Should you be driving around the Blue Mountains, on the outskirts of Sydney, and you notice women along side the road picking happy little yellow flowers called Coriopsis do go up and say hello. You will have encountered some of the group of women I had the pleasure of doing a 5 day natural dyeing (no jokes please, I’ve heard them all) workshop lead by the enigmatic India Flint.
India has pioneered a way of natural dyeing which is dramatic and a blessing for the environment as there are no polluting chemicals. Her work and techniques touch that part of your soul which clamours for an uncluttered simple life in harmony with the world. No more gushing from me, you can see her work here: http://tinyurl.com/indiaflint .
Hands don’t lie – India’s have been in many pots in many different lands.
The first day began in a scout hall, with tables in a circle and in the middle an amazing array of flowers, leaves, bark, seeds and weeds all collected locally. After a short talk byIndia plants were collected and put in pots to boil and it was down to the business of dyeing.
Over the next few days we fell into a pleasurable routine of opening the previous day’s bundles; more bundling. Plants were taken and added to our circle, pots boiled away with heavenly aromas of eucalyptus and other plants. There was always time for food and copious amounts tea and coffee were consumed.
More than the dyeing, these 5 days gave me something which is lacking in my life at the moment. Bein part of a group of women working together with their hands, whilst speaking about their lives. A spirit of creativity and camaraderie with encouragement and praise, a comforting look when you weren’t happy with the outcome; always ready to lend equipment to the non-sewer (that’s me) and a peaceful, gentle atmosphere with which to dream and create. I think it was Claudia who summed it up best when she said “I feel as if I’ve been on a retreat”.
At the end of the 5 days I took home many beautiful swatches of dyed silk and cotton/linen; dyed silk thread (thank you India, Pam and Jane) with which to sew together all my pieces. More importantly, I went home with a big smile of my face at having made new friends and a peaceful heart.
Thank you ladies for organising such a special workshop. Thank you India for being so generous with your knowledge and teaching us some special little tricks. I will never forget that the invention of string was what propelled mankind to greatness.
To all the ladies that attended, I hope to meet you again over a bubbling pot very soon.