Christmas 2019

A short post this time, looking back on the past year and forward to the future in 2019! We started the year camping on New Years Eve at Wyanbene Caves, Deua National Park, then sliding down the slippery-slide rocks at Tuross Falls, Wadbilliga National Park.BlogXmas2018post2517-12-31 16.50.54BlogXmas2018post2518-01-01 13.43.41 Summer is Agapanthus time and filled with the deafening noise of cicadas, so I loved this photo of the combination- pure Summer!BlogXmas2018post2518-01-02 08.52.34 We said a temporary goodbye to eldest daughter Jen, back to Berlin and the rugged German Winter,BlogXmas2018post3018-01-03 13.51.24 but welcomed Caroline’s husky puppy, Floki, into the family.BlogXmas20182018-01-21 18.41.36

The long hot days continued into February with swimming at Bithry Inlet,BlogXmas2018post2518-02-14 06.59.27 beautiful roses like William Morris,BlogXmas2018post3018-01-23 14.54.42 and harvest feasts for body and soul!BlogXmas2018post2518-01-31 18.21.06BlogXmas2018post2518-02-06 09.22.08BlogXmas2018post3018-02-10 09.49.15-1In March, we explored Brogo Dam by kayak.BlogXmas2018post4018-03-03 13.01.18-1 The floral extravaganzas continued…,BlogXmas2018post2518-04-03 08.39.26BlogXmas2018post2518-03-11 10.41.43-2 and we had a week’s holiday in Victoria, celebrating my friend’s birthday, viewing the Marimekko exhibition at Bendigo Art GalleryBlogXmas201820%DSCN0487 and visiting many beautiful gardens like The Witches’ Garden and Frogmore Gardens.BlogXmas2018post3018-03-17 17.02.18BlogXmas201820%DSCN0530 April saw the arrival of materials to finally start lining the ceiling of our old shed and evict the possum squatter forever (though he has pushed his way through the gutter wire to squeeze into the cavity between the roof and the new ceiling- all very cosy with the insulation as well!);BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-24BlogXmas2018post5018-04-26 08.24.59 the installation of solar panels on the roof, another longheld desire;BlogXmas2018post2518-04-05 15.13.55 a holiday origami workshop with Zoe;BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-18 (2) and the creation of a beautiful felt cushion and card for my Mum’s birthday and based on my favourite Pinks, which were just starting to come into flower.BlogXmas2018post3018-04-25 12.10.06 By May, we were well and truly into Autumn and the changing of the guard in the foliage of our borrowed landscape and backdrop to our garden.BlogXmas2018post3018-05-12 10.50.48-1 The Little Corellas briefly returned, as well as huge flocks of very hungry King Parrots grazing on the lawn and feasting on tomatoes, cumquats and anything else they could find!BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-48 We visited Picnic Point and Wapengo Lake…BlogXmas2018post2518-05-24 10.02.44BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-168 and explored the top end of Brogo Dam.BlogXmas2018post30%Ross mob ph 024BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-105We did the big trip north with daughter Caroline to visit my Mum in Brisbane in June, a welcome break from the Winter cold and a wonderful opportunity to view the Winter flowers of Mt Annan (Australian natives) and Mt Tomah (South African and Australian Proteacaea family) Botanical Gardens…

BlogXmas2018post2518-06-09 10.09.53 and the camellias of the EG Waterhouse Gardens and Eryldene, the camellia mecca and home of the great man himself.BlogXmas2018post2518-06-11 11.36.55BlogXmas20182016-01-01 01.00.00-134 In the Blue Mountains, we heard the wonderfully haunting strains of a didgeridoo echoing across the valley from Pulpit Rock on our bushwalk in Blackheath.BlogXmas201820%DSCN2422 On our arrival home, Ross started lining the shed ceiling with builder Tony.BlogXmas201820%DSCN1952 July saw lots of activity in the sewing room, making embroidery and crochet rolls, toy mice and rabbits, lady beetle purses and a Mama chook, Henny Penny, with her brood of juggling chickens.BlogXmas2018post2518-07-29 20.51.00BlogXmas2018post2518-07-21 16.41.22BlogXmas2018post2518-08-04 19.00.52 The Winter was bracingly cold, the icy skies filled with snow-laden clouds,BlogXmas2018post2518-07-23 16.53.36 but it didn’t stop Caroline performing at Bodalla Dairy with her biggest fan!2018-07-09 00.30.37 August is hellebore time and the start of the Spring bulbs like these Tête à Tête daffodils.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5345BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5311 A major fire started to the north-east of Bega, its smoke billowing for months with burning back work. BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5146It was also the month of the eclipse and a blood-red moon.BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_5301 Floki turned into a beautiful hound, who is not afraid to take the odd liberty, but with such a complimentary colour scheme, how could I scold him! He also started Caro off on her career as an animal portraitist. It still blows me away that she used pencils!BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_6046BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5317 And our Jen returned from Germany to live back in Australia permanently- at least, we hope so! It is so wonderful having her back!

The garden started to wake up in September with hyacinths, grape hyacinths, daffodils, English primroses and Dutch crocus.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5645BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_5819BlogXmas201820%DSCN3473 All blooms were later than usual, because of the prolonged drought, and we found this phenomenon replicated in the natural environment, when we introduced Jen to one of our favourite walks from Bittangabee Bay to Hegarty’s Bay, expecting to admire the annual Spring wildflower display, which was non-existent!BlogXmas201820%DSCN3667 It is so lovely to finally have some blooms for flower arranging and decorating Caro’s birthday cake.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_5685 By October, Spring had well and truly sprung, starting with the Bearded and Dutch Iris, the former flowering for the first time.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7818BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7772 The intersectional and tree peony blooms were also firsts,BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7797BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_7115 then it was the start of the rose season with Souvenir de la Malmaison in full perfect bloom! How I love this rose, especially when she is behaving!BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_7633 We had a quick trip to Sydney in early October to diagnose Ross’s eye problem- the sight in his left eye had dramatically reduced to 5/30, so we called into Canberra en route to view the Cook and The Pacific exhibition at the National Library and the 60 000 wonderful crocheted and knitted poppies in the lawns of the Australian War Memorial (Honour Their Spirit).IMG_6933 The weather started to warm up in November with a trip to Wonboyn with a visiting friend;BlogXmas201820%DSCN4344 the first blooming of our Shady Lady Waratah;BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_8325 a glut of strawberries;BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_7931 and an explosion of colour in the garden with lavenders, roses and poppies of every description!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8508BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8505BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_8974 I was spoilt for choice with flower arranging!BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9553BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_8729 In preparation for the shed opening in December, there was a final burst of creative activity with my felt cushions,BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9747BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9772 as well as sign writing (Jenny) and publicity for the opening day, which included an open garden tour with Ross and music provided by my two gorgeous girls.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9417BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9441BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9773IMG_9832 Even the shed roses came to the party: Fritz Nobis on the front beside the side doorBlogXmas2018post40%IMG_9447 and Albertine on the frame on the back wall of the shed.BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9538BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_9488 And finally, December with the big shed opening on the Candelo Market Sunday, the 2nd December, a wonderful occasion with lots of positive feedback and good will from over 100 visitors.GTOD9695BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0118BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0091BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9988 The shed looked beautiful with lots of wonderful handmade goodies, flowers, Caroline’s cards and Kirsten’s handmade ceramics and calendula soap balls for sale.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_9983BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0169BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9903 - CopyBlogXmas201820%DSCN4568BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9984 - CopyBlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0184 A tawny frogmouth mum and baby visited the garden for the occasion, while Oliver is a regular fixture.BlogXmas201820%DSCN4580BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0178 The Little Corellas are also back with their huge raucous flyovers waking us up at 5am each morning.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0468IMG_0189 It has been super-busy ever since with a whirlwind visit to the Sydney Eye Hospital for microsurgery to remove numerous eye cancers in his left eye- a legacy of farming days and a salient reminder to all of us to wear sunglasses!

