One Sunday last October I attended a wonderful workshop at the artist run exhibition space, Barometer in Paddington. The Memories of Country Aboriginal Shibori workshop was hosted by Eva Nargoodah and her daughter Ivy who are from Fitzroy Crossing in Western Australia, as well as Kirsten Smith from Memories of Country and Alison Muir from Muir and Muir.
I've never done a dye workshop before, and I wanted to do one that involved using Australian Native plants and foliage. Sitting with Eva and Ivy, learning about how they have incorporated this knowledge (which, beautifully, was passed to them from Kirsten) of dyeing into their everyday creative process and expanded it to create their own unique dye pots using bush medicine, was very special.
I made two silk scarves at the workshop, one using freshwater Mangrove Bark and the other using Eucalyptus, along with wrapping them around pieces of rusty iron, steel wool and fresh leaves to create patterns. After letting the cloth bundles sit in the dye pot for a while, we all took them home in small plastic bags and left them to sit in a dark area for another week, before rinsing them out and drying them on the line. They are the most beautiful pieces of silky cloth, I love them and hang them in our room when I'm not wearing them as head scarves...
"Country holds layers of memory – we memorialise our chosen countries using their indigenous dyes and patterns on cloth to reconnect and raise awareness of the history beneath. In remembering we also uncover earlier selves and collective memories from our ancestoral histories." Memories of Country.
Here are some more photographs from the incredible scarves that Eva, Ivy, Kirsten and Alison made, which were available to purchase during the exhibition...
For more information, you can read this article from dyehaus about the dyes, and you can follow Kirsten's creative bush adventures on instagram or facebook. I also met Abi Rae at the workshop, and have loved observing her make & sell her incredible creations via instagram, you can follow her here @leafandcloth. Also check out Global Sisters for beautifully made pieces, enabling women all over the world to become financially independent.