Thursday, 25 February 2016

it hasn't exactly been a quiet summer

two weeks have just vanished somewhere,
never to be seen again.

i madly dyed scarves and packed cards
and took them to the Post Office where 
the kindly Postmistresses managed to get stamps on to the boxes
(most of them, anyway)
and send them on their way

i made a dress for a friend
and dyed a kimono for her as well

unfortunately the kimono apparently picked up a somewhat 
smoky smell from my studio
which i didn't notice, being accustomed to the slight smell of bushfire 
that seems to hang around the cauldron
but which intensified in the humid climate of the east coast

happily she was able to neutralise the aroma by soaking 
the offending garment in water with a 
teaspoon of eucalyptus oil added. phew.

i sent another dress to a new home in Victoria
(fingers crossed it arrived safely and fits, i haven't heard yet!)

and dyed some cloth for Poet's Ode (to be made into cushions)

in between i was taking care of my granddaughter
while her parents kicked up their heels in New Orleans

she's been handed safely back now.

running errands today i noticed the tree loppers had been at work

so i gathered up a pile (never let a chance go by) 

after dark i layered leaves and cards
sandwiched them between two bits of brass
and stuffed the bundle into a wee pot i picked up in New Zealand last year

i particularly like the bakelite handle.
back in 2007 i had a bigger version of this
and used it in a summer school class i taught for Whitireia at Kapiti.
unfortunately the one student who needed to leave early 
to attend a yarn fest somewhere (while we were on a field trip)
mistakenly took my pot with her (she had a similar smaller one). 

win some, lose some.
at least i have a baby pot now!

while on the subject of winning and losing
it seems the ink on the wandercards is by no means as stable
as that on the sample i had originally tested.

as you can see
'in the armchair' has pretty much been scrubbed.
so if you have invested in these cards, 
please only dye the blank ones
otherwise you'll lose a lot of information.

you can still colour them,
by beating in leaves (hapa-zome)
by grinding leaves and flowers in a mortar and pestle
and brushing the colour on
by rubbing colour in from petals
or just using your watercolours.
(i'm so pleased with this post-consumer recycled 
paper stock that i'm going to order a quantity of blank cards
just for dyeing)

lastly i'm delighted to announce that a three-day version 
of being (t)here will be held at Poet's Ode on the long weekend in April.
if you want to take this class in Australia
this is your last chance for the year
as the one at Beautiful Silks sold out before it was announced
the class at Scott's Head filled within days

you'll have to hop the ditch next year
and join me in the lovely Ludd Valley instead!

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