Being (t)here with India Flint

At the end of August I had the wonderful experience of attending a workshop with India Flint at “les Soeurs Anglaises”  (lots more photos on their site) in France.

I have long admired India’s work and read her books, but nothing compares with actually being at a workshop with her!  The other attendees were all lovely and we spent the week sewing pieces of fabric together, doing various contemplative exercises, gathering plant material, bundling everything together and putting our treasures into the dye pot.

Then the wait until the next day to see what wonders we unwrapped.

Our first stitched books ready for stuffing with plant material





Out of the dye pot


We used a lot of elderberries and teabags in the dye pots.



My work space with some dyed fabrics


My first book


Altogther a fabulous week, not to be forgotten and I find myself really taking on board the slow, meditative approach to dyeing and stitching.  Allowing the pieces to sit in the dyepot for a couple of days or more without opening them takes some patience!

When I got home, I kept on going, wanting to make some wall hangings.  This is the first completed piece, more to follow.  Once the piece was sewn, I brushed milk over the cotton and linen areas (protein) to facilitate the dye uptake.  This was then placed in a solution of leaves and onion skins which had been left in an aluminium pot for some weeks since the previous session, so that the pot acted as mordant. I added a few more onion skins and within the cloth itself are some elderberries, various leaves from the garden, such as geranium, peony, dahlia.  The top right piece of cloth had previously been dyed with madder.  Finally, once the piece was dry, I embellished with stitching and mother of pearl buttons.  The Autumn leaves are so lovely at the moment that I feel I have to take advantage of them, dyeing more pieces, finishing later.


Finally finished my second hanging:


Here I used several pieces of indigo dyed fabrics as well as some pieces dyed with marigold.  These faded somewhat in the dyeing process, but I like the way they have blended into the piece.  As well as leaves and pieces of green walnut, I added quite a lot of yellow onion skins, both inside the bundle and in the pot.  (Aluminium pot in which I kept the sludge from previous dyeing sessions.)  Fabrics used were cotton, linen, silk and felt.  Everything was stitched before dyeing, i including the, pieces of lace.    Then I added the pearl buttons and hand stitching.

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