Last Sunday was the Autumn Fair at SSAC in Bunbury. What an enjoyable day. Folios and Fibre had a stall amongst an array of other stalls with awesome handmade goodness. It was a great opportunity for me to catch up with many people I had not seen for a long time. We were serenaded by the lovely Kate from Collie – she has the sweetest voice and played and sang some very easy listening. I had a stall next to handmade_and_marina, my friend who makes soaps and lotions which are so kind to your skin. Nice to see another truly handmade market in the south west.
I am amazed by the power of the internet – the leather journal with the teal cane toad accent leather has already been sold! Thankyou.
The past week I have been busily working in my studio making some leather bound journals. The leather for the covers has been claimed from some vintage leather clothing – lined with Nepalese lokta paper to stop the little bits of black leather fibres coming off onto the pages. The accent leathers are fish leather from the boys at Mermaid Leather in Esperance, Western Australia (if you are ever in Esperance – it is well worth a visit to their tannery, showroom/information centre – they produce a lovely product from fish skins, something that would otherwise be discarded) and a fabulous leather that I found in Melbourne on my recent trip. This lovely textured leather is from Bufo marinus (otherwise known as that invasive creature the cane toad!)
I also unearthed some very small scraps of upholstery leather from my stash and made a little collection of “jelly bean” journals – these are tiny – approx 5cm x 7cm with different pastel coloured pages. They are closed with elastic and decorated with vintage buttons – a little bit fanciful, but useful to keep with your mobile phone if you need to jot down any important numbers, or write mini shopping lists on!
Life is a little quieter now after that burst of workshop energy. I must confess to have been extremely tired after India Flint’s workshop here but of course managed a little energy burst to put a few bits of fabric in the dyepot leftover from the workshop. Two scarf lengths are particularly attractive to me and it has taken a great strength of will to put labels and prices on them!
With the excitement of hosting India Flint’s workshop here last week I did not have time to properly post about my workshop in Melbourne two weeks ago – so we shall turn back the clock a little in this post.
Flight schedules allowed me to enjoy a day prior to the workshop wandering the streets of Fitzroy – talking to the owners and custodians of the wonderful quirky shops and galleries there.
One lovely lady recommended the “eatery” of the moment in Fitzroy – Naked for Satan. I have to confess that without her recommendation I never would have set foot inside a place so named on my own! It used to be a brewery owned by a Mr. Satan and because of the heat generated by the still (which is in pride of place in the restaurant) the workers wore very little – hence the name – very clever! The rooftop restaurant gives wonderful 360 degrees for miles and the casual restaurant downstairs serves pintxos for $1 each at lunchtime – you can dine royally for $5!
The workshop “Building Books with the Tactile Qualities of Fibre and Cloth” was held at Beautiful Silks in Fitzroy. The experience of entering this old woolstores building sets my senses on fire – the smell of the silk fibres stored floor to ceiling in the “shop” section, being led through the rabbit warren of work spaces and offices, bathrooms and kitchens and finally downstairs into the basement where we were to work. The basement is large with white painted walls and looking up I saw massive timber joists supporting the floor above, strengthened with little criss crosses of timber. I was allowed a peek at the old diesel engine that used to provide power for the building – now redundant and hiding in its cubby hole. The basement is a great workshop space – lots of room to work – running water if we needed it and lovely huge tables.
We all arrived early on the first day and Sandy Webster launched straight into introductions and immediately started bouncing ideas around for each of the participants as they showed the materials they had brought to use. The participants introduced themselves and I was thrilled to meet 7 other ladies who had similar interests to me – three of the ladies were also working with eucalyptus dyes on silk and wool. I spent the first day working on the “pages” of my book – stitching fragments of eco coloured silk onto a substrate of cotton/linen fabric. I was determined to have pages to sew into my book on the second day so stitched well into the evening back at the hotel!
Day 2 – first thing I had to do was apply gesso to my pages to provide a surface to write on the fabric – and then fold down my paper into an accordion for the spine of the book. I stitched the fabric pages interspersed with paper pages into the accordion. The day went by so quickly but I was pleased to have a book “block” completed in 2 days. I will make covers and put the book together very soon. Sad to leave the new friends I made in this workshop but we have vowed to meet up again in the future.
If you get an opportunity to participate in a workshop with Sandy Webster I would urge you to grasp the opportunity with both hands.
Thursday was the final day of our “Wayfarer’s Windfall Cloth” workshop with India Flint. I am thrilled with my pieces of cloth dyed with various “bits” of the eucalyptus trees here on our small property – I finished sewing together 9 pieces of dyed cloth and India then showed us a way of cutting our cloths and re-joining them to make the cloth look so much more complex – a great party trick of India’s. I decided to cut my cloth despite having my heart in my mouth when I took the scissors to it! I love my cloth and plan to join a few more pieces to it and do a lot more stitching on it. Spending quality time with a likeminded group of ladies is a great way to recharge your batteries and as I am adding more stitches to my cloth I will be thinking of those other ladies and reflecting fondly on our 3 days.
We put all our pieces of silk and wool together on the shed floor to resemble a huge patchwork quilt – quite an achievement in 3 short days. So a sense of great joy in all that we had accomplished paired with the sadness as everyone went their separate ways – and yet a sense of great anticipation as India has agreed to come back next year!
Day 2 – India Flint workshop.
This morning we had lots of parcels to open! The little parcels of silk and eucalyptus leaves, bark and nuts were laid out on the grass whilst India explained the various influences on the bundles and then we got to work unwrapping them. There were some great colours on our cloth and with the knowledge gained from what we did yesterday we set to work wrapping more bundles and stitching together our Wayfarer’s Windfall Cloths. We have little spills of thread in a dyepot overnight and homework – which is why I am writing this at 10.30pm!