April 12, 2016

SE Asia Textile Trip 2016

I returned from the SE Asia textile trip last weekend. I didn't have much time to idle before I had to go straight back to work. It's a nice feeling though that I have a job to come back to.

Even though my SE Asia textile trip was only 2 weeks, what I have fitted in to those two weeks feels like a lifetime of learning. If you remember I visited this part of the world two years ago. Returning for a second time has given me more depth and appreciation into the vast range of textiles and cultures of SE Asia. I originally came from that part of the world, but apart from learning how to sew at a young age I didn't learn about SE Asia's textiles until long after I left. 

On this trip I spent more time exploring the designs, colour, natural and indigo dyes and vintage textile pieces. I also attended a couple of natural and indigo dye workshops as well as a weaving workshop. I have also noticed a change in textile collections. Instead of the traditional items I saw two years ago I now found semi traditional cheaply made gifts! I was lucky to come across a few shops that sell collectible textile pieces, but they were hard to find. I enjoyed walking in small lanes and back streets. In doing so I found little shops with treasures tucked away from the main thoroughfares. 

I love to visit as many markets as possible. I hit lucky in some places where there were markets only once a week. I will add short captions for each photo. I don't want you to think that I bought everything on the photos in this post! Just a warning that it's going to be a photo heavy post. 

Scrumptious dyed silk at  Talad Sao, Vientiane

Some vintage silk carves at a shop in Vientiane
 
Piles and piles of vintage textiles, Vientiane

I came away with a wedding piece from
the shop above. Woven silk.

These remnants were thrown in when I bought
the piece in the above photo! 

Decorative tapes found in Talad Sao, Vientiane 

I attended a natural/indigo dye workshop at the
Houey Hong Vocational Center in Vientiane

Natural dyes daily at Oct Pop Tok, Luang Prabang

Samples of work you can choose to
make in workshops at Ock Pop Tok

Lovely original woven pieces at Ock Pop Tok
gallery in town, Luang Prabang

I was lucky to get a chance to visit a
Hmong village in Chiang Mai

Some of the Hmong works both new and old

A lovely old woven silk scarf in my hotel

More lovely old woven silk
scarves in my hotel

Old Sinh (tube skirt) I bought from a back
street shop in Luang Prabang

Indigo vat at Ock Pop Tok

Silk scarf I dyed with indigo and
stitch lack insects

Indigo beads

Hmong textiles from a market in Chiang Mai

Woven old cotton blanket

Woven old cotton blanket I bought
from Talad Soa, Vientiane

Indigo cotton scarves from Bansoa gallery,
Vientiane

Indigo Sinh (tube skirt) from local
market in Luang Prabang

A simple woven linen cloth from
Indigo House, Bangkok

Last minute finds in Bangkok.
They are from Afghanistan 

A few simple purses bought at Chiang Mai Airport

Wholesale market, Waroros

Night market, Chiang Mai

Sunset on Mekong River with Cloth House's tote

Needless to say I came home with a big stash of stuff. Some are for gifts and others I will use to make home decorations and gifts.

Not all of what I brought home, but close to it!

I need a gift this weekend so I quickly made one
using a Hmong's embroidery piece I brought
back. It's a Coptic binding book.

Four cities in 15 days. It was a busy, but enjoyable and exciting trip. My trip was semi organized by Audley Travel and I. Audley Travel specializes in boutique tours. They will do from two persons to a full size tour. I'm very happy using Audley Travel when I travels without Mr Notjustnat

I'm sorry if some of you already saw my photos on Instagram and Facebook. Thanks for following me along on the trip. If you have any questions regarding my trip just let me know.

Until next time
Nat



March 14, 2016

Dyeing and Quilting

As usual March is creeping up on us without any warning! Even though February has 29 days it didn't help much. Life is getting back to normality again for me. Apart from a slight dizziness when I get up in the morning and lie down in the evening, I feel much much better. I've returned to the gym after work, but I'm particularly careful not to fall. To my surprise I'm feeling okay, thanks goodness!

Even though I haven't spent much time in the Treehouse studio lately, I did get back into dyeing a bit. The Eucalyptus trees are now in full swing with the flower buds. I feel that the Eucalyptus is its best during the flowering season. The flower buds give beautiful impressions on fabric when dyeing. I love that intricate clutter of buds on silk fabric! 

I have some great images below to share with you. Don't forget to read the captions of each image.   

Beautiful Pink Flowering Gum

Bundles resting before unwrapping

My dyeing station is always inviting

Dye bundles after steaming

Imprint of flower seed buds

Something is going right here! 

Lino-cutting from a fun Sunday!

