Monday, December 5, 2011

a little wardrobe guide

In the end of October I organised a clothes swap party (what fun it was, note to self: must do again) and wrote a little guide for sorting out your wardrobe. The lovely illustration on the flier is by Lisa Perrin, borrowed from her blog.

Spring clean

A donate, swap & sell party

Too small? Doesn’t fit? Wrong colour?
Simply not your style anymore?

Clean out your wardrobes and donate, swap or sell your stash in good company.

Children’s clothes all sizes as well as adults.
Make sure everything is clean and in good repair.
Kids clothes with minor stains could still be useful for messy play.

Bring a friend, a nibble and a glass of bubbly.
Go home with a fresh new look!

Spring clean

- a little wardrobe guide.

Usually around the time the temperature signals a change in season, I do a big wardrobe clean out, where I go through my entire stash of wearables. This takes at least half a day, and results in newfound ways to put outfits together, a shopping list of missing pieces, an out-of season pile that gets stored out of sight and items to throw away, donate and sell.

It’s easy to end up with another pile: a collection of odd ones that are too nice to get rid of, but just never get worn. Beware! These are the evil items that make your wardrobe into the source of nothing to wear. Only a firm action plan will keep this junk from taking over.

Start by emptying your whole wardrobe, drawers, boxes and other hideaways you have. Your bed is the likely resting place, but leave space for laying out complete outfits.

Start by sorting out the state of your capsule wardrobe. What? Never heard of such a thing? This is a set of clothes carefully planned to be worn for a maximum number of outfits with a minimal number of pieces, ultimately say up to 24 well cut, good quality garments in harmonious colours.

Putting together a large group of coordinated basic garments takes a bit of planning. If that feels too bewildering it’s very easy to get under way with this shortcut: make sure you have at least one complete set of 6-7 basic essentials ALL IN ONE COLOUR. Having a core wardrobe in a single colour may sound dull, but it magically makes many of the forgotten odds and ends wearable.  Creating a black/grey base for my winter wardrobe and off-white/light beige for summer has streamlined my mornings considerably.

Most people would function best with a neutral base colour, but there’s nothing stopping you choosing red, purple or whatever takes your fancy, if you actually prefer being clad more brightly. Think which base colour rhymes with shades that complement the colour of your eyes, skin and hair and what you are drawn to wear already. See how close you are to having

v      a pair of well cut trousers

v      a perfect skirt for your body

v      tank top(s)

v      t-shirts with short and long sleeves for layering

v      fitted shirt

v      cardigan or a fitted jacket or both

all in one colour. This could mean having a few different shades of the same colour as long as all the tops go with all the bottoms. Pay attention to the fit and quality, as these garments are trans-seasonal and timeless and so get a lot of wear. I would also include

v      a dress

as part of the core wardrobe and few people could live without

v      a pair of great fitting jeans.

Any gaps on this list should go straight on your shopping list.

Now we’re into the real cull: what to keep, what needs to go?

Ripped, stained, washed out, too tight, too short – goodbye! If something gives you the sinking feeling, it’s time to let go, no matter how much you spent on it. Getting dressed should make you feel GOOD.

Ask yourself: Have I worn it in the past year, two years? Does it go with anything else? What are the missing pieces that can make the misfits wearable? Do I want to be seen in public in this? Is it age appropriate? Can it be altered or mended? Do I really need it?

Let go of who you used to be. Your style has changed over the years and so has your body.  Some genuine self love is needed here. You deserve to get dressed in clothes that suit your size and shape. Taking photos of yourself wearing a variety of outfits speaks volumes. Camera tells the truth better than a mirror. Through its unsentimental eye you can learn what really works for you.

As you do your sorting, try to put together complete outfits. Make note of garments that go with a variety of others. Snap a photo if you discover new combinations, as you’re likely to forget these when old habits take over.

