With India Flint
$1500 [Includes $75 lab fee] class limit 16. Jun 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 2018 (2 x Mon, Tue, Wed, Thu, Fri 10am-4pm).
The more frequently I travel, the more I feel the need to refine the objects I travel with, so that I am less encumbered, but more deeply comforted by what I have with me. A wardrobe comprising a skirt, a pair of trousers, a long sleeveless dress, a shorter sleeved dress, a cardigan, a shawl (that doubles as a sarong), and a coat of some kind comprise the foundation. Throw in a scarf, mittens, wool socks (even in New Orleans), and a wool bag that doubles as a hat and you have a versatile collection that can take you almost anywhere when worn in various layers. I also pack a pair of soft, well-worn pyjamas that sometimes sneak into the light of day when I need an extra stratum. A recent and slightly luxurious addition to my kit has been the “mieux mieux,” my adaptation of a muumuu that fell in love with a huipil. This soft silk garment can be worn out to dinner or as a dressing gown, to bed or to the beach. It is one of the simplest of shapes, given a hint of sophistication by the addition of sleeves harvested from a thrift store blouse.
As one who detests polyester airline blankets, finds those supplied on trains too small, and is always looking for a way to personalize the beige ghastliness of a hotel room (and inspired by a simple split shawl I found in Ireland a year ago), I began to look again at the possibilities offered by the outermost layer. Though I am fond of a traditional coat with deep pockets in which to bury my hands, I dreamed of something a little more versatile that could be opened out and re-shaped with a few buttons in order to become a useful blanket, as well as having a few hidden pockets in which passports, notebooks and talismans could be held safely (especially when having to send the garment through countless x-ray machines). I also wanted something I could stitch into while having to wait in line for border crossings, or sitting in the plane waiting for take-off—something that was part of my clothing and didn’t have to be carried separately. Too many small journeycloths have inadvertently gone on independent wanderings of their own, never to be seen again.
Join me for two glorious weeks at Maiwa East, where we will begin by making a soft silk mieux mieux and dyeing it with leaves gathered from the abundant street trees surrounding the studio. Then we will begin to build a wayfinder’s comforter—a soft, layered garment embellished with stitch, leafprints, detachable sleeves, fasteners, and pockets of all kinds. We will harvest pieces from pre-loved garments to create a place to sew found buttons and beads as well as to save the most exquisite of your travelling dye samples. It will be a garment inspired by the ralli quilts of India, the shibusa philosophy of Japan, the thriftiness of my Latvian ancestors, and the countless experiences we have all gathered on the long and winding road.
There will be discussion and experimentation with various easily sourced (or made) mordants with the specific intention of introducing words into the surface of our cloth…and for those whose fingers are too fast to stitch slowly, I’m happy to guide you through an additional journeyclothing project of your choice.
India joins us from Australia.
About India Flint
In 2008, with the publication of her first book, Eco Colour: Botanical Dyes for Beautiful Textiles, India Flint brought a fresh new perspective to an ancient practice and rethought the entire dye process. Her book eloquently champions ecologically sustainable plant-based printing processes to give colour to cloth. When it first arrived on the scene, Eco Colour was both an eye-opener and a game-changer. Since then India has published Second Skin: Choosing and Caring for Textiles and Clothing and five additional titles exploring the connection between dyeing, wandering, cloth, and writing. India’s textiles have been exhibited internationally.
India joins us from Australia.