Sunday, December 1, 2013

End of the Line Festival 2013

Just coming up for air, second time this event has been organised in Belgrave by those alarmingly adrenalin packed folk from Limerence plus their nearest and dearest co-ordinating friends, so many to mention, such a great job done...thank you!
Did I just say that? .... well it's deserves emphasis.

It was, yet again, one of the best days in the hills, both meteorologically and passionately, celebrating all the local talent and enticing those shy and retiring out of their comfortable havens of tranquillity.

Photo by Lyn Forrest...thank you so much

I had the fortune to chat with many; some fellow creatives visiting for the day, some patrons who have purchased my work and with whom I have a deep connection; stallholders, peddling their wares like me and immersed in the benevolent vibration of the festival, friends, photographers documenting the day and children form the scout stall asking if I wanted a sausage!


I'll be there next year and I can't wait to see what is in store for End of the Line then. Anyway, enough about me, pop over the the End of the Line link and experience the day in hyperspace.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Live Website

Its taken a concentration, focus and love mixed with a moments of frustration to get to this stage...but I think I've done it, can I go back and play in the studio please?
The website is live and kicking and I'm hoping fully functional (really don't mind and moreover would appreciate you telling me if a link isn't working). My gratitude goes to the amazing Jacqui Christians for her help in getting started and her continued support during this process, everyone needs a mate like Jacqui in their life!

The 'albatross around my neck' is now free to bother someone else who is procrastinating!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013


Many years ago, 1996 to be exact, I spent some months travelling around West Africa. From Dakar, Senegal my trusty companion and I caught the train through the desert to Bamako, the capital of Mali.
Plans were afoot, to visit the mysteries of the desert, names like Timbukto and Djenne fuelled our peregrinations.
Unfortunately the intensity of the Saharan heat beat us back; plans to continue further to Mopti and Timbuktu to visit the locals producing textiles were dashed and fresh air was sought by boarding a bus for a bumpy 24 hour ride to Abidjan...the solace of a sea breeze was the new goal. Hastily, I had a couple of days to explore the markets of Bamako and select a few pieces from the market vendors. I made the most of it but I always wished I could have gone further into the desert, that I had missed a opportunity in life to connect with an art form that I loved.

Last weekend, I was blessed to have this slight ache of regret tramsmuted as this 'missed opportunity' presented itself to me in a new form; the chance to have a workshop with Aboubakar Fofana and learn this skill from a master at Beautiful Silks in Melbourne.

After 17 years I was finally going to learn how to create Bogolanfini or mud cloths, I had never been as excited about mud in my whole life!

Saturday 9th and Sunday 10th November 2013
First a demonstration by the master

The cloth has been dyed with leaves from the N'gallama tree. The tannin from the crushed, boiled leaves turns the cloth a pleasant warm, yellow after the first dipping. Then the fermented mud from the river bed is applied and the cloth is left to dry in the warm African sun...or in my case on the grafitti-ed step of inner Fitzroy, whose tones, I thought complimented the drying mud very well. Once dry, the mud is washed off and the oxidisation process turns the images black. Then another dip in the tannin to intensify the colour and apply more mud to deepen the black.
Simple, time consuming, rewarding and unique to the Niger river in Mali (except when you have the privilege to have a workshop with a master dyer like Aboubakar who had brought all the leaves and mud from Mali)

Then it was time to experiment for two days....

I have to say, this workshop far exceeded my expectations. Aboubakar is very generous with his knowledge and very humble about his achievements. He is inspiring with an integrity about textiles which is highly infectious...and he doesn't mind being harangued by over zealous students for a cheesy photo....

In 2009, I did a workshop with India Flint and have kept her on a pedestal ever since. She is my Textile Goddess, her work never fails to quicken my spirit and touch me with a sense of 'other worldliness'...and now a have my Textile God to perch on that pedestal next to her. 
Thank you Mr. Aboubakar Fofana, it has been honour and a joy to spend a weekend with you and your fermented mud and I hope our paths cross another day; there is still the question of indigo!

Monday, September 23, 2013

What a difference a day makess

Well, sometimes days just don't eventuate the way you had imagined. I was happily setting up for my Sunday workshop, when part of the group call to change their date.

That's alright, Nat's friend has so been looking forward to this day and Nat is always one of the most enthusiastic and giving students, we will still go ahead.
I woke up at 1.30 on Sunday morning, wide awake...was it the Summer equinox? ...was it something I ate?...or is it this tickley cough which arises at the most inopportune times?
I checked my phone.
Poor Nat is sick and can't make it.
I doze back to sleep, knowing we must reschedule this class and pondering on the thought that I now have a free day....ummm, what to do?

