Passage of time ::: India Flint on Lopez Island : part one


Over the [very few] years of learning to naturally dye cloth,
this quote by India Flint has been my ever-faithful sidekick ...
Time is your friend.
Patience, and all that other virtuous stuff, is not easy to lasso when one is
faced with a dyepot full of colorful, unopened bundles that you want to look at  NOW.

The same could be said for the anticipation of special visitors and
what I hadn't realized was this quote would also end up applying to India herself ~
that time would become my friend in quite a different way
when she said, "Yes," to my invitation to teach on Lopez Island ... over


It's been a long and utterly worthwhile wait.

It's taken me a few days since we disbanded to gather thoughts into somewhat of a cohesive order;
how to even begin describing this 'Wayfarer's Windfall Cloth' workshop?
So chock to the brim & overflowing with new inspiration and fresh ideas, my mind's
been in a whirlwind.

Looking back, I think that whirlwind started in the workroom,

as we set to stitching our personal marks almost immediately
accompanied by India's stories - a most entertaining storyteller -
and a bit of music from her phone, amplified by resting it in the interior of that silver pot ...
[try it - it really works!]

Then we walked,
and gathered.

~ our native Pacific madrone tree, bark & leaves (Arbutus menziesii) ready to bundle ~

Collecting windfall from our native plants took on a much deeper meaning for me
in comparison to simply harvesting blossoms out of the flower garden.  It harks back to
the meaning of place, of home,
 of where I've chosen to set down roots.
I wanted to go much deeper in my understanding of local plants and India took us there.
There, and several other exciting places as well.

Extracting color from a dark red hollyhock bloom is a piece of apple pie
compared to some of our natives.  For example, previously stumped in our dye efforts
by the leathery leaves of salal (Gaultheria shallon)
- which grows in abundance in forests and shady areas and is readily available year round - 
we learned new methods of not-so-gently coaxing its color onto cloth.  
We learned to consider the length of time and the amount of heat 
that might be needed for denser materials,
how to experiment with wrapping a bundle to gain the greatest effects 
[an iron-rich rock might be good, or a piece of copper pipe], 
and how to pack the dye pot with all manner of leftovers ... these things, 
combined with the notion to be ever-mindful of the plant material we are working with
[I.D. your plant material ahead of time]
had all of us heading for success.

*An interesting side note to the above is that both madrone & salal are in the Ericaceae family of plants,
the heath family, which might lead one to believe that similar dyeing practices
could be used on heathers to good effect.

This is my old rummage sale aluminum pot, stained from previous dye experiments
with Lac ... but no matter, "It's all good," as India would say.
No harmful mordants were used in the mix of this brew 
so bare hands & a gentle touch [vs. metal tongs]
were perfectly safe for bundle fishing ...

and contributed to expressive dialogue throughout.

Our hard work and careful preparation led to many of these wrapped beauties and
I don't think a single one of us will ever tire of seeing them unfurled
into the most glorious clotheslines ever.

Not to mention the pretty stash of wrapping strings that begins to accumulate ...


Next time, I'll show you where more of these string colors came from,
where our stitching took us,
and some silliness from the workroom.

[ click HERE to read part two ]