Posted by: aquaplusflora | June 13, 2011

Rain, rain, rain…….

It has been very wet and relatively warm here this autumn/winter – much more than ususal and of course when that happens you can expect the unusual

coming out the front door the other day I saw something that looked like a piece of plastic or coral near the black bamboo –

on closer inspection I saw it was a most amazing fungus

this morning I went to see it again and really loved the way its starting to dry out – then I saw some of it’s friends – lots of them had a small beech leaf on top of their caps

then I spied what just might be another “coral” – it was great to find it before it opens

if anyone can identify my “coral” I would love to know what it is

and not much to show on the dyeing front as I have been helping friends with theirs – hopefully they will be happy to have their results posted here some time soon

Posted by: aquaplusflora | May 27, 2011

Pineapple Sage

Pineapple sage (salvia elegans) is probably better known as a natural remedy – it’s leaves are used for a herbal tea for indigestion, heartburn and as a general tonic  but of course I’m more attracted to its beautiful flowers

I put them into a large glass jar, add water and vinegar, put it all in the sun and in no time I have a wonderful dye bath

this merino scarf had a couple of turns in the jar – an initial dip before being bundled and steamed with liquid amber leaves and  again after the leaves had made nice prints –  the heat from the steam had dulled the inital pink and turned it a bit too brown  but another spell in the jar brightened it up

this silk scarf had a dip too – the choisya ternata prints were pretty but overall it looked a bit insipid so an overdye solved that – normally I prefer more subtle colours but I forgot it was in the jar and it was left overnight – its actually quite pretty

the dye works well on yarn too – the leicester was in the jar for about 4 weeks

but the merino was much quicker and only needed a couple of days

I have used the flowers directly on fabric too but thats a story for another day

Posted by: aquaplusflora | May 12, 2011

3 Skirts on the Line

The abundant autumn leaves are providing a great opportunity to embellish simple winter skirts and turn them into things of wonder – there were 3 on the washing line this morning

above are my good Australian friends – grevillea robusta and eucalyptus nicholii providing some particularly good prints (not really autumn leaves but never mind)

 I really love this bottom section of the skirt

the next is a mixed lot including japanese maple, hydrangea, smoke bush and liquidamber in a choisya ternata dye bath

as you can see, they were literally on the line

 here is the third – a mix of pin oak and prunus

whoops – bit too much sun on the top right hand corner but you get the idea

here is what you can see when you look more closely

Posted by: aquaplusflora | April 29, 2011

Pixies in the Dye Pot

For ages I have tried and tried to get good prints from autumn leaves – after many disappointments but determined not give give up

I finally have had success with leaves from a beautiful little stand of Pin Oaks which are now turning the most stunning red

here they are on silk -oh I was so happy

then I remembered I had a pieces of merino tube (perfect for a skirt)

and decided to mix it up with some late prunus leaves

and voila –  a new winter skirt

by now you are probably wondering where do the pixies come in to it –

well when I was ironing the silk and feeling pretty pleased with myself I discovered the dye pot “pixies” had decided to have a bit of a laugh

and had added a little clown –

 just to remind me not to take myself too seriously!

Posted by: aquaplusflora | April 21, 2011

First Camellia

when i opened up the front door this morning and looked out into the garden what joy – the very first camellia flower for this autumn – with all the buds on the bush it looks like there will be more of these beauties over the coming weeks

Posted by: aquaplusflora | April 20, 2011

Solar Energy

I have been using kitchen size jars for my solar dyeing but  decided it was time to get serious when I  came across these 3 ltr jars

the green was a surprise (the colour in the pic is a bit off)

and here they are with their mates waiting to magically become sox!

Posted by: aquaplusflora | April 18, 2011

Bread and Butter on the Line

After another wonderful Dye Day with my friends from the  Nelson Eco Colour Group I came home with lots of bundles and couldn’t wait for them to reveal their secrets – however I did manage to restrain myself for a couple of days and then early one morning I just had to get up and unwrap my “presents”

As you can see they are silk scarves – even though they are my bread and butter work I love them as each one is a unique piece of “nature art”

 I say three cheers for bread and butter as you can imagine my pleasure when I hear

that this one has been bought for a grandmother’s birthday

or that one is for someone’s mother who is undergoing chemo

or that a tourist just had to have one as a reminder of their visit to NZ

and off they go to start a whole new adventure with their new owners

Posted by: aquaplusflora | April 7, 2011

Banksia and Callistemon

Two of my favourite Australians met up in the dye pot the other day



and the duet

want to see the detail – double click on the images


Posted by: aquaplusflora | April 1, 2011

Mixing It Up

Sometimes I love to use a combination of Australian and New Zealand native plants in my work as they represent one aspect of my life – an Australian now living in New Zealand

in this case it is grevillea robusta (I have 4 in my back garden and some may think this a bit excessive given how big they grow)

and griselinia with which I am a bit obsessed at the moment

Posted by: aquaplusflora | March 31, 2011

Faux Ikat

I have always loved ikat fabrics (the pattern is dyed in the warp and then when its woven magically appears) so imagine my surprise when I took this piece out of the dye pot and voila there it was –

I doubt I could have done that intentionally, even if I tried 100 times over

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