August 1, 2014

Online Workhops, Tree House Studio and Tea Dyeing

Earlier this year I signed up for a few online workshops. One was Alchemy 2014 with Karen Ruane. I'm behind with that workshop, but made a lot of blocks ready to put together when I have spare moment. The other workshop I signed up to was Studio Journal with Sharon Boggon. The Studio Journal workshop started a couple of weeks ago. The first project I made for the workshop was the title page for my journal. 

Journal tittle page

Journal making in progress

Mark making exercise for week 1

Update on my studio: A few people are  calling my studio a Tree house. That name came to my mind too. After it went up I realised how high it really is. Higher than my apricot tree in our backyard. I think I will call it Tree house instead of just upstairs studio!

The Tree House has now got lights! We visited a lighting store last week and choose all the lights we need for it. The electrician came and installed them.

We started painting from the ceiling down. We actually finished painting the undercoat  for the whole room. This photo was taken last weekend, but I didn't get a chance to blog it. 

Recently I was introduced to tea drinking the old Chinese way. The particular tea I tried is called Pu-erh tea. Pu-erh tea is a variety of fermented dark tea produced in Yunnan province in China. I also found a traditional tea house close to where I live. It's called Milan Tea House. It's specialises in Chinese tea and tea drinking.

Milan Tea House

Clay pots at Milan Tea House

Wendy, the tea house owner is knowledgeable about Chinese teas and tea drinking ceremony. She spent a lot of time with us when we visited. The Milan Tea House doesn't just sell cups of tea. Wendy aims to educate her customers on healthy tea drinking habits. I have been back many times with my visitors. The shop has the feel of an olden day tea house in old cities in China. 


I was taught to make and serve tea the traditional Chinese way. The first tea Wendy recommended to me was Pu-erh tea, the black fermented tea for 7-13 years. It takes getting use to the taste, but after a couple of months of regular drinking, I quite like it now. 

Pu-erh tea is very dark and rich in tannin even after filling and refilling it many times it still leaves that dark rich colour. I put the used leaves in my pot plants the first couple of times, but now I use them in jar dyeing. 

The richness of tannin is coating the outside of the bundle very nicely. I only had a peek, but will open it this weekend. Using tea for dyeing leads me to think about dyeing with ground coffee! Waiting for a cup of coffee one day I saw waste ground coffee being discarded in the bin. I thought that's a lot of tannin wasted! 

I also wrapped and steamed more bundles and some jars last weekend. These bundles are now soaking in oak leaves bath. I hope to leave them there until spring before opening them. 

This blog is taking a back seat lately, but you can visit my Instagram page where I post daily photos. The Tree-House is taking all our spare time in our weekends. We have to schedule our time with the builder's progress. We hope to get painting done this weekend and also to finish laying the flooring as well. 

Until next time


deanna7trees said...

glad to hear the Tree House is progressing nicely. you must have a store house of dyed fabric by now. it's nice to have such a stash to go through when starting a project. have a great weekend.

Shasta Matova said...

I really like your journal title page. Your Tree House is coming along quite nicely.

Needled Mom said...

I love that you are calling it Tree House. I imagine tree houses as secret places filled with creative imaginations. It is perfect.

Your journal cover looks wonderful. You did such a nice job on it.

I can't wait to see what your new dyed pieces will look like. Spring???? Good luck waiting that long. ;-)

Terry said...

Building does take time but the reward of theTree House will be worth it
The tea ceremonies and the tea pots remind me of . Taiwan. Your stitching as always is delightful.

Nedra said...

I like the name Tree House. Brings images of fun times from Childhood. I see many happy creative hours ahead.

Jeannie said...

I love the name tree house. Since my cottage is at ground level but between 3 large trees, it is my cottage among the trees. (Or as my little neighbor calls it - the girl's fort - LOL) Your bundles and books have me drooling. The tea sounds good. I love the color. That is something that has always turned me off about tea. As a coffee drinker, tea always seemed anemic in color and taste. I am going to have to get educated! Have a wonderful weekend!!!

Bev C said...

Hello Nat,

The tree house sounds perfect, like a place to get away from everyone.
The tea ceremony etc sounds most interesting. Waste not want no, use anything you can for your dyeing.

Happy creating.

Queen Of The Armchair aka Dzintra Stitcheries said...

Cool tree house Nat...perfect! Lovely journal and tea ceremony sounds wonderful!

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