Saturday, July 25, 2009

can u tell it's winter here?

And we've been indoors too long. If we were plants we'd be wilting from lack of fresh air and sunshine. And he's been unwell again. And I've been so tied up in keeping him comfortable and myself sane. All I can say is thank God for my projects. An exhibition to plan for next year gives me loads of time to puddle along and yet keep my passion alive. 'Slow' food, clothing and indeed living seems to be not just a sentiment but it's quickly become my reality. The old adage that one is only as fast as the slowest member in the team is apt in my case.

I love textiles. Duh, that's a no brainer. I love texture. I love organic fibres. I love memory cloth. Quilts, peggy square blankets, handknits, doileys and embroidered cloths, barkcloth from the South Pacific, ('hiapo' Niue, 'siapo' Samoa, 'ngatu' in Tonga and mistakenly called 'tapa' in NZ). I love cloth that tells a story. Whether its been made for a purpose like a table cloth or burial cloth, or as a decorative piece. Cloth does it for me. Not the commercial ones. God no! But the one's that bear the hand of the maker.

I've been dyeing, stitching, making. I received a gift from my mum. She stitched vintage cloths and buttons and doodads onto a Trade Aid bag for me, her favourite girl in the whole world.

Cleo and I have been chugging along working out together like textiles girls do. No, not exercise. Just making, inspiring, cheering and imbibing on the great atmosphere that always results when we join forces. I have other women in my sphere now who also love making things. Some complex, some simple but it's all making and it's all valid. Art school tried to make me believe otherwise for a time and I thank them graciously for showing me how NOT to be encouraging and inspiring. That was a lesson well learned.

My making has been squeezed in the gaps between caring for a sick infant, miserable winter weather, school holidays, and life in general. But I need to do this.

There's a loveliness about working with my hands on cloth. I ponder that women once did it out of necessity whereas I do it because I want too.

Hand worked has always been women's currency. Often in societies where women had no currency (meaning assets and money), their cloth was their currency, their assets, something that they had personal power over.

Think glory boxes and how girls used to fill them with embroidered cloths for their lives as wives one day. Think native American women and other indigenous cultures and their elaborate clothing and homewares.

And as I sit amidst the chaos and thrum that is my family, home and life ... I am happiest when my handiwork is in my lap and my fingers are busy and my heart is being poured into my latest project.

There's no photos of my recent work because I'm having anxiety about using the new SLR camera I got, lol. And I don't want to use my old camera because it just doesn't measure up. So instead, I leave you with some amazing links to other textile sights and don't forget to check their blog link lists out as well. This is where I go when I can go nowhere else, Knuckles and I peruse blogland.

This vintage suitcase filled with organically dyed skeins of wool just sets me buzzing. The maker uses madder root, marigolds, red/yellow onion skins amongst other botanics to get her colours. Now if I could find a supplier that produced yarn that looked like that, our bank balance would be in serious trouble and I would have to look at learning to knit more than just hats and scarves. I just need a few more lifetimes so I can play more. Stuff it, I'll just dye my own! What am I talking about. Go see her etsy shop which is sold out but worthy of viewing. I love her recycled vintage bags with old lace, etc. And to her blog Forest Bound (click to follow link).

Without a doubt, one of my favourite all time blogs belongs to Amanda Soule (click to follow link to Soulemama). She has authored two books to date on homemaking. She unschools her children (nature walks, play, garden, art), makes so much cool stuff like homewares (quilts, knits, sews), lives with great conviction and just inspires me during my 'at home' time as a parent. The above photo sets my heart thumping and wanting to scramble about and set up yet another sewing station. She lives in a great house full of handmade stuff, is honest about her bad days, has zillions of giveaways that we can enter from her sponsors (so she's found a way to create an income from her blog, clever girl) and has so much eye candy just in the photos alone. She recently organised a huge craft appeal and thousands of hats have gone to a country in need. I have gone through her complete archives during some of my not-so-good days. It's a great read if you want to find a different way of getting through the day as an at-home mum and injecting some quality in there. ;)

The scarf I am (endlessly) knitting for Rich came from Brooklyn Tweed's blog. He's an amazing knitter, his blog is an interesting read and I love using this silk/merino/alpaca blend Noro yarn. What a luxury ... of course Rich will be an old man by the time I finish the single rib 6 foot plus long scarf. And now Marcus wants one too. ;) Go check him out yarnsters.

Make some nifty slippers from an old wool blanket. Tutorial at Sew Green. Check out this site, so many wonderful links to other crafty sites. I want to try my hand at spinning (with a drop spindle thingee) and there's a tutorial on how to make one from a CD.

The Worsted Witch is also worthy of a mention. She points the way to great green and crafty blogs. I tried to find a picture but couldn't really because she features other folks work including the slippers above, the case of natural dyed wool and the urban gardening one below plus a great photo and link to handspun newspaper yarn, gorgeous knits, etc. But her sideline bloglist roll is incredible. Definitely worth checking out all the 'green' home industry folk out on her blog that are making and SELLING. I know Rich would love me to make some money. I think I am hopeless at entrepreneurial stuff but reading about these different homebased businesses with the same ethos as me is inspiring. Who knows.

And finally a bit of an education for me. See I desire to grow my own food someday soon. I love the River Cottage series, love the Outdoor Gourmet series on the food channel, the Outback Cafe and Kai Ora, a New Zealand series with great cuisine. I just like the idea of growing things and eating them. I know where they came from. They are fresh fresh fresh. And its fun. I just want my own plot of land first. I've stumbled across this blog, having read a mention in one of the above blogs and can't wait for a spare hour and a hot drink to peruse on the next wet day.

She says "As for the urban farmer in me, I’ve been cultivating the city for over ten years now, and my neighbors still think I’m crazy. It all started with a few chickens, then some bees, until I had a full-blown farm near downtown Oakland. My memoir about this farm was publishing by the Penguin Press June 11, 2009, and is available at most bookstores." Click here: Urban Farmer to follow link through to The Ghost Town Farm blog.

Enjoy friends. Lovely to be here again. If you know of other blogs and sites I might enjoy, leave me the links in the comments section below.


ArtPropelled said...

Its always a good read here....And look at Knuckles! He has grown so much and is so gorgeous even with his face screwed up to howl. I hope the poor little chap feels better soon.

Jeana Marie said...

lovely links :)

ps - you are going to have to use that camera one day!

just start with everything auto and tack along at your own pace, like everything else.

always good to 'see' you here!

india flint said...

goodness me Knuckles has grown! and he looks so like his lovely Mother...

ashley said...

that is such an adorable little boy! and great links and great blog:)
thank-you for your visit, i too look forward to catching a second to sit and visit you more!
x ashley