Tuesday, 9 February 2016


the wandercards have sold out.
thank you all.

last call for wandercards...for now

the wandercard project has brought me great joy
kind emails have flown in from all over the whirled
remembering workshops together and other connections made

93 sets have been spoken for
6 sets remain available

at midnight tonight i'll stop taking orders
so that i can concentrate on 
getting the cards wrapped and packed
for their journeys to adventures around the globe

they'll be going to Germany, Austria, France, Canada
the Netherlands, Denmark, the UK and the USA
as well as wandering around my big island home, Australia

thank you, friends. 
so grateful for your support.

:: both images tweaked with the grunge filter on Snapseed

Saturday, 6 February 2016

ikigai - or, a very fine week


what a week it's been.

last Sunday i decided in my infinite wisdom that a curtain originally belonging to one of my grandmothers needed cleaning.
someone (who shall remain nameless) had left it on a pile of other stuff where a certain cat had decided it was pretty comfortable.

my front loading washing shrine (so called because i genuflect before it every time i put in a load) has proved gentle on delicate things thus far so i didn't think twice about tossing in the curtain and choosing the handwash setting.

actually that's not strictly true. i did think twice. i thought that i didn't want to wash it by hand because i was a little unsure about exactly what the cat had been doing on the curtain in addition to slumbering.

a short time later the shrine was complaining of indigestion and upon investigation i discovered that all the fluffy chenille bits had completely clogged the space between the rotating drum and the bigger drum that keeps the water in the machine and stops it running through the house.

not good.

pulling out the filter at the bottom unleashed a replay of the shower scene from Psycho.

thick red dye gushed across the laundry floor and down the centre drain. it was only later, trying to rinse out the machine that i thought to take a picture of it. i hate to think what the emissions from the original weaving mill/dye house must have been like.

not a pretty sight.

three hours later and some very tricky (and repetitive) work with a Qantas stirring spoon and the wire handle of an old bucket (both discovered to be essential washing machine repair tools and now stored with the operator handbook and the dime i use to open the filter hatch) order had been restored. 
also i was filled with that singular sense of satisfaction that comes with having solved a problem without slicing my fingers on the razor sharp edges of the access holes in the drum.

except that it was now 4.23 pm
i had been planning to attend the 'unearthed' exhibition opening at the Barossa Regional Gallery at 3pm

no matter, i thought.
they will not have remarked upon my absence,
it's a group show after all.

i received an email on Tuesday
telling me the work had won an award.
i was ready to sink through the floor at my unintentional rudeness.

not a good feeling.
but it was wonderful to have the work recognised and commended.
the piece is entitled 'open cut' and refers to the mechanics of extracting iron ore from the earth as well as to the wound left on the earth when the mine is exhausted

 and created from iron objects discarded by humans, found by roads and railway tracks in outback South Australia


other good things encountered this week include this book

it shows actual size photographs of leaves, together with an image of how they appear collectively AND a silhouette of the tree itself. it is exactly the sort of book that a bear like me needs. i foresee many happy hours with it and suspect it may be accompanying me overseas, though it is heavy. to this end i have ordered a new pilot case, with wheels. schlepping my essential reading material through airports is wearing out my spine.


the best thing of all this week has been your response to the wandercards
thank you
i'll be taking last orders soon
and am busy dyeing cloth and scarves to pack them up in
ready to mail them out in the last week of February

some of you have written so kindly about your workshop experiences with me,
or about your reading of my books.
it's been absolutely heart-warming.
one person did ask if i could just send a PDF
so she could print her own
one of the things i was particularly excited about
was the cardstock i've selected.
it's 100% post consumer recycled and dyes beautifully
so you should be able to have some fun with them.
(instructions for printing with plants on paper come with the cards)
by the time you receive them, the ink (vegetable based) will have cured sufficiently, too.
i bundled a set pretty much hot off the press.
even after curing i would avoid really fresh eucalyptus leaves because in my experience they always stick to paper 

 someone else suggested i should reveal what's on the working side of the cards, because otherwise it would be like buying a pig in a poke. but that would be like spelling out the fine detail of a workshop before it happens, which i think will spoil the experience.

the wandercards are a distilled form of  'being (t)here' workshop in a box that you can use at home or take with you when you travel. 

mine are certainly going to travel with me.


the other joy at present is minding my youngest grandchild.
i'm not usually a fan of selfies
 here we are, having a morning schnuggle.

so where is this long saga leading?
i've been thinking about ikigai
that wonderful Japanese word that means
'the reason for getting out of bed'

i have so many!!!
for me, my entire life is my ikigai.

but if you'd like a methodology to work yours out
you can always try this 

borrowed from Wikipedia

Friday, 29 January 2016

wander cards for wayfaring wonderers

It's been a long hot summer, but I have put it to good use.

