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Wednesday, 19 March 2014

India Flint Workshop

I'm not usually one to get star-struck, but I have to say I'm super excited to be meeting this lady. India Flint is the guru of natural dyeing techniques, has written beautiful books on the subject and holds highly popular work-shops around the world..... and I'm participating in one this weekend!

The three day "Second Skin" workshop to be held at Beautiful Silks store in Fitzroy is an event I've been looking forward to since I booked nearly a year ago (that's how popular they are) and now it's almost upon us. I just can't wait to see for myself, not just read it from a book, how this woman gets such amazing prints and colours on cloth using nothing but natural/organic materials. I'm hoping what I learn will lend new ideas and direction to my own work.

And of course it will be a pleasure to be surrounded by like-minded folk, swanning around being creative for three whole days!

Here's a link to India Flint's beautiful blog

Monday, 10 March 2014

Scarves for sale!

Today was a bit of a sad day as I packed up my studio and moved everything home. I feel a little like a young adult who's had a stint of independence in a share house, only to return to the family nest soon after because for whatever reason, things didn't work out. Oh well....
The home set-up will happen in stages; the dining room will become work room in the next week (after we've had one last dinner party!) But the dyeing station is already set to go and I've cleared space in the study for storage and shipping bits and pieces.

Just in time really, because I've finally listed some of my very popular scarves in my Etsy shop. These gorgeous silk squares can be worn around the neck or as a head scarf. In fact I was inspired to do these when a friend of mine requested a gift for her mother-in-law who was going through chemotherapy and was looking for something cool and comfortable to cover her head with.

Check them out here...

Saturday, 1 March 2014

A Home For Tandy is homeless!

Well after a very short stint feeling like a real professional artisan with a "studio",  I find myself having to move out of the set-up I been working from since October last year. It's a bit of a blow as this space was perfect beyond description for all my processes, was not too far from my home and cost me almost nothing! Interestingly, my first reaction to the news was a fairly calm one, "something will turn up, it'll all work out, just trust the Universe" I said to myself. After all, I had three months to come up with something and I was maybe a little distracted with starting a new day job.... Now that I have a few short weeks before eviction, that trusting of the Universe has turned to panic, grappling for a solution and a total re-evaluation of what I should even be making!

While there are many studios available to rent in Melbourne, and believe me I have spent many hours online looking at them, two main factors have emerged:

The first is of course, the cost. Even figures that appear reasonable are double what I have been paying, and for an emerging business still yet to pay for itself, it seems difficult to justify.

The second is convenience. I need to find something in a location I'll be happy to travel to and from after work on public transport on week nights and then to drive (and be able to park all day) on weekends. Nothing fitting that description is available.

For a while we looked into building a studio in the backyard. That seemed to be a perfect solution until we realised the cost (way above what would be justifiable, given we don't plan to stay in this house many more years) which brought me back to consideration No 1.

The idea of bringing my whole operation home again was not appealing when I though back to how I was doing things originally. Dyeing on the kitchen stove, rinsing (all those leaves going everywhere) in the laundry, cutting and stitching on the glass-top dining table, threads, fabric, pins and scissors all over the piano.... Not ideal at all!
But what if I changed the home set-up? Dyeing on portable hot-plates on the balcony? Hooking up an outside rinsing area? Replacing the dining furniture with studio cutting table and some storage shelves? Ok so dinner gatherings will have to be bowl meals on the couch or outside in nice weather. And yes, there'll be a textiles studio in our open living/dining area. But that's just the temporary compromise I (and unfortunately my family) will have to make in order to solve the problems of cost and convenience (and maybe I'll be more productive and motivated with my work right there in front of me rather than 20kms away?)

The only thing that will be impossible to do at home is my queen size quilts, which is unfortunate because my whole concept started with that one product idea. But there are many other things I can make with eco-dyed silk, and I can always go back to big quilts in the future when I can justify a studio large enough for my big quilting table. "Adapt and overcome" is a motto often used at my workplace and it's resonating loudly with me right now!

In the meantime, I have a new batch of scarves to launch in the coming weeks...
Here's what happens when you try to photograph silk scarves on slow shutter speed outside on a windy day..... (proper pics to follow)