Thursday, 24 July 2014

last two chances to fly

i love it when somebody puts their hand up to organise a workshop
it means i don't have to do it
my skills lie elsewhere, though i'm getting quite good at finding reasonable value airtickets

having already embarassed myself by emailing someone from the waitlist twice
and being slightly pink around the gills
i am not going to attempt another rummage there
but simply tell you that

a couple of places have become available for the Second Skin class at Mansfield, Victoria [Australia]
in November this year

November 11,12,13, in fact.

here are the details

Join me at Mansfield in Victoria’s beautiful High Country for a three-day retreat during which you will make and dye a beautiful and versatile Silkymerino  secondskin to keep you warm while wandering, together with an exquisite hand-stitched bag in which to carry it with you on your travels.
Each participant will receive an  ecoprint silk goodie bag containing several metres of fabric and a selection of beautiful threads as well as a signed copy of India’s zero-waste dress-making workshop handbook ‘shapeshifter’ and a few surprises. Aesop, bless them, kindly provides us with fragrant cream to keep our hands soft while we sew.
A delicious gluten-free vegetarian lunch [dairy components kept separate to allow for dietary considerations] served with your choice of wine, juice or water will be provided each day, together with morning and afternoon tea and coffee, supplemented by fresh fruit and Haigh’s chocolates.

please send your carrier pigeon through the looking glass if you are interested in securing a place [it will be the last time i teach anywhere this year]

Tuesday, 22 July 2014


tis a fine thing
when the infants take an interest in the construction of things
especially when those things are warm and comfy
and are given to me

my Wild Rose [aka the Eldest of the Three] who has a B.Sc Hons and was recently awarded her wool classer's stencil
is not content with being able to do clever things with statistics and fling fleeces on tables
and [thanks to instruction by great-grandmother] churn out exquisite tatted lace at machine speed
has now turned her hand to knitting
and discovered a passion for socks.
- unlike me she can actually make two objects that are exactly alike.
the first pair went to her beloved.
i scored the second lot.

so of course
i bundled them up with some eucalyptus leaves
i love my socks

and was tempted to sling them in here as well

but i was firmly restrained.
they said enough was enough.

guess i shall be wearing contrasting socks.

Saturday, 19 July 2014

the word of the week

if i had to choose a word for this week
i think it would be abundance
it has rained abundantly [this is good, the cup runneth over and two out of four dams are also!]
there is mud here in abundance
and the abundance of chaos in the studio is gradually resolving into tangible objects...

further afield all sorts of marvellous things have been happening

musician Helen Davey very kindly asked if she might compose some music in response to my part of the exhibition Sete Filhas, Sete Irmãs currently installed at Evoramonte, Portugal

when i listened to it late last night on my batfone
it brought the feeling of castle back to me
though, so far as i know, Helen has not actually been there. magic.

here are her links

then Kari from Melbourne sent me this delightful story about making an ecoprint romper

and Christi alerted me to Emma Riley's lovely blog [the link is to a post about our recent class but the rest of it is well worth a rummage...gorgeous images]

Jill [maker of fabulous chocolate and possessed of magical healing hands] also wrote about our class

it does make me very happy when folk write kindly things after a period of reflection.
thank you. all y'all.

and now i have another wee thank you to make
to the truckie who taught me how to tie a hitch
way back in 1984 [or thereabouts] when i was a bright young thing
working with [what was then] the Arts Council of South Australia,
driving exhibitions into the back country of the state
and setting them up in unlikely places such as agricultural shows
that hitch has been indispensable over the years
and was used again this week
when i brought home a mattress purchased ridiculously cheaply at auction
deciding it was time to have a comfy sleep at home
as well as when i am away. i have piled it on top of my ancient one.
stacking them up like the princess in the fairy tale

lastly thank you, friends, for buying my new book
and thank you Mary for writing nice things about it

that's all folks, have a lovely weekend.