Some years ago I pondered a small publishing project that wasn't going to be a book, more of a periodical that would have suggestions for things to do as well as beautiful images. 
I let it brew for a while (a couple of years, actually) and this is what happened. Not quite what I was dreaming of, but (I think) much, much better.
I've called them 'Wander cards for Wonderers' and they are a limited edition, printed in vegetable ink on recycled stock, winging their way around the whirled from February 29. There are four sets of 25 in the pack...three of them labeled (in the field / in the armchair / in the mind) and the fourth blank. The idea is that you can pull a card at random as an inspiration for an afternoon's exploration. 
Or choose three (a bit like a Tarot reading except happily there aren't any grim reapers) and see what they might suggest together. 
The fourth set is for you to add notes and ideas of your own. 

I announced them on the FB 'workshops and wanderings' group early yesterday and have been totally delighted that they seem to be finding homes quite quickly. 
 For which I am very grateful.

I'm having splendid fun sorting them into packs, sticking paper bands around them and dyeing the silk to wrap them in (and the silk scarves for those making a more serious commitment). I've also been folding wee booklets to accompany them.

Initially I had wild ideas of sending them out in little wooden boxes with treasures from my studio tucked around them but I soon discovered that little wooden boxes need little wooden box certifications in order to be able to cross borders, and then the postmistress reminded me that I would be filling out countless customs forms and having to remember what was in each box so that idea went zooming out the window.

Here's the simpler solution I came up with.

The cardboard mailing boxes are beautifully sturdy and can be salvaged and embellished and made into permanent homes for the cards. The cards themselves can be dyed (or coloured using hapazome)...work on the blank ones first and give the printed ones a month or two to cure before bundling them (the ink needs a bit of time to settle). If you've signed on for the Yellow Ferry adventure you'll receive a set anyway. If you haven't...now's your chance.

and that long hot summer? Last night it finally rained...so today I was literally scooping up dye from the driveway. Bliss.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

apparently pandas and penguins rule the interwebs

 dear readers
yesterday i received the email below. i was very tempted to write back but didn't want my inbox to be filled with advertisements for Russian brides or penis enlargers and so i am writing back here on my blog instead, where it is easier to delete any comments posting links to the above. my responses are tucked into the text in a different font.

Hello Indiaflint.com Team,

Hope you are doing well.
well in the sense of health or in the sense of a well dug into the ground that fills with water? these few weeks at home have felt like the latter. though it is dust dry where i live, spending quiet time at home has been deeply replenishing, like an empty well filling with water. so yes, i suppose i must be "doing well". perhaps that can become the new phrase for replenishment. what are you doing today? i'm doing well.

We would like to have a discussion with you regarding the web promotion strategy for your website Indiaflint.com. We wish to work out a proposal to strengthen the online presence of your website, via a strategically planned web promotion campaign. In today’s online era, you should be focusing on the new revolutionary ways of generating traffic (and subsequently, leads).

there's a revolution? i don't think my grandmother would approve. she saw too many of them.

We are curious to know if you are aware that a few issues bugging your website. Sorting out these will help you get the best returns out of your website.

bugs? not bedbugs, i trust? no. i misread. it's the issues that are doing the bugging. see answer to point 3

1. Your website seems to be attracting traffic, but this traffic is almost stagnant and limited, which affects potential sales as you move forward.  

"move forward". such a politburo phrase.

2. Your website doesn’t feature in Google's first search page for some of the major keywords in your niche, which affects visibility.

it doesn't? will the sky fall? must warn the chickens.

3. Your website has been diagnosed with On-Page and On-Site issues, which affects the ranking.

ah yes. issues. Mrs Poo (one of our cats) has issues. at least my website doesn't try to pee in the pantry

4. Your back links profile is not efficient enough to help your search engine visibility.

and to think other advice i've received is "don't have too many links, they take people away from your site". 

5. Your website is currently not being properly promoted online according to Google’s new guidelines (after latest Google Panda & Penguin update), which is affecting your marketing strategy and goals.

there are Pandas and Penguins writing guidelines? Darwin might be pleased.

6. Your presence in social media platform is minimal. This is depriving you of a huge market of prospective referral clients.

that would explain why i have been such a wallflower at the weekly village dance. 
this year i will dance regardless, both on and off platforms. and what is a referral client? isn't that what you become when your doctor has been advised that
 the specialist needs to service his Rolls Royce?

