Thursday, 25 February 2016

Studies in Natural Dyeing..


“You carry Mother Earth within you. She is not outside of you. Mother Earth is not just your environment. In that insight of inter-being, it is possible to have real communication with the Earth” - Thích Nhất Hạnh

Over the past six months I've been sharing my studies in natural dyeing over on Instagram and I've just realised I haven't shared much about my process over here.  So I thought I might share a little bit about my natural dyeing adventures and where this beautiful slow art  is taking me next.

I first came to natural dyeing back in 2012 when I was studying textiles at Unversity. India Flint’s work was immediately inspiring and I fell in love with the idea of being able to harvest colour from plants, particularly eucalyptus. Unfortunately in that moment I had neither the time nor the patience to really understand the true beauty of the process .  I’ve always been one to experiment first and read later and I probably didn’t get the most out of my short experience because I was missing some of the practical basics.  And because I didn’t get outstanding results the first time, I shelved my experimenting and then life happened and I didn’t think about it much again until in the last few years, the beautiful artists Belinda and Ellie reignited my desire to try again.  



This time armed with a little more information and the simple knowledge that natural dyes take more easily to animal fibres like wool and silk, I set about a gentle study, just as Spring began last year.  I wandered the neighbourhood, searched for plants to try, made up tiny samples and all of a sudden, I was capturing colour in cloth.  And in that process, I was also transforming myself.  

I began to have this conversation with the trees, asking questions, noticing leaf shapes, running my hands along the branches, finding inspiration wherever I went.  I was no longer just observing my environment, I was becoming a part of it. I was encountering this intimate connection with my landscape and translating it into colour.  For the first time in my life, I felt grounded, I felt this sense of inter-being.  





The natural dyeing process is slow and simple, gather your plant matter then add to a large designated stainless steel pot, cover with water and bring to the boil, then simmer for about an hour or so.  Remove the plant materials and add in pre soaked yarn and fabrics.  Simmer until desired colour is achieved. Leave to cool (overnight is best) and then check out the results.  This of course is a very simplified version of natural dyeing but one I use most often.  There are many, many books you can read about the specifics, different techniques and using mordants and I’ll list a few at the bottom of the post.  For me though, once I had worked out the very basics, I felt like I had the world at my feet, quite literally.  Before beginning I was so intimidated by the whole process, worrying I would make a mistake and being too caught up in the finished colour rather than enjoying journey. When I let all those preconceived ideas go, magic started to happen.


Little by little my collection of colours grew. Throughout this season I’ve been particularly drawn to capturing the colours of the local landscape. Desert reds, river gum greens, and sunset yellows have inspired me to take my yarns and gently work them into a series of tactile stories, wall hangings that tell the tales of this ancient land.  I’m looking forward to creating a series of these pieces and also working on a collection of silk scarves for Wilde Asher.

I called my experiments in natural dyeing a study, because I wanted to allow myself the opportunity to try things without having an agenda or an end result in mind. In doing so, I’ve realised for the first time ever in my vocation as a creative practitioner, I’ve given my soul the chance to just play, to revel in the process, to unravel and let the magic and stories of Mother Earth nurture my artistic journey.  And this process has been truly life changing.

Much Love & Light
xxx

Resources:
India Flint
Ellie Beck
Belinda Evans
My Natrual Dyeing Pinterest board


Monday, 22 February 2016

Capturing the Moments - 8/52..

"A portrait capturing a moment from our week, each week for 2016."

Saturday 4:30pm: Rewilding, watching soaring eagles & exploring hidden river banks.

Much Love & Light 
xxx

Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Connectedness..


The more I reconnect with Mother Earth, the more I remember.  It feels like a memory that's not quite my own, somehow I universal memory that's been taken away from us over time. And in those moments, I find purpose, stillness and understanding. I find the connectedness and 'interbeing' I've been searching for my whole life.

~~~

(I wrote these words last week on Instagram and they've stayed with me ever since. They seemed to really resonate with others too. I often catch these tiny thoughts in an Instagram post more quickly and easily than I can on the blog these days. I am reminded now, how much I'd like to share more on here about my journey to connectedness and 'interbeing'. Joanna Macy speaks beautifully about the topic in this gorgeous short film by Over Grow the System.)

Much Love & Light
xxx

Monday, 15 February 2016

Capturing the Moments - 7/52..

"A portrait capturing a moment from our week, each week for 2016."

Thursday Feb 11th - 5:30pm: She loves nothing more than helping in the garden.

Much Love & Light 
xxx

Wednesday, 10 February 2016

These Days - Late Summer..


These days, the sunflowers are in bloom and the world seems a beauitful shade of sunshine yellow..

These days, the garden is bursting with rainbow deliciousness and almost all our meals are homegrown. 

These days, the Eucalypts are full of blossoms and inspiration..  

These days, new ideas unfurl in cups of tea and naturally dyed wool.. 

 These days, we find new rhythms in our days with adventures to the local Stiener playgroup and a beautiful weekly music class.  A little handmade, Waldorf inspired weekly calendar helps us connect with our days. 

 These days, we spend time by the river planning, day dreaming and watching the world go by.

As the year begins to kick into gear and our days become full of happy activity, I'm reminded to find stillness in the everday, to connect, nurture and remember the beauty of the season.  

Much Love & Light
xxx

Monday, 8 February 2016

Capturing the Moments - 6/52..

"A portrait capturing a moment from our week, each week for 2016."

Sunday Feb 7th - 10:30am: Sunday morning butterfly making..

Much Love & Light 
xxx

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Everyday Magic..


Sometimes even the process of rearranging shelves can be beautiful.. 
Our summer harvests have been prolific and divine..
Homemade hot cross bun with homemade butter.. A moment of radical homemaking bliss
A little solar dyeing magic..
Gathered on the line.. Wool & silk infused with our beautiful rosemary
Pumpkins basking in the afternoon sunshine.. 

Much Love & Light 
xxx

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Capturing the Moments - 5/52..

"A portrait capturing a moment from our week, each week for 2016."

Sunday Jan 31st - 11:00am: The puddle princess! 

Much Love & Light 
xxx