I've been doing more travelling since my previous plant-related objects post, so many of these objects have found their way to me from far away places. Some have come from far away places that I haven't even visited, thanks to a lovely woman living in San Francisco. All of these objects, from both near and far, have now found a special place in my life because of the joy they are bringing me.
Wildflower Tee by On A Whim
When I spotted this tshirt on On A Whim's Instagram account I actually squealed with excitement. When I found out that it was locally printed on organic cotton, I knew that I had to make it mine. It ticks all the boxes for me: locally designed and made, features Australian wildflowers, made using organic cotton. I'm not generally a big tshirt wearer, but this lovely little number has secured a solid spot in my wardrobe since it arrived in the mail.
Natural Curiosity colouring in book by Lila Ruby King
This little treasure actually came into my life a while ago, but it has been hidden under a pile of paperwork until very recently. So now I'm finally able to start enjoying it! I like to engage in a bit of colouring in as a kind of meditation, and Anna's beautiful illustrations featuring collections of plants, birds, insects and other small creatures are so much fun to work with. Anna is also very sustainable in the way that she runs her label - she chooses sustainable materials wherever possible (this book is printed on recycled paper and card), and offsets one tonne of carbon each month.
Dye Plants and Dyeing - a handbook by Brooklyn Botanic Gardens
I like to try and read every book on natural dyeing that I can get my hands on because I think that they all have something that I can learn and use to improve my own natural dyeing practice. Generally, I find that many of the new books are more about beautiful photos and less about useful information. In my experience, the older, text heavy books (with the less beautiful photos) have more information on the kinds of plants that I can easily access and tried and tested, environmentally sustainable techniques for dyeing textiles with those plants.
I've come across a lot of rare and old Australian and international books through friends, family and secondhand stores, and this little booklet (first published in the 1960s) is one of the good ones. It goes through different plants and recipes that can be used and gives a really great historical and cultural context to the dyes and recipes used across the world. It's definitely worth reading if you're really interested in natural dyeing.
Foraged Californian flora
Recently I made it my aim to participate in more collaborations with kindred spirits. Since I created this intention, I've worked with some incredibly talented, passionate, beautiful individuals. One person with whom I am currently engaged in a collaboration is Ama Wertz. Ama is an amazingly talented tapestry weaver and I am so excited to be working with her on a really special project. She recently sent me a package in the mail and included this lovely collection of flora that she foraged locally to her. Their textures and scents are so different to that of my local flora.
Banksia seed pod scent pot
I've seen these beautiful banksia pod scent pots in people's homes before but never known where they came from. When I was in Byron Bay last month I finally saw them for sale at the Byron market. So one came home with me to Melbourne and now sits in my studio space, filled with the eucalyptus oil I got from Candle of Vision.
I recently embarked on a small collaboration with Lucy, a Melbourne maker who sells her gorgeous handmade linen clothing under her label Moth Cotton, and she gave me a package wrapped in this fantastic seagrass twine. I don't want to say that the twine was more exciting than the exquisite undyed linen that was contained within (which I did this with before returning it to Lucy to work her magic with), but I've been pretty happy with that piece of twine since it entered my hands.
Plant dyed organic cotton yarn
As well as the foraged flora, Ama also sent me these two balls of Sally Fox's organic cotton yarn that she dyed with avocado and eucalyptus. The colours are really beautiful and subtle and I'm looking forward to finding the right project to use them in. I'm also looking forward to working with the undyed cotton that Ama sent me for our collaboration. I'll share more on that soon!
Passionfruit dyed scarf
When I was at the Byron market recently, I came across the stall of a local passionfruit farmer who I'd met at The Channon market earlier in the year. We got talking about her fruit and my natural dyeing, and she ended up giving me a big bucket of passionfruit that was unfit for sale so that I could dye some silk with it. I made her a scarf and one for myself, and this is mine. It is just the most amazing, soft, warm pink colour, and quite different from the (also really beautiful) more violet colour that I achieved dyeing merino wool yarn with fruit from the same farm only a month earlier. It demonstrates how very subtle changes in dyeing conditions can significantly affect the outcomes - something I love about natural dyeing.