Monday, 12 May 2014

Ups and Downs

I couldn't resist this little book when I saw it at Tynemouth Station flea market. I loved the colour and design of the cover. To be honest I had forgotten all about it until I was looking for a prop to use as a backdrop.  It made me think of how life is full of ups and downs.
The Story of a Newspaper Boy
Recently I have been feeling rather lost creatively. I feel as if I need a new direction but not sure which way to go.  I have lots of family photographs and letters and would like to create a sketchbook using some of them as a starting point.  My work is always created organically so I will have no final outcome in mind.  
As I walked to my Zumba class this morning I was thinking about how nice it would be to do some simple stitching.  I was running a little bit late but passed the RSPCA charity shop in Whitley Bay.  I did not really have time but something drew me in...  A very serendipitous visit it turned out to be....

As I was examining this a volunteer came over and went into great detail about how old it was, what it was used for, and gave me a demonstration of how it worked. 
I was given India Flint's Eco Colour book as a Christmas gift, I have looked through it a few times but haven't read it properly. One or two of my facebook friends, have been producing some amazing work using eco dyeing and printing.  My friend Marilyn Stephens is one and has been absorbed in it  for a while and has sent me a beautiful piece of her work.   I have been meaning to try eco dyeing but you do have to have a steamer - and there it was at a cost of £4 waiting for me in the RSPCA!  I do think most things happen for a reason, so here we are, a lovely old steamer with two valves to alter the amount of steam and a spout to top it up when the water runs dry.  Mr T thinks we should keep it as our steamer and relegate our modern version for bundling.  So it appears that the decision has been made for me by the purchase of the lovely old steamer.
I have been meaning to work with natural fabrics and stitch for a while so the two may marry together. Whilst searching for some linen I came across a little collection of natural dyeing that I had sampled whilst in the Highlands.  These were created using blackberries, I do love the shade it created. 

So, I have definitely have some new techniques to try over the next few weeks.  Watch this space...... until next time, hope you are all well and looking forward to warmer sunnier days. Jaynex


  1. I think we all feel like this sometimes Jayne and it looks as if you've already had some brilliant ideas to try out. Many years ago (nearly 40!) my mother tried some "eco-dying" and blackberries were one of the things she tried successfully. I collected Yorkshire wool from the fields where we went walking and sent it to her for washing, spinning and dyeing. Then she sent it back to me to knit into clothes for my toddler son!
    Hope that has encouraged you!

  2. Sorry you've been feeling lost Jayne, how fortuitous for you to find the steamer - I'm sure eco-dying will inspire you. I have India Flints books too and have also been meaning to try eco-dying and have been asking Marilyn for advice! love the book - I collect old books for their covers and titles too - creative minds think alike! Christine xxx

  3. What a wonderful find, Jayne, I would have snapped iit ,too !!
    You will be happy with it when starting to eco dye and produce so many amazing fabrics to create with. I`m also feeling a bit lost ,after all the years making dolls, I also have to see where my creative mind brings me, and if I ,like you are helped on the road !! Hugs,Dorthe

  4. Wow, that is amazing. I too have been dabbling in Eco dying, but not so happy with the results as yet. Need to look in to it all more I think. Was actually quite disappointed by the India Flint book, which surprised me!

  5. that is an amazing find,,,the crafting gods are looking after you, dont worry ,,,,those colours are soooooo beautiful i love them,,,have fun xx

  6. Wave to Marilyn next time you talk

  7. It was definitely meant to be, what a lucky find.

  8. I dyed some cotton fabrics a few years ago with a selection of oak galls, walnut husks, leaves and onion skins.... I ended up with buckets soaking on my patio while the plants broke down and did their thing. Spent about a week simmering pots which smelt somewhat of overcooked lentils.....I never knew there were so many gentle shades of brown... caramel, beige, mushroom..... when I was out gathering the oak galls some hipster chap who sat on a bench open mouthed whilest halfway through eating his sandwiches asked me what I was doing and when I told him "I'm picking up oak galls" he looked at me like I was off my rocker. I also used some Woad I was growing in the garden... it's amazing how each time you soak a new piece of fabric the colour becomes less intense until suddenly the cloth comes out a pale, barely there pink.
    What a fantastic find at the charity shop.

  9. beautiful as well as practical. looks like you are enjoying the printing! it is very serendipitous. I am a new recruit to eco-print-love, and as i look at results from around the world, it is interesting to see the different applications.


Thank you for your lovely comments, I really do appreciate them.