At the end of week 4

From the studio on week 4

This week has seen progress. I have been a jewellery model, finished a warp and done some dyeing.

On a cold and very windy afternoon, I became a jewellery model! I am always the person on the other side of the camera so it was a very interesting experience. It was freezing in my light black long sleeved top… just the thing to show off the pieces but I certainly wasn’t dressed for the afternoon. Sina Emrich, the resident jeweller, was requiring a model photographing her very interesting wooden jewellery. We stood out in the howling gale, me positioned against a large gum tree, selected because it reflected the nature of her pieces. Check out her work at


After completing the samples, I had made informed decisions about what elements I wanted in the remaining warp for a series of scarves. The number was dependent on the amount of warp left but I judged it to be about 3. In each scarf I wanted to combine several different elements. All of them were to have sections of loom controlled shibori. I will include all details later with the images when they are finally finished.

Once I had finished the fringes and pulling up the shibori threads, I organised the dye bath. I do not often dye with natural dyes, but this is play time. It seems to be appropriate to use the eucalypts around Sturt to respond to where I am. So for this series, I took a walk up the hill behind the galleries, and collected leaves from a Eucalypt. They were growing on Frensham grounds, and came from tree stumps under power lines that had reshot after being cut down. I didn’t feel guilty about carrying out another heavy prune. I have obtained a glorious golden brown from the brew.

eucalypts for dyeing

One of the scarves after dyeing

Emily, a Tuesday student, has nearly finished putting a very wide warp on a loom for a series of floor rugs. We have ensured an even tension by using a system of plastic milk bottle weights. The warp went on very smoothly. This loom is one of the two oldest looms at Sturt. She is undertaking a huge project.

Emily preparing her warp ready to wind on.

In addition to actual work, I have moved the looms around. I am going to have another gas heater installed in the studio. It is going to be very welcome, but I don’t think the fire is going to be made redundant. In fact we had a delightful afternoon on Thursday. Two people chose to brave awful weather to take advantage of the open studio day. I had 2 students come along and we had fun! Open fire = toasted marshmallows! YUM!

Lois toasting marshmallow. She had the most amazing implement designed for the purpose.

On Friday, I took a drive to Goulburn. I had been told that there was a good sewing machine repairer there and as my machine and overlocker needed a bit of TLC, I have taken them there. In addition, I have been chasing silver dollar gum leaves. There are 3 trees over the cottage but they are very high and also don’t have a huge quantity of leaves, so I was after an alternative to these. I had been told that there was a stand of them in one of the lay by’s along the road to Goulburn. So on the way, I drove into every one… finally finding some in the last one before the turn off. I have noted that there are 2 types of trees with the basic round leaf. One has the circular leaves all the way to the top, the other has round leaves lower on but change to the usual elongated eucalypt leaf as the trees grow older. I collected the latter but the resulting dye bath was tan and not the exciting red brown that I have seen from “silver dollar”. I will collect the other version when I go back to collect the sewing machines and overdye the commercial fabric test piece.

On Saturday after the morning class, I set off on a different adventure, starting with a trip home to Brisbane.

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