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.


A gift to myself

My husband and I are going to London tomorrow and get to catch up with both of our adult children. We will travel Scotland and Ireland together as a family and then we go on to Italy, so it’s countdown now.

I have been in touch with Monika from red2white blog who does amazing natural dyeing and lives in the Western highlands of Scotland. If we are in the area and she is available it would be great to connect.

I was tidying up my dyeing materials and found a bucket of Eucalyptus cinerea that had been soaking for about 3 months, it was a bit slimy and smelly! I also found a pot of Tupelo leaves soaking and another pot of Tanekaha that had been soaking for about the same time and other random collections of foliage.

So I have given myself a gift for when I return at the end of September and done about 12  bundles to leave soaking.

As all natural dyers know, time is your friend. The longer bundles are left the deeper the colour usually. So now they have an enforced 5 week soaking period and I won’t be here to be tempted to open them!


Some were wound on PVC pipe, some on iron pipe, one on a rusty can – see notjustnat blog of 8 August for her great results.


IMG_1122I also rolled a pre mordanted wool blanket (alum and cream of tartar) with eucalyptus cinerea and have it boiling in a brass preserving pan now. It will probably steam as it does not quite fit in.



I am taking 33  zip lock bags, 33 small oblongs of cloth, two wooden dowel rods and string. I plan to collect treasurers each day and do a bundle a day and microwave them when I have access to one. And no I won’t be taking leaves between countries!!


So that’s it from me for 5 weeks or so.  I’ll have some interesting reports when I return.

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.

Thursday at the Park

Thursday was a stunning autumn day, no breeze and not a cloud in the sky.

The wood circle has the beginnings of a roof!

Wood Circle roof 160513I spy a Eucalyptus cinerea behind it on the right.

Wood circle 160513The pond was so tranquil.

P1190724I had very interested visitors. Three students and a tutor from Step Ahead Training Ltd in Hamilton who are studying Fashion and Design had come to see what I have been doing.

Lily, Julia, Samantha and AmandaOn Tuesday I boiled the roast beef bundle (right) being mordanted wool blanket (alum and cream of tartar) with eucalyptus cinerea, oak and autumn leaves in a pot of eucalyptus that had been soaking for a week in stream water.

The left bundle was mordanted wool rolled on two dowels and wrapped with Raupo, to try to avoid the string wrapping marks.

There were lots of ooh’s and arh’s from the girls as we unwrapped it


P1190734I was thrilled with the result.

P1190735We had a wander around the lower lakes

Swamp Cypress by lower lake

and the children’s creative area


P1190746The girls enjoyed their visit and saw a lot of potential in natural dyeing for their course.

P1190747I bought a woollen singlet from an Op shop and rolled autumn leaves in it and boiled it in the Euc pot and left it soaking. So I will be looking forward to opening this next week.



My natural dyeing journey continued

Following Glenys Mann‘s masterclass in October 2008 I had  a lot of fun experimenting, mainly with cream preloved woollen blankets and any foliage that took my fancy.  I used a lot of NZ Flax (Harakeke), Eucalyptus cinereaPohutukawa and Seaweed that first summer.


Eucalyptus cinerea


Dyeing results I made small works to give to friends as presents. Some included rusted cloth, all mainly raw edges and organic hand stitching.

Robs 60ththe purple in this one is textured paper

Abbies farewell gift

Karens 50th

Aishas 30thI did another Masterclass with Glenys Mann from Australia in the beautiful village of Ohakune in January 2010, called ‘Earth Coverings – The Memory Keepers’.

Mt Ruapehu from College field

We again worked within our immediate environment, dyeing and rusting cloth and paper.

Two highlights for me were our trip to the local recycle centre to gather treasures and scrap iron.

And a trip up Mt Ruapheu to the Turoa ski fields on a beautiful clear summer day.

We collected litter from the area, particularly under the chairlift which we featured on rusted sample foam boards.

My results

I was thrilled to be gifted this Memory Keeper from Glenys.

One of my favourite works made in 2010 and exhibited at  Quilts Aotearoa 2010 and Changing Threads exhibition in Nelson in 2011 is A Touch of Turquoise. Being given a big bag of random sized recycled zips as a Group Challenge was the starting point for this work. I wanted to showcase the different textures of fabric and papers used and highlight the effects of Rusting. It came alive when I added the Turquoise paper strips.

The Wool batting is dyed with Persimmon.


The Backing is a drip cloth from Rusting samples.

BackNext installment coming soon.

Autumn at the Park

I love my commute to the Sculpture Park on Thursdays. It’s just a 25 minute drive from my home and just 7 kms from SH26.

SH26 SignageI look forward to seeing the progress on the wood circle. It has grown just a little during the week.

Wood circleI enjoy seeing the produce at the roadside stalls and am spoilt for choice…

Feijoas and Apples

Chestnuts and Kumi Kumi
Persimmmons and Quinces

Apples Pears


The most intriguing is the variety at this one stall…

Pony Poo

Puppies for sale

Doves for saleAs usual the autumn colour had changed a lot, with the Rhus finished,

P1190517and the star of the pond last week the Tupelo had shed alot of leaves.

P1190569I was looking forward to opening last weeks bundles

Bundlesand was very excited to discover that the Raupo Reed

Raupo Reedthat I had used to roll a bundle gave a nice rusty color, together with oak leaves and scrap metal on Habotai silk.

P1190528Other results were not that startling so will over dye them.

P1190532John explained about an impressive plant in the Rock garden Furcrea foetida, that has flowers on a stem that is about 12 metres tall.


P1190543He gave me some Juglans husk butternut, that looked very much like a walnut in the husk but with a prickly shell.

P1190560I see on Wikipedia that they are Juglans cinerea, a white walnut, and as Eucalyptus cinerea gives us such a wonderful orangy colour, I am excited about boiling these up next week. I have left them soaking.

I explored the orchard area and found some stunning Red Maples so put a pot of them on.

Red Mapleand a pot of Persimmon leaves and fruit.

PersimmonsI have a pot of Eucalyptus cinerea soaking for next week and as usual I left several pots for visitors to investigate.