Northcliffe sojourn

Goodness me I have been very remiss and not posted here for a very long time.  I have been busy with a variety of projects and taught some really lovely workshops which you have probably read about over on the Facebook page.

I was determined to try and get back to the blog and my recent week in Northcliffe in the beautiful Southern Forest Region of Southwestern Australia is a good place to start.  I was artist in residence at the Painted Tree Gallery in Northcliffe for a week at the end of August and scheduled a variety of book making workshops.  An ideal activity for winter in WA!

The Painted Tree Gallery is now administered by Southern Forest Arts and is a beautiful space nestled between the Northcliffe Visitor Centre, the Library and the Community Resource Centre.  It is a rammed earth structure which blends into the landscape perfectly and the wide timber verandahs at the back of the building overlook the start of the Understory Sculpture Walk.


The beautiful view from the Painted Tree Gallery.

Aside from the beauty of the forest and the bush the sense of community and friendliness in Northcliffe is immediately apparent.  Story time for mums and bubs at the library was well attended, lots of visitors called in to see what was happening and have a chat about the books.  The Community Resource Centre seemed to be busy all day and provide an amazing amount of services to the community.  I really appreciated the coffee machine – great coffee for a gold coin donation.  Oh and a local wildlife carer brought in a couple of orphaned joeys most days to the visitor centre – so I got to cuddle a kangaroo. I was also invited to the local book club meeting and made to feel very welcome in lots of ways.


The karri trees are amazing but unless you are there you cannot really get a sense of how large they are – maybe you can get a better idea of the sheer size in the next picture.

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The workshop participants made a variety of lovely books – including one very special artist’s journal with Arches watercolour paper pages.  We shared a great morning (actually it turned into most of the day) dyeing paper with plants and got some spectacular and painterly results as well as some wonderful subtle and sensitive prints.  I spent a great couple of hours over at the District High School with an innovative and engaged group of students who had a great sense of humour.

And although I didn’t get to personally meet her this trip I participated in a collaboration with Northcliffe artist Aimee Dickson who is currently exploring marbling on paper – here is our little journal

All this would not have been possible without the wonderful support from my friends Anne and Lizzie who put me up (put up with me!), and assisted with setting up and packing up (I’m suffering with a very sore shoulder at present).

To celebrate this enriching week we went to dine at Foragers on Saturday evening.  It is somewhere I have wanted to visit for a very long time – open for dinner only one evening a week it is in high demand.  The venue holds 50 guests in a long table setting and is welcoming and friendly.  Beautiful local food, great service, and a truly enjoyable evening.  I loved it! I met the gorgeous Sophie and she graciously signed a copy of her lovely book for me.

Northcliffe is a great place to visit and I was very surprised at the amount of visitors there were in the middle of winter – some Bibblemum track walkers, many caravans and rv occupants and the odd backpacker or two.  The town is now gearing up for the wildflower season – there are some spectacular native orchids down there I am told.  One day I hope to get back there with my camera in wildflower season.




Busy Busy Busy

I have neglected my blog for a while – but have been busy in the background – most recently preparing for Margaret River Region Open Studios.  My lovely friend Maureen Munro from Margaret River Machine Quilting is sharing her studio with me for the two weeks 11th April – 27th April 2015.  You can view the catalogue here


Maureen’s studio overlooks a beautiful reserve of karri trees and my space for the duration of Open Studios will be well and truly “open” – I will have a dye pot on the go and am hoping to experiment with some of the weeds I have noticed down there as well as some windfalls and with Maureen’s gracious permission some of the plants in her garden.

We are running some very simple “make and take” workshops each day – this is the scheduled programme – but things may change without notice – if you are interested in a particular technique please phone.

Margaret River Region Open Studios - Make and Take Programme

Margaret River Region Open Studios – Make and Take Programme

Margaret River Region Open Studios is a wonderful event with over 100 artists opening their studios to the public – we hope to see you down there.

India Flint Workshop Day 1

I am privileged to be part of a fantastic group of ladies enjoying a workshop here in Western Australia with India Flint

This group of ladies have come together from all corners of the state and what lovely people they are.  We told abridged personal histories by way of introduction to each other and to India. In the 20 or 30 minutes prior to the start of the workshop India had wandered around the property and found a proliferation of material to colour fabric with.  Her knowledge is phenomenal and she imparts it freely in her wonderful quiet manner.  We were then let loose on silk and plant matter and already have several pieces of fabric which we are not allowed to unwrap until tomorrow.  It’s killing me to have those pots sitting outside and I am not allowed to poke or investigate!

Looking forward to some stitching and more mark marking tomorrow.

India Flint demonstrating how to bundle our silk with plant matter.

India Flint demonstrating how to bundle our silk with plant matter.


Wool loves eco dyes and generally leaves used in the dyeing process make some lovely prints.  This really cute up cycled pure wool cardigan has come up really nicely.  I have just finished stitching some love onto the front right hand side of the cardie – silk patches  stitched with silk thread. I think I may have to rush into town when the gallery closes and purchase some nicer buttons.  What do you think?

Upcycled  pure wool cardigan - eco dyed $50

Upcycled pure wool cardigan – eco dyed $50

This is the back of the cardigan - lovely resist marks from a spray of eucalypt  leaves
This is the back of the cardigan – lovely resist marks from a spray of eucalypt leaves


Workshop at South West Women’s Health and Information Centre

I am exhausted after a wonderful day of eco dyeing with a lovely group of ladies who attended South West Women’s Health and Information Centre.  We did simple resists on a silk scarf and had two dye pots bubbling away – one with peppermint leaves and one with persoonii longifolia (snotty gobble is it’s colloquial name!) bark.  The ladies got very inventive with elastic bands, gumnuts, leaves, and pebbles and as usual they were thrilled with the results. I am afraid that I forgot to take photos!

This afternoon the very special staff members at the Centre had a chance to get their hands on some silk and elastic bands and foliage – once again some very special results – nature is wonderful.