April 17, 2015

Eco-Dye Workshop

My daughter Kitiya is a member of Sundae Craft. This is a group of young creative crafters in Melbourne. The Sundae Craft meets monthly, and each month each member shares their expertise and teaches the rest of the group their skills. Kitiya told me that everyone in Sundae Craft would love to learn eco-dyeing, and if I wouldn't mind teaching them. I was thrilled to get asked by these young upcoming creative crafters and artists. I have been thinking of how best to deliver my eco-dye method to them more effectively. I have been teaching many things both for fees and for free!

In the end I came up with an activity that would give the students some instant results, but also one that would engage them after the session. I told them in my introduction that they will not learn to dye just in one workshop. I have been dyeing using natural, eco and synthetic dyes for over 10 years, but I can't say I'm an expert in any of them. It's very much a trial and error process in dyeing. You have to have a curious mind and be willing to try everything. I also told the group that they are lucky to be in Australia with their backyard full of dyeable plants. The world envies us for that!

I show them both the bundle and jar dyeing methods. They took the jars away with them after dyeing. Kitiya told me they will open them next time the Sundae Craft group meets. How exciting will that be!

The above photo is the table setting I got ready for them. I've got a few jars that I dyed in Canberra with DIL. I have gathered both fresh and dried leaves for them ready to roll.

I have a perfect setting for outdoor workshops. I strung a line around the deck and hung some samples of the dyed fabric on it. The effect was eye catching when you enter it from the back gate.

I introduced the workshop by telling them that this was the first proper ecodyeing workshop I have ever given. I opened a couple of my jars and showed them how to start. The table wasn't large enough for 11 people so I split them up into two groups. The second group observed and planned their own bundles while watching.  

They bundled their first batch and while the bundles were cooking/steaming they prepared the next bundles for jars dyeing. I got them to open their first bundles together in the workshop. Above are some samples of their pieces. I think they were wrapped with the results! I'm so pleased with how the workshop went and I hope that some of them will take up dyeing and develop their interest in it further.  

Part of my stitching on Furoshiki cloth.

Journal cover for my upcoming around-the-world trip.

Rusty corner got the love in the Tree House Studio.

 April's Stitching with friends, Jacky and Mary.

Lucky Find:

To tell you the truth, since I moved my studio into the Tree House I got rid of lots of things I couldn't find a home for in there. I also stopped going to op-shops to discourage myself from buying any more stuff! But, big BUT, last Saturday after "stitching with friends" session ended Jacky and I walked pass a Salvo op-shop and I spotted the dark case (bottom one) that I just had to have! The stack now is complete (for now!). Being an expat most of my life things like cases or travel goods are one of my passions! 

I hope everyone is well and keeping creative and happy. It's another busy weekend ahead for me! I love it!

Until next time

April 9, 2015

Easter Holiday Update

Easter Holiday came and went in a flash! It was a busy holiday for me. We went to visit our son and his family and got to spend time with our grandchildren. The last time we saw them was at Christmas. Of course we noticed the change in them. DGD is all grown up and clever with her writing and reading. DGS is also grown and much more mature than the last time we saw him. They both loved my homemade cookies I took them. 

While I was there I helped with cooking and froze the leftovers for when they are too busy to cook. I showed DDIL coil basket weaving. We played eco-dyeing. I helped DS shorten two pairs of pants and also covered a seat for his long-trail bike he just got. All in all I had a busy, but fun time away. Below are photos with descriptions: Hope you all had a nice Easter as well. 

Easter baskets I made years ago.
I gave them to DGC this Easter.

Country scene and wild berry found on the drive.

Quilt binding is good activity on road trips!

Started DDIL coiled basket weaving. 

I started looping Bilum weaving. Long way to go yet.

Below are photos of eco-dyeing I did with my DDIL. I have discovered lot of dye-able plants/trees on the campus where I work. I have to be quick to get the lower branches before the gardeners prune them all away. I took with me the Melbourne leaves (as Bron called them). Bron has some dye equipment so I didn't need to take any with me. 

We did bundles and jars dyeing. We streamed the bundles and in no time at all we opened them. We used varieties of leaves I took and some I gathered in Bron's garden. We are so happy with the results we got from this batch.

Jars dyeing still to be opened!

Bundles bundles!

Eucalyptus with steel-wool.
The yellow effects are from turmeric

Rose and leaves with madder roots and rusty metals.

Blue gum leaves and steel-wool.

Eucalyptus iron-bark leaves.

Bundles and a piece of silk dyed with onion skins

Nettle leaves give out beautiful yellow.

Eucalyptus silver dollars ready to roll.

Charles Bradley's rose and leaves

We went to see Charles Bradley's concert before Easter. We got a ring side stand so Charles handed me a red rose! To keep the memory alive I put the rose in a dye bundle! 

Handicraft shop in Tarcutta, NSW.

DS's long-tail bike.

In the last photo is my son's new long-tail bike that he got as a kit. He was putting it together when we were there. It's to carry both kids to and from school. He used to put them in a chariot, but they are now too big for it.  He needed my help making the seat. It was fun working in a project with my son. 

