I have to admit that I have a slightly strange relationship with my Eco Weaving Kits, with regards to selling them as part of my business. They are very time consuming and laborious to make and are not especially profitable for me (truthfully - if I took into account all of the time I spend making them I would actually be losing money!). But despite all of this, I really love making them. Am I crazy? I don't think so.
There are a few things that I do get from making these kits. The pleasure of connecting with other like minded people, and of seeing others learn a new skills and make themselves something beautiful. The satisfaction of knowing that I'm putting something thoughtfully made and high quality out there into the world. I could probably charge twice as much for them and that might come close to covering the beautiful materials and copious amounts of time that I spend working on them, but that would put them out of the reach of many people and then I would be missing that connection that I love so much. And there are many more things that I get out of making the kits that are not monetary. One of them is completely selfish and I will not deny it - and excuse to indulge in LOTS of plant dyeing.
I could continue dyeing textiles just for the fun of it, but to me that feels a bit wasteful. I'm not interested in hoarding hundreds of skeins and balls of yarn that I've dyed just for the sake of it. That's not my style. But creating beautifully coloured yarns from the plants that I've collected on my adventures for other people to enjoy - that's my style.
It's important to me that everything that I make has a story, and that this story has come naturally as part of my every day activities. I don't sit down and actively come up with ideas for things to make, colour schemes, etc. It took me a while to realise, but if I just do what I love every day and enjoy myself, these things continue to come to me quite effortlessly. Perhaps this is another reason why I'm not too fussed about making lots of money from my creative endeavours - I'm doing them anyway and I'm loving the process. Admittedly, I don't derive as much pleasure from sanding timber as I do from foraging for eucalyptus leaves, but even a mundane task such as sanding delivers a degree of satisfaction for me. But it's really the dyeing I'm here for.
So let me tell you about the inspiration behind these yarns. I recently took a road trip north to Queensland and experienced some incredibly inspiring and quite diverse landscapes. I have visited many of these places before, but they never cease to amaze me with their beauty. The redness of the dirt as you move toward the centre of the country, the vastness of the ocean as you move back out to the coast, the changes in flora from the lush rainforest to the sand dunes and the dry eucalyptus forests. The eucalyptus is something that seems to remain constant everywhere that I've travelled - even in the rainforests you never seem to be too far from a patch of eucalyptus forest. Their familiar bark, leaves, seeds and heady scent remind me that I'm home all across this country. They keep me both grounded and inspired. I've spent a lot of time experimenting with the colours that this brilliant plant can produce over the past six months or so, so it was inevitable that I was going to use it as part of these new colourways.
I've used eucalyptus in two of the kit colourways and one of the extra fibres. The first is Warrandyte eucalyptus, the colourway featured in the two photos above. Those warm, earthy tones are all derived from and inspired by leaves and bark from the mighty eucalyptus. More specifically, they are derived from eucalyptus trees growing along the Yarra River in Warrandyte.
I wish I could properly describe with words what a special area this is, but I think you have to spend some time there to truly understand its appeal. People who live there speak of it with pride, I feel grounded as I walk along the river banks amongst the eucalyptus trees and rejuvenated as I take a dip in its icy cold waters. Even if I'm just passing through the area on my way to somewhere else, I feel like I have to slow down, look and feel the fullness of the area. I get the feeling that this little patch of the world has been special to many for thousands of years.
The Pacific Ocean dream colourway (above) also include yarns dyed with eucalyptus. The charcoal grey-brown yarn and marled grey-brown unspun fibre derive their hues from this tree and are inspired by the serene vastness of this ocean that sits against the east coast of Australia. And this familiar floral friend of mine grows along this coast too. It's when I'm spending time on the coast that I am most aware of the trees, their thick leaves slapping together loudly in the ocean breeze and making their presence known to me even when my eyes are closed. The rest of the yarns in the kit are in their natural, undyed state. No matter how much I love experimenting with colour, I'm always drawn back to the clean, neutral tones, which is why I've included this neutral colourway in this batch of kits.
So that's two of the three colourways. Next I'll be talking about the most vibrant of the colourways: Summer fruits. It's got a lot of personality so it deserves a post of its own.