an idea further developed. I knotted those kowhai seed pods together to achieve a bit more structure and see what came out of this. Thanks Elise, she is such a patient hat model.
Done! I always wanted to be able to weave a hat, I had the opportunity to learn some new techniques in my raranga (flax weaving course) in Levin, NZ. So I gave it a go!
The brim maybe a bit short but it fits perfect. I am going to give it away as that is a Maori custom, to give the first new woven type of weaving away. Really good to know I can weave another one:)
The cold time of the year has arrived, so making comfortable and warming merino scarves using eco print felt just right.
A walk on our farm and through my neighborhood picking the last colorful leaves. Good that the natives don’t loose their leaves during winter time.
Placing the leaves on merino knit fabric (wool and natural dyes have an affinity for each other), then rolled in bundles.
Letting the pot (here a copper pot which function as mordant) sitting on the fireplace feels somehow very natural and saves energy.
This is a range of my merino eco prints, some dyed with botanical dyes afterwards to give them a softer looking finish.
If you haven’t seen the breathtaking sculptures of Andy Goldsworthy you must do now. His work is so beautiful, fragile, strong, soft, hard. Its so inspirational that I had to go in my studio to have a play with some kowhai and harakeke (NZ flax) seed pods. I made them for the moment to enjoy and to give them back to the bush afterward.
I was very pleased with my little seed pods sculptures, making them was also very calming and relaxing.
Just came back from a 5 days workshop in Whanganui to meet the lovely Australian artist Meredith Woolnough and to learn some of her sewing techniques.
Here are some of her samples she brought to show us. She basically sews with her sewing machine using the free motion food onto soluble paper which will wash away later. This way she creates wonderful fragile flat or sulptural pieces she frames or put in resin.
I had a few arguments with my new sewing machine as I haven’t done hardly any machine sewing in my life but just when I lost confidence in her (and me) the magic happened: I did my first sculpture, some threads are lost and hanging loose but I still like my very organically looking shape and the shadows.
I also tried to put objects into resin, one piece is stitched and the other is harakeke paper. The almost transparent look is amazing.
Getting braver I stitched three leaf shapes to be mounted on foam board.
At the end of the week we had a little exhibition showcasing everybody’s lovely works. It was a week full of learning, sharing and fun thanks to the organizers Trisha and Julz, the tutors, and the crew from Ad astra hostel. Sure I will be back next year!
It is amazing to work with such a versatile plant, harakeke (engl. flax, phormium tenax) is not only such a valuable plant for weaving, rope making and medicinal use to name a few. You can make paper out of 100 percent harakeke fibres. During this years studies I have the opportunity to learn to make harakeke paper.
I used my waste bits from harvesting for weaving, cutting pieces about 1 to 2cm long (its a very time intense occupation,). I cut about 500g and soaked the whole lot for about 48 hours in water. Then it had to be boiled with in water with added soda ash (I used washing crystals from the supermarket).
Boiled for about 3 hours, it depends on the harakeke how long it needs to be boiled, important is that the leaf starts to fall to bits. Finished that, I rinsed it well till the leaves dont feel slimy anymore. Afterwards it goes into the flax beater (Hollander) which beats the fibres till its ready to use (it took about 20 min).
Clare and the hollander (beater)
I personally like to have it beaten so there are still fibers visible.
The pulp is then ready for the actual paper making. It took a bit to figure out the proportion of water to pulp, I guess its personal preference and depending on the use if you want to have thicker or thinner paper.
These are a few examples of my paper, which I will use in my art work. I didnt size my paper as I dont intend to write on it at that stage.
detail harakeke paper, so gorgeous
eco printed silk stitched on harakeke paper
dyed akeake leaf embedded in harakeke paper
just lovely crunched up paper (crunched wet and let dry so it keeps the shape)
a simple sheet
I love colour! And I got this white cotton blouse from the second hand shop, and I had this indigo project in mind (one of the 192 projects I plan to do).
Summer and high temperatures, the perfect weather to start an Indigo Vat. I used the fruit vat method (over ripe bananas, indigo powder and calcium hydroxide/lime) from Maiwa. Easy to follow.
I folded and bound the back of the blouse into a spider web pattern (kumo shibori) and for the sleeves I bound kowhai seeds to achieve a nice delicate pattern (ne maki shibori). After several dips into the indigo vat, my blouse made this beautiful transformation.
I also disscovered that the rusty looking colour on the sleeves comes from the kowhai seeds I drilled holes in before…
Summertime and our 5 sheep needed a haircut. Susi is the boss of a group of 5 sheep and a very gorgeous Gotland mix.
This is the very nice fleece of Susi:
After washing and carding, this is the result. The wool is coarser than merino wool but it works really well for sculptural felt.
For a quite a while I’ve known that Barberry (Berberis vulgaris) has bright yellow bark and I’ve been keen to test their dye properties. Luckily enough, a few days ago I heard that my neighbours were cutting down their barberry bushes, so I used the opportunity to harvest some bark.
I let the pot simmer for about an hour before I removed the bark to avoid uneven dyeing and plant matters in the fabrics. Fabrics soaked in water and then immersed. For each test I dissolved less than half a teaspoon alum and iron, and for the copper mordants I used a copper plate (any piece of copper will do, or even a copper pot if available – the old New Zealand 10 cent coin contains copper as well). These mordents help to fix the colour into the fabric.
I left the fabrics in the pot till the next morning and here are the results:
I did some shibori resist dye (ne-maki shibori) on the merino fabric, using kowhai seeds. The yellow of the inner circle seems to be stronger, so I assume that the kowhai seeds released some dye as well, love the delicate pattern.
Through my research I found out that the berries are also edible (a sour taste) and also can be used to dye fibres. I will have to wait till autumn to harvest some of those berries. You will hear from me!
I am really pleased with the depth of tone and will certainly use it for coming projects.