Sunday 24 November 2019

leaf love and a month-long magical mystery tour

Would you like to join me for a workshop?
A long one that lasts a month?

Want to learn different ways of bundling to
let those lovely string marks shine on your work?

Want to know to bring saved dried leaves back to life?

Would you like to ease into a daily morning writing practice,
connect with a whirled-wide community and
dance your way through February?

Why February?

It might be the shortest month but in the North,
though we all know that the earth needs a rest before
the abundance of spring, the long hours of dark together
with driech weather can get to your soul.
And not in a good way.

Here in the South we just feel the roasting
heat of summer will never end.

So once again I have dreamed up an adventure
that can be enjoyed from wherever you are in the whirled.
It begins now, with a wee bit of prep, then goes to sleep
while you deal with whatever
the Festive Season is throwing at you 😉.

Late in January I'll send a wakey-wakey email
to remind you that the fun is about to begin,
and then every day in February
an email will fly in from me, with instructions
for the mystery project that we are making together. 

All I will tell you now is that it is both beautiful and useful,
and that we will be using cloth from your stash
and your ragbag along with whatever threads
you want to stitch with,
and all of the beads and buttons your heart desires.

You'll begin each day with quiet moments of grounding,
light a candle, do a little writing and then work on your project,
step by step until it all comes together
and you take it out into the light of day
at the end of the month.

And did I mention pie?
There will be pie.

Want to know more ?

Please click on the heart below.

Saturday 2 November 2019


goodness me.
I blinked, and now it is November.
It's been another extraordinary year.
I've had exhibitions in New Orleans, Scotland and England.
Taught in Canada, Scotland and France,
and taught myself a lot about small-scale
film-making for my online school.

The weather is still
awfully dry here in South Australia
in fact
the dams look a bit like that
lovely rusted image above.

I found a pile of dried eucalyptus leaves
in a garden in Mexico
which was a brilliant excuse
to acquire this lovely blue enamel pot.
It's beautifully light and fits
nicely into my suitcase.

The River Tay welcomed me back
(or so I like to think), and several
happy hours were spent filming
bundles drifting on the tide.

Now I'm home a while,
happily dancing with indigo,
teaching myself as much as
I can about that particular magic,
while also working on new projects
for the
School of Nomad Arts.

One of which has been released today.

Some years ago I published a very limited edition
of 'wandercards',
inspirational cards devised to offer ideas for
the exploration of the poetics of place.
There were rather a lot of enquiries about
a reprint, but in the interests of sustainability
I thought it best to make the texts available
online (saving the costs of printing and
mailing) so that people could make their
own unique sets, using repurposed materials
if they wished.

You'll find them here

Tuesday 13 August 2019

still breathing

I apologise for the decreasing frequency
perhaps that is
increasing infrequency
of postings here.

blogger makes it tricky to interact with the readership, you see.
I can't respond to your questions, the platform simply won't allow it.

but I can still tell a few stories.


it's been an extraordinary year
(they all are, really) with wanderings that have included exhibitions in one of the busiest locations in the UK, as well as one of the more remote (but seemingly with lots of lovely visitors).

a day after 'leafpoems :: treeclooties from here and (t)here' concluded at the Inverewe Gardens in Scotland,   'incomplete journeys' opened at the Festival of Quilts in Birmingham ... truly two extremes!

and presently I have work in 'borderline' at Fabrik, in South Australia,
as well as a chapter on my work in a beautiful new book

'True Colors'
Keith Recker

most of next year's workshops are up on my website
and I am very happy to say that the 
School of Nomad Arts
is blooming beautifully.

thanks for hanging in here.
if you have something that needs an answer, drop me a line.
there's a wee icon at the foot of my website
that will let you send me a message.


Tuesday 5 March 2019


two places have become available in the only fully residential retreat I will be leading this year, in beautiful Bretagne - Brittany, on the shining edge of the shimmering Atlantic Ocean.

this is one of the thin places of the whirled, where it feels as if you could easily step from this one to the next. 

the layers of history are dense and complex :: at our accommodation there is a fig tree with a girth so big it seems as though it could have been planted by a returning crusader

at the foot of the garden there is a path winding down to a burbling stream that wanders through a faerie-tale forest, the kind in which you expect to see unicorns leaping lightly over fallen logs or to find a strand of Melisande's hair

our workshop is called 'longing(be)longing' and will take us deeply into the investigation of the poetics of this place, one that seems to allow us to see further, hear more clearly and feel more deeply.

time slows in this place.

we will be hand stitching and dyeing, making a journal and capturing poetry as it drifts in on the breeze.

all meals are provided by our chef Geraldine (a specialist in mindful eating)

and at night, the Atlantic Ocean will sing you to sleep.

does this sound like something you need?

please contact Claire des Bruyeres to secure your place.

Tuesday 26 February 2019

gardens of the heart and a free class

what a month it's been ... unpacking and documenting the lovingly stitched contributions to Gardens of the Heart, putting the pieces together with the help of lovely volunteers and installing the exhibition at Fabrik Arts + Heritage has taken up much of my time. I'm so grateful to the h.ART group and to the new Director at Fabrik, Melinda Rankin for unstinting and generous support.

here's a wee video to give you more of an idea of how it turned out. If you live in South Australia you have until March 17 to see the show for yourself. I keep expecting Oberon and Titania to step out of the shadows.

I've also made a free class for you at the School of Nomad Arts :: 'laundering leaf prints'.
so many people write to me asking how best to wash their naturally dyed and printed textiles that I thought I'd save myself a bit of email-answering time by offering some instructions.

you'll find a link to it here

Sunday 27 January 2019

dear blogger, could you please get your act together?

Blogger is being extremely sporadic about letting me comment, even on my own blog.
Commenting on others, forget it.

This evening there was a comment on a post from 2009.

A number of (frustrating) attempts at answering have failed, so here goes.

India we are trying to help save the kelp forests from destructive mechanical harvesting, here in West Cork,Ireland. I am experimenting with bundles of cotton fabric using seaweed for dye patterns, but having trouble getting much to happen. I wonder if silk would be better and seaweed as mordant. This would become banners for a public art project. Maybe I need to add something to the mix to bring out the colours of the plants? I am a novice, have the bundle book, and would appreciate any suggestions you might have. Janice McEwen "

Answer: dyeing cotton is tricky, silk will be more rewarding. And seaweed generally plays more nicely when wrapped around a piece of metal.

Want to learn more useful things about dyeing with plants and wandering the whirled with your eyes open?

'being(t)here', one of the most popular workshops I've offered over the years, is now available online at the School of Nomad Arts. It begins with the new moon in March with offerings every 28 days or so, into December

please click here for more information