I just came back from 5 day felting workshop in Wanganui, organized by Fibre Arts New Zealand. The incredibly talented Pam de Groot thought us to create thee dimensional felt objects with a range of different techniques. It was an awesome week of learning sharing and exchanging ideas with other participants.

felt object by Birgit MoffattSplash

felted spiral by Birgit MoffattSpiral

felt twist by Birgit MoffattTwisted Felt

felted necklace with driftwood by Birgit Moffatt felted necklace with driftwood by Birgit MoffattNecklace

felt vessel by Birgit Moffatt felt vessel by Birgit Moffattand when I came home I just could not stop and felted a boat shaped vessel…

 

 

I am offering an introduction to the Māori art of flax weaving in an intensive one day workshop in my studio. This is a workshop suitable for beginners.

What do you get

  • an introduction about types of harakeke and their uses
  • an overview about the tikanga (protocol) of the process of harvesting and using harakeke
  • learn some basic techniques
  • construct and complete a small basket

What to bring

All material and tools are provided. Bring your camera and pen and paper if you wish to take notes (recommended)

Workshop numbers are limited so make sure to book as soon as possible.

Price $ 60 (including tea & coffee, and lunch)kono-flax basket by Birgit Moffatt

 

 

This week I took part in a two days kite making workshop with Otaki based kite maker Yvonne de Mill at Whitireia. I am not really a kite fan so I was not quite sure about what to expect and if I would like the result. The first day Yvonne introduced some basic (but important) rules about the structures of kites and gave us a very informative overview about historic and contemporary kites and kite artists around the globe. And she promised that our kites would fly.

IMG_6082
This first kite was very basic, made with easy available materials such as food coloring, baking paper, skewers and old video tape for the tails.

kite by Birgit Moffatt kite by Birgit MoffattAnd she was right, they all did fly. And it was exciting indeed.
On the second day, we designed and constructed our own kites. I decided to use natural materials, I found magnolia leaves on the ground already changing color into browns and yellows. They are very sturdy and shiny, easy to stitch. For the frame I gathered some makomako twigs, they are very strong and quite straight. This version does not fly though and the leaves will eventually fade and disintegrate. It will be interesting to see and document how long it takes them to return to the land.

kite by Birgit Moffatt kite by Birgit Moffatt kite by Birgit Moffatt kite by Birgit Moffatt
So I am ready to go to the Otaki Kite Festival this weekend not only watching but also flying my own kite.

During a short visit to Auckland I had the opportunity to visit a few of those lovely eastern beaches north of Auckland. First stop at Hatfield beach, a wide sandy beach with amazing rock formations and little caves shaped by wind, weather and tides. Although only to be admired close up at low tide. Lucky me.

rock formationsrock formations IMG_5820 rock formations rock formations rock formations rock formationsThe second stop was the Wenderholm Regional Park, just a few kilometer north of Hatfield beach. Lovely wooden post beaten by the elements. wooden post wooden post wooden post wooden post
Walking along further along the Puhoi river mouth watching the the rhythm of the waves this piece of wood been tossed and swirled around.piece of woodpiece of wood piece of wood piece of wood IMG_5903 IMG_5904 IMG_5906 IMG_5907
Revitalized…

 

All those sampling is really exciting with often unexpected results. In my studio boxes with little pieces of silks and wool start to pile up so I decided to go one step further and respond in my personal way creating whatever comes out of the flow. Limitation was, only to use the samples of my solar dyeing experiment with exception of the cotton I used as the background.

This piece of backing I stained with mud from the creek running through our farm. I used the thick dark brown mud with a lot of leaf litter, and let the cotton sit in there for about three days. A very tactile and odorous matter…

IMG_5012print stitch dye by Birgit MoffattSome of the silk and merino pieces I eco printed with kapuka leaves.

print stitch dye by Birgit Moffatt

print stitch dye by Birgit Moffattprint stitch dye by Birgit Moffattprint stitch dye by Birgit Moffatt

 

Sometimes I just wander. Its not about walking, its about seeing. The slower I walk the more I see. And every time I wander I see the new things or old friends, but always in a different light, weather or season. I love taking my camera to capture the beauty of texture, patterns and shapes in nature. Today I took a stroll on our farm, just looking and observing. And I always come home refreshed and with a clear mind.

lost in detail
red bands/gumboots/wellingtons

lost in detail
the woods

lost in detail
mosses

lost in detail
and cobwebs

lost in detail
dried mud

lost in detail
and wild strawberries

lost in detail
pine cones

lost in detail
new life

lost in detail
lichens

lost in detail
more lichens

lost in detail
bark

lost in detail
death

lost in detail
wilted poppy

lost in detail
acorn

lost in detail
seed pod

lost in detail
wood

lost in detail
and Teddy & Squirt…

And tomorrow I will wander again.

 

After a few weeks with sun and heat I was more than ready to open my jars of solar dyed samples I had prepared and stored on the window sill of my studio.

I actually wanted to open just one jar to see what happened but couldn’t help it and opened all 5 of them before I got myself under control again. There were some nice surprises and outcomes and I particular like the patterns created by leaves and rust.

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
jar 1
solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
jar 2
sample4
jar 3
solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
jar 4
solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
jar 5
solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
silk yarns

some interesting details details-8solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt solar dyeing by Birgit Moffattsolar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt

X mas in New Zealand is very tricky. In Berlin I would never forget that x mas comes closer, they are markets all over the place, the smell of Gluehwein (mulled wine) and delicious  Weihnachtsplaetzchen (biscuits) in the air, its usually very cold and x mas decorated windows everywhere.  New Zealand right now: sunshine, the birds are singing, everything is green, the blossoms smelling sweet and the BBQ s  are in action. Nice as well. And I totally forgot to buy xmas presents… good there are still some days left to think about what to get for whom and to buy or make some nice presents.

If you are still looking for some presents, what about some handmade harakeke (NZ flax) earrings? Available in turquoise and magenta, hooks surgical steel.
$ 20 per pair plus standard postage within NZ.

harakeke earrings by Birgit Moffatt
As long as stock lasts. Please contact me for orders.

 

Solar dyeing is a dye technique which involves very little. Its a good way to dye scraps of fabric and threads for further use. After stuffing the fabrics – I put leaves in some of them as well – into old glass jars I poured some leftover dye liquids in: black tea, onion skin liquid, soaked eucalyptus bark liquid and marigold liquid from last year. I also layered some liquids on top of each other to achieve blended colours.

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt dyestuff and yarns

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
placed in jars, there is some prickle leftover which may affects the outcome

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffattsolar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt filled up with dyestuff

solar dyeing by Birgit Moffatt
sitting on the window sill and waiting for the sun to come out. The hardest thing is to forget about them, they need to stay in the sun at least till after x mas

 

I have been resisting dyeing with kowhai flowers up to now because all parts of the plants are poisoning but also because the nectar is a preferred food source for tui and kereru. As I get more and more interested in natural dyes especially from New Zealand and flowers were abundant this year I decided to test the dye on a variety of natural fibres (silks, wool, muka and linen).

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattFreshly picked kowhai flowers

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSoaked in water for a couple of days

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattBecause of the strange smell I did the boiling and dyeing outside.

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSamples with alum as mordant, not very bright although I like the shades which can give a beautiful subtlety on silks.

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSamples dyed with a piece of copper plate, not much different from the alum mordant samples.

kowhai dyeing by Birgit MoffattSamples with iron as mordant, almost a taupe shade. Quite a bit disappointing as I expected much stronger colours but there are some nice shades among them.