7. Your website may penalized by Google.

penalized? will it be put in the naughty box like the boys who don't play nice in ice hockey?

8. Social media profiles are not updated regularly.

holy guacamole Batboy. i only joined Farcebook because way back in 2011 Nancy Zeller said nobody would sign up for my class at Longridge Farm if i didn't have a profile. turns out that none of the people who signed up came via FB, all of them came via my apparently ineffectual website. update, schmupdate.

9. Low number of internal and external quality links present on your website.

dear me.

10. Not updating fresh contents of your website and blogs as per the latest Google guideline (Penguin & Panda).

the wildlife again. 
i would have thought the pandas would be too busy chewing on bamboo or enjoying "pleasant biological enounters"     v  e  r  y     s  l  o  w  l  y   to bother with all this. and how do the penguins manage keyboards with those tiny winglets? they can't even scratch their noses. 

And many more...

We expert in running promotional online marketing campaign for websites. We have a host of ethical services and techniques, which you can utilize to improve your website's performance.

if you were experts at English grammar it might give me more confidence in your other skills.

We would love to hear from you regarding any questions you might have. Please let us know if you wish to move further, so that we can schedule a meeting (tomorrow onwards) at a time convenient to you, without disturbing your busy schedule.

schedule a meeting, eh? i don't like your chances. especially not without disturbing my busy schedule of doing well. or just burying my head in the sand.

Best Regards,

Bxxxxxxe | Sales Executive

James Veitch replied to spam email. it's hilarious.

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2016 and a bit of unleashing

the funny thing about having all my DNA from northern bloodstreams is that even though i live in the deep south where it is presently summer, in December my mind often goes into winter mode, especially in the days between the Solstice and the New Year

i haven't been able to fire up the dye cauldron : it's too dry and windy to risk it in the studio (for fear of the odd spark) and too hot to bring it all inside. i wouldn't mind but there are others in the house who will. so bundles are sitting soaking in a cauldron full of leaves, water and a bit of black iron dust i found when i was cleaning the gutters. i'll have to do something with it soon though because it's beginning to bubble and looking more than a little Shakespearian.

which brings me to the subject of writing, dressmaking and other sedentary pursuits...all of which have contributed in recent years to my stacking on rather a lot of chubb. it was all very well for my Grandfather to say that women shouldn't have corners and i don't mind being slightly insulated but presently i am feeling like a sausage roll. in case you don't know what that it, in Australia it is a short thick handful of disgusting meat offcuts that have been ground into an unrecognisable pulp, padded by 50% of the weight in sawdust and wrapped in a thick layer of greasy pastry. not pretty.

there are a number of contributing factors. due to invasive sheep, free-ranging chickens, extensive travelling and the ongoing/increasing dryness of our region, i no longer tend a garden. in its heyday it was glorious and i spent hours in it digging and weeding and marvelling at my collection of Bourbon roses. gardening is so much more fun than going to the gym. but now it's a dustbowl and it's all i can do to keep the lemon tree alive with washing up water.

writing...of books and subsequently in various social media doesn't burn up much energy either. it requires sitting down, though in its defence it also requires walking, as walking is the best thinking time and clears the mind allowing ideas to float in. writing also requires one to read, another sedentary occupation.

the book i devoured yesterday, "The Wicked Wit of Winston Churchill" not only gave me the required daily six minutes of laughter for good health but also the following lines from the man himself, in regard to his only novel 'Savrola'
"i have consistently urged my friends to abstain from reading it"
as some of you know i have been writing and rewriting a work of fiction for some years.

these recent days of reflection have helped me realise that sometimes writing should just be regarded as therapy and maybe my "novel writing" has served that very purpose and could now be let go. a good painter knows when to stop. a good writer should, too. as Colin Firth's character in Love Actually said "it's not bloody Shakespeare!" again, i'm waiting for good burning weather.