We made the most of the unexpectedly free morning before the operation to visit Nutcote, the beautiful old home of May Gibbs of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie fame, featured recently in the film, Ladies in Black, set in 1959 Sydney.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0449 We are now preparing for Christmas, as well as continuing to open the shed on Sundays. It is such a fun time of year and the blooms reflect it!BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9876BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_9857 We are also loving the dogwood, dahlias, lilies and alstroemeria at the moment.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0054BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0053BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0398BlogXmas2018post40%IMG_0396So, plans for the future?!! Having thoroughly enjoyed the whole process, we will continue to open the shed on Sundays, replenishing handmade items as they are sold, as well as fulfilling a few commissions.BlogXmas2018post50%IMG_0448 I will also be holding hand sewing workshops for children every month. Jen painted the sign and flyers for my workshop too.BlogXmas201820%DSCN4562 Ross will be busy in the garden, building a garden shed and a chook house, as well as re-terracing the future lavender bank and…BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0034maintaining the garden for general enjoyment, garden visitors and my floristry!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_6641 This increased workload will however necessitate restructuring my time next year and alas, I am sorry to say that I will only be posting once a month, if that, in order to be able to fulfill my work obligations. Time is so precious!BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_7286 I have thoroughly enjoyed writing the blog over the past three years, so the journey is not over- more a temporary respite! I loved this quote from Goethe on a sign on the steep staircase leading up to Nutcote from Kurraba Point in Neutral Bay, Sydney.BlogXmas2018post30%IMG_0445Wishing you all a very happy, healthy and safe Christmas and 2019.

All our Love and Best Wishes, Jane and Ross xxxBlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0519BlogXmas2018post25%IMG_0562

Books on Textile History and Culture

This is my final post on reviewing the books in my craft library and it covers the history of textiles; the regional variations throughout the world; and a few specialist books on particular areas (South-East and Central Asia); the spiritual aspects of textiles; and special time periods (Arts and Crafts Textiles). Firstly, two excellent general books on textile history!

Women’s Work: The First 20, 000 Years: Women, Cloth, and Society in Early Times by Elizabeth Wayland Barber 1994

A fascinating book, looking at the history of textiles and the important role of women in its production from the Upper Paleolithic world (40 000 BC to 10 000BC, 5000 BC in some places) through the Neolithic Era; and the Bronze, Copper and Iron Ages to Ancient Egypt and Greece up to 500 BC.

While most textiles are highly perishable, knowledge has been gained from :

Archaeological discoveries:

eg Fossilized string found in Lascaux, France dated to 15 000 BC; and a needle netted linen bag with a stone button from Israel dated 6500 BC, thought to be a ceremonial hat and the world’s oldest preserved clothing;

eg Golden and silver spindles found in Early Bronze Age burial sites  at Alaca Höyük, Central Turkey);

Depictions on ancient artefacts, paintings and pottery:

eg Voluptuous stone Venus figurines wearing string skirts 20 000 years old;  Assyrian clay tablets from 2000 BC in Mesopotamia, recording accounts and letters of entrepreneurial women with their own weaving businesses; Tomb friezes from the Middle Kingdom of Egypt ( 2150 -1800 BC) showing men spinning cord and laundering and women spinning thread and weaving; and the depiction of women weaving together on a warp-weighted loom on a Greek vase from 560 BC, depicted on the book cover);

References in mythology, folk tales and literature:

eg Homer’s Iliad, which describes Hera’s girdle, fashioned with a hundred tassels, and Aphrodite’s special girdle);

Ethnological evidence from traditionally produced textiles and folk costumes:

eg  Mordvin, Walachin, Macedonian and Albanian peasant aprons and skirts; and

 Documented history.

It examines the Neolithic string revolution (snares, nets and cloth); the development of spinning and weaving; the creation of clothing without cutting and wasting precious cloth (togas, chitons, tunics, plaid skirts); the use of textiles as royal gift exchanges; technological developments like the loom; the changing roles of women through history; and everyday life in ancient societies.BlogTextile History40%IMG_0048

5000 Years of Textiles Edited by Jennifer Harris 1993/ 2004

Far less ambitious in scope, covering only 5000 years as opposed to 20 000 years of textile history, this comprehensive book was written by 24 experts in their specialist textile fields and produced by the British Museum Press, in association with the Whitworth Gallery and The Victoria and Albert Museum, showcasing many historical textile items (from the ancient world through to the modern day) in their respective collections.

The introduction discusses the perishability of textiles; early archaeological textile finds from Ancient Egyptian burial tombs (Pharaonic plain linen; Romano-Egyptian decorated wool and linen up to 12 AD; and imported Persian and Syrian silks); felts from the frozen tombs of Central Asian nomadic chieftains; and the clothing of Scandinavian bog bodies; ancient trading routes and their influence on textile design; and the role and function of textiles in society (social rank and status; gender; family lineage and clan identity; symbolism; diplomacy and royal patronage; major life events-births, weddings and funerals; and social, economic and religious functions).

The book is divided into sections:

Survey of the main textile techniques: Weaving; Tapestry; Rug Weaving; Embroidery; Lace making; Dyeing and Printing; Knitting; Netting, Knitting and Crochet; and Felt and Bark Cloth.

Each section describes the history of the technique, the main tools and technological advances, and basic components and techniques and are illustrated by photographs of many historical textiles; production tools and artisans in action; depictions on ancient vases and in ancient manuscripts and paintings; and explanatory diagrams.

Survey of World Textiles:

Ancient World of the Eastern Mediterranean: Fibres and dyes; the earliest textiles and early trade; Ancient Egypt, the Hellenistic Kingdoms of Classical Greece; the Ancient Roman period and Coptic textiles;

Central and Northern Europe: the Stone, Bronze and Iron Age, and the Vikings;

Western Europe: Sicilian and Italian silks (1300 to 1900); Spanish silks (712 AD to early 18th century); French silks (1650 to 1800); Figured linen damasks of the Netherlands (16th to 18th centuries); Tapestry, embroidery, lace and printed textiles;

Central and Eastern Europe (1800-1920);

Greece, the Greek Islands and Albania;

Near and Middle East: Sassanian textiles (Persia); Early Islamic textiles; Byzantine silks; Safavid Iran; the Ottoman Empire; and Palestinian embroidery;

Central Asia : Turkmenistan; Uzbekistan; Tadzhikistan; Kirghizia; Kazakhstan; North-Eastern Iran and Northern Afghanistan;

India and Pakistan and the tribal textiles of Central India;

Carpets of the Middle and Far East;

Far East: China, Japan and South East Asia (Myanmar, Thailand, Laos and Cambodia, the Hill tribes, the Philippines, and Indonesia and Malaysia);

The Americas: Colonial North America (1700s to 1990s); Native North America; Latin America (Pre-Hispanic textiles of Meso-America and South America; Post-conquest and contemporary textiles in Central and South America: Mexico, Guatemala; the Cuna Indians of Panama and South America;

Africa:

North Africa: gold and silk embroidery, wool embroidery, appliqué and weaving; and

Sub-Saharan Africa and offshore islands: West Africa, the equatorial forest, Eastern Africa and Madagascar.