When you have gone through your whole stash, including underwear and footwear, you should deal to the outcasts without delay. And then, with fresh understanding of haves and have nots, it’s time to go SHOPPING! And that’s another story.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

wreck this cloth - # 1-3

Here is the blank beginning for the "wreck this cloth" challenge, as you might have seen in my previous post. I used a leftover piece of an old sheet that I found in my stash. It's beautifully worn in, with a soft touch after countless of washes. I cut out a perfect 30x30cm square, and nearly went for four cut edges, in my strive towards perfect balance... But then I decided to go against my own nature, as I am on a habit busting mission, and left a selvage on one side. That might become interesting later on.
#1 I got started right away and emptied my left over chamomile tea, with the tea bag, on the piece followed by some coffee grounds from the plunger, as I was doing the dishes. Left it overnight.
#2 Today (29.11.11) I placed some regular teabags on the piece as well and just left it for a couple of hours. When I had to move it I just happened to see a flowerpot with some soil and water sitting in it. In it went, with the previous condiments still wrapped inside...

It was lovely to notice how all of this was just the most natural thing to do. I'm not such a seasoned eco-dyer as sometimes months pass by between the dye sessions, but I've certainly done enough to have it in my blood forever... Oh it feels soo good! 


#3 After I'd left the piece to dry in the sun for a day I used it to wipe up some blackcurrant cordial and then decided to extract some red cabbage magic from leftover coleslaw. The carrot left some nice orange marks too.

When I got the washing in I noticed a couple of unwanteds among the flower border. These weeds (Solanum nigrum and a common euphorbia type) turned out to be perfectly wanted for some hapa-zome action. I folded the plants between the cloth and pounded gently. The reward was some very bright green marks.
It's looking rather lovely at the moment! I'm sure that will change...

I'll keep updating here on the same post for a while, so watch this space!


Haha, a promise broken or delayed?? Well, it's update time, backdated! I won't do it here, but in new posts.

Have a look here for what happened next.

Monday, November 28, 2011

R - to create is to destroy

Our R collective gathered today at Jo's. Well actually one R was missing from action since Meg is in Japan. The rest of us got together and each of us brought along generous helpings of irritation and frazzled nerves. We reckoned this was a combined result of two weeks of annoying windy weather and Saturday's election result... However, a couple of hours later we finished our meeting buzzing with excitement! Let me explain.

First a personal update. After our last meeting I got to work on my part of the exhibition project. I decided to dedicate at least 15 minutes of quality time per day towards this. I started researching archetypes and have a handwritten post somewhere on my desk waiting to be typed... When Term 4 started 6 weeks ago, my time just got sucked up by all the extra employment I had committed to. And I'm still on that track, slowly losing my mind with not enough time for myself and my very important projects... Not even 15 minutes a day?? Ouch.

During my busyness I have been delighted by two dear little books on creativity that I spotted through Brain Pickings. One of them is WRECK THIS JOURNAL by Keri Smith. 
I got this book with the intention to apply the same principle on cloth. I have relaxed my approach since I started making art and not just clothes, but still bump into the feeling of needing to be in control, being way too precious, planned and careful with how I use my materials and tools. India Flint has been a brilliant teacher of seeing bold opportunities everywhere, but I still resist putting it into action.

I have a huge respect for books and keep them well, so I love the opposite approach this workbook has: 
We thought Ronnie had lost her mind when she was doing weird moves with the book...
"Tie a string to the journal, go for a walk, drag it." must have been our favourite recipe, as we could see ourselves applying it to our projects...

After a good giggle we decided to set a challenge for the next month and a bit. Each person would start with a piece of white or cream material, 30x30 cm square, and manipulate it with wild abandon. We agreed to exclude deliberate cutting and stitching as we would nornally do these with a piece of cloth. And we agreed to keep a journal on the progress...

So here goes! My perfectly white piece of cloth on a white wall.

