walnut magic


The dye pot was waiting for us when we arrived to class. Three days old, filled with simmering walnuts and remnants from dye attempts past. Thick and almost sirupy, ready for the magic to begin.


The walnut pot was of course only one part of the enchantment taking place during the two day long botanical alchemy workshop in Cleveland with dye master and artist extraordinaire India Flint. The class was expertly arranged and organized by Christine Mauersberger, who besides making sure we were well fed and equipped also shared her own useful insights and beautiful stitching. All of my fellow class mates where so talented and energetic. They generously exchanged knowledge, fabric swatches, and plant materials.

My work space.

Walnut marks.

And then there was Ms. India, who made the two days whisk by with lightning speed, while still making sure all of us accomplished many, many things. We learned to wrap cloth directly around the fresh walnuts for amazing colorful patterns. We learned to play with  metal scraps, iron potions, milk paint, and tangerine juice. Her wonderful teachings were carried out with grace, patience, and a great sense of humor.

Magical hands.


The last day we were assigned to make a special piece. Starting out with white on white, layers of cloth stitched together, embellished with thread, fabric scraps, and stitches, lots of stitches, before ending up in the dye bath. The purpose was to create a personal companion piece, that would continue to be enhanced by dye and stitch over time. I am thrilled with the outcome and I will carry my piece along as a reminder of friendship, camaraderie, and the pure joy of making art.

My special piece.


While in Cleveland I also discovered the beautifully curated art museum, the botanical garden, and a great little exhibit of India Flint and Susan Gaylord's work tucked into the midst of the residential neighborhood of Cleveland Heights. And I got to reunite with a wonderful friend from the past. Happy times to be had by all.


Eco printed repurposed book pages by India Flint. © India Flint


Eco printed vintage kimono by India Flint. © India Flint


Spirit book by Susan Gaylord. © Susan Gaylord

weekly bundles no. 4



It is that time of year. Walnut husks are soaking and stewing to coax out their delicious brown color. A couple of dozens of green husks were left to soak for two days, and then boiled for two hours. Only linen and paper went into the pot this time, which means more mocha than dark chocolate hues. I tried a bit of shibori – soy beans wrapped and tied and some pulled running stitches. The fabric received two half-hour sessions in the dye pot, with alternating dips in the alum mordant solution. Then it was left in the dye overnight.





The paper, layered with rust colored dogwood leaves was folded and clamped between two wooden boards. They were left barely simmering in the pot for about 2 hours and then dried overnight. The marks from the leaves, and the dark edges from the dye is just magical. Sigh. I also love how the wood was stained by the walnut color.