A Daily Blog on Textile and Garden Adventures

10. Sep, 2020

I was sold the silk charmeuse as that but as it hardly took to dye at all I think it may have been a polyester substitute. I do get cross when fabric is not correctly marketed because for my purposes natural fibres are important. It seems the wonderful reds and golds are reserved for protein fibres and the cellulose fibres take a more laid back colour but it will be an interesting sheet to refer to in the future

9. Sep, 2020

I am only testing samples here so I have only used a small amount of water and leaves. After boiling for 45 minutes there is good colour in the water and I have scooped out the leaves. I think there is probably still dye left in the leaves but I will leave this at this stage and add the sample pieces and boil for another 45 minutes

8. Sep, 2020

Now the weather is improving I am getting out and about more. I have gathered together two bundles of eucalyptus leaves and a range of small pieces of various fibres. As recommended by India Flint I will process these one in a vinegar and water dye bath and one with straight tap water. We will see what develops

7. Sep, 2020

This is the beginning of a new piece of work that will probably be a series exploring textile surfaces. The piece will have 5 panels ranging in colour from silver to fawn to rust then blue and black. You can see this first piece under the machine here. This first series is primarily focused on recycled or reused materials. This panel is made of foil coffee packets overlaid with a scrap of sequin fabric salvaged from a friend's throwouts and textured threads. It has an organza oversheet to hold everything together and I am stitching it with a neutral shade of thread in my commonly used figure of 8 scribble stitch. It looks very reptilian and this process would make a great crocodile or fish. I am calling this work Transitions because it is changing the materials I am working on, transitioning between each panel and it is also a transition for me to work in a more abstract manner rather than representational. It is exciting and challenging

6. Sep, 2020

Covid makes no difference to the seasons and Spring is here. In Brooke Park where I often ramble with my dog the lambs are in abundance. We farmed for 30 years and yet I have so few photos of everyday farming life such as this Mumma ewe and her baby. At some stage I would like to do a rural NZ series so I have started collecting appropriate photos as reference. The great thing is I have learnt to use my digital DSLR camera and am no longer afraid of playing with the manual settings. I even went to one of my grandchildren's drama performances and managed to get some great shots just by adjusting the ISO and aperture settings. I did run them through photoshop to increase the light a bit - I was sitting in a dark auditorium looking at a bright stage - but the photos are crisp and clear. My tutor on my art course is primarily a photography tutor and he has been keeping me honest as to playing with the camera and with shots like this one it has been worth all the angst. I purchased this camera with the view of going to India but Covid has sort of put paid to that but if I ever do get to go I will be well experienced with the camera by then.