Monday, March 14, 2011

Getting a grip......

Recently I've been working with a combination of collage and journaling to move myself past my own cliches. 

It's a technique from an e-study course offered by Shelley Klammer
It takes maybe an hour each morning to rip up some images, assemble and own them and write. 

It's not a thoughtful process - it's an instant identification of my current state of mind. 
I've learned in the past week that whatever images "land" on my page are me. 

So this morning, having struggled to put words or feelings into any order at all since the Christchurch earthquake and now the Japanese quake and tsunami, this is what is on my page.

I am Anger

I am the scream of the buried
the drowned
the burnt
the displaced

I am the snarl of the lost
the broken
the hobbled
the Dead and Undead

I am the hope against impossibility
of an olive twig on a bare branch

good morning cows

 the milking herd has arrived for breakfast in the predawn mist outside my study window
last year's heifers are often last into the shed and last out into the paddock
they arrive at a trot - strip feeding means first up best fed

it's serious stuff this eating

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Is it a perennial?

On page 44 of her remarkable book Eco Colour, India Flint has a photo of "drying bundled goldenrod". 
A whole armful of it!! What bounty.....
I have 3 plants, given me last year by my organics teacher and carefully split so if I happened

to lose one in a drought
or through neglect 

or just because it disappeared never to be seen again under a rampant overgrowth of couchgrass
I would still have 2 others.

Which made me think about exactly what sort of a plant goldenrod is.
And how India managed to have such a lovely big bundle to dry.

My reading told me it is considered an invasive weed in China and Germany and that it is a perennial.  That means it comes back each year without having to "do" anything about it.

But I also have the choice of waiting till my 3 precious plants seed, and then saving that seed for resowing in Spring....."Propagation is by wind-disseminated seeds ...."(Wikipedia - Goldenrod)

Or, I can also let autumn roll on a little longer and wait till the flowers have gone and then divide the plant which grows......"  by spreading underground rhizomes which can form colonies of vegetative clones of a single plant." (Wikipedia - Goldenrod)
Better sharpen my spade, so I get a nice clean cut. 

Knowing a little about plants has deepened my love of ecodyeing.  There's magic and knowledge in their Latin taxonomic names - Solidago canadensis; Solidago virgaurea; Solidago spp and the clues names give to the properties of and even colours hidden in the plants.

Even if you only mutter them as a mantra to keep your brain stimulated and give you another tool of knowledge. Especially if like me, you have no Latin!!!!

India has a comprehensive section on pgs 49 - 64 labelled
 "Some Traditional Dye Materials". 
It's a great resource and she has included the common names and parts used.

Friday, March 4, 2011

in my own back yard

Tibouchina urvilleana
fresh leaves lying face down on merino and lyrca mix

once the leaves are peeled off

overview of the whole piece showing the depth and variation of colours

detail of print on merino lycra mix in the almost spent woad dye bath
 Amazing what you can find in your own back yard.