Odds and Ends

Hmmm….. It is obviously well past my return to the states, I think jetlag is well and truly past (although it has been a good excuse for some things!), and I am heavily into all the activities that make a full summer.

A week after my return I worked with 161 seventh graders at Batesville Middle School for three days making coiled baskets – they were troopers and most managed to make two or more projects.

Two weeks after that I teamed up with the Southeastern Indiana Tourism Bureau to treat 54 seniors to the joys of making open-twined garlic baskets! Holding the sessions at the Great Crescent Brewery in Aurora made it very manageable – owners Dan and Lani are really sweet about making the space work out.

Since we lost so many trees last year due to the emerald ash borer, our back deck has so much less shade during the day. To make the deck more hospitable, we made a rip-stop nylon sail, 12′ x 12′, to cover a good portion of the deck. It also does a great job shading the hot tub in the morning, too!

Last weekend I was in Indianapolis for the Midwest Weavers Association’s biennial conference held at Butler University. Good connections with some long time friends; relearned ply split braiding and had great fun breaking the rules for it;   spent some time with a good friend who had recently moved to that area. Overall a good trip.

My hot tub buddies helped celebrate the summer solstice this week, but we missed getting to the blueberry farm for fresh berries. That will have to happen another day.

I have had an outdoor installation proposal accepted for the Weavers Guild of Greater Cincinnati’s member exhibit at the Fitton Art Center in Hamilton for the month of August – and I have about a quarter of the work made up so far.

The Mount St. Joseph Art Gallery has an invitational exhibit planned for October of this year and I will be one of the artists. Titled ‘Biophilia’, all the invited artists have a strong connection with the earth in their work. I’ve got two large pieces in play at the moment – one with mudded silk and waxed hand made papers that will be roughly 26′ wide and 9′ high (that looks really cool with light behind it),

and a much smaller cedar  bark and Siberian iris piece. More to do…

 

But the most important work I’ve done is to create an activity book for my grandson Ezra who will be turning one in early July. Made from a trendy short skirt and various other fabrics, it has dangling hearts, hidden pockets, buttons galore and things to do with them, laces and loops and the strangest looking ‘puppet’ thingee from a used onesie, lace, gloves and socks. Hope he has fun with it! (Will post an image after he receives it… just in case his folks see this first!)

And in two days we will have 5 year old Scarlett and her 15 month old brother Elliot here with us for some grandparent time! With luck they will stay till July 4, but we are staying open to schedule changes as we don’t know how the little guy will handle being away from mom.

Need to childproof the house tomorrow!

 

Mud Cloth

Bogolanfini = Mudcloth
Bogo = clay, mud
lan = result of
Fini = cloth

Bogolanfini is a technique historically used by the Bamana women in Mali, West Africa, to dye cloth for important life occasions. The cloth is locally grown, spun and woven cotton – the dyestuff is mud collected from the Niger River – the tannin is from the leaves or bark of several bushes/trees. The finished product is a white symbolic design on a black background.

There are a whole slew of variables that make the process work perfectly in Mali. Those same variables make it difficult, if not impossible, to follow the process exactly anywhere else.

The modified version of bogolanfini that I have devised produces cloth that is similar – in that it uses the color from mud to dye the cloth – but certainly not the same.

There is an ongoing debate about the use of the terms ‘bogolanfini’ vs. ‘mudcloth’ – who should use them and when and why. As she cannot duplicate the process, I refer to my work as mudcloth, leaving bogolanfini to be used by those who practice the original, traditional process.
A bibliography and some links will be listed in the future for you to research the discussion.

In the meantime, enjoy the work that is currently posted! (The first two photos below show original Mali work.)

Lots of …

… irons in the fire, balls in the air, things to do!

Along with getting ready for the new Studio Collection’s Spring Sale 2015 (April 25 at Harmony Hall in Spring Grove Village), I have been prepping for the Western Wildlife Corridor’s Wildflower Show this coming Friday (tomorrow!) evening at Mt. St. Joseph University. Naturally dyed clothing and silk scarves are ready to transport.

