My indigo has been sown and is growing happily ready to be planted out at the end of May along with Coreopsis and Weld.
Spring leaves have been steamed in handwoven khadi cotton and prints and last years indigo vat has been revived for some mud resist printing.
I was invited by my friend and Potter Noriko McFarlane to show at her studio at Manor Farm in Stanford in the Vale for Oxfordshire Artsweek. The exhibition opened last Saturday with a stream of people coming through the door and is open until the 11th of May.
Dyeing samples over the past few weeks has led to a pile of successful and less successful pieces, so I have started putting them together to make scarves. On visits to India I fell for the simple utilitarian stitching of the recycling poor. Like Japanese boro, which prolong the life of textiles through layering and mending, kantha work of Bengal, is a tradition, where stories are sewn into cloth, and running stitches embellish pieced together discarded saris. The results are beautiful quilts and shawls.
I have always been impatient and so sewing has always been rushed by machine. Inspired by kantha and Japanese boro work, I decided to try stitching by hand. Very slow to start with, I thought I was doing rather well with my little stitches, until I picked up my favourite kantha stole.
patchwork silk experiments
fine Bengali stitching
I have found stitching quite therapeutic and could actually get quite addicted. My normally restless mind, usually only harnessed by gardening, has been quietened. Focusing on needle and cloth and simple lines of stitches, liberates my perfectionist mind, from over-thinking design and endless self criticism. In my insomniac hours I can now be found stitching, distracted from the usual bombardment of unhelpful thoughts.