i'm also rethinking how much "hand-making for anonymous selling" i'm going to do in future. i love making work for exhibitions where i can create an environment and tell a story by setting a scene.  but sitting for hours hand-making dresses and stuffing them into boxes and sending them off across the whirled and never knowing on whom they are going to finish up is feeling increasingly unsatisfactory, so that is something that may change too. although there WILL be a one-night exhibition of work for sale offered at Maiwa in September this year, on the evening when i shall give a talk prior to class. i'm looking forward to that because i love being able to share in people's reactions to the work (the link will take you to their mailing list sign up page) and to be able to assure them that they have permission to modify, mend, overdye and so on

and now back to that chubb. i decided to begin to deal with it by acquiring a water-rower and setting it up in my bedroom. it's an exercise machine that makes a satisfactory swishing noise because the resistance is provided by a tank of water. i can row (while Kubbi continues her beauty sleep on my bed and my cat Martha watches me with unblinking disapproval) and if i close my eyes i can imagine rowing on a river somewhere, or on a beautiful pond. this morning i rowed halfway up Lake Morey in my mind with no risk at all of turning an ankle on our gravel road, something that has been happening with increasing frequency when i go running. yesterday i was rowing on the Tay, at slackwater of course. tomorrow i might row in the Louisiana swamps. the good thing is i won't have to watch out for alligators. i think i may just have found the perfect Sagittarian meditation practice.

wishing you all insights and clarity as you step into this new year...which i'm thinking of as a '9' year cos
and i do like the number 9!

what are you letting go, what are your aspirations?

PS i'm sorry i cannot recall who took the photo above, some time in 2010 or 2011 i think. drop me a line if it's yours and i shall add the photo credit pronto

Monday, 21 December 2015

Want to be among the first to know?

The San Francisco class announced yesterday filled in less than four hours, which was a bit of a surprise and I had quite a few emails later from people who had missed the announcement. I tried managing an email list years ago but most of it bounced back and what didn't bounce back ended up in spam filters (it seems having "India" as a name isn't always an advantage) so I've created a Facebook group for those who would like advance notice of future classes.

It's called "India Flint wanderings and workshops" and you can either ask to join via FB or if you prefer, send me an email via the contact page on my website and I'll add you in. I'll admit was dragged kicking and screaming into Facebook by a workshop organizer who insisted I catch up with the modern whirled. I'm not always comfortable there but it does have its uses.

and if you're already corresponding with me then slinging me a line through the usual channels will be just fine.

By joining the group you'll have at least 48 hours advance notice of classes (except where the organizer has their own mailing list) before they are put up on my website so your chances of getting into one should improve markedly. Will I see you there? I hope so!

Sunday, 20 December 2015

being there by the Bay (and some paeonies)

last week i helped my Ma to tick something off her bucket list.
last night i decided to tick something off my own.

Ma was keen to see paeonies blooming in abundance in lovely Aotearoa (so was i, quite frankly). so we went.
it was absolutely wonderful, but more of that later on.

the thing i'm ticking off my bucket list, is a workshop in San Francisco

as those of you who know me are aware
though i have been utterly and irrevocably in love with San Francisco since 1976 
(i love you too, New Orleans, you know that...but only since 1983) 
i have avoided giving a class there and kept the Bay area as a kind of sacred space.

now i have decided to be generous and share my love. it is time.

the poetics of place : being (t)here on the Bay

Join me in one of my favourite places in the whirled, for three delightful days exploring the exquisite poetry of plant-derived colour on paper and cloth.
We will gather leaves and words, make experiential drawings, print and dye paper and cloth and explore the translation of drawn marks into stitch. From these investigations we will form a series of beautiful folded books that will map our experience of place and through our understanding of landscape we develop a deeper familiarity with our selves.
The lapping waters of San Francisco Bay, the cries of the waterbirds and the splashings of the seals will combine to make songs for our hearts and provide background music to colour our readings.  
 As usual there will be good food, wine and chocolate. I am carefully curating a lovely collection of materials so you won't need to bring a thing other than some comfy walking shoes, "clothing that doesn't matter" and a cheery smile.
there'll only be nine places. keeping it small and intimate so that i am able to spend time with you all.
please email me for for detailed information

and now back to those paeonies.
they were utterly glorious.

 my Ma having a fine old time

 there's nothing quite like a G+T while prone in the paeonies

and if you really truly love them
you can buy this farm

Thursday, 10 December 2015

end of year report

back in the dark ages this was the time of year at which the dreaded school report was handed out

"would do better on the sports field if she spent less time daydreaming and more time paying attention"
"untidy exercise books with too much doodling inside and out"
were the sorts of comments i came home with back then
i wanted to share these two installments about a recent class with you
before i do
shall confess that the author is a friend of mine
(as well as being as amazing knitter of socks and a splendid maker of lemon delicious puddings and also marmalade)

just so you know

i do love staying at Crockett Cottage Studio (where the workshop described above was held)
and so does Kubbi
we won't be there next year but with a bit of luck may be back in 2017 or 18
it really depends on what the Dogs Above toss at us