Apart from dyeing and lino-cutting I did fit in a bit of traditional quilting in the last couple of weeks. I started heart stitching since Valentines Day in Feb. I love the simplicity of the heart shape! I always added a heart shape in all my stitching projects. I continue to work on Indigo moons as part of Quilt 365 challenge I started earlier this year. I'm happy to say that I've caught up with the block to date! 

2016 Valentines Hearts

Indigo Moons up to date!

I'm looking forward to another textile trip at Easter. This time I'm going with my friend Mary Burgess who is a weaver. We are going to Vientiane, Luang Prabang and Chiang Mai, and while I'm in that part of the world I will stop to visit my family in Bangkok for the last few days. I'm looking forward to returning to Chiang Mai as well. The last time I was there I must have been in my 20s. 

So I will be off blogging until I return in the middle of April. Then you can read all about my textile trip adventures. You can always check out my daily photos on Instagram

Until next time
Nat



February 29, 2016

Vertigo - Ménière's disease

A few years ago I had never heard of the word Vertigo or Ménière's disease! Suddenly last week I came down with this Vertigo disease. Now the word Vertigo sounds like my best friend to me! Vertigo knocked me literally flat on my back for a week. Every time I opened my eyes the room would take me for a spin for a long moment! The only way to stop the ceiling from spinning was to keep both eyes shut tight. Imagine having to do that for a week. Not fun, not at all! As doctor ordered I was off work for the whole week. I really needed that too. 

I felt a little better on the fifth day. I was able to have a shower while holding on to something. I found a cold shower helped to knock out Vertigo. It's definitely a warm weather disease! 

No question about attempting to do something fine so during my visit up at the treehouse I found some old doilies I has collected to make pincushions. I decided I would make a couple of them. They were long overdue on the must make list. The next day I felt even better so I put on a batch of dye. Dyeing doesn't need any fine tuning skills or concentration. I could do that even when I was light headed!

Pincushions turned out lovely.
I should make a few more!

Dye bundles resting the following day

Gathering odds and ends for dyeing

Little beauty from a friend goes splendidly
with my dyed fabric. 

I'm now well again so returning to work is a must. I only spent half a day for the first day back. Half a day was spent explaining to all my caring colleagues what was wrong with me that made me take a whole week away from work. It was touched to get all that attention and care from friends and colleagues. I'm so lucky to be part of such a wonderful working environment!

Until next time
Nat



February 16, 2016

Indigo Moon and other Quilty Fun

I have been busy having fun making and stitching indigo moon blocks that I've had to do since I joined Quilty 365 a couple of weeks ago. I am supposed to make one block a day for 365 days. Because I was late joining I had a lot to catching up to do. So far, I have made about 40 blocks and have a few more blocks made up ready for stitching. 

I was excited when I laid them down to photograph them. It's nice to see them together. I'm liking it a lot! Excuse the red moon peeking in among its blue siblings. I think red is fitting in there perfectly; what do you think? 

On top of working on the indigo moon, I have finally finished a quilt I started 20 years ago. I thought it was time to get it done. It's exciting that I actually made an antique quilt! Another one nearly finished is the Twinkle Little Stars quilt I started in 2013 with Temecula Quilt Company. It looks gorgeous with the blocks together. This will be the next one I hope to finish! 

We had our first Stitching with friends for 2016 last Saturday. It's nice to make use of the Treehouse Studio for gathering and stitching. 

Indigo Moons all in the rows.

Looking at them from the side

Remember the Full Moon blocks?
They are coming along slowly too. 

Twinkle Little Stars Quilt. The blocks are together,
but not sewn!

Antique Quilt finished

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

An extra table was installed in the Treehouse Studio for more space. Even though there are only 3 of us in a group, with the show and tell, cups of tea and our stitching we need plenty of room to spread out our work.

Stitching with friends in session

My messy corner where I stitch indigo moons!

.
Bojagi cloth, work in progress

A bit of Show and Tell for you. 2015 was my 7th year of blogging. Last year, I started printing my blog posts from 2009. I have caught up this year when I printed the 2015 posts. Blogging is a journal of my creativity, travels and life as it happens. I feel good to have them all in print!

Seven blog books since 2009

Seed pods gathering

I have been collecting seed pods for the Seed Pods Art Workshop with Sophie Munns in April. I love seed pods, but didn't know what to do with them. I thought after years of looking at leaves for dyeing I would also start looking at seed pods for whatever I will need them for! 

I was happy that my friend Jacky is starting the moon project with me. She and I have been shopping for indigo fabric at Ziguzagu for years. If the indigo moons inspire you. Click here to join-in.

Until next time
Nat