There is a glossary of textile terms and an extensive bibliography at the back of the book for further reading. This is indeed a wonderful summary of world textiles and the only area, which was not covered in great detail was Oceania, although there was brief mention of tapa cloth, made from the bark of the paper mulberry tree in the ‘Felt and Bark Cloth’ chapter of the first section.

Extensively researched, it is quite a scholarly and academic book, whereas the next few books are more a pictorial feast!BlogTextile History40%IMG_0049Textiles: A World Tour: Discovering Traditional Fabrics and Patterns by Catherine Legrand 2008/2012

Illustrated with over 700 wonderful colour photographs of ethnic costumes, sumptuous fabric and tribal people from all over the world, this beautiful book is divided into six main areas:

Vietnam, Laos and Thailand, South-East Asia: Hmong tunics and the skirt of 1000 pleats; indigo blues and batik; embroidery and appliqué; tassels and pompoms; trimmings and ornaments; and baskets and bags;

Orissa, Rajastan and Gujarat, India: Cotton saris; block printing; mud and indigo; mirrorwork embroidery; saris, veils and turbans; jewellery and henna;

Mexico and Guatemala, Central America: Indigo; Mayan skirts; Jaspe; shawls, bundles and bags, wool; Huipil flowers and stripes; green Ixil women; traditional mens’ clothing and Lake Atitlán;

Kuna Archipelago, Panama, Central America: Mola and reverse appliqué;

Maramures and Bukovina, Romania: Peasant blouses; haymaking, spinning and felting; and seasonal activities; and

Benin, West Africa: Indigo and cotton; stars, spots and stripes; wax prints and fancy prints.

This is a fabulous book, not just for textile collectors and historians, but also for travellers, who are interested in remote locations off the beaten track and serves as a wonderful source of inspiration for textile and fashion designers. It is also a wonderful photographic record of cultural differences and practices in a rapidly shrinking and increasingly global world.

I adored the skirt of a thousand pleats, worn by the Flowered Hmong- in fact, it was one of the lusted after-purchases I was talked out of on my first trip to Europe in early married life, which I have always regretted, but which taught me a valuable lesson in sticking to my guns if I really wanted something!!!

I also loved the colourful harlequin appliqué of the Lolo, Vietnam; the Hmong reverse appliqué spiral patterns;  huipil floral embroidery;  the reverse appliqué ‘mola’ of the Kuna women in Panama; and the frilled Romanian peasant blouses and smocks, as well as their wonderful floral embroidery.

All the different styles of ethnic clothing are just so interesting, especially the symbolism behind them and I loved reading about all the processes involved with the production of traditional textiles from harvesting, weaving and garment assembly to dyeing (batik, indigo, block printing, silkscreen, tie-dyeing), embroidery and appliqué.

I learnt about breeding silkworms for silk production, Ikat weaving; the different techniques throughout the world for dyeing with indigo; the huge variation in the symbolic meanings of textiles and a huge number of different ethnic groups, which were new to me like the Ixil women of the Acul region of Guatemala, near Nebaj.

I would love to have written this book and visited all the wonderful locations and peoples! I cannot recommend this gorgeous book highly enough!BlogTextile History40%IMG_0050Another wonderful guide to world textiles is the not surprisingly and very appropriately-titled:

World Textiles: A Visual Guide to Traditional Techniques by John Gillow and Bryan Sentence 1999

It has a different format and approach to the previous book, focusing more on the different types of textiles and techniques rather than their geographical area, making it an excellent companion, which adds to our knowledge of textile history and production.  The display of fabrics from many different areas side by side serves as a basis for comparison and furthering a greater understanding of the techniques involved and an increased awareness of the diversity in stylistic interpretations. Like the previous book, it is also lavishly illustrated with over 778 illustrations, 551 in colour and explanatory diagrams.

The introduction defines textiles and discusses their history, the first fabrics, textile decoration, spinning yarn and traditional textiles.

Chapters include:

Materials: Skin and hide; wool and hair; felt; woollen yarn; cotton; silk; bark; linen; other bast fibres like hibiscus, jute, nettle, ramie, milkweed and hemp; raphia and other leaf fibres like palms, yuccas, agave, rice straw and grass, as well as their function, purpose and use and their production and techniques.

Non-Loom Textiles: Netting, linking and looping; knitting and crochet, including textured and multi-coloured knitting; braids; sprang; macramé; ply-splitting; lace (bobbin and needle lace and tatting); and twining and wrapping;

Loom-Woven Textiles: Tabby weave; twill and tartan; satin weave; tapestry weave; warp-faced and weft-faced weave; damask; supplementary warps and wefts (continuous and discontinuous); brocade; strip weave; double weave; velvet, velveteen, corduroy and other pile cloths; and tablet weaving. I found this chapter particularly interesting and informative, as I have always been a bit mystified by all the different types of woven techniques and did not know much about damask, brocade or velvet production;

Painted and Printed Textiles: Daubed textiles (mud, earth pigments and leaf paints); painted textiles; penwork; woodblock printing (monochrome and polychrome); and stencilling;

Dyes: Substansive and adjective dyes; natural and synthetic aniline dyes; indigo; tie-dye; stitched resist; Rajasthani leheria and mothara; starch-resist (hand and stencilled); wax resist (Chinese knife; Javanese batik canting; and cap printing); mordant techniques (Central Asian woodblock printing; Kalamkari; and Ajrakh); warp and weft Ikat; and compound and double Ikat;

Sewing: Appliqué and reverse appliqué; molas; leather and felt appliqué; braid and ribbon work; patchwork; quilting; padded and stuffed work (stumpwork; Native American whimsies and kalagas from Myanmar);

Embroidery: All the different stitches and their techniques, uses, distribution and variations and styles: Running stitch; satin and surface satin stitches; chain stitch and variations; cross stitch; herringbone stitch; couching and Bokhara couching; blanket, buttonhole and eyelet stitch, French and Pekin knots; drawn-thread and pulled-thread work; needle weaving; whitework; needlepoint; smocking; and tambour work; and finally,

Embellishment and its role and use in social identity; magic and superstition and even just for ornamentation and vanity: Metal thread; mirrors; coins and sequins; shells; bead embroidery and bead weaving; feathers; porcupine quills; ephemera (natural objects including flowers, seeds and insect wings; and magical protection); and fringes and tassels.

There is just so much information in this book and the authors have done a stirling job organising it and making it all comprehensible.

