I’m sitting at my table here in France writing while at the distant edge of the fields the sun is beginning to think about rising. Outside a lone bird witters away to itself and about twenty big paces away from my window a brook continues its mad rush over the rocks. Today is day four of our class here – past students will know what that means. Time to bring out the chocolate!
It’s a good time of year to be dyeing in Europe. Elderberries and blackberries are ripening in the hedgerows. The first walnuts are almost within reach. The last of the St John’s Wort, that ubiquitous little yellow flower that rewards us so beautifully in the dyepot, lingers along the roadsides. Evenings are long and soft, washed clean by the occasional rainstorm.
The St John’s Wort reminds me that a few places still remain available in the two retreats that will be held in Mansfield, Victoria, Australia this year....both are limited to nine participants and are one-of-a-kind events unlikely to be repeated elsewhere.
November 9-12 'bloomin lovely' making beautifully dyed, hand-sewn bloomers, slips, scanties and undies
November 14-17 'spring sewing circle', working on your own project with guidance from me (and support from the rest of the sewing circle – always a source of much wisdom, not to mention a good deal of laughter)
You’ll be supplied with delicious lunches, wine, fruit, chocolate and a package of useful treasures to supplement the materials you’ll want to bring. We’ll work in the light-filled garden studio at Crockett Cottage and gather our dye materials from the abundant eucalypts in the district. Poetry and drawing will add further richness to our days. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the odd small book didn’t appear and dive into the dyepot as well!
2016 is shaping to be a very full year for me with two solo exhibitions (USA and UK), a residency at the Arid Lands Botanic Garden in Port Augusta (South Australia), a tour of New Mexico, workshops in Canada and the USA, a return visit to bonny Scotland AND my mother’s 80th birthday – so these (and the two classes at Beautiful Silks Botanical Studio) will be my last workshops in Victoria for the foreseeable future.
And why did St John’s Wort remind me?
Because most years the Mansfield district has an abundance of it. In Australia it’s a noxious weed and can be gathered with impunity, whereas in Europe it's a wildflower that I gather either with permission on private land OR when it is clear that it is about to be mown from the roadside
Please drop me a line though the contact page here if you think you might like to give yourself the reward of a retreat to Mansfield in November. I think it will be a very fine time indeed.