Monday, 13 April 2015

the solace of the arid lands

last week i took some time away from the whirled 
and headed northward to the Observatory
where a most satisfactory collection is slowly on the increase
 encompassing contributions from the UK, the USA, Denmark and Spain
as well as from across the length and breadth of the wide brown land
there's still time to join in the solace project 
if you prefer, create your own. i'm happy to share the idea.
grateful to those who have sent pieces, thank you.
people have been enquiring whether they may come and assist with the installation. 
the short answer is simply, no. 
the Observatory can only accommodate two persons, 
has no electricity or running water (meaning no showers or food cooling either)
cooking is done with an old wood stove
sparingly burning twigs to heat the kettle for tea
and while there is a pit toilet, it is not available to the public as 
when it fills i shall have to dig a fresh one and 
that's not a thought that fills me with delight. 

solace will be installed at the southern mid-winter solstice 
and (i hope) be available for viewing from June 23
it will remain in place indefinitely. 
i will document it photographically through various weathers and as promised, collate the images (together with the poem formed from all of your words) into a book.


the sunrises and sunsets here are equally beautiful
the view of the stars at night is unequalled 
(and nigh on impossible to capture with a batfone)
the arid lands are a perfect place for clearing thoughts
(the Dog decided that my clearing needed further intervention)
it's good to travel with a friend.

on the way home we stopped at the Arid Lands Botanic Gardens
to see how 'elegy' was faring

after which certain wee dog washed the dust of the desert off
with a swim at the top end of Spencer Gulf

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Wrapping a Rose

a little while ago i provided a sketch pattern
for a no-sew silkymerino slipdress
which can be worn in a multitude of ways

firstly as a shawl
or a scarf
while the two simple armholes allow it to become a dress
 wear it with a draped neckline
or hooded as below
roll the cowl down 
for a dropped shoulder look

drop one of the armholes
and it becomes a Grecian style drape
as worn to great effect by the late Princess of Wales 
on a visit to Adelaide a good many years ago. 
though i was told (by a friend who danced with her at the university ball) 
that hers was skyblue.

below you see it with the colour drained
thanks to the Snapseed app 
(which has provided me with a deal of amusement today)

it's hard to stop taking pictures of my gorgeous girl

if you put your head through one of the armholes
then you can wear it as a halterneck
this version is not quite no-sew as i added some pockets
but it is still a minimal waste dress

fold the top down
pleat and tuck
and it becomes a comfy skirt
(the pockets may become a little trickier to access)

and of course you can snuggle into the whole thing 
as if it were a footless sleeping bag
which is extremely comfy for sleeping on 
trains, planes and automobiles (best not if you're driving)
we had fun shooting in the hayshed
but our audience was rather bored

Kubbi snoozed on the tractor

Jack chose a more precarious spot
(we'll be moving him before we move that wheel).

 i used a two metre length of silkymerino to make that dress
if you're not confident of making your own
i'd be happy to make one for you
dyed with windfalls from the farm

if you'd like to pursue the idea
 but you'll have to find your own Rose.

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

NoSew SilkyMerino SlipDress


if you've spent any time with me in recent years 
you'll know that i absolutely love the SilkyMerino knit that Marion stocks at Beautiful Silks
it comes in a tube
(i carry one for snuggling into on planes)
dyes like a dream
and doesn't fray

so when a student asked for help in devising a dress to wear to her daughter's wedding i had no hesitation in recommending she get a length and a pair of scissors

here's what we did
(using my grandmother's method of measuring/cutting based on your own body parts)
those little 'u's on the drawing are the cuts we made

notice that the cut is finger-shaped...a straight cut will fray at the point of the cut

do not be tempted to make the cut any bigger...though it looks small
remember the cloth is a tube
so the actual hole is bigger than it seems

and if you want the cowl neck to also be a hood, make it longer
(double is a good notion)

shorten the hem as desired, but if you keep it long the whole thing also doubles as a shawl or a sleeping tube for long-distance travel
and if (like my granny) you think a little mystery goes a long way
wear it over a close-fitting T of some kind

otherwise, enjoy the breeze...or if you're really keen for some stitching, add a few tucks in the area between the cuts

Monday, 23 March 2015

On the count of three

It's nearing 3am on the morning after the last of the Bower Bird Blues workshops and I'm lying wide awake listening to the pounding of the ocean and thinking of all the things I could have done better. 
Kubbi on the other hand is snoozing peacefully by my side. 

Scrolling back through my Batfone I'm surprised to find this is the only image I made of the newly established Botanical Studio at Beautiful Silks in Allansford 

Marion and Elephant have worked miracles to create a retreat and workshop centre dedicated to facilitating ecologically sustainable textile arts. 

During our three days together we were spiritually sustained by the beauty of the space and gardens and nourished by deliciousgood meals prepared by Marion - supplemented by various dulcet delectables from the kitchen of her good friend Brenda.   

Once again we were considering the blues (though my limited set of images doesn't really reflect that). There was stitching, stringmaking, writing and the beating of leaves. Complemented by much enthusiasm in the hammering and sawing of metals (under the direction of Roz Hawker) - sadly I don't seem to have any images of those pieces either. Ah well. 

Indigo leaves were beaten in as well as bundled. 

The surface of this dyebath was absolutely jewel-like. 

As were the bundles that emerged from it

Somehow in between all that we found time to design a simple dress for one of the participants to wear to her daughter's wedding - all she has to do now is dye it. 

I'll write up the instructions in the next post, meanwhile I'm hoping to drift into the arms of Morpheus for a while...if I can stop the churning of thoughts!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

back country in Tasmania

it was a splendid week in Tasmania
i stayed with friends at Dodges Ferry while hanging the exhibition
and then another kind friend lent me a dear little house at Red Ochre Beach
so i had somewhere to retreat in monastic solitude
each evening for the duration of the workshop

i love the sea
and if i could somehow transport our farm to an edge
where a river meets a much bigger water
it would be absolutely perfect

on the other hand
i wouldn't want to go anywhere anymore
and would likely become a complete hermit
so it's probably
just as well

but now
i'd better load my blue things into the ute
and get a few hours of snooze in.
i have a crack of dawn departure for Allansford
and the last of the Bower Bird Blues classes
at Beautiful Silks Botanical Studio

guess who else is coming?