In the back is a glossary of textile terms; lists of further reading on materials; techniques; history and world textiles; and a list of museums and collections, a wonderful source of further knowledge and inspiration! Another book I could not do without!BlogTextile History30%IMG_0051Another interesting book in my craft library, with more personal stories of craftswomen in developing countries is:

In Her Hands: Craftswomen Changing The World by Paola Gianturco and Toby Tuttle 2000

Written in their individual voices and featuring 90 indigenous craftswomen in 28 villages in 12 different countries over four continents, this book examines their daily lives, aspirations, families and communities, craft cooperatives and use of craft to create better futures for themselves and future generations. Along the way, we learn more about their cultures and their different craft and textile traditions and techniques. The text is supported by wonderful photos of the craftswomen and their families;  their villages and environment; and their work and crafts.

Chapters are divided into:

Latin America: Bolivia (knitting); Guatemala (weaving); Peru (pottery and arpillera); and Panama molas;

Eastern Europe: Poland (Flower painting); and Czech Republic (Easter egg painting);

Africa: South Africa (Ndebele beadwork and Zulu basket weaving); and Zimbabwe (Weya artists); and

Asia: Turkey (dollmaking and rug weaving); Indonesia (Floral offerings and batik); Thailand (Hill tribe craftswomen and AIDS project); and India (mirror embroidery).

In the back are suggestions for ways in which the reader can help support and enhance the craftswomen’s efforts to improve their lives.BlogTextile History30%IMG_0047

Next are a few books on the textiles of specific regions, including Central and South-East Asia, both notable for their beautiful textiles.BlogTextile History30%IMG_0044

I have already featured Bright Flowers: Textiles and Ceramics of Central Asia by Christina Sumner and Guy Petherbridge 2004 in my post on traditional embroidery (https://candeloblooms.com/2018/08/21/books-on-hand-embroidery-part-three-traditional-and-contemporary-embroidery/), but another excellent book on the same region is:

Traditional Textiles of Central Asia by Janet Harvey 1996

I have always been fascinated by the history and romance of the Silk Road and the interchange of goods, ideas, peoples and religions between the east and the west along its varying routes and times.

Central Asia covers a large proportion of this area from the Danube River to the Pacific shores, bordered on the north by the forested taiga and to the south by the high plateaux running from the Balkans to Tibet and the Chinese plains. From the first millennium BC to the 4th century AD, luxury goods like spices, gems and silks were transported from the Far East to the  west and were exchanged for fine muslins, woollens and glass from India and Europe to China.

Beautifully coloured silks, fragments of rich tapestry work, embroidery, pile carpets and coarse fabrics in felts and wools over 2000 years old were found in ancient burial sites in the Tarim Basin by Sir Aurel Stein in the early 20th century.

I adore the colourful Kyrgyz shyrdaks (patchwork appliqué felt floor rug) used by Central Asian nomads to furnish their yurts, in fact they formed the basis of my first year major project in my Diploma of Textile Art. (https://candeloblooms.com/2018/07/17/fabulous-felting-books/).

The simplicity and compactness of living in a yurt and the light environmental footprint and interest of travel and different home grounds of the nomadic lifestyle also appeal to me. And I love reading about symbolism and myths and the ceremonial and cultural aspects of different peoples, so this book appealed on so many levels!

It is divided into four different sections:

History and Motifs: Nomads and settled peoples; trade routes; Jenghis Khan and his legacy; decorative motifs; foreign influences; and traditional motifs and their significance;

Materials and Dyes: Wool; silk; cotton; and dye sources and dyeing;

Felts, Weavings and Dress: Nomad felts; nomad, village and urban woven fabrics; looms; flat weaves; knotted pile; decorative finishings; knitting and crochet; cotton weaving; Ikat silk weaving; traditional dress; and bags, covers, hangings and animal trappings; and

Applied Decoration: Embroidery; nomad, village and urban traditions; and block printing and fabric painting.

It is a beautiful book with over 200 colour plates of sumptuous silks and velvets; exquisite embroideries; stunning felts and woollen fabrics; and fine cotton weaves produced throughout the area and lots of fascinating information about the historical background; mythology and symbolism; materials and dyeing, block printing and fabric painting; and nomadic furnishings, culture and daily life. I am sure you will enjoy this book as much as I did!

In the back is a glossary; further reading lists on Central Asian history and textiles; motifs used in textile decoration; materials and dyes; yarn construction; felt; and applied decoration; and a list of museums and galleries.

BlogTextile History30%IMG_0045

Textiles of South-East Asia by Angela Thompson 2007

An equally comprehensive and detailed book, but featuring the rich textile traditions of Thailand, Laos, Myanmar, Vietnam, Cambodia, the Spice islands of Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, this book examines the differences and similarities between the different areas, as well as the historic and mercantile links, which have forged them together. The author compares the costumes, weaving and techniques of each country and discusses the underlying symbolic meanings of their designs, which are woven or imprinted into the cloth.

Chapters include:

Historical Background: From the indigenous neolithic peoples of mainland South-East Asia and the establishment of early cultures; different languages, migrations, political and military alliances and gift exchanges and tributary systems; and the influence of topography and the great river systems; to a brief summary of each country; and a discussion of the influence of international trade, including spices, cotton and silk; European  colonization and expansion; the aftermath of the Second World War; and modern trends.

Symbolism, Pattern and Design: Importance of symbols in denoting rank/ status and allegiance; rites of passage and religion; the prohibition of royal symbols and pattern; a brief discussion of the different religious beliefs and history; mythology (creation myths, island myths and fertility myths); auspicious motifs, magic talismans and protective amulets; the different motifs and their symbolism; other weaving patterns; and the influence of imported designs from India and China.

Costume: Uncut cloth: Variations due to climate and geographical terrains; different methods of draping cloth; depictions on historic sculptures; skirts and loin cloths; court cultures and influences;  the 19th and 20th century wrapped loincloths; island sarongs; religious dress; and the use of fabric lengths in shawls, ceremonial blankets, turbans and head-cloths, bed covers, baby wrappers and carry-cloths, and gift covers, temple hangings and banners.

Costume: Closed Dress: Seamed costume based on fabric widths and shaped dresses defined by cutting and seaming; pleated skirts and long dresses; the influence of migrating tribes from China; the national costumes of the hill tribes and the different areas; the golden triangle;  religious dress and royal costumes; colonial and foreign influences and costume accessories like hats, bags and baby carriers.

Threads and Fibres, Spinning and Dyeing:

Threads and fibres: Their production, source materials, tools and history: Cotton, silk, vegetable and bast fibres: pineapple leaves, agave and bamboo, abaca, ramie, lotus flower threads, kapok, rattan, coconut fibre, and bark cloth; and

Dyes and Dyeing: Natural Dyes made from plants (trees, bark, roots, leaves and flowers) and insects; indigo vat dyes; and synthetic dyes.

Weaving and Loom Types: Basic weaving methods and tools; shuttles and different types of looms; weaving preparation and threading the loom; pattern weaves- types and selection; harnesses and heddles; and tapestry weave methods.

Dye Pattern Methods: Ikat, tie-dye and batik and their regional variations; the use of motifs and patterns in puppets and wall hangings, painted and printed cloths ; and political batik.

