition
on their website
which pleased me very much

Sunday 6 July 2014

being (t)here...again

it was lovely to come back to Newburgh
to work with Netti and Alison
who are like sisters and very kind to me
we worked on paper
first with words

and then with dyes

 local meadowsweet
made lovely colours
 we made a concertina river book
and a new sweet folded book
that i developed especially for the class
i call it the "island book"
because you have to sail around it to appreciate it fully
 trusty studio assistant Jazz cooling off
 wonderful peonies

 and the beautiful river
fresh and full of new stories each day
 we wrote and shared poetry
 found hearts in the streets
laid bundles in patterns here and there
and generally had a wonderful time.
Isabel [who works at the charity shop]
told me how the church [where our workshop took place]
used to be the drill hall for the "territorials"
and then that the Poles lived there during the war
and that there was a dance held there
"and the floor was ever so slippery"


the trouble with having good friends scattered around the whirled
is having to say goodbye. 
but not forever, merely ae fond farewell [misquoting Robert Burns] until next year
you can see more pix from class
And please, Father Christmas, may I have a bear like this?

Friday 4 July 2014

the bundle book

many of you have written to me and asked if i would consider making a pocket-sized book that simply looked at ecoprint bundling.

you told me that 'Second Skin' was a good read but it didn't fit well into a travel bag.

i'm a girl that can take a hint. especially when it is a good one.

so here it is, folks. the bundle book.

and yes, at long last, it has a section about printing on paper.

i hope you like it.