I always think India is slightly Amazonian in stature. Marcus, my six year old is always up for a photo opp. India wears her signature eco-dyed couture. I love her clothes.
She is a calm soul, quiet and peaceable (well I think so), and is one of those people who walks the talk. Her work is a natural extension of the lovely person she is. I always feel inspired when I am with her. Some people are like that. Brings out the goodness in me. Plus her art work is accessible to those of us who prefer things simple and uncomplicated. I get really annoyed with the fine arts sometimes. There are those who like to make it exclusive, as if art is some mysterious force that only the enlightened are allowed to participate in. Bollocks I say! Everyone can be creative and everyone can do it if they so desire. And one doesn't need to go to art school (although it does help deepen ones knowledge of the bigger picture I feel) nor does one need to be rich or to have lots of fancy materials. People like India keep it real for us souls who just want to make meaningful things.
This is another of India's books, a joint project with Toyoko. I think Toyoko wanted to learn from India so much, she flew from Japan with little means of support to meet with India in Australia. She learned how to felt and created goods she could sell. Then a publisher saw her goods and to cut a long story short, this book was created. I highly recommend it, it has lots of lovelies from felted river stones, felt beads, bowls, bags and mats. I do suggest that for the novice felter, a workshop is imperative. I am like that. Once I have the basic skills, I can venture out on my own, but prefer to see how it is done first and be guided by an expert. I know India is here for Whitireia Summer School (approx $300 for 5-6 great days) to repeat her eco-dyeing workshop followed by another week's workshop with a different slant. I am not sure what, but if you go to her website (http://www.indiaflint.com/) there is more information. I would love to go but think I am dreaming because this baby will only be a few weeks old, plus my two school children will be on summer vacation unless I can convince Rich to release me (which he will if work allows - he's so good to me).
We sat down and crafted some lovely felted vessels, formed around stones that were chosen because they 'sung' to us.
Step one: Lay out the wool tops in a crosshatch fashion, several layers deep.
Step two: In a fashion much like wrapping up fish'n'chips, roll up the stone inside the wool.
Step three: Using random strips of silk, sew the stone up in a silk-pieced fashion. We used a mix of new and recycled small silk pieces. We also used silk thread.
Step five: Go for a walk and find windfallen leaves. Using some twine, wool or whatever, bind the leaves around the stone. For our final layer, we sourced some onion skins and bundled it all up to in the pot for around 30 minutes. The longer the better but we were on a time limit. I reckon an hour wouldve rendered even better colour, and if we had turned off the pot and left the whole lot overnight or for a few days, might've been even stronger hue.
India and our lovely little serendipitus bundles. This is by far one of my favourite parts - unwrapping those bundles and seeing what magic has occurred.My one. I love the way the twine gets dyed too - I have a whole bag of little bits of twine and wool that have held many bundles together. They are so precious and get used to sew book covers, etc.
This is my felted stone's big reveal. The leaves I collected created a resist, so the dye only occurred where the onion skins had direct contact with wool.
On a lighter note, I made some cool knitting needles for myself. They were bamboo ones marked down to $1 a pair at Spotlight, so I used up some felted scraps and stitched them onto the ends. Cleo made some for her stall and I bought a pair for a friend so full credit to Cleo and her craftiness. How nifty is that?! Now I better learn how to knit something more than a scarf.I am working on a blanket at the moment - a love/hate project that I pick up in inspirational moments and then shove away in frustration for a week or two. It's random but is meant to be a therapeutic project for me. Using repurposed silk, cotton and old wool blankets, I am piecing it together using various threads, mostly silk. The point of it is that lots of small things (sometimes even the most random) can work together to make a beautiful harmonious work of art.I didn't know that when I started it. I knew it meant something but it wasn't until it started to slowly form (because handstitching is a SLOW process) that it came to me. See most of my life I have tried to make a difference in BIG ways but often fell short and got frustrated. Striving because I believed the hype that if we try hard enough, we can have anything we want. Get anywhere we want. What a waste of time and false optimism - sometimes what I wanted was based on my need to compensate for lack in my life. This turned out to be a futile cause - my naive younger years believing that I could control my destiny and all it's outcomes. These days, I am of the opinion that it is better to appreciate where we are because we can always attain that. And better to make lots of small wise decisions, small achievable goals, small doable actions daily that lead to a better place overall. Someone once told me the only way we can eat an elephant is one bite at a time. Funny, it was meant in a different context, like how to get through hard times.
PS. Found this wee write-up regarding a piece of work I did a few months back. Click on http://kapitisummerschool.blogspot.com/ to follow the link and have a nosey.