Embroidery and Appliqué: Geographical variations and the influence of migrating populations and foreign trade by land and sea; counted and cross-stitch; double running stitch; pattern darning; free stitchery (shaded embroidery; filling stitches; and double-sided and silk embroidery); metal threadwork; quilted and machine work; appliqué and patchwork; reverse appliqué; and the influences of war and persecution.

Beadwork and Bead Embroidery: Bead types and origins: shells, abalone, pearls, seeds, glass, sequins and spangles, silver and gold; application to fabric surfaces; netted beadwork and the incorporation of beads into weaving.

Thread and Fibre Crafts: Plaited and woven braids; tablet weaving; lacework, tatting;  nets and hammocks; and fibre crafts: weaving fibre mats and bedcovers; twining, plaiting and interlacing; bases for lacquer ware; and conical hat making…and

Fringes, Tassels, Pompoms and Feathers: Woven fringes, pompoms and tassels on hats, God’s eyes, tasselled lanterns and feather decorations.

All these books have been fascinating reading and like the others, this one includes a glossary; a bibliography; and lists of craft video films and museums and collections.BlogTextile History30%IMG_0052

And if the two previous books have whetted your appetite for more information about the link between symbolism and textiles, then this next book should be right up your alley!

Amulets: A World of Secret Powers, Charms and Magic by Sheila Paine 2004.

This is a lovely book to dive into at whim, rather than trying to absorb all the information at once! With over 400 colour illustrations, this book is a worldwide look at the wide variety of cultural beliefs, the important role of amulets in protection; magic and superstition; rites of passage; war, sex, fertility and harvest; trade and profit; and all the different types, including goddesses and dolls; fossils and semi-precious stones; silver and coins; buttons, beads and blue; red, white and black; teeth, claws and paws; horns and bones;  birds, feathers and hair; snakes and fearful creatures; water and the moon;  salt, garlic, incense and plants; trees, rags and stitches; tangles and triangles; needles, porcupine quills, iron and bells; numbers and letters; hands and crosses; and saints and the church. So much interesting information!!!BlogTextile History30%IMG_0043My final book explores a particular interest area of mine:

Textiles of the Arts and Crafts Movement by Linda Parry 1988/ 2005

I have always loved and been fascinated by the Arts and Crafts Movement (1880 to 1920) and its emphasis on simplicity, beauty and functionality and the handmade! It looks at the artistic and industrial background to this breakaway style; its ideological tenets and purpose; the evolution of the Arts and Crafts style; textiles in Arts and Crafts exhibitions, as well as their use in the home; and embroiderers and designers, like William Morris and his daughters May and Jenny; Jessie Newberry, Una Taylor and Ann Macbeth; Edward Burne-Jones; CFA Voysey; MH Baillie Scott; Philip Webb; Walter Crane; Selwyn Image; JH Dearle; Lindsay Butterfield and George Haité ; Charles Rennie Mackintosh, George Walton and Jessie M King of the Glasgow School of Art and manufacturers and shops, including Morris and Co.; Turnbull and Stockdale; AH Lee & Sons; Silver Studio; Wardle & Co; Liberty & Co. and many others, all listed in the back of the book. A very comprehensive guide to English textiles (printed and woven fabrics, tapestries and carpets and embroideries and lace) when Britain led the design world!BlogTextile History30%IMG_0042

 

Fabulous Felting Books

I adore felt, not just for its tactile and visual appeal, but also its versatility, its organic nature and its history and romance. In fact, when I was studying a Diploma of Textile Art at Box Hill TAFE, I based my main exhibition piece (postcard format) on the reverse appliqué technique of the Kyrgyz shyrdaks of Central Asia, learning so much about felt and its history in the process!  Here are two photos of my work from that exhibition: BlogFeltBooks50%nov 2010 295BlogCreativity2 20%Reszd2015-10-24 07.41.25I first saw these beautiful appliquéd felt rugs, which are traditionally used to furnish nomadic yurts, at Ada’s Place in Millthorpe, New South Wales, and fell in love with their bright bold colours and symbolism. Here is a photo of Ada (taller) and her sister Kathleen in front of one of their shyrdaks.BlogFeltBooks50%midmay 299Unfortunately, the gallery closed in 2013: https://www.centralwesterndaily.com.au/story/1804338/ada-closes-iconic-millthorpe-gallery/.

You can see more examples of this beautiful craft at:

http://www.feltrugs.co.uk/

and   http://kyrgyzfelt.blogspot.com.au/.

Felt can also be used to make clothing, hats, bags, cushions, flowers and toys and you will see some of my felt creations throughout this post. I have also attended a number of workshops, which I will also describe along the way, but first the books!

 

History

Nomadic Felts by Stephanie Bunn 2010

https://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/dept-seminar-power-felted-cloth-through-time-and-space

I came across anthropologist Stephanie Bunn’s name a number of times during my internet research for my exhibition piece, so this book was a must! In it, she describes the ancient history of felt, its traditional production and use throughout the world and the cultural beliefs and symbolism behind the patterns.

Felt has existed for thousands of years and felt fragments have been found in grave chambers in Çatal Höyük, dated 6500 BC; felted hoods and socks on the Urumchi mummies of the Tarim Basin, China, dated 2000 BC; and appliquéd felt wall hangings, coffin linings, clothing, saddle cloths, blankets and bridles and swan pillows stuffed with deer hair, found in the grave chambers of the Pazyryk Kurgans of the Altai Highlands, Siberia, and dated from 600 to 200 BC.

It has played a central role in the lives of nomads from Central Asia, Mongolia and parts of the Middle East, the lightweight, portable and highly insulating wool being used for tent walls (yurts), floor coverings, decorations, bags and clothing.

After the Medieval period, felt became a well-established tradition in Europe with felt boat caulking and other felt objects from the 9th to 13th Century found at Haithabu on the German-Danish border; British felt hats from the 15th Century; and Scandinavian gloves and socks and Russian valenki (felt boots) from the early 20th Century.

Traditional feltmaking is still practiced by Central Asian and Mongolian nomads, as well as practitioners in Turkey and Iran, while experimentation by contemporary artists is producing some wonderful garments and toys.

This fascinating book looks at its extensive history, the science behind felt and the wide variety of feltmaking techniques and traditions. She particularly focuses on the Turkic and Mongolian feltmakers of Krygyzstan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekitan, Turkmenistan and Xinjiang, as well as Mongolia, Tibet, Bhutan and South-East Asia, and the closely related styles from Afghanistan and the Caucasus: their influences and their belief systems and symbolism. With fabulous photos and illustrations supporting the text, it is such an interesting book, not only for feltmakers and textile enthusiasts, but anyone interested in archaeology and history, anthropology, different cultures and the Silk Road!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-57

Production

If you only have room for one felting book in your library, the following book is an excellent reference guide.

Uniquely Felt: Dozens of Techniques From Fulling and Shaping to Nuno and Cobweb. Includes 46 Creative Projects by Christine White 2007

This highly comprehensive book covers all aspects of felt making.

The introduction defines the different kinds of felt (fulled knitting, wet felting, needle felting, nuno felting, cobweb felting, carved felt and yarn felt); history; suitable fibres; the chemistry behind felting; and the whole process from fleece to felt. It also includes instructions for a simple needle felted ball and a Featured Artist page, an inspiring inclusion, which is found at the end of successive chapters.

