Tuesday, September 16, 2014

an invitation

just when you thought i had forgotten you...

i've been dreaming again. big blue dreams. details here

Friday, December 27, 2013

patched, found, and in surprisingly good condition


i've been pondering things archaeological of late so it was somewhat serendipitous that i received news today [via the Mendocino Handspinners and Weavers Guild, thank you!] of a garment found in a retreating glacier

click on the picture to wander to a sequence of images
you'll find the story here


and why have i been thinking about archaeology? it's to do with dyeing...and that often textiles have become dyed by long immersion in lakes and bogs, or in the proximity of metals

so after some research [began in January 2011] i have come up with a small book on a technique that i think may become quite popular [as it brings together bottling of foods with dyeing of cloth]

it's my slightly old-fashioned response to people wanting online workshops.
a book will be useful, if only by candlelight, even when the electricity fails :-)


Tuesday, October 15, 2013

from Marti Weisbrich

Moving to the desert land of New Mexico has presented me with a wonderful opportunity to study the local windfall and learn to use them in the dyepot.  There is a rich tradition in this state from the Native American dyers, the Navajo in particular who use the colors from the land, wild walnut, prickly pear cactus, sagebrush, chokecherry, ironweed, juniper, pinion, etc.  As we drove from Tennessee to New Mexico, I paid close attention to the landscape, moving from the greens of the hills to the browns of the desert.  Takes a close eye to see the myriad colors in a desert landscape. 

After we got settled , I was gifted with an abundance of thrift store cotton cloth from a dear friend. Our rental house came with a little garden,  filled with Spanish broom, lilac bushes, chile peppers, corn and a  grape arbor; all extra  gifts to be put in the dye pot.  Right behind our home, a dusty sandy trail filled with sagebrush, chamisa, desert willow, wild aster and more plants and wildflowers that I will come to know. The smells of the sagebrush, an incredibly expansive sky that changed hourly, wind  that welcomed and at times, fiercely so.  Across  the street, fallen blossoms from more desert willow trees would fly across the street as if they knew I wanted them.

We drove about 60 miles from my home and the land abruptly changes, deeper canyons, the dark green of pinion  trees, brown,  tan, clay, burnt umber, red, mauve all found in the cliffs along the way.

Since dabbling in the dye pots, it has been my custom to stitch a piece of recycled cloth with  the local windfall or from what I could glean from my garden.  Here it seemed especially important to honor this vast and so very different landscape that I have come to love for its ever changing gifts.  In thinking of the difference in just 60 miles, I have made a cloth that I  call Tierra Arriba, Tierra Abajo, the Spanish words for land above, land below.  Finding myself in this place continues to be a gift with long echoes, all the way back to my own roots as an immigrants daughter whose parents came to the  United States from Spain.

Marti Weisbrich

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

of amulets and talismans and curiousity satisfied...

here's a nice link to a beautiful exhibition of boro

and then

Remember the tiny sealed pouch attached to the sleeve of that wonderful old afghan dress?

Jenni Worth has been doing some investigative deconstruction and supplied the following text and images

I did undo the stitching & I did take it back to ask about the writing carefully folded inside & this is the response the person I bought the dress from received when he sent it to a friend for translation.

WOW! how interesting. This looks like an old “Taviz” for sure. Taviz in our culture has its own significance and mystical power and influence on people lives.
Usually week or in-secure people (mostly women) go to muslim scholars or peers (saints) and request to write them a Taviz for their respective problems in lives.
A Taviz has this typical scripts that contains Quranic versus and names of Allah and some prayers. Once it is written it is then kept in the shape of locket around
the neck or can be tied to any other part of the body in a leather case or cloth. People believe that then it protects and helps

I forwarded this to one of my friends in Peshawar today who further showed it one of prominent muslim scholars of the turkoman community there.
According to him this must have been written in olden days as we don’t see such writings among Afghan Mullahs any more. They are more cultures and defined today
but this seem more genuine and authentically written. Let me try to narrate what it means:

The three letters on the very top are the urdu digits meaning “Bismillah hireh man nir Raheem” (I start with the name of Allah the most gracious & merciful)

Meaning Of the first line: These are Quran verses that means: Right Hand of any man or woman who steals should be cut off as a punishment”

Second Line: Not Quran verse but it says: By the power, grace, and barakaat of the immortal and eternal

Third Line: Not Quran verse but it says: By the power, grace and barakaat of the invisible force of strong men

Fourth Line: By the grace & power of Saints and Prophets, the stealer should appear and should never hide

Fifth Line: By the grace & power, barakaat of Hazrat Esa and Moosa

Sixth Line: By Grace & power of Hazrat Ibrahim Ya Allah

Again the 3 digits and in the box the writer of this Taviz calls Allah by saying:

Oh who protects from the evil & who is the most powerful & merciful
Oh who is Living & shall always Live

So I think the pathani who had this dress must have had this Taviz written and kept it tied to her dress so that
no one could steal her belongings or assets from her.

