Wednesday, 16 April 2014


it's done!
now 2.41 am in the wee small hours of the morning
i am off to bed
the student celebration book is done.

on a wandering wind

if i've messed anything up, please forgive me
but i've done my best
with the materials supplied

and because it weighs in at 216 pages
which makes it rather pricey in the paper version

i've also made it into an ebook
- the only drawback being that some of the image sizes had to be reduced
for better viewing on "retina displays"

so thank you, those of you who sent in pictures and words.
i hope you like it!

Monday, 14 April 2014



i bet when you read "fingerfood"
you thought of the wedding reception in "Love Actually"
if you are my age
of prunes wrapped in bacon
strange stripy sandwiches cut on the diagonal
and those funny lurid coloured cocktail onions

that's not what this is about.
i'm talking the fingerfood that is the soft caress of SilkyMerino
fresh from the cauldron
it's just too delicious.
and i can't stop running my fingers over the surface.
the fabulous thing about SilkyMerino, aside from magical properties in the dyebath
and that it is delivered as an extremely useful tube
is that the merino part is pure new Australian wool sourced from fine wool producers in NSW
mixed with a little silk
and then transformed into this superb fabric.
this dress was made for my agent, Jen Loew
who trusts me that it's going to be perfect for summer in New York
as well as any other climate anywhere else.
she specified comfy.
comfy is winging its way to her.
and of course it has a little camouflaged pocket.
of which there will be stories in the 'shapeshifter' book
[which is the next one in line once i finish the student celebration book]
and did i mention that it smells really nice?

Tuesday, 8 April 2014

home sweet home

it's good to be home for a bit
sleeping in my own bed
window open, Martha-cat draped across my arm
mingled scent of lemon flowers and roses
drifting in across my pillow
while the dreaming ducks mutter outside

that last image is what happens when you mix them up
using the Diana app
wandering locally
marvelling at indigenous flora
reading tracks in the sand
as well as some very kind words
written about me 
and of course
minding the baby
dyeing a few things
and catching up on some sewing

Thursday, 3 April 2014

only because you asked so nicely

i've had at least half a dozen workshop enquiries from Queensland in the past ten days
and so when i was booking my flights for the US next month
it seemed that fate was poking me
when the possibility for coming home through Brisbane emerged

my friend Roz kindly agreed that i could swing in for a visit on my way home
and share a stitch-and-bundle day around the firepit in her beautiful garden

[the end of May is usually gorgeous in Queensland but if it DOES rain we have a plan]

we will be working with my favourite ever cloth and thread
to make a versatile and gorgeous "snug-as-a-bug in SilkyMerino"
that folds into its own pocket

i'm envisioning the day as intensive and soul-nourishing

and i'm going to post all the materials we need to her ahead of time
so that all you need to bring will be your scissors and thread

Roz and i are planning a lovely lunch for you
[vegetarian, gluten free, keeping dairyfoods on the side]
with a glass or two of wine [or juice or that nectar from the gods, water]
while the bundles bubble in the cauldron
rest assured there WILL also be chocolate [possibly even from San Francisco seeing as i'm coming home that way] so it will be body-nourishing as well

after lunch i'll demonstrate some nifty cutting tricks while the bundles cool
before we have the glorious reveal

please drop a line to Roz if you're keen

rozhawker09[at] gmail[dot] com

or email me via the contact page on my website
and i'll forward more details

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

student book : an update

am delighted to report that i have received 41 submissions for the student celebration book
i've filed them all in an orderly manner
and now begins the task of compiling them.

i need to think of a slightly catchier title than "student celebration book"
so if you have any brilliant ideas do please drop me a line in the comments
[if there's one that sets the chimes in my New Orleans inspired windsong tree ringing i shall reward the author with a small surprise parcel]

i shall also be trawling through my enormous collection of images
and choosing a selection of those to add as well - wishing i'd had the sense to mark workshop locations on a map from the beginning as it would be quite amusing to follow those breadcrumbs

ah well.

in the meantime,
Velma, bless her, wrote some thoughtful words about fieldnotes
and kindly said she didn't mind if i shared them
so here they are

ps there's a kitten chewing on my toes.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

second skin, another chance another dance

there's something purring in my lap

one of the [many] things i really enjoyed about the second skin class last week 
was that by Sunday afternoon 
each participant had a beautiful and unique SilkyMerino dress 
as well as a rather gorgeous infinity scarf which wouldn't fall off 
in a stiff winter wind
and that most people went home already planning their next dress 

one of those present [who goes by the name Mazzaus on her blog] 
has kindly written two posts mentioning the class

and then
and here's another story
from a little further along the table

anyhoo given the Mansfield 'second skin' class filled quite quickly
Sally Harvey [proprietor of Crockett Cottage Studio] has suggested 
that it would be a good plan to offer a second sitting

such a good plan i don't know why i didn't think of it myself.

so there you have it me dears

second skin will run again on November 11, 12, 13
at the same venue in Mansfield, Victoria
four places have already been snabbled...
please drop me a line if you'd like more information
 and in case you are wondering what these pictures are about
i shot them on the way home from Murray Bridge 
[whence i had driven for the opening of
"How does your garden grow"]  

i love the road that curves below the hills from Palmer to Murray
it makes me want to sing Neil Young's "Heart of Gold" on repeat, all the way home
[and i did]

"Heart Of Gold"

I want to live,
I want to give
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.
It's these expressions
I never give
That keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

I've been to Hollywood
I've been to Redwood
I crossed the ocean
for a heart of gold
I've been in my mind,
it's such a fine line
That keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.
Keeps me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm getting old.