The next chapter covers tools: wool; soap; screens; rolling mats; plastic resists; scales; water; templates; and felting machines, as well as notes on designing a studio and  working posture.

Chapter Three introduces beginner projects like making cords (photo below) and spikes; loops and beads; jellyroll trivets; buttons and balls.

Chapter Four: Learning the Basics covers working with roving; making prefelts; wet felting; calculating shrinkage and a Frequently Asked Questions page, as well as projects like place mats and table runners, blankets and cushions.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-92Chapter Five really examines the raw material, wool: where to find it, how to test its feasibility and materiality; making felting samples and the types of fibres and sheep wool, including a swatch gallery. Projects include math mats, place mats, carved coasters, upholstery yardage and a boot tray.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-85After mastering simple 2-D items, developing felters will be keen to try out making 3-D seamless felt, which is the main topic of Chapter Six. Two flat halves are separated by a resist, the fibres at the side being joined in a seam during the felting process. The different types of resists (open/closed) and materials used, seam considerations and shrinkage rate and template size are discussed in detail.

Pillow covers, book covers, slippers and boots, vessels, sculptural objects (like the photo above and below made using an old butter cooler as a resist) and a myriad of creative bags can be produced in this way, not to mention hats, the subject of Chapter Seven, from berets and head-hugging cloches to hoods, wide-brimmed hats, fedoras and some very artistic and creative examples. Hat sizes; making hat templates; using hat blocks, and stiffeners and embellishments are all discussed. Anita Larkin is a sculptor, who uses felt to create some amazing 3-D vessels and objects. https://timelesstextiles.com.au/artist/anita-larkin-2/.

late sept 047Felt can also be very light and airy with the inclusion of silk (Chapter Eight: Nuno Felting) and holes (Chapter Nine: Cobweb Felting). Both chapters include definitions and detailed notes on techniques, as well as projects like scarves and shawls, vests, hats, cushions  and curtains.

My first experience with felting was helping a friend make a raw sheep wool floor rug, using an old bamboo blind as a roller and Chapter Ten on larger projects would have been very useful, though the emphasis of this chapter is really more on making felt garments: tops and vests, tunics and dresses, and skirts, as well as including  notes on garment patterns and templates. Jorie Johnson (http://www.joirae.com/)  makes some beautiful contemporary clothing and is the featured artist in this chapter. Another wonderful felt garment designer is Norwegian artist, May Jacobsen Hvistendahl, whose work can be seen at:  http://www.filtmaker.no/eng/index.html.

It is really fun making felt with others, as it can be a time-consuming process and it’s a great way to bond not only the fibres, but also community and friendship ties, as discussed in the final Chapter Eleven, along with teaching feltmaking, community projects like rugs, felting weird and wonderful creations for theatre, and framing and finishing felt. There is an extensive glossary and list of artists, resources and relevant websites in the back. An excellent book!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-60

It is also well worth joining a felting group like Victorian Feltmakers http://www.vicfelt.org/ or the Feltmakers of WA: http://www.feltwest.org.au and attending a few workshops to master the practical aspects. I belonged to the Victorian Feltmakers and some of the memorable workshops I attended were:

Phyllis Hoffman: Felting a Scarf July 2010 / Felting a Hat August 2010.

BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 051Great fun, as I did these workshops with some of my fellow students from my textile course at Box Hill TAFE. BlogFeltBooks50%late july 2010 029 I was so impressed with my friend Heather’s hat!BlogFeltBooks50%july also 002 Phyllis is a great teacher too! You can find out more about her at: https://www.stonehousegallery.com/phyllis-hoffman.html.

Elizabeth Armstrong: Felt Art Dolls August 2010

Like me, Elizabeth LOVES colour (see her fabrics below) and I absolutely adored this inspirational workshop!BlogFeltBooks50lt 014BlogFeltBooks50lt 017She is so enthusiastic and fun! Here she is behind our workshop dolls. The grey bird dolls are samples of her work.

 

On the first day, we made our material using prefelts, roving, yarn and even chiffon ribbon, then the next day, we had to take a deep breath and cut into our beautiful precious homemade fabric, then assemble and embellish the dolls with embroidery, appliquéd felt pieces and hand-painted faces. Below are photos of my fabric pre- and post-felting.BlogFeltBooks50lt 015BlogFeltBooks50lt 016 I loved my earth goddess Gaia, even though I forgot to sew in a base!BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.40.37BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-98 Elizabeth’s website is: http://elizabeth-armstrong.blogspot.com.au/.

Sue Pearl: Crazy Felt Critters  February 2012

Hailing from the United Kingdom, Sue Pearl gave a workshop at the Victorian Felters and  we were very lucky to be able to attend. My strange alien creature left a bit to be desired, but gave me a feel for creating 3-D toys.BlogFeltBooks50%IMG_9937

Sue’s website is at: http://www.feltbetter.com/. But now,  back to the books…!!!

Felt To Stitch: Creative Felting for Textile Artists by Sheila Smith 2006

Another excellent guide covering similar topics to the previous book: Hand-rolled felting; making prefelts; nuno felting, 3-D hollow forms; cobweb felting and needle-punched felting, but also has a big section on design with detailed discussions on colour, texture, line, shape and pattern.

There are instructions on colour mixing; using acid dyes; rainbow dyeing; making fibre paper; shibori; low-relief designs; using Markal Paintstiks; stencilling and printing. Projects include book covers; bags; cords, toggles and balls.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-58

Felted Bags, Boots and Other Things by Cendrine Armani 2007

Making bags and boots are so well explained in this book with step-by-step notes, supported by excellent colour photographs of all the tools and each stage of each process: Flat felting; felting with a template; mixing colours; cutout motifs and insets; lining bags; inserting magnetised clasps and eyelets, embroidery; and making balls and pendants, and that’s just the first section!

The rest of the book is devoted to 56 bright and colourful projects from pencil cases, pouches and purses to jewellery, felt flowers, slippers and bags. It is certainly a very inspiring and practical book and makes you want to leap out there and start felting!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-69

Felted objects can also be needlefelted using a dry felting process or stitched from flat felt pieces and/ or embroidered, as showcased in the next four books. The first book describes dry felting, which uses felting needles to work wool roving into shapes, while the other three books create flowers and toys from patterns cut out of sheets of wool felt, stitched together and embroidered.BlogFeltBooks2017-08-28 18.04.28Sweet Needle Felts: 25 Projects to Wear, Give and Hug by Jenn Docherty 2008

While I haven’t done much needle felting (it’s a bit too time consuming for me!), it is good to have a book, which describes all the tools and techniques, as well as a number of small projects from flower pins and gumdrop rings to belts, coasters, book covers, purses and toys like the cute ones on the cover. A good book for crafters, who love felt, but don’t want to work with water!!!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-64

Felt Fresh Flowers: 17 Stunning Flowers to Sew and Display by Lynne Farris 2007

A very useful book for the middle of severe Winter, when the garden is fast asleep and nothing much is happening in the way of blooms! We are very lucky here in Australia in that many of our native plants flower in the Winter and our milder warmer climate still allows for the blooming of camellias, violets and Winter honeysuckle. We still get heavy frosts in our garden though, so I am still attracted to the bright colours of the felted flowers in this book, though I am more likely to use them to embellish bags and hats!