Monday, 14 July 2014

dyeing paper

much as i enjoy wandering
i also love being back in my studio
pottering about, stoking the fire
and of course opening up bundles

 at the risk of boring y'all
with too frequent references to my new book
i just wanted to make sure that those of you who had already bought it
knew there is now a lucky dip involved
[i'd mention it on the Blurb site if i could]

i wrote this book for those of you who don't have a chance to attend classes
as well as those who just like a refresher or
to read about the process in different words
and of course there's the field i haven't discussed in print before,

++ dyeing paper ++

Saturday, 12 July 2014

transported : and a lucky dip

one minute i was in rainy England
the next [well, not quite, more like 1560 minutes later] I was back in rainy South Oz

i flew back on Emirates and while their seat wasn't quite as comfy as Qantas
the food was simply fabulous. best airline fodder ever.
[long haul Delta still does the best cocktails]
you may think these are small things...
not if you are spending 26 hours in transit.

i finally arrived home at about 11 o'clock last night
and after the usual formalities [saying hello to a multitude of furred and unfurred people] tucked myself up with a loudly purring Martha-cat

in the later afternoon today the sun came out and so i pulled on the wellies
for a plod about my favourite paddock

 stacked a few stones
[you can't tell in the picture, but the stones of home are sparkly]
 found the soak to be full [small happy dance]
 enjoyed the setting sun
and the rising moon
and then i had a very good idea

if those of you who purchase the bundle book
[and those who have already bought it]

i will make a lucky dip
choose three names from a tsunobukuro bag
and send a hand-embellished ecoprint tsunobukuro bag
to each of those three people

if you happen to mention the book on your blog or facebook
[and send me the link]
you will receive a bonus entry for each separate site on which you do so

entries will only be accepted via this email address

the lucky dip closes at sunset on August 3rd 2014, Pacific Ocean time

Thursday, 10 July 2014

A hertz-felt thanks

I went west for a few days
after we had finished our class at Newburgh
and I had committed the Bundle Book to Blurb
I needed some thinking space
to sort a few things out
quiet time in wind and rain and sun to mull over things
to smell the heather
and to gaze into deep waters
and to rearrange small pieces of the whirled
while considering new ideas for classes
and pondering different ways of presenting
it was a splendid wandering : made even more enjoyable by Hertz who upgraded my very basic four-door reservation to this glorious chariot.  
I named him Wolfgang and the keys had to be prised from my fingers when we parted at Edinburgh airport. He purred along for over 400 miles on a scant half tank of diesel

I even managed to write a small poem.
it was a very productive time.
and thenI found that the Australian Embassy in Lisboa
kindly mentioned our exhibition
on their website
which pleased me very much

Sunday, 6 July 2014

being (t)here...again

it was lovely to come back to Newburgh
to work with Netti and Alison
who are like sisters and very kind to me
we worked on paper
first with words

and then with dyes

 local meadowsweet
made lovely colours
 we made a concertina river book
and a new sweet folded book
that i developed especially for the class
i call it the "island book"
because you have to sail around it to appreciate it fully
 trusty studio assistant Jazz cooling off
 wonderful peonies

 and the beautiful river
fresh and full of new stories each day
 we wrote and shared poetry
 found hearts in the streets
laid bundles in patterns here and there
and generally had a wonderful time.
Isabel [who works at the charity shop]
told me how the church [where our workshop took place]
used to be the drill hall for the "territorials"
and then that the Poles lived there during the war
and that there was a dance held there
"and the floor was ever so slippery"


the trouble with having good friends scattered around the whirled
is having to say goodbye. 
but not forever, merely ae fond farewell [misquoting Robert Burns] until next year
you can see more pix from class
And please, Father Christmas, may I have a bear like this?

Friday, 4 July 2014

the bundle book

many of you have written to me and asked if i would consider making a pocket-sized book that simply looked at ecoprint bundling.

you told me that 'Second Skin' was a good read but it didn't fit well into a travel bag.

i'm a girl that can take a hint. especially when it is a good one.

so here it is, folks. the bundle book.

and yes, at long last, it has a section about printing on paper.

i hope you like it.

Saturday, 28 June 2014

blues, riverside

i left Portugal behind [with some reluctance but also with plans to return]
headed for another good place
back to the beautiful Tay River at Newburgh, Scotland
to immerse myself in two days of blues
with none other than the bluesmaster himself,  Michel Garcia
my banana blues in New Orleans were good
but his henna blues were better. much better.
and of course being back at Big Cat Textiles is wonderful
Nettie and Alison gave me such a warm welcome
and when i tottered down the street for supplies i bumped into several people i knew
Newburgh really is another home from home
and then there's the bonus of peonies
[these are in the garden of the lovely woman who bakes our bread]
and down the lane near the river are spectacular dark-leaved, pink flowered sambucus
now i have two days in preparation for 'being there'
and there may just be a little more indigo dyeing this weekend
because i have to maintain my blue fingernails

so i'll leave you with another bluesman
the fabulous Hugh Laurie