D is for...
My wonderful, beautiful, intelligent mother, Dee, died in 2008 in a desert camp in Rajasthan, doing the thing she loved best. She specialised in Islamic textiles from Central Asia. She travelled the world to find out all she could about textiles and instilled a similar passion in me. Her final textile was the paraga, a woven horsehair veil, edged in indigo, worn as a head covering by Islamic women in Central Asia. She tracked down the last remaining gypsy who knew how to weave one and had a lesson in its unique technique.
Do it yourself
I’m reluctant to buy anything new if repairing it myself is an option. When all was creaking and cracking underfoot I came across lead-lined stairs with dome-shaped tacks in an old shopping arcade and managed to track down similar tacks to hammer lead sheets over the holes in my floorboards.
I have an aversion to things being displayed flat on walls or shelves. Domes are a great solution – they come in lots of sizes, make it easy to change the content and are a sculptural form in themselves. Create small realities or dioramas with your finds that are 3D and best viewed from all angles. I like that there’s a direct reference to the history of collecting in these , in that I’m using them in a very similar way to how they would have been used hundreds of years ago. Shop my collection of domes here.
I saw a lookout, which I expect belonged to a builder/surfer on the coast of Washington State, just south of the giant redwood forests. I would rather refer to it as a pirate ship: with its ladders, platforms and flagpole made out of huge driftwood logs and all the way down to the smaller easier-to-pick-up kind. The perfect sea-starched & bleached greys, lightwood feel, soft & smooth edges of driftwood have inspired many a craft project as well as provided a well-deserved Oceanside sit down or wave lookout. A simple solution for what to do with that driftwood you picked up: use as a table runner for harvest decoration and then as a trivet for when the roast chicken and vegetables arrive – yum!
These indigo-dyed toed peasant shoes and the boro on which they sit intrigue me for their anthropological significance, but, more importantly, they also help illustrate one of the many ways to finetune your colour palette. Look at the gradual and natural fading of the dye caused through the wear & tear and you’ll see beautifully graduated shades of indigo. A couple of years ago while traveling in Uzbekistan with my mother, I was lucky enough to go to a natural dying house/factory in Bukhara. We looked into the inky vats and witnessed the indigo dying process and the finishing step of the dyed thread drying in the sunshine.