Saturday, January 11, 2014

Dyeing in the Lud Valley with India Flint - Part 2

But wait... there's more... We moved swiftly onto the fabric, stitching all the pieces we used with our personal marks so we could identify them easily when they came out the cauldrons. A genius idea - otherwise there really would have been tears before bedtime!

Considering the similar technique used in the dyeing it was amazing the variety that was achieved. Different fabrics took up the dyes differently sometimes achieving radically different results from the same plant material.

This piece is one of mine, showing again the long eucalyptus leaves from Golden Bay. One of the things I have really noticed since doing the workshop was just how many gum trees there are in New Zealand. They are everywhere! Offering untold dyeing opportunities. I just love the shapes, colour and fragrance they impart on to the fabric.

It was a simply magical 5 days. At the end we wrote India  little note asking if we could do it all again in 2014.... which after due consideration she and Judy said yes to. So in a couple of weeks I am looking forward to a return workshop and another visit to the wonderful Lud Valley.

There are number of my fellow stitchers returning from last year for the workshop - I feel that we are something like the godwits returning after the long winter for another blessed summer experience.

Clearly this is a tale to be continued.....

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Dyeing in the Lud Valley with India Flint - Part 1

In late January last year I was incredibly lucky to participate in a workshop with India Flint in the beautiful Lud valley, just outside Nelson. It was 5 perfect days of blue skies, creativity, surprises, experimentation, great company and unbelievably fantastic food. None of us could have asked for more. It felt like a true indulgence.
The setting was perfect. We were hosted by Judy Keylock and her family on their property in the Lud Valley which is fully organic and where Judy has been planting extensively for dyeing potential. It was nothing short of idyllic.
The firepit for the dyeing cauldrons was set up outside Judy's studio. 

We started each day outside around the circle of Queen Anne's Lace taking in the beauty of the environment and reflecting on the potential of the day.

India showed us some of her fabulous textiles as she introduced us to the possibilities of using leaves to mark cloth. They were even more breathtaking in the cloth than they look on India's blog and fabulous books, which I have spent many many hours pouring over.

The workshop was called the Wayfarers Wanderbook which focused on using the materials in our immediate environment to record out experiences in. Before starting onto the fabric we made watercolour paper books - here they are in the cauldrons, complimented by my shadow.
The marks varied between the bundles depending on the quality of the paper.

These were some of the page inserts I made for my book marked with eucalyptus that I had gathered when we had been holidaying in Golden Bay a few days before the workshop started, not exactly the immediate environment but special to me.

Then we moved onto the silks and wool that we had bought for dyeing..... more in the next post....

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

From little acorns grow mighty Oaks

Early in 2013 one of our oldest friends (and his gorgeous partner) had their first child. Naturally it was the cause for great celebration, as all new children are (or at least should be!). The first time father was 50 - my husband and I drew a deep breath....

Coincidentally Pete was an attendant at our wedding, just as David who I made the quilt for in March had been, so of course I started stitching. We went up to visit Pete, Catherine and the new baby, Oak, at the first opportunity. They live very near the top of the North Island in Paihia (we live at the very bottom of the island) so the visit didn't occur until April. Unfortunately the quilt wasn't ready so we took cushions for Oak - one with sailing ships to represent his father the boatie and the other with Union Jacks to represent his mother's heritage. I can't really imagine giving a non textile present so was pleased to be able to give these.

While we were visiting my boys took to referring to Oak as "mum's favourite drug". It appears I may have demonstrated signs of "cluckiness".... surely not....

Oak arrived a little early so he has a big name to grow into and I decided that he should also have a big quilt. I used the same round the world pattern that I had used for Sophie's quilt but used more boyish fabrics and lots that referred to his parents interests in the sea and the environment. It probably goes without saying that it also featured oak leaves which introduced the orange tones to the quilt. It passed muster and will keep him covered for quite a few years to come.

One of Oak's aunts had given him the most lovely eco dyed woollen shirt which was made by Helen Millen from Marlborough. It was fabulous! Another thing I need to try my hand at....

And this leads to a whole other story which I am yet to tell - my fabulous workshop with India Flint in Nelson....

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Hello 2014! Starting with a recap on 2013....

Well it seems that last year I fell off the blog-o-sphere. This year I'm going to get back on it!! I blame pinterest and the ipad I bought myself early last year.... easy trap to fall into. However I did manage to keep stitching while I was off the air and I thought that there was no better place to start than with a recap of what I haven't posted about.

Having just been through the photos I took last year, in an effort to work out just what I did do and make last year I've realised than one of the downsides of not blogging is that my memory of what I made is hazier and also much less thoroughly photographed. Given than one of the major reasons I do this is to actually keep a log for myself on what I'm creating (and usually then giving away pretty quickly) it made me realise it's a habit I really need to keep up.... so

In March last year I had a wonderful weekend in Christchurch with friends I had been to school with to celebrate a 50th birthday - at this point I will hurriedly add that I am by far the youngest! One of our party was over from England for the celebrations and the last time he was here I had told him I would make a quilt for him to celebrate his civil union. 

Of course the hitch was I found out he was coming to the event only three weeks before hand. I had to get my skates on! First and foremost I wanted it to be a masculine quilt so I reached for a pile of my kimono fabrics.

I also wanted a quilt that reflected something of New Zealand. David has lived in London for several decades now and although he visits home every few years he still misses NZ and particularly the bush and the song of our native birds. This fabric features Saddlebacks on flax flowers.

Above all the quilt had to be simple so I could meet my deadline. I recalled a Denyse Schmidt quilt that I had long admired and used this as a starting point. Here's what I came up with.

David loved the quilt - in fact I don't think he quite believed it as he was starting to give me a hard time about when he would ever get his quilt and so I disappeared inside to get it, calling his bluff. He was speechless! This next photo is the back of the quilt. I called it "Into My Arms" from the Nick Cave song. 

I know he loves the quilt and it gives him a lot of comfort when he is missing home. I like knowing that at times when I would like to be able to give him a hug that he can wrap himself in it and know it carries my love and ongoing friendship.

Stay tuned  for more updates - and Happy New Year!