seeing red

The last workshop of the summer with Michele Wipplinger of Earthues,
focused on natural red dyes: cochineal, madder, lac and quebracho red.
Michele brought textiles from around the globe to draw inspiration from.
She always sets a beautiful stage.
even the farm barns got to brag this year.
With a bit of careful suggestion and guidance

students began to express red on cloth.

Some with brush, some with screens and stencils.
Natural red dye pigments and washes
were applied.
Amidst the creativity
it was Old Home Day in Westmoreland
with a grand country parade!
One study in reds started
and finished.
Some pieces went into indigo.
Below the final result from the beginnings above.
Thank you Roxanne Ecklund for sharing photos
of your work…
The morning after class finished
the feel of autumn swept in.
I see a tinge of red in the mist.


pulp clouds

once there was a way
to get back
to the land
and an incredible woman,
papermaker and steward of the land,
took us on a journey
with some tools
some plant stuff from the farm

some shredding

the pressing of the natural creations
we made paper
it was HOT (90 degrees)
and beautiful.
cold cement kept the belly cool
as we splashed in watery pulp vats.
papers sheets.
like flat mid-summer leaves.
milkweed, cedar bark, day lilly, abaca
and more
pressed to board like noses
to the candy store window
and lo…paper for books or special treasures made.
and from Velma, this dear book.
is available here
don’t miss a chance to study with Velma.
and yes, she will be back in 2013

pipe dreams

with a few simple tools,
a few guiding principles,
and her steadfast instruction, Joan Morris
brought the techniques of arashi shibori
[Japanese pole binding] to Long Ridge Farm,
coupled with
three unique indigo dye vats.
the work was so sweet.
poles were wrapped
manipulated and twisted
then dipped in indigo vats
as so desired.
and left to rest under an indigo moon
only to awaken to woad [isatis tinctoria] dips
individual natural indigo vat creations
all arriving at finished work:
twisted on pole
woodgrain variation
time was spent drifting through
raindrops, study, laughter and accomplishment.
magnificent growth.
splendid results.

milk of the moon

a special workshop began today here at the farm.
it’s always serendipity when a class comes together.
and this is a sweet and peaceful gathering.
from California, Kansas, Illinois, Pennsylvania,
New York and New England
the energy to create is focused.
Joan Morris is guiding the group on
arashi shibori techniques
with one very natural hue added
tonight it fills the whole night sky.

have dyepots will travel

Through Vermont I traveled this morning
on long windy roads
and farmlands
past the ravage of Irene’s wrath.
new bridges reuniting towns
so torn apart
to arrive at a fiber oasis
in Proctorsville VT
with a few more than six loose ladies
and a few tricks from my wizard’s wand
I helped them conjure some
great naturally dyed colors
the results were stunning
a bright backdrop to what has been a very
difficult time in their region
it was fun, this is a good place to stop
Six Loose Ladies is open.
Vermont is going to be okay.
come visit.
on my descent into town I stopped to pay a hello to the lovely ladies
in waiting (heifers) at Windyhurst Farm
the farm owners happened to stop by, who I’m pretty darned fond of
and Roger asked
“haven’t you ever seen a cow before?”
with a big smile from him
and I said “yes, but none so pretty as these”
what a fine day for many good ladies

Whose woods these are…

…they came to know.
our fieldwork with India is done and it was a profound experience for each and every one of us.
16 women came to learn and soak in what India offered us.
as the days stitched together so did our relationships with each other.
the weather was perfect.
walks in the woods and fields were part of the course line.
and each glorious morning our first event was to open the bundles from nature we had created
and dyed the day before.
here is just a part of one morning’s presents.
quietly…both alone and perhaps with a walking mate we wandered
the paths on the farm, sometimes to gather windfall, sometimes just for mindfulness
there is a large stand of milkweed in the far field that my husband and I have preserved for 16 years
to help the monarchs in their life cycle
it’s always a joy to find the caterpillars getting ready to make their chrysalis while feeding on the leaves. to learn more about the cycle read here
the days passed, each beginning with opening bundles from the prior days work.

India read us a poem while Luna enjoyed a wild apple

Luna became quite fond of India early on,
in fact she loved the bundle ceremony especially. she couldn’t wait to get
to the workshop each morning!
as bundle sticks fell to the ground on unwrapping she happily took them and chewed on them.
then she would rest

making friends was the running stitch between everyone.

 Kalie offers her paw

we shared stories and conversation

sometimes no words were needed
India fetched more goodness for the dyepots
pieces drying on a fence line after unbundling
a bouquet of St. John’s Wort and a cheerful string of marigold buds
adorn the barn to dry
          a piece of wool dyed with eucalyptus
after dying our small pieces we started to stitch them together to form a visual
memory of our week
contemplative moments
wild clematis along the trails….fragrance to capture your heart
and as our last day waned, we shared our stitched stories in progress, set out on the fencelines.
the colors we gathered from nature showed the coming of autumn; golds, browns,
 some gentle reds and oranges and still tinges of green.
each of us was proud and awestruck.
our farm was made even more precious with India in our midst.
and each of us who came to learn went away with an intense joy and also
sadness that the week was over.
Long Ridge Farm is on India’s wandering list.
a home away from home.
Luna is delighted, as are we.
and yes, she will be back next year to teach.
if interested, sign up on my mailing list for future information as it unbundles!
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