Thursday, August 27, 2009

the good way to weed the garden

First take a closer look.
A lot of those invasive annoyances sport some dainty blossoms.
Pick the blooms and freeze them.

In warm water the beautiful juices flow...
A pinch of this
and a slosh of that.

Add a creation of your choice
perhaps with some accessories.
In this case some silk
stitched with silk
by hand
and pinched.



Et voilà!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009


One of life's great joys is an armsfull of possibilities before it gets tainted by such realities as lack of skill or dedication. It is plain pure pleasure. I'm dreaming up beauty yet to manifest itself.

Today the postie brought India Flint's gorgeous book: Eco colour - botanical dyes for beautiful textiles.

Just recovering from a cold, I woke up all sweaty when the phone rang. Fighting off the duvet, I rushed to find the phone in the kitchen, where some kind soul had left the book parcel. I really had had enough sleep anyway, promise.


Not enough with this: I have been wondering about the availability of woad seeds in NZ, so finally I googled woad+seeds in NZ. Lo and behold, a lady sells organically grown seeds for medicinal herbs and dye plants just down the road! She operates through TradeMe, but my intention is to go and pick up the seeds to see her garden and have a chat.

My shopping list includes:

Woad - Isatis tinctoria - blue dye

Extracting the blue dye sounds a bit tricky, but I can't resist the challenge. This project might take a couple of years.

Hopi Amaranth - Amaranthus cruentus
x powellii - red dye

Dyer's Chamomile - Anthemis tinctoria - yellow dye

Goldenrod - Solidago canadensis - yellow

I love Goldenrod, it still grows in my mum's garden and seems to go up in flames every autumn.

Weld - Reseda luteola or Dyers mignonette

How irresistible does this sound: "produces an outstanding primary yellow dye on all protein fibers and cotton. This yellow is clear and intense, the yellow that all other yellows are judged against. The substance responsible for producing this color is luteolin and is present in all the green parts of the plant. Compared to other plant sources for yellow available to the home dyer, weld is very concentrated. Six or seven weld rosettes or two weld plants in bloom will dye a pound of wool an intense primary yellow color."

Go flu, leave my body now, I've got a garden to prepare!
Spring is here!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

art and about

I've been in Nelson for almost a year, but only now have I visited the Refinery Art Space. It's been beckoning me with its curious façade every time I drive by, but my final entry was through the back gate. How lucky that was: I would have missed these lovely sculptures otherwise!

Framed to perfection by some purple miniature flax leaves:
Oopsie Daisie, made of Ngarua, Takaka marble by Bruce Mitchell.

It could be a flower or a bunch of feathers or a distant galaxy wheeling its way round space...

We need all the angels available to protect our beautiful home Earth. This one has a red spot on her marble chest - I wonder if it might light up when the darkness falls.

Gaia Guardian I by Alan Ridgen.

A few days later we ventured into the Suter and feasted on three new exhibitions. I completely fell in love with Bing Dawe's work. Thought, talent, texture, technique, it ticks all the boxes for me.
Vagrants, Stragglers and the Unloved is about the less glamorous or unloved creatures of our environment.The murky colours and twisted compositions are hauntingly beautiful.

Make way - Goose shoot at the oxbow
painted wood and steel

"‘Vagrants’ and ‘stragglers’ are terms that are used to describe birds which occasionally turn up on our shores, sometimes by accident and sometimes en route to other destinations."

Downstream under Aoraki - Eel with shadow
steel and ceramic

"The 'unloved' refers to those creatures such as eels and shags, often described in the past as vermin, scavengers and generally unwanted. The fact that some of these creatures are becoming endangered gets little attention because of their lowly status."

The draining
- Composition with Eel on hoop,
steel and painted wood

It's fabulous how this man knows no boundaries when it comes to choosing which medium to work with: wood, steel, ceramic and even beautiful rugs, made by Dilana.

- Kahawai Waitaki river mouth

What a noble way to raise awareness: it warms my activist heart.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

feel the fear and do it anyway

This plant dyeing has totally thrown me off beaten track. In theory I'd like to think that I would thrive on working with something totally natural, but since natural includes qualities such as uncontrollable and unexpected, I find myself terrified of not being in control...

I'm in turmoil, loving the harmony of the process, new creative possibilities, connectedness... and at the same time being paralysed by fear of the great unknown. I have just entered a country with lovely scenery and great atmosphere, but I don't speak the language.

Whenever I feel like just giving up, the pull towards it is stronger. So: I feel the fear and do it anyway.