sparklers; reflecting, mark making and illuminating the new year


Hello and welcome 2012!

I loves me a new year. So much room for reflection and regeneration. So much give.  So many sparklers. This holiday period I gave myself permission to have a few late night parties, to stay in my pyjamas all day, eat crackers in bed with the kids (everyone else is at the beach right?) and to have a break from my  basketry studio. These are the days before the launch. Cleaning out the cobwebs and opening virgin pages of a diary with no scribbles or coffee stains. Time to look back, breathe and lunge forward again.

Reflection was thrust upon me when I was asked  by Natalie Walton to be interviewed for her blog, daily imprint. It was really challenging to be candid and realistic in my answers but a great exercise in self-analysis (and great amunition for the family to have fun at my expense).  Procrastination warning… daily imprint is a vortex of interesting reading, make sure you have something to drink.

We have been somewhat reluctantly rebirthed this year with a smart phone and a flat television (a little overdue afer 12 years of reading out the subtitles to the person on the other sofa!). Our 18-month-old daughter now makes a beeping noise any time she sees something resembling a remote control. Yeesh.  On the more familiar, organic front, Mat has harvested and part-way sold his first garlic crop under the moniker Green Heart Garlic (yay) and I have experimented with my first ever vegetable dying a la the queen of the eco-print,  India Flint. For those of you who haven’t discovered her mark-making magic I recommend a visit to her website. One of my workshop participants from Queensland, Linda Parmenter stayed over recently to teach my beautiful sister-in-love (the name we prefer to the legal speak) Caroline  and I. Here are some pics from our first efforts.

Caroline placing leaves, onion, cabbage & flowers on silk dupion
leaves on organza
the stuff – heavy duty equipment

bracken, rose leaves, onion skins, japanese maple ready to roll

bundles in eucalyptus dye
leaves under wet silk in the sun
freshly unfurled tea base w/ leaf matter still on
leaf prints on silk noil

Cool hey? It’s actually super easy and addictive. Such an extraordinary range of colours and patterns from a bunch of leaves in a pot! I have a very special personal project I am working on it for (oo-ooo) which will be revealed in a few months.

So now the year is  underway, new basketry workshop dates have just gone up on my workshops page and places are going quickly. I sent out a little preview email to my waiting list naturally, so there are only two spots left on the Saturday workshop. Just so you know!

After quite a few requests I am holding a 2-day ILLUMINATE workshop towards the end of February so if you have a bare lightbulb in your house that’s screaming for a nesty pendant, come along and I will help you make your own. I can help you find accomodation and it’s a lovely area to explore if you haven’t been here before.

The new year is a little bit like making an eco-print I suppose; starting with a blank sheet, laying down the patterns, cooking it all up and at the end of the year you shake off the spent leaf matter and marks are left on the fabric for you to make something with.

I wonder what the colours and marks of this year will be?

I hope yours are beautiful. x

6 thoughts on “sparklers; reflecting, mark making and illuminating the new year

  1. Hello I just discovered your beautiful hand works and you in the recent blog post at “Daily imprint”. The interview is wonderfully done. Such a rich and interesting life you are leading, and I love what you create. I am going to follow your blog 🙂
    I too admire India Flint’s books and her ethical and considerate approaches to the nature. It just makes me so happy to learn about people who work with dying ancient techniques beautifully…
    I wish you a very happy and productive new year!

  2. Hi Harriet,

    I’m sitting here on the Isle of Skye in Scotland, buffeted by winter winds–cosy inside now after a day of scrambling with the family up hills and down rocky beaches to ancient castle ruins. Lest it all sound too romantic, let me say that the bog-factor was high! and my daughter almost lost her boot when her leg got stuck in a deeply boggy track. And it was only 5 degrees, but exhilarating.

    I’ve just read your blog and wanted you to know that as we were climbing up the track to the Old Man of Storr today we wandered through undergrowths of forest with lichen and moss; I looked at some of the ferns and the slender branches of the deciduous trees (shades of gold and bronze) and thought of you and how lovely it would be to weave them into a basket. I don’t think Australian Customs would let them through though, do you.

    Anyway, you see I carry the memories of your workshop with me to the other end of the world. Hoping to pop down to the Southern HIghlands to attend another workshop later in the year (once we’ve paid off this holiday).
    Best wishes
    PS I hope some of Matt’s garlic will still be around then.

    1. That’s lovely Belinda. I lived in Scotland and have been to Skye a couple of times so I can visualise where you are (and how cold you must be!) Look forward to having you attend another workshop some time.
      Keep warm! Harriet

  3. This is so beautiful!!!! I wish I could come to visit so you can teach me…can’t wait to see more of this work….happy new year to you and your beautiful family! Love sandra

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