Tuesday 22 September 2015

the Maiwa Symposium

this still taken from a video i made yesterday captures the spirit of our class at the Maiwa Symposium this week, working on a 'wayfarer's wandercoat'
it seemed to me that dyeing and stitching cloth was only a small part of it all

the intangibles...adventure, empowerment, affirmation, acceptance, companionship, contentment, generosity (both material and of the spirit)...were present in abundance

we gathered leaves from the pavements (the area around the Maiwa East studio has everything you could want) and participants brought things in their pockets as well

we re-shaped much loved pre-worn clothing, harvested pieces from other garments to build on and extend our coats
dyed samples
and bundled the coat itself to give it a blue blessing

photo by my lovely assistant Sophena

our five days together were about beginning the building of this coat
a wandercoat that can be worn and added to on the wearer's lifejourney
that has pockets for poems, petals and passports
jewels and journals
love and leaves
(i'm hoping my students will wear their coats if they come to hear me tell stories again next year)

some of us even wrote poetry into the cloth itself

there was the daily ritual of unbundling
each precious bundle opened with respect and wonder

and on one evening
i was invited to partake of supper on a boat
during which i felt as though i were in a faerie tale
and that at any moment the boat might take off
to sail through the clouds

this advice found on the fridge at the net loft (another part of the Maiwa family) sums it beautifully. i think we did all that this week.
some students told me they had begun queuing on registration day at 5am to sign up for this class and i heard that it was sold out in the first hour of registration, which has me somewhat stunned and humbled as well as deeply grateful.

there are places i travel to that i really like to return to

Maiwa is one of them.

happily i will be back at Maiwa next year, am off to lovely Lopez next
and will offer the last of my Australian extended classes at Mansfield, Victoria in November this year  after our journey into the arid lands in October

there may be the occasional shorter one offered when possible but presently my dance card is fairly full until the end of 2017...with some very exciting adventures on the horizon including a voyage up the Amazon and another along the coast of Croatia

for which i had better build a few more pockets into my own wayfarer's wandercoat... so that more people can slip poems into them
(as the lovely Suri did yesterday, thank you)

this beautiful poem by Mary Oliver that had not yet wandered across my path

Monday 14 September 2015

dodging raindrops in the Press Steet Gardens

the second session in New Orleans was held in the Press Street Gardens
an area of lush abundance managed by Margee Green
and her assistant Elliot 

the colours of the first dyepot were luscious
and things just kept getting better

rain blessed us every day
but despite being soaked everybody remained cheerful
and produced beautiful work

i spent my last day in New Orleans at work in the garden
setting up a new project that will carry me through until 2018
- more of that in a future post
for now i have dragged myself away from Louisiana
and am somewhere in Colorado
en route to Canada

Tuesday 8 September 2015

down in the ninth


 'being (t)here' in the lower ninth was so absorbing i hardly took any photographs at all. but here are a few...we walked along the levee
and wandered through the streets
finding several enormous pecan trees whose inhabitants were cheerfully hurling unripe nuts to the ground
those nuts made a fabulous brew
as ever, the bundles were a source of joy. we worked with cloth and paper
experimented with kitchen-sourced mordants and spent time considering words in gentle poetic forms

New Orleans water has a quality all its own. the reaction to the spent gladiolus flowers was particularly beautiful. that blue came instantly
we had interest from a pair of goats who seemed keen to join us in the studio
not to mention a rather lovely cat who happily rolled in our poetry after hours,
rearranging the words to his satisfaction

at one point he took centre stage on the shared work table and cheerfully faced each offered camera in turn so that everyone could enjoy a photo opportunity

i'd like to thank each of my students for being t)here, for sharing your stories and for adding to the general pool of wisdom. 

Wednesday 2 September 2015

this one's for you, Ma

one of the things I love to do in New York is get up earlyish and totter across to the Chelsea Flower Market

it's a visual delight and the fragrances are intoxicating - i wish this could be a scratch-and-sniff post

and then the contents of the gutters had me wishing for a dyepot