Friday, February 11, 2011

the last of the summer wine

Sometimes the beauty of the colours and prints in a piece are almost overwhelming.

I dyed this shirt before taking a few days off in the city and left it to dry in a warm spot. Test pieces on raw silk from the same dye bath gave an uninspiring grey. Even the wet bundle looked insipid and disappointing.

So....I couldn't help holding my breath as I drove in the gate, slung bags and parcels and brocolli seedlings on the deck table and sat with my little grey cat purring around my legs to undo the bundle.

The leaves I'd used came from her favourite beach on the peninsula - it's now severely eroded from the last nor'east storms and king tides, and the trees are clinging precariously to the cliff edge

I always tie my parcels with white wool or silk so I have fibre for stitching. So that's the first part of the fun of unwrapping ecodyed treasure......The wrapped shirt was still a little damp and warm from the filtered afternoon sun. As I wound off the wool ties, the colours changed from soft green to purple and peach.

I peeled open the shirt and carefully lifted each pohutukawa twig off the fabric. Already the colour had magically changed from grey to purple. The first leaf patterns started to emerge. Perfect - each little characteristic spot and freckle from the leaves deeply embedded in the cotton fabric.

But the thing I can't capture for you is the scent of warm honey that was enfolded in the shirt. The scent is lighter and "higher" and full of sun and browsing bees and long hot summer days. Even when the summer winds have stripped the trees bare of their christmas red, the smell lingers on.


  1. wow Gin, thats a mighty fine set of prints! joxx

  2. absolutely and totally yummy!

    ...sorry i missed you this trip...but i'll be back xx