I have needed some time.. To understand how ideas form brightly and keep glowing, and that the processes that underpin them may take some long and slow time before the first stitch begins.. And that this is ok, all part of the whole..
It began with the cauldron and the fire. The sound of the wood crackling and the smell of the smoke filling the air mixed with the scents of turmeric and tea. Thinking back to the prayer flags in woad and turmeric .. Then the dress and then thoughts of a quilt.. Many considerations, many questions ..
The calendula needed time and care to grow and flower. Collecting the flower heads and drying them, then storing them in paper bags strung indoors has been a process in itself to think about. I have recorded so many images of their beauty. They give so generously – will carry on till the first frosts. Here are the last flowerings – they are still offering up to the bees and other insects. Picking only what I need so as to share with the bees and other pollinators and learning more about folk medicine.
The cauldron isn’t deep or wide enough for this next plan, so some thrifty research yielded (after yet a fair amount more time!) an old wash boiler! My grandparents used one for Monday washdays. Now I need time to get it working.. to prepare the cloth, then I will dye petals and leaves and other gatherings..
The drawing fills the wall – more than a dream in my head. More research and rich discussions particularly with my friend Kay Swancutt.
Meanwhile I think that by the time the calendula has died back and all the seed is stored for next year, then the stitching can start..
a breathtaking full moon tonight …
Leaning out of the window and absorbing its beauty
A different kind of dance
This light soft cotton dress was dyed in the outside cauldron – my kind of tea dress!
Smoke drifted through the garden, the fire crackled gently and the scent of turmeric and tea infused the air
I wear this so often now, at home and in the garden. The colours glow with a living intensity and change with the heat of my body and any careful hand washing … I love how this is a living process where I could dip the cloth and repeat…
We hand built the tripod and I started with 24 stones for 24 hours – a bit of slow experimentation and a few improvised extras are needed for each process and I realise this is part of my practice
I will try to post a video – if it doesn’t work on here it will be on my Instagram!
heart shape in the centre …
Am working at Walcot Chapel this week with the Bees Knees artist group. Reciprocity defines this gathering.. We hope to open the doors from Thursday to Saturday – currently we are diversely painting, drawing, stitching, paper scrunching, looking at old navigational maps, sharing bee friendly wild flower seeds ..
Outside the door, I hung the first moon piece – floating in the breeze of a day mixed with sunshine, east wind and even a shower of snow-falling white blossom. Now, at home, a flurry of actual snow..
The churchyard is filled with dandelions so guess what this ‘dandelion forager’ will be doing tomorrow!
First solar dye of the season – holding warm sunny jars of dandelion and silk
Close up of drawing using plant dye (weld)
Always impossible to capture the vibrant alive and singing colour in natural dye – it is an experience to see and touch!
Also making a jar of dandelion tincture for the first time! A rekindled interest
Meanwhile the next moon work on woad is in progress too..
New series of drawings – lots of sitting quietly watching and listening to the bees
it takes time …
In my minds eye and dreams are the second and third in the series of woad pieces; thinking of the translucent blues, the broken open stitches, and the sudden intensity of orange. Watching the skies, the moon, listening to the wind and the birds. And in a practical sense I am working out some dye recipes and methods!
Meanwhile this piece continues – each part with its pattern rhythm and flow and today, because of the first flowering of tiny daffodils, the colours sing. I picked five carefully, no more amongst the dozens, the bees are out when the sun shines through (though they prefer the crocus, aconites and snowdrops!)