Well, cover chairs of course, a 'project' that has been a concept for too long is now a reality......

....And I like it very much!

Friday, September 20, 2013

one more space..

Just a quick post to express my excitement at the thought of workshops starting up again and my gratitude that the weather will be kind to us.
One space left for this weekend, Sunday 22nd but many more to follow during the Summer months.

Contact for more details

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Hibernation Over

Yes.. it's time to creep out from under the covers, fling open the windows and place some well loved dye pots on a heat source again.
Not that work ground to a halt during the darker Winter months at all, not with my latest commission well under way. Winter dyeing as a process is more protracted, drying out without the sun's rays feels a little counter intuitive but the results are no less spectacular.
As my latest client will vouch for, when she had the almost impossible task of selecting one central piece for her commission.
Can you choose from all these bewildering results...isn't nature always jaw-droppingly..........


Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Workshops for 2013

Naturally Dyed Workshops

Explore the art of natural dyeing using locally sourced plant materials in this eco-friendly experimental workshop. In this workshop, we will share knowledge and investigate
·       Which fabrics dye well and why
·       How to get dye from natural sources
·       How to mordant (fix) the dye to the fabric.
Most importantly you will gain the knowledge to continue experimenting at home.

When                      Sunday 22nd September                        Saturday 26th October
                                    Saturday 5th October                            Sunday 3rd November
                                    Sunday 6th October                              Sunday 17th November
                                    Sunday 13th October                             Sunday 24th November

How much       $90

Where              My Studio contact

What to bring
·       Light coloured 100% silk or wool fabric - preferably second hand, like some of the old wool blankets you can get in op shops! 100% linen and cotton will dye but to a lesser degree. Fabrics can be in small pieces or long lengths
·       Interesting bits of old metal (eg, copper, iron) up to 30cm long - rust is great, as is texture
·       Cord, thick wool or metal wire to bind pieces Thread, assorted needles, bulldog clips
·       An apron, gloves, notepad and pen

Dyes, mordants and some suitable fabric will be provided. This list is not exhaustive.
If you feel inspired to bring anything else, please do... sharing and swapping of items encouraged!

This is a one day workshop running from 10.00 to 4.30.
Please email me with your preferred date. Classes are limited to 5 students

Arrangements for payment will be offered once classes are consolidated

Saturday, June 1, 2013

A day in the life...

Many exciting events this week.
First cab off the rank is Jen Angel's blog which was launched last night and features me.
A beautifully written and considered interview which will unfold over the next few weeks.
There is nothing quite like someone else looking at your work in depth to make you realise how blessed you are and how much you LOVE doing what you do.

So have a little peek at 'A Day in the Life of Everyday People'

Certainly makes me want to give my blog a bit of facelift!

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Embracing Technology

It's been a while and I have been missing my blog. Just had a while without reliable technology and then another while with new uber reliable technology that I didn't know how to work!
But I am sitting penning a few words now,  one picture and fingers crossed that I'm not on another learning curve with pixels and compressing and more apps!
A trial run....

.....with lots more to follow!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Xtinction Xhibition

I have entered a competition, the brainchild of  by Ali Griffin from Three Stories and Artist's Lounge. It is 'a contemporary Art Prize inviting artists to explore the concept of people, places,things,flora and fauna' and runs from 23 February to 24 March. There are two prizes courtesy of Healesville Sanctuary, a cash prize of 500 smakaroonies and a residency at the Sanctuary which includes one months accommodation at the Coranderrk Bush Hut. Uber exciting!
Ali provided us with a very practical checklist too with little boxes to tick.

  • 'Call for Entry' form and entry fee by 8 February                           TICK
  • Delivery of artwork on 16 February                                              TICK
  • Labelled on back with title, medium, name and contact details        TICK
  • Ready for hanging                                                                         TICK
Sitting to blog, I see the glaring omission on the checklist, the most obvious dot point to any creative soul, so obvious, in fact that it doesn't even warrant being on the checklist....
  • Catalogue work, record image....take a picture!                           DOH!
Have to wait until Friday at the opening to tick that box then...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Back to life in the studio

Last post was on the 28 December 2012....Bunting for Amanda and Paul's wedding. I am going to view the photos on Monday and will plaster as many as I think tolerable all over my blog after that.  Feels like an eon ago but I have just been having a ball on holiday with the boys (and without them, when they went off with their cousins for a week and I was left all alone!)
AND that's when the seeds were planted....ripped the studio apart during the holidays and thought I might blog about it's revival but discovered that I hadn't the will after carting building materials up and down to make amends.

It looks the business now though and now I am up for a few more workshops.

Sunday 24 February
Sunday 10 March
Sunday 17 march
Sunday 31st March

email and I will send you all the details