The other thing he asked me to help him was to teach him how to sew. At Christmas I gave him an old Singer 201K sewing machine that I bought for $50 years ago. I told him that the Singer 201K was the best sewing machine ever made by Singer! He looked it up and confirmed that I was right. DS wants to learn how to sew so he can start making bags for his bikes and camping. I'm pleased that he is interested in learning how to sew!

Until next time

March 28, 2015

Easter is Coming!

Just in case I haven't got around to blogging again before Easter I wish you all a Happy Easter 2015. We are having 5 days off at Easter! When you have a full time job, any day off is really appreciated. I know it's going to be a busy 5 days, but that's how I like it. 

Last Saturday I attended coiled basket workshop with Jacky, Dot and Lee. As you know I'm a basket weaver and I love baskets in all shapes and sizes. I thought it would be fun to go along to a workshop with friends. The workshop was held at Alowyn Gardens in Yarra Glen. It was run by Ruth Woods of Craft School Oz. The venue is about an hour's drive from Melbourne. Below are some photos of the event. Enjoy!

Workshop samples

My basket base using natural raffia and indigo dyed raffia

Jacky's and my bases

These are all the basket bases the class did that day

I added more to the base

It's getting bigger

Twined Together is a book inspired by bush baskets

Rock feature garden at Alowyn Gardens

Original mining cottage 

Rustic chair in the original condition

Sculptural arch 

Garden maze

Another arch

I thought that I had not been doing much this last couple of weeks until I gathered together the photos and realised that I have been quite busy. Below are some photos of textile related activities I have been creating. 

This is the journal cover I'm making for my travel journal. I used  BORO style piecing, but used traditional embroidery stitches on it. I've add more embroidery since I took this photo. I will share with you again once it is completed. 

And this is the Civil War Quilts block I mentioned in the last post. The red fabric is a "F" (featured) fabric found at an opshop/thriftshop. I've featured it in every block I have made. Barbara put out free pattern for 52 blocks, but I think I'm only going to make about 30 blocks and set them on points and alternate with plain fabric.  

I hope you didn't miss the International Day of Happiness? At my work we had a little fun competition to see who would come in to work that day wearing the most colourful and happy clothes. The prize was a bottle of "happy bubbly". I thought if I wore my Yukata with silk boro patches I would win and I did!  

Blog ending photo for today is this coffee art/heart created by the barista at Market Lane Coffee Prahran Market, South Melbourne. Melbourne is known as the world's best coffee capital. We are spoiled for choice with coffee shops! I have been there twice now and will go back again. 

I hope everyone is keeping well, busy and creative. The weeks and months are moving on so fast that it will be nice to stop and take a breath. I'm looking forward to driving into the sunrise next Friday and heading to see our DS, DIL and DGC in Canberra. Happy Easter Everyone!

Until next time

March 13, 2015

Mid of March 2015

You all know without me saying how fast time is flying by this year! Mid March already? It has been a good year for me so far! I have been busy doing everything from work stuff, creative stuff, physical stuff, planning stuff and all the life stuff! Life is beautiful (some of us says booful)! 

So with the colourful expression in my life at the moment. I'm going to post something lively and colourful for you here! 

My colourful stuff!

Colourful vintage Japanese silk I have stashed away.

A bit of creative blue stuff I have been working on lately is this Furoshiki cloth for my bag. I posted about here. It's not much closer to being finished, but I do pick it up and add a few stitches every so often. I've also bound a handmade book for a colleague who's leaving us this week. During the week Mr Notjustnat and I went to see Richard Thomson in concert at the Recital Centre in Melbourne.

Three red hearts and indigo moon for
Furoshiki cloth.

Stash of vintage indigo cotton. 

Coptic stitch binding.

Recycled book covers and cords.

Melbourne city

Also this week I finished another Scallop basket. I used the canes I dyed with coffee that I posted in February.

I finished it with a coat of vanish. 

Attaching the handle 

Last Saturday I helped my friends moving house. I didn't have to do much except driving back and forth between the old and the new house 6 times! He is a collector of vinyl records and he had so many of them to be moved. For a treat we had a lovely coffee at Market Lane Coffee, Prahran Market, Melbourne. 

Single estate Costa Rican 'rapadura' sugar
is best for coffee

The end of the move treat was green tea and cake

I found a wild fig growing at my Campus. It has plenty of figs if you get there before the birds. I was lucky to walk past it when the figs were just ready to pick. I got enough for a batch of jam.

Chopped, soaked in sugar and sat overnight

Next day boiled and bottled

An interesting ending for this post is this handsome vintage vehicle. Don't ask me what make it is. I stopped at the traffic next to this gorgeous looking red truck. I had my camera right by me so I took a shot of it. The driver was so happy that I took notice of his vehicle.

I have been working on many projects, but none is finished enough to blog about yet. I even got inspired lately by The Civil War Quilts newsletter that I subscribe to. The result was that I dug out the Civil War blocks I did many years ago and posted here. I hope to finish and put together a quilt top before we leave on our trip. I wanted to get it machine quilted in New Zealand by Donna while I'm away and to collect it on my way back. It's exciting to think that I will get a new quilt in 2015! I always need an incentive to complete a project! 

Until next time