July 9, 2014

Canberra Visit and Dyeing

Our waiting to visit our son and his family in Canberra finally arrived last weekend. The last time I saw them was Christmas so I was really looking forward to seeing them again. I love taking road  trips and I enjoy the Australian landscape. Australia's landscape is unique. I feel more connected to the land since I started natural dyeing and ecoprint. 

Road trips also give me the opportunity to utilise the travelling time by stitching. I usually take something simple and straightforward to stitch. 

We set off very early to avoid the local traffic, but it till takes about an hour to get out of the city.  Early morning light in the country is beautiful. 

Only few cars on the dual-carriage highway. I love the green landscape this time of year. The landscape is totally different in the summer. 

We took a few stops along the drive. I look for simple beauty in landscapes to photograph. Something about the shape of Eucalyptus trees draws me to take photographs. The leaves, the bark, the colour of them against the blue sky. I am never bored photographing them!

The project I took for car stitching was an old cotton Yukata that I patched with vintage Japanese silk pieces. I started this a few years ago. It's like everything I do; it takes time to complete. 

We stopped for a cup of coffee at Holbrook town about half way into our trip. I took the Yukata out to air in the sun and took a photo to show you. Here it is. The inside of the jacket is reversible. I only stitch around the edges of the patches and let the colour talk to you directly.

My DIL asked if we could do some dyeing while I was there. I took some leaves along from Melbourne and gathered some more along the way. We picked some in the local park nearby as well. 

On her visit to the UK my DIL brought back some copper pennies that she wanted to use in the dye bundles and jars. We dipped, stuffed, rolled and steamed while the children were cooking and baking imaginary food of their own nearby. 

That morning my DIL took me to her weekly farmer's market. We met a friend and her mother who moved there from Melbourne. As it happens her mother was a dyer! She told me that Canberra leaves are better than Melbourne leaves! She meant Eucalyptus leaves in this case. I was excited to tried them!

We used everything we had on hand. We mixed it like true alchemy. We combined purple carrot with eucalyptus leaves and turmeric in some bundles. In other bundles we put beetroot peels, turmeric and sprinkled madder root pieces over them. We dipped some leaves in rusty water to get that rustic look! We had the best time sharing our creative love of dyeing. 

Lastly here is the update on my Upstairs Studio. It's taking shape in leaps and bounds these last couple of weeks. The wall is now up on 2 sides. The windows are also in place and the electricity cables have been installed as well. By the end of this week I'm sure all the four walls will be up. The painting is not all done. Mr. Notjustnat only has the weekend to paint and last weekend we were away so this weekend will be catch-up time. 

Until next time


Needled Mom said...

The dye results are really gorgeous, Nat. I love the colors that you have created. Are their leaves better?????? How fun that was to run into a fellow dyer like that.

Great progress on the studio this week. It won't be long before you are creating in there.

Nifty Quilts said...

Your dyeing is wonderful! I can't think of anything more fun than sharing your love of nature and fabric with your DIL. What beautiful views you get from your studio! Very exciting.

Els said...

You had a great time seeing your son's family ;-) Lovely to be dyeing with your daughter in law ! and great results too !

Ha a window to look out of the studio ... good progress on the work Nat !

deanna7trees said...

your stitched piece is so wonderfully colorful. your dye bundles are always almost as beautiful as the resulting cloth. glad you had a good trip.

Ginny Huber said...

I love the yukata piece, the dyeing, of course..and am happy for you with the progress of the studio!

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Great dyeing Nat with DIL....are Canberra leaves better? Woohoo to your studio...coming along nicely!

neki desu said...

pretty kimono!
i have been patching one for an embarrassing long time and still it's nowhere near half finished.
those bundles look great.

Tracy said...

So lovely you were able to visit with your son, Nat! And a road trip is a bonus, as stitching is must! ;o) LOVE all the Japanese silks... *BIG SWOON*...And GORGEOUS dyes--look at those colors and shapes! Fun with the studio update--window & electric... it's really starting to come together! :o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

Peggy said...

Hi Nat, the studio is so close, can't wait to see how you arrange and use it! Your jar dyeing outcomes are fabulous, I've just made up my first 4 jars recently but haven't unrolled anything yet. And I love your work for the next exhibition. There is so much beauty here! xoxo

apiecefullife said...

I love the result of your dying. So lucky to have that in common with your DIL.

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