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.


Friday at the Park

It was a stunning winters day on Friday, a cool start but the sun shone and actually had some warmth in it.

Looking toward Pirongia

Looking toward Pirongia

The Park has its winter coat on with most of the autumn colour finished but there was still stunning colour around.




The Quarry pond looked dark and still with no sign of the usual fish.

Looking down on the Quarry Pond

Quarry pond

Quarry pond

Remember the fabric I had wrapped around the Kahikatea trunk with Harakeke?

Kahikatea trunk wrapped

Here are the results.


P1200837Wool blanket – front – showing the Harakeke (Flax) strapping marks


Reverse of wool blanket that was against the trunk




The cotton I had buried under the Tanekaha tree mulch for eight weeks had been eaten by presumably worms!!


I am not sure if these fabrics will be coloured after rinsing as there has been no heat. Will keep you posted.

I put a brew on of walnuts that had been soaking for about 4 weeks. They were rather smelly when they came to the boil!! This is a merino scarf that I folded in half lengthwise, inserted Gum leaves and wrapped it around a PVC pipe. I like the string marks but will over dye it as its looking a bit pale.


I had a lovely chat to Irene, a spinner and weaver from Auckland who was visiting the Park for the first time after attending the Creative Fibre exhibition in Cambridge. She has done a lot of wool dyeing over the years for weaving and gave me tips on mordants, recommended several books that I had not heard of, and plants worth growing for dyeing ie Madder and Woad, so will research these.

Unfortunately the Sculpture Park closes its gates to the public after 30th June. This is a huge loss of a great asset to the region. The Trust are investigating alternate funding avenues that hopefully come to fruition.

If you are keen to continue visiting you can arrange to purchase an annual pass for $50 per adult. It will also remain open for events.

My three-month residency has been an invaluable and most enjoyable experience. Being surrounded by nature and art in that stunning environment is good for the soul.  I have learnt a lot about plant dyes and a lot more about trees and plants. I have loved chatting to visitors and exposing them to the beauty and simplicity of natural dyes.

I will continue to visit the Park and look forward to observing many more seasonal changes. There are still many more trees I would like to dye with, particularly our natives.


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.