Basic tools, materials and techniques are covered before detailed instructions for a range of blooms from African violets, gerberas, geraniums and daffodils to lilies, roses, iris and sunflowers. I particularly liked the tulips, nasturtiums, magnolias and tropical anthuriums!

BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-62

Felties: How To Make 18 Cute and Fuzzy Friends by Nelly Pailloux 2009

A sweet little book on making felt toys. Starting with brief notes on tools, templates, stuffing, sewing and embroidery, it contains patterns for some very cute and obscure creations from the sweet little Babushka Doll, the Mushroom Girl, Sleepy Fox and Pensive Rabbit to the Pirate Mouse, Hoodie Wolf, Retro Alien and Sun-Loving Rat!BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-63

Felt Wee Folk: Enchanting Projects by Salley Mavor 2003

Salley Mavor (https://weefolkstudio.com/) is well-known for her imaginative fairy worlds and creative appliquéd and embroidered felt purses, bags and brooches.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-61

I made my daughter a felt bird purse using one of her patterns.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-04 09.49.18 I also love the appliquéd felt work of artist Renee Harris. See:   http://www.reneeharris.net/Pages/GalleriesMenu.html.

Here are some photos of my felt appliqué work, which you will no doubt recognise from previous posts: OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFeltBooks2517-12-06 08.18.25Steiner education is big on felt for all the same reasons that I love it. It’s a natural organic material, has wonderful colours and texture, is easily worked by children and makes imaginative and creative toys! I recently visited their shop, Winterwood Toys, in Warranwood, Victoria, to check out their beautiful felts.BlogFeltBooks2518-03-19 11.39.05

It is always a wonderful and inspiring experience, as is a digital visit to their website: https://www.winterwoodtoys.com.au/!

BlogFeltBooks2518-03-23 17.16.40They stock wet felting supplies and a huge colour range of hand-dyed and commercially dyed 100 percent pure wool felts (photo above), as well as toys, patterns and kits and books, many of which hail from Germany, the birthplace of Steiner education, as well as the origin of some wonderful felt designers and creations like the toys and Christmas decorations sent to us by our daughter Jen, who has been teaching in Germany for two years.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 19.41.16Here are three felt books, which I have bought from Steiner shops over the years.

Creative Felt: Felting and Making More Toys and Gifts by Angelika Wolk-Gerche 2007/2009

Another good basic guide to felting, but with an emphasis on felting with children and imaginative play, a key tent of Steiner education.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-59 The history of felting, different fibre types, setting up the workplace, preparing the wool, natural dyeing, the basic felting process, creative possibilities (mixing colour, collages and felt pictures, modelling and embroidery) and felting with children are all topics covered in the first section of the book, followed by lots of suggestions for felt projects: Hats and jewellery; slippers and hot water bottle covers; felt envelopes and gift wrap; book covers and treasure pouches; juggling balls; dolls and accessories; toy animals and puppets; and Easter rabbits, seasonal toys and dioramas and Christmas decorations.BlogFeltBooks2016-01-01 01.00.00-112Feltcraft: Making Dolls, Gifts and Toys by Petra Berger 1994/2001  

More Steiner toys and child-oriented projects are included in this book.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-67 They include wooden and felt gnomes, angels, flower children, fairies and dolls, jesters, finger puppets, ducks, butterfly mobiles, snails, dogs and cats, horses, mice and balls, as well as felt pictures and books, jewellery, bookmarks, boxes, egg cosies, purses and cases. Here are some egg cosies and felt toys, made by my children when they were young, as well as some finger puppets.BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.35.35BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.34.43BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-79I love making felt toys and would not be without the next book, which I have used to make camels and pigs for my daughters!

Sew Soft Toys : Using Natural Fibres by Karin Neuschütz 1996/2007

After a brief discussion of sewing with natural fibres, stuffing materials, and tips for sewing and stuffing toys, it gets straight into instructions for the toys themselves: Dogs and cats; mice and rabbits, farmyard animals, marine animals, African animals, and bears, foxes and weasels.BlogFeltBooks2516-01-01 01.00.00-65 They are lovely patterns with excellent clear instructions and illustrations and the toy animals are just so cute! Below are photos of Jen’s camel and Caro’s piglet, which I embroidered as well!:

BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 012 BlogFeltBooks25rly march 2013 014I could easily make every animal in this book! And perhaps over the years I will, gradually recreating my husband’s old family Christmases!BlogFeltBooks2515-10-13 15.06.45Over the years, I have also made embroidered birds and fruit, Christmas angels and dear little felt mice, as seen in the photos below.BlogFeltBooks2015-04-22 08.55.47BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.34.34BlogFeltBooks2015-10-13 14.31.53BlogFeltBooks50%midjune 046BlogFeltBooks3015-04-22 08.56.18 - CopyAK Traditions (https://aktraditions.com/pages/about-us) in Prahan, Melbourne, Victoria, is another source of wonderful Central Asian felt toys, some of them featured in the photos below:BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.41BlogFeltBooks2518-04-28 15.37.19And finally, some of my favourite books for felting inspiration! These books are wonderful and showcase the imaginative work of two contemporary European feltmakers, as well as showing the enormous creative possibilities afforded by felt!

Filz Spiel: The Felted Play by Annette Quentin-Stoll 2010

Annette is a German artist (born 1978), who was introduced to felt in Finland, and she produces the most amazing sculptured hats, bags, costumes, vessels, games, toys and puppets, based on cones and spheres, concertina folds and pleats, elastic structures and even the incorporation of marbles.BlogFeltBooks3016-01-01 01.00.00-70 I just loved her Rainbow Worm, her Dragon and Elephants, her mouse finger puppets, snail and star rings, animal bags and spiky swim hats and seed pod vessels. She has also written three other felt books: Filz Ornament (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzornament/); Filz Experiment (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzexperiment/) and Filz Geschichten (https://www.galeriebuch.de/en/gallery-books/filzgeschichten/).

Gentle Threads: Felts of Judit Pócs

Judit Pócs (born 1976) is a Hungarian artist, whose work I simply adore!  She dyes the raw wool before felting and like the previous artist has a fabulous sense of colour and fun!BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-73 She too makes weird and wonderful sculptured hats, exotic colourful bags and fabulous toys, all featured in this book, as well as in the gallery on her website: http://pocsjuditstudio.hu/gallery2/.

I also own her inspiring video:

Video: On Gentle Threads About Feltmaking by Judit Pócs and István Rittgasser 2007.

It is a wonderful accompaniment to the book and is spoken in Hungarian and English.BlogFeltBooks4016-01-01 01.00.00-72 In it, Judit generously demonstrates the making of a rug, based on the felt origin myth of Noah’s Ark, as well as a scarf, a bag, two of her amazing sculptural hats and a wonderful stylised crested lizard. She makes the magical process of felting all look so easy, even though her work is incredible skilful! There are also delightfully quirky animations and the catchy music of Krulik Zoltán, the founder and leader of Hungarian ethnomusic band Makám (www.makam.hu).