Let the fun begin.


i went up the hill

I went up the hill
and felt much better.
It always works.
 I may carry the weight of the World
but somehow it falls off on the way up.
I smell the grass
feel the breeze
see the horizon
the hum turns to silence.
I gently slip from doing to being
and feel such gratitude
for all that is.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


My artwork from the recent years has been very universal, deliberately so. I knew the time had come to get more personal, reveal my soul a bit more. When 'Beginnings' got chosen as the exhibition title by group R, my initial feeling was that it would point to exploring my roots, as I'm far away from my native country and never explored it in my art. But I didn't even get home from the meeting, before I realised I was in the middle of living a significant 'beginning'. I was six months down the track from a separation - hence the silence here on the blog! - getting used to just being me, taking turns looking after our children, being back in paid work. I had no need to look any further for inspiration did I...

I had an instant vision of expressing the various emotions I've been going through as well as the different roles I juggle between through a collection of garments. I saw some of them them being quite unwearable as the inside and outside would be just as expressive. Private vs public. Feelings inside vs the image you see on the surface. Putting on social masks? Sometimes the inside would be way too prickly or painful to actually wear ON your body!

group "R"

There are five of us (6 to start with) textile/fibre related creatives, who have been getting together once a month since May, plotting a group exhibition to be held next year. When we get together 3-4 hours just fly by. Coffee group it isn't, even though we fit in some drinks and treats as well. The discussions are intense and hugely inspirational. There is a sense of openness, sharing a journey and supporting each other in our creative growth and discovery.

We have the whole Refinery Artspace in our use for October 2012. I'm quite familiar with the gallery as I've had my work hanging there twice at the Changing Threads National Fibre Arts Awards.The main space is big with lots of natural light, high in the ceiling; front is intimate and lit by spotlights.

To start with we discussed a name for our group in great length, as well as a vision statement and a theme for the exhibition. Each of our input has truly revealed who we are as individuals. We have come up with all of the above, but nothing is written in stone and I suspect that the name "R" and vision are of less importance for the time being, as the process itself has pulled us together. Now we are even getting very open about our common theme or exhibition title "Beginnings". There is an underlying trust that we are under way and various techniques and styles will somehow gel as we keep working together.

There are two other bloggers in the group. Check out Jo and Meg!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

the outrageous beauty of blossoms

On a weekend wonder, I stopped to take in the sight and smell of these magnolia beauties. I love how the blooms open in bare naked gnarly branches. Spartan and oh so lavish simultaneously.

Reaching up to the heavens.

Further on I made tracks to an old cemetery. I made acquaintance with a lady who was bringing flowers to her parents grave. She had just visited another cemetery where her husband was buried. Her loving act made me think of my mum who very tenderly cares for my father's and his parents' resting place. The graves of my past are too far to visit these days, but the old photos come out from time to time.

I took my farewell and was led straight to this bright blossom lying on the grass. I felt it wanted to be found by me, so I brought it home. One day it'll find it's way to some project or another.

This flower carries the love of remembering a person who touched your life. It's come undone, adrift, frayed around the edges, but hasn't lost any of it's 'look at me blooming' nature. Slow to fade, just like the memories.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Changing Threads 2011 - Song from a Distant Earth

At the Refinery Artspace in Nelson, New Zealand
26 March - 21 April 2011

2011 Nelson City Council Award
for the 'work which best reflects the theme of 'Water and/or Light'.

Song from a Distant Earth
Maria Julkunen Dalton

Shamballa is a legend of a Pure Land. It is a place of peace, tranquility and happiness - love and light. The idea of Shamballa has an outer and inner meaning. The qualities it represents are eternal. Just like a circle it has no beginning or end. If we can access the inner meaning of Shamballa deep within us, if each of us can find that place, thing, person or idea that has the power to inspire us to take the inner journey to greater freedom and awareness, we begin to transform both ourselves and the world around us. Perhaps the outer meaning, the distant utopia of Shamballa as an actual physical place can be revealed through this journey. If we turn to the deeper mind for inspiration, the world itself will become an extension of Shamballa. The distant Earth is right around and within us already.