Result of Eucayptus bundle and Dio Day Out

Most natural dyers say ‘time is your friend’ and encourage you to leave bundles soaking for weeks before opening for the colors to deepen.  Normally I can’t wait that long to see the results and don’t leave them for longer than a few days!  So going overseas was an ideal opportunity to leave them soaking.

I had a mordanted (alum and cream of tartar) pre loved cream blanket


that I bundled into a sausage shape with Eucalyptus cinerea.


I boiled it in a brass preserving pan for several hours and left it soaking while we were away.


After 2 months there was some mould on the top


but it did have some deep colorings.


It was exciting opening it and this is the result, washed and dry.

blanket compressed

I was surprised that some of the background color stayed a creamy/beige color, specially on the inside of the bundle. I am guessing the liquid did not penetrate that far. Maybe I should have rolled it wet?

I have not boiled a whole blanket with eucalyptus like this before so can not comment on whether the results are different, but I was pleased with the variety of markings.

I cut the blanket up and made cushions backed with other natural dyed blanket of a solid color, I even mastered button holes and used recycled buttons. I struggled using the synthetic polyester inner! I had also made other cushions of dyed silk and used a recycled mans shirt as the backing, (no need for buttonholes!!) an idea gleaned from my artist friend Charlotte Giblin of Bouncing Pig.

Half of them sold at the recent ‘Dio Day Out’, a fundraiser for the local Waikato Diocesan School for Girls. My friend David Lloyd has his sub tropical garden, with zany sculptures, studio and gallery open for visitors. There were several other artists exhibiting including David with his recycled wood works, Fiona Tunnicliffe from Putaruru with her signature pottery animals, Travis Taylor, a Graffiti artist and Jennie De Groot a modern impressionist painter. Jennie  is a very productive painter and has an amusing blog  called The Distracted Painter

Dio Day out cropped

My display at Dio Day Out

Here are other photos of the gallery taken by Jennie De Groot




935122_261602060631147_99853257_nNext time I will show some more bundles that were left brewing.


Colour from Nature exhibition

‘Colour from Nature’ showcases my recent work as Artist in Residence at the Sculpture Park. Held in the David Lloyd Gallery in Lake Crescent, Hamilton, a small but spectacular space with excellent lighting including natural light from a raised roof feature. David is a legendary Hamilton identity, ex Davids Emporium, who is an artist, philanthropist and I am privileged to call him a special friend and supporter.

David Lloyd Gallery and Studio thanks to Jennie de Groot

David Lloyd Studio (left) and Gallery (right)  Photo thanks to Jennie de Groot

Thank you to my friends Grace and Donna who helped me install the work. Some Items were suspended which were tricky to install but it all looked professional.

The opening was very well attended with lots of friends, fellow textile artists and other artists mingling and enjoying mulled wine and marshmallows. I had a large vase of Eucalyptus cinerea and a pot brewing to add to the experience!


The statement piece on the end wall is a sampler of stunning dyed raw edged pieces organically stitched to a dyed cotton lawn background that I had used a metal hinge in the pot. Made up of silks and cottons, this piece showed different methods, including rolling silk on Raupo, around an iron rod and stone bundled. It showcased the variety of colours and patterns achievable. I used small black eyelets to hang it, which were effective and unobtrusive.

A touch of iron cropped

A popular stitched works was ‘Brown Long’ with the centre piece featuring cotton and linen stitched onto a cotton background that had been mordanted with Soya milk and rolled on an iron pipe and boiled. The wool batting was dyed with walnut and left exposed. It was hung by black eyelets. With a tinge of pink it looked very moody.

Brown long

Another stitched work was ‘Brown square’, using mainly Habotai silk and cotton it is stitched onto a dyed wool blanket. Eyelets were used to hang it.
Brown square cropped

As the exhibition had a short lead in time I displayed my sampler that I made in the India Flint class in January 2013 and to promote her next class in Titirangi in January 2014. I acknowledged India and Glenys Mann for igniting my passion for natural dyeing and eco prints.
India Flint class sampler

There were also several stand alone pieces not stitched, just beautiful samples of silk and silk organza.

On the other wall were the suspended pieces.

A wool blanket mordanted with Alum and Cream of Tartar featured Oak, Eucalyptus cinerea and Liquid Amber (right)

The work I featured on the publicity was the most popular work and sold first to my cast glass friend Di Tocker of Hamilton.


I had also dyed a wool T Shirt and a wool blend long sleeved T shirt (right).

The two Merino Ponchos were popular and both sold.
The pattern is from the book Alabama Studio Sewing + Design by Natalie Chanin.

Ponchos cropped

Alternate way to wear Poncho

Alternate way to wear Poncho

Visitors were fascinated with the bowl of threads. Each time I have a brew on I try to remember to throw in either cotton or silk thread for stitching later.

Natural dyed cotton and silk

Special visitors over the weekend included textile artists Louise Porter and Allie Snow from Auckland.

Louise Porter, Allie Snow from Auckland and Anne Bell from Hamilton

L-R Louise Porter, Allie Snow and Anne Bell from Hamilton

Also two very special visitors and fellow class mates from the India Flint class made a spontaneous decision to drive from Auckland.  Heidi Monks from Titirangi, organised the India Flint class and Andrea Eimke from Atiu Island, Cook Islands who runs the Atiu Fibre Arts Studio and was in Auckland on a one-week workshop at AUT learning about incorporating electronic components into her art.

Heidi and Andrea outside David's studio

Heidi and Andrea outside David’s studio

Five works have a red maple leaf beside them (in lieu of a red dot) and are going to a new home!

I am thrilled with the presentation and the response I have had to my work with many words of praise and encouragement. Visitors were genuinely interested in the process and amazed at the variety of results.

The exhibition will be up for another few weeks. If anyone would like to see it please email me at to make arrangements to view it.