Lastly ---- the script number 2 demonstrates the stamp of the Mullah in the shape of star and on the right he
writes “DAFI OEN” that means Protector / Savor From The Evil Force”

How blessed am l to be carer of such a treasure!
And thankyou 'Star of the East' for your comment. You were absolutely correct about that small bag.

Amulets & talismans from different cultures have long fascinated me. This is one of my favourite treasures which l assume has Buddhist prayers sealed inside.
It is made of leather & metal but I have co-opted the concept & am making my own pieces using fragments of old textiles.
I will take some pics to show some examples & paste them here soon.
Is anyone else doing anything similar?

Jenni Worth

Thursday, August 29, 2013

From Jenni Worth (Summertime resident in Goolwa, South Australia)

I'm about to turn 70 & need to shed 'stuff' not accumulate more   But how to not take home this old afghan dress desperately in need of some TLC?

I did hesitate briefly over a coffee with a friend -who l must say did not encourage me in any way
So I bought it & l love it & am now spending time mending it where necessary for its well-being but mostly just appreciating its beauty & wondering about the life of the woman who once wore it.
The tiny sealed pouch attached to the front of the sleeve is my favourite bit -  so far

Will l be tempted to take a peek inside? Will let you know if l do.
I may hang the dress in my living area & just look it 
but it's also possible bits will find their way onto my 'one face' cloth dolls like India's from the Japanese treasures.

Some details to marvel at

Lining with twisted metal hanging loop

The sleeve medallions are slightly larger than pic
Bodice detail

Sleeve - bodice join.  Can you see the pouch?

The lining

The back. How uncomfortable wearing those underarm beaded bits.
The blessing for me...
I found the dress in a very beautiful rug gallery. The owners travel & source their own stock & they know exactly where each piece comes from & its story.
Some years ago when l was there talking about my passion for old textiles the owner very generously gave me an armful of treasures & l in return made him a doll dressed in some of the bits
He has now asked me if they can have some of my dolls to sell.
mmmmmmmmm YES!

Thanks to all out there who contribute & follow this blog & thanks as always to India for dreaming it up.
I'd love to hear from any gatherers with a desire to develop our group in some way
Happy stitching

ps.  Just realised the dear friend above is also a gatherer -  Shyama from byron bay who I see each year when I'm up north chasing the winter sun

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

fifty shades of brown

Liz Brooke Ward was one of the participants in the "wayfarer's wandercloth" class at Ruskin Mill in August and kindly sent me images of the stitching she had done on her cloth after class had finished

and here's a link to her website

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Subject: Mountain Lake Artists Needed

i received this as forwarded mail...

Dear Artists Friends,
  Something has changed this summer in regards to the class I usually teach at the Mountain Lake Biology Station and instead of teaching students, we would like to host a group of working artists in July. 
   This email is to inquire as to whether you or other artists you know may want to spend time on a mountaintop in central Virginia working independently alongside other artists and scientists in a beautiful and cool, (as in temperature as well as style), natural setting.
   Here is the link to the Mountain Lake Biology Station:
    This artists’ collective at Mountain Lake that I am proposing in this email is a pioneering project.  It has never been done before and its organization maybe a little bumpy.
    What MLBS would like are artists at their station during the summer.  They know scientists work better when artists are around.  This year they established a MLBS visiting artist-in-residence, and their first artist will be Ana Golici.
    Here is a link to some of her work:
    Ana will be in residence during the first 3 weeks of July and we would like to invite other artists to join us at Mountain Lake while she is there.
    Artist could come and stay anytime or all the time during July 1 – 22.  Cost would be $47.50 a day which would included a room in a shared cabin with other adult artists and 3 meals a day at the dining hall.  There would also be one classroom that would serve as a shared studio space with other artists.  Because of the limited studio space, artwork that engages the environment and/or doesn’t require controlled studio space would be best suited for the residency.  In addition, artists whose works cross over into Biology and enjoy creative exchanges with scientists will get more from their time at MLBS.
   Please let me know if you are interested in being a part of this in July, or pass this along to another artists who might.  Once I know there is an interest, I can proceed to how one might go about registering for time and space at MLBS.
Thank you
Megan Marlatt
Artist and Professor of Studio Art
University of Virginia

Megan Marlatt
Professor, Studio Art