Wednesday 31 August 2016

ripples in the mindpond

clouds in sky and field
one way
another way
and one more
stars underfoot
possibly too beautiful for words

there's something particularly lovely
about being able to wander
without shoes

and also
about being in place
taking the time to be fully present
feeling the wind on my skin
listening deeply to the music of the birds and the sea 
and the grasses and the small stones
and a flower opening slowly

more and more i feel this kind of slowness and mindfulness 
is where my work is leading me

discovering years ago
that eucalypts could print vibrant colour
(it was 1991 that i found eucalyptus leafprints on an eggshell
and began to put two and two together)

put me on an extraordinary path
and the longer i walk it
the more it seems that really
in the end
it's all about paying attention to this beautiful whirled
wherever we are
and no matter what other agenda is being perpetrated

just being (t)here,
it works for me.

Wednesday 10 August 2016

everything we need is here

For the first time in ages (a scant week in Aotearoa doesn't really count) I'm making a substantial journey that doesn't involve teaching; having come to Europe primarily in the role of carer for my Ma, who despite falling and cracking her hip four weeks ago decided she would rather come on the trip anyway than languish in a hospital bed.
I came away thinking I might knit or write in any spare time. 
The Dogs Above had other ideas. 
First I accidentally found a silk shirt at the thrift store. 
Then I was poking around a ruin and found a dyepot. 

I hadn't even brought I made some.

There was a barbecue arrangement but no matches. So I purloined a glowing coal from a nearby sauna. It was that, or use the toaster. Don't ask. 

The twigs were all a bit damp. Happily I had some firewater with me (thank you Schlosshotel Kronberg!!) and a piece of linen rag. It proved an effective combination. 

I gathered some old friends from the roadside 

At first the brew (unusually) turned green. 

Rather an idyllic location, don't you think?

Holidays. Gotta love em. 

Monday 1 August 2016


i get a lot of questions about the laundering of contact-printed cloth...should it be dry-cleaned, is the dye washfast, what's the best way of cleaning it etc

the answer, in short, is to treat your plant-dyed cloth as you would treat your own hair.

not too hot, not too cold. no harsh detergents, no greasy soap. because if you use either of those you'll need to rebalance the pH with a vinegar and water rinse afterward (which is kind of what conditioner does for your hair. they only make it gluggy so it won't run off your hand in the shower)
be gentle.
wash by hand or using the wool cycle on a front-loader.

i recommended Aesop's APC Fine Fabric Care on my labels, cos it smelled divine and was wonderfully gentle on cloth. so gentle, in fact, that i could have used it in the shower.

sadly though i seemed to be the only customer buying it and so they discontinued the lovely stuff.

their animal wash does the trick, but doesn't smell as nice.

the other important thing is to dry your cloth in the shade.
unless you are washing sheets, in which case peg em out in the sun and the wind.
they'll be crispy white and smell like heaven.

just remember to avoid the dry-cleaner like the plague. the process is neither dry nor clean and will have your favourite silk negligible sloshing around in a vat of petrochemical nasties along with the filthy trousers worn by a travelling salesman for four weeks and somebody else's vomit stained car seat covers.


and have a nice day.