Rack of naturally dyed clothing ready for Wildfloer Show.
Rack of naturally dyed clothing ready for Wildflower Show.

And the deadline for submitting work to the Cincinnati Book Arts Association’s annual members’ exhibit at the downtown public library is coming fast, so I’ve been working on a new book. Used the accordion fold of a hot tub filter as the pages…

Side view of the pages of the tub filter book.
Side view of the pages of the tub filter book.
Closer look at one section. Marks made with shoe polish, inks, markers, embroidery threads.
Closer look at one section. Marks made with shoe polish, inks, markers, embroidery threads.

It’s been fun to do!  Now, back to Spring Sale work…

Time …

… at Alice Springs was a blur of activities, people and sights.

After an hour delayed flight from Melbourne, i connected with Janet dB and Phil H. Janet and I did the whole walking tour of the Alice Springs Desert Park – some very interesting displays of birds, nocturnals, plants/flowers and kangaroos.

Phil co-emceed the Eco-Couture Fashion Show Thursday evening that showcased 6 regional artists with their current recycled/reworked clothing. Some very cool work seen in a very cool setting (temps and ambience) as the event was held in the current airplane museum – the actual plane hangar from which they had to push out three small planes while the runway wound under the wings of an old DC3.

Friday dawned cool and sunny and we jumped into Beanie Festival activity early by attending the sponsors’ coffee inside the beanie competition exhibit space. Some wild creations! (See pics below.) And a quick look thru Beanie Central proved to be overwhelming with amount (7,000), color and variety of styles, shapes and sizes.

Janet and I then made our way to downtown Alice Springs, strolled through the mall and hiked to the Pink Botanical Gardens where we had a lovely lunch.

A quick trip back to the Art Centre and I was teaching a random basketry class outsied under the trees. A great group of ladies and they all created wonderful work. We hung around for the official opening of the Festival. Had a deluxe meal (grilled sausage, potato salad and saurkraut all piled into a huge hot dog bun) from one of the outdoor booths.

Saturday was full-on with bookmaking, mudcloth and rust dyeing classes during the day. Phil and I took in the view of Alice just at dusk on top of Anzac Hill, viewing the Macdonald Mountain range that curls around Alice.

Sunday was another busy day with repeats of rust dyeing and bookmaking with the addition of a soft book class. Turns out I have a groupie! One gal came to the Festival just to take classes with me and wound up in three of them. Too funny! Love it, Anne!

A predawn pick-up by a tour bus on Monday heading to Uluru, southwest of Alice Springs. The desert is lush right now due to summer rains and a big storm earlier in the fall. The first large rock formation seen was Mt. Connor which is larger and older than Uluru.

More adventures to come in Uluru!

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Playing around …

… in Melbourne with Anne N and her hubby Tony this past week has been great fun: making books, stitching, planning mudcloth clothing, checking out constuction sites, visiting other basketmakers, having teas, trading stories with neighbors and friends, traveling to the countryside, doing laundry, moving bricks, eating and drinking and watching more TV than I have in a long time. Way too busy to post any blog reports, sorry!

Ann and I motored east to Traralgon today tomspend a couple days with Glenys M before teaching mudcloth thus weekend in Meeniyan. Along the way we stopped in the village of Darnum for a coffee/hot chocolate and delicious piece of honeycomb caramel cake with cream at the local Tearoom. We also drove by the Musical Village just down the road from the Tearoom. Lovely vistas of the valley paddocks. (See pics 1, 2.)

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Glenys toured us around the hillsides to view a brown coal mine and the results of the Churchill Fire that went through about 4 years ago. Blackened tree trunks amid the small blue gums that have been planted to help reforestation. Eleven lives and many homes lost. (See pics 3-5.)

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I was just introduced tonigt to the Australian author and illustrator Shaun Tan – really cool work!