To view stills from  the film, see: http://www.filmkultura.hu/regi/2008/articles/films/szelidszalakon.en.html.

I  will finish with a gallery of my felt cushions, which you will recognise from previous posts.BlogFeltBooks2016-08-22 14.53.46BlogFeltBooks2017-03-28 14.02.24BlogFeltBooks2518-04-25 12.07.18BlogFeltBooks2016-11-15 12.55.50BlogFeltBooks2016-02-23 13.13.36

 

Feature Plant for May: Divine Dianthus

Pinks are one of my favourite flowers, for their wonderful spicy clove-scented perfume; their heritage and history; their butterfly-attracting qualities; and their low maintenance and ease of growth, being heat and drought tolerant with very few pests. While I only have a few varieties in my garden, I would love to grow more, so I thought I would find out a little more about them, hence this post. These are the varieties I grow in my treasure garden: Coconut Sundae; Doris; Valda Wyatt; Sugar Plum and Mrs Sinkins.

Pinks belong to the family Carophyllaceae and the genus Dianthus, whose name originated from two Ancient Greek words: Διός  (Dios) meaning ‘of Zeus’ and  ἀνθός  (anthos)  meaning ‘Flower’, hence its symbolic meaning ‘Flower of the Gods’ or ‘Divine Flower’. Their naming was attributed to the Ancient Greek botanist, Theophrastus, and the flower was extensively grown by the Ancient Greeks and Ancient Romans. In the first century AD, Pliny wrote that the clove carnation was discovered in Spain in the days of Augustus Caesar, when it was used in garlands.

The genus Dianthus contains 300 species, which are mostly native to Europe and Asia (Zones 3 to 9), with a few species extending to North Africa and one species, Dianthus repens, native to arctic North America. The photo below is a pink called Coconut Sundae.BlogDianthus2518-04-10 08.50.43Common names include:

Pinks, the word deriving from the Old English pynken and referring to the fringed edges of the flowers, which look like they have been cut with pinking shears, rather than their colour, which ranges from white, pink, rose, deep red and even a lavender/purple;

Cheddar Pinks (Dianthus gratianopolitanus), after the Cheddar Gorge, England, where pinks have naturalized;

Chinese Pinks or Chinnies (Dianthus chinensis), a low-growing annual, 6 inches high, which has deeply fringed, single scented flowers, which bloom for longer than biennial or perennial pinks;

Clove Pinks, due to the scent; and the delightful name,

Gillyflowers, again due to the scent, their name being a corruption of  ‘le giroflier’, which is the French name for the Clove Tree (Syzgium aromaticum).

Popular in Medieval times for flavouring mulled wines and during the Tudor Period (1485-1603), Dianthus have been extensively bred and hybridized since 1717 to produce thousands of cultivars for use in the garden and floristry, with a wide variety of sizes; shapes; patterns and markings; and colours and shades from white to pink, salmon, yellow and red. Carnations with coloured stripes were very popular in the 17th century, but were soon supplanted by those with different coloured spots, which were called piquettes.

Today, there are more than 30,000 cultivar names registered on the International Dianthus Register, but many of these lasted commercially for only a short time. See: https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/plantsmanship/plant-registration/dianthus-cultivar-registration and https://www.rhs.org.uk/plants/pdfs/plant-register-supplements/dianthus/dianthus32nd.pdf.

They include:

Bizarres (clear ground, marked and flaked with 2 or 3 colours, and categorised according to the dominant colour);

Flakes (clear ground, flaked with one colour);

Selfs (any one shade);

Fancies (varieties not falling into the previous classes, having a yellow or white ground, or mottled, flaked or spotted with various colours) and

Picotees (colours confined to the petal margins).

Over 100 varieties of Dianthus have received the RHS Award of Garden Merit.

Most pinks are short-lived herbaceous perennials, though a few species are annuals, biennials and low sub-shrubs with woody basal stems.

The most common types are:

Carnations Dianthus carophyllus;

Sweet William Dianthus barbatus (biennial);

Perennial Pinks, Dianthus plumarius (Cottage Pinks) from Eastern Europe;

Dianthus deltoides (Maiden Pinks), native to Britain;

Dianthus gratianopolitanus (Cheddar Pinks); and

D. armeria (Grass Pinks or Deptford Pink).

Below is a photo of Valda Wyatt.BlogDianthus20%IMG_1083Description:

Pinks and Carnations

Plants: Tufting or spreading perennials, which form a rounded erect mound or trailing mat, from 6 cm (2.5 inches) to 0.9 metres (3 foot) tall, more commonly up to 0.4 metres (18 inches) high, though Sweet William is a biennial or short-lived perennial up to 60 cm (2 foot) tall. Carnations are not as hardy as their smaller cousins, but have longer stems and grow up to 2 foot high.

Foliage: Opposite; simple; mostly linear and strongly glaucous grey-green to blue-green leaves. Modern pinks have heavier, coarser leaves and stems than older varieties, whose leaves are more finely divided. Carnations have larger thicker leaves, which curl at the tip.

Mule Pinks, which are a cross between Dianthus caryophyllus (carnations) and Dianthus barbatus (Sweet William), have greener leaves, with a more erect growth habit and smaller flowers than carnations. Mule Pinks date back to around 1715 and include Emile Pare, bred in France in 1840 and Napoleon III.BlogDianthus2518-03-01 17.30.32Flowers: Single, semi-double and fully double flowers, ranging in size from less than 2.5 cm to 6.35 cm, all varieties have five petals, a frilled or pinked margins of varying depth and a strong spicy fragrance.

Species Dianthus have a limited colour range from pale to dark pink and blooms are borne singly or in small heads on the top of wiry stems from late Spring and early Summer (their peak blooming time) to Autumn and until the first frosts.

Pinks tend to have smaller, more highly fragrant, white to pink/ maroon flowers, which only flower once in early Summer, while carnation blooms are larger, less fragrant, have a larger colour range and flower perpetually.

There are three types of carnation:

Large Flowered/ Sims: One flower per stem;

Spray: Multiple smaller flowers per stem; and

Dwarf-Flowered Carnations: Several small flowers on one stem.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASweet William  Dianthus barbatus

Native to the Pyrenees and Balkan mountains, Sweet William was introduced into Northern Europe in the 16th century, growing at Hampton Court since 1533, and has become an archetypal cottage garden plant. They are easy to grow and very hardy, but do not like warm, humid Summers. A short-lived perennial, it is normally grown as a biennial, flowering in the second year from Spring to mid-Summer. If they are cut back hard after flowering, they will flower just as well the next year. Colours range from pale pink to a deep black-red. The Latin name ‘barbatus’ means ‘bearded’, referring to the markings around the entrance to the pollen that the flowers carry to entice butterflies and moths to pollinate them. To view an assortment of Sweet Williams, see: http://www.mr-fothergills.co.uk/Flower-Seed/Sweet-William-Single-Mixed.html#.WwylMYpx3IU.

Varieties of Pinks and Carnations

See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dianthus for a list of all the different species, but for gardeners, interested in growing Dianthus, especially heritage varieties, it is well worth looking at: https://www.allwoods.net