Tuesday, 24 March 2015

NoSew SilkyMerino SlipDress


if you've spent any time with me in recent years 
you'll know that i absolutely love the SilkyMerino knit that Marion stocks at Beautiful Silks
it comes in a tube
(i carry one for snuggling into on planes)
dyes like a dream
and doesn't fray

so when a student asked for help in devising a dress to wear to her daughter's wedding i had no hesitation in recommending she get a length and a pair of scissors

here's what we did
(using my grandmother's method of measuring/cutting based on your own body parts)
those little 'u's on the drawing are the cuts we made

notice that the cut is finger-shaped...a straight cut will fray at the point of the cut

do not be tempted to make the cut any bigger...though it looks small
remember the cloth is a tube
so the actual hole is bigger than it seems

and if you want the cowl neck to also be a hood, make it longer
(double is a good notion)

shorten the hem as desired, but if you keep it long the whole thing also doubles as a shawl or a sleeping tube for long-distance travel
and if (like my granny) you think a little mystery goes a long way
wear it over a close-fitting T of some kind

otherwise, enjoy the breeze...or if you're really keen for some stitching, add a few tucks in the area between the cuts

Monday, 23 March 2015

On the count of three

It's nearing 3am on the morning after the last of the Bower Bird Blues workshops and I'm lying wide awake listening to the pounding of the ocean and thinking of all the things I could have done better. 
Kubbi on the other hand is snoozing peacefully by my side. 

Scrolling back through my Batfone I'm surprised to find this is the only image I made of the newly established Botanical Studio at Beautiful Silks in Allansford 

Marion and Elephant have worked miracles to create a retreat and workshop centre dedicated to facilitating ecologically sustainable textile arts. 

During our three days together we were spiritually sustained by the beauty of the space and gardens and nourished by deliciousgood meals prepared by Marion - supplemented by various dulcet delectables from the kitchen of her good friend Brenda.   

Once again we were considering the blues (though my limited set of images doesn't really reflect that). There was stitching, stringmaking, writing and the beating of leaves. Complemented by much enthusiasm in the hammering and sawing of metals (under the direction of Roz Hawker) - sadly I don't seem to have any images of those pieces either. Ah well. 

Indigo leaves were beaten in as well as bundled. 

The surface of this dyebath was absolutely jewel-like. 

As were the bundles that emerged from it

Somehow in between all that we found time to design a simple dress for one of the participants to wear to her daughter's wedding - all she has to do now is dye it. 

I'll write up the instructions in the next post, meanwhile I'm hoping to drift into the arms of Morpheus for a while...if I can stop the churning of thoughts!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

back country in Tasmania

it was a splendid week in Tasmania
i stayed with friends at Dodges Ferry while hanging the exhibition
and then another kind friend lent me a dear little house at Red Ochre Beach
so i had somewhere to retreat in monastic solitude
each evening for the duration of the workshop

i love the sea
and if i could somehow transport our farm to an edge
where a river meets a much bigger water
it would be absolutely perfect

on the other hand
i wouldn't want to go anywhere anymore
and would likely become a complete hermit
so it's probably
just as well

but now
i'd better load my blue things into the ute
and get a few hours of snooze in.
i have a crack of dawn departure for Allansford
and the last of the Bower Bird Blues classes
at Beautiful Silks Botanical Studio

guess who else is coming?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

getting ready to be (t)here

'being (t)here' is a class i love to teach. each time is an adventure in itself
it's a class which is suited as much to a forest as to a riverside
or even an industrial wasteland

magic is everywhere, the delight is in the detail
and everything has a fascination if you look at it with your heart

this week i will be in Tasmania
(i love islands)
installing back country for Ten Days on the Island  (recently renamed the Tasmanian International Arts Festival) before class begins - it will have a new piece in it to replace the one acquired by the Tamworth Regional Gallery last month -

the only really tricky bit is editing which resources to take,
choosing a teacup for the ride
and trying to reorganise the sewing box/tool kit
which seems to have a mind of its own.

happily i can make do most of the time
so long as i have my trusty collection of readings with me
and a piece of string to hang them on.
the last piece of string stayed in Aotearoa

it was as long as the flight from New Orleans to Vancouver.
tomorrow i will make a string that will measure the distance from Adelaide to Hobart
while gazing out the window of the plane

i will confess i do love flying, though it's admittedly not the kindest mode of transport in terms of the environment
it would take a long time to get to Tasmania on my windsurfer
and my books would get wet. 

someone else has a mind of her own, too.
it seems Martha has taken Kubbi aside and given her The Word on suitcases
(in a few months time she won't fit in)

PS i'm not entirely sure, but i think some places remain open in being (t)here classes in Scotland and France later this year

Thursday, 5 March 2015


Twenty years from now you will
be more disappointed by the
things you didn’t do than by the
ones you did do.  So throw off the
bowlines.  Sail away from the safe
harbor.  Catch the trade winds in
your sails.
Explore. Dream. Discover.” 


the quote above is rumoured to have been authored by Mark Twain but (as you'll see if you click on that link) that may be apocryphal. Whoever penned that, it's a gem.
I wish I had read and taken it to heart forty years ago. 
Fingers crossed I get another chance, am not reincarnated as a cockroach and have the good sense to take the plunge!

however if Mae West is right
there's only one go at it.

guess I'd better get cracking!