India Flint and her beautiful natural dyeing techniques, I've been playing witchy-poo in the kitchen, boiling up dried eucalyptus leaves and rather a lot of tea bags to attempt some eco-dyeing (though I managed to suppress the urge to cackle maniacally while I was at it). I had a long white linen skirt picked up from a second hand shop that I thought I might experiment with, given that I'll never wear a white skirt. So while that was bubbling away, I found various other scraps of fabric and chucked them in too, to see what would happen. The skirt is drying on the line at the moment, and it has worked OK, but the result is very subtle. But I was really pleased with the colour of the few scraps of silk dupion. I had a pale salmony/apricot pink, probably left over scraps from wedding fabric hunting 15 years ago (goodness!), and a crisp bright white left over from the roses on my Greenwitch hat. The photos give a relatively good idea of the results, and aren't they lovely! The rather bland salmon has gone quite a beautiful, rich golden rust. You can see the original colour in the sewn circle bit (a 'petal' experiment), and the end of the small 'tie-dyed' piece, in the middle photo. The crisp white, which in my excitement I dyed all of rather than saving a bit to compare, can be seen in the right hand photo...but it was originally as white as the paper it's lying on.
And inspired by the gorgeous work of Jude Hill (though I could never create anything as amazing as hers), I've also been trying my hand at a bit of hand sewing...sort of applique come quilting come rustic embroidery...using some calico and voile that I tried 'eco-dyeing' a few weeks back. It's VERY rustic/rough (I've never done applique or quilting before), but I'm having fun and trying not to have any expectations or make it into a finished piece of 'art', rather just play with it and not think too much about what I stitch next or how messy the stitches are, or worry because it isn't 'working'. My daughters pointed out that the circle looks like the moon, the cloud-like dye patterns rather like the craters on its surface, and I probably wouldn't have noticed that if I'd planned it all carefully in my head first. So that's part of the fun, discovering things in the moment, that perhaps I might incorporate into a more finished piece sometime in the future. It's not 'working' but that's good I think, it makes it easier to resist the urge to get precious with it and lose the sense of freedom and spontaneity. It's evolving into a kind of landscape (and I got a little too literal and added trees), but who knows what it will look like tomorrow. Don't laugh, but the interesting bit of maroon fluff sewn like a cloud drift across the middle is something I picked up off my floor. I don't know what it is, though I suspect it may be the dried out inside fibres of one of my girls' felt tip pens! But I liked the colour!