Keep me searching
for a heart of gold
You keep me searching
for a heart of gold
And I'm growing old.
I've been a miner
for a heart of gold.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

how does your garden grow?

yesterday i drove down to Murray Bridge
to install my pieces for the exhibition

How Does Your Garden Grow?
glimpse of the catalogue
 i was accompanied by my "assistant"
who voraciously consumed quantities of milk while busily charming the socks off the gallery crew
glimpse of the cat
 but fortunately fell asleep long enough for me to paint my poem on the wall
[using an indigo-flavoured milk and lime mix]
nightsongs [text]
 when not otherwise occupied, Yoda practiced yoga
here's what the rest of my work looks like

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [detail]

each precious drop [installation view]

please join us there on Sunday March 30 at 2.30 to see the work of Dana Kinter, Petrus Spronk, Morgan Allender and Matthew Bradley[and mine in reality as opposed to batfone-snaps]

at the end of the day my assistant was exhausted

me too.

PS the bones were donated by Ginger, a jersey cow who died from natural causes [i think snakebite counts as natural in Australia] some years ago and who was buried respectfully but whose remains were exposed after a vicious north wind that blew the mound away.

Monday, 24 March 2014

the answer to yesterday's question

where should i have begun?
at the beginning.

last week i flew home, changed my socks, polished my boots, cuddled my cat
patted the dogs, had a quick gin with my family, blew some notes on the tenor sax
and then
flew to Melbourne

to teach the first of what is rapidly becoming a series of second skin classes

Sally Harvey [proprietor of the gorgeous Crockett Cottage] kindly met me at the airport and took me straight to Brunetti's on Lygon Stree for a delicious iced coffee.
it was one of those rare moments when i actually thanked the Dogs Above that i am wheat intolerant otherwise i think i could cheerfully have eaten my way through that establishment.
wall to wall cakes of every description
with a goodly percentage of them loaded with cream and chocolate [two essential daily vitamins so far as i am concerned]

that was a fine beginning.

next morning i tottered across Johnston street and up the back lanes for a bit of a wander
and a quick reconnaissance of the green trash bins outside the flower store Vasette

and lots of it

i found nerines, tiger lilies [stamens intact, thank you], gardenia, magnolia, oak, three species of eucalyptus [i found even more wandering back down the laneways], lotus, roses, orchids, cotinus and more

in short, i found abundance

which reassured me that the maxim i live by

"everything we need is here"

still works very nicely, thank you.

for this trip i tried to keep my luggage compact, taking the smallest of work kits [spectacles included in photo for scale] although i did rather kick myself for forgetting to pack my singing bowl. unlike Stuart Kestenbaum [Director of Haystack Mountain School of Craft] who commands an expectant hush just by walking to the front of the room

to get attention i have to ring a bell [better still, a bowl] or resort to making a loud "coooooeeeee" noise. so it was the latter [that, or unpack the soprano sax...which might have had the opposite effect and cleared the room]

 i could do this of course [travel lightly, i mean, not clear the room] because i was coming to silkcentral
Beautiful Silks
where we were going to be working with the most luscious of materials

SilkyMerino and #5silkcotton stitching thread
i think this combination is my all time favourite. i'm the original sensitive princess when it comes to cloth against skin.

polyester brings me out in a rash [my son says it is psychosomatic but that is nonsense.]

the itchy wool trousers of my school uniform in the '70s had me in tears [although now i am sure the dyes in that cloth were as much to blame]

but i can even sleep in SilkyMerino [purl side inwards is best of all]
 we began by making a super-simple garment that doubles as a sweet top and as a scarf [even a hoodie if you're clever] so that we could get something into the dyepot and have a present to open next morning
and then we moved on to making one of the most important tools in dressmaking
no, not forging scissors [though that would be exciting]
but making string

and then on day two we started work on our beautiful second skins, exploring almost-no-waste cutting techniques and delighting in the fabulous drape of the cloth as well as the joy of handsewing,
simple running stitch and flat fell seams...strong AND beautiful

but we needed another present to open on day three
we took advantage of the sucrose indigo vats that had been brewing happily [nurtured by Naomi] since Aboubakar Fofana's workshop there in November last year [which i sadly missed because i was happily in Portland]
rebundling those simple ecoprinted garments, to add patches of blue...
totally gorgeous.

i had such a splendid time and everyone seemed so happy [and the wait list for Mansfield is bubbling over] that i really think there will have to be more second skin classes.
stay tuned for an announcement later this week...

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Where do I begin ???

I am sitting in an airport once again
heading home after a fabulous three days  at
Beautiful Silks

Thank you my wonderful class 
(some of whom even came over seas to join us...from the South Island, Tasmania)

As well as from my home state South Australia 
Newcastle on the east coast. 

We sewed (by hand) and dyed
and sewed and dyed some more

Posting just a few pix via my Batfone 
more tomorrow
there are a couple of places left in some fabulous workshops coming to Beautiful Silks very soon

World leaders in pattern cutting Shingo Sato and Julian Roberts 
[the calibre of people you would expect to be invited by RMIT's Fashion Department]

Visit to sign up - i know Julian puts on a fabulous performance!

thank you so much to the handful of kind folks who have ordered a copy of fieldnotes
i am truly grateful