The coverall apron India Flint showed us how to make has been dyed with various eucalypts and the same liquid we used at the beginning of April. I did manage to stop myself from unwrapping too soon and have some good colour on the linen. My friend Carly Voigt called in to the gallery today and I roped her into modelling it. Carly is so much more photogenic than I am.
During India Flint’s workshop here India showed us how to turn an old shirt into a very clever coverall apron. The instructions are in her book Second Skin (which is such good reading). I used an old linen shirt – one of the sleeves has become a pocket – so handy for all the bits and pieces you need to hand in the studio. There was a wealth of bits of string, cotton, wool and bits of fabric left after the workshop that no one has claimed so I have been busy stitching them onto my apron. I decided that enough was enough when I ran out of the abandoned threads – you could go on stitching forever! I have just bundled it up and it is in the dye pot right now – I am going to try and be patient and leave it a while, but I may not be able to resist opening it in the next couple of days. This apron will serve as a memory of 3 wonderful days spent in the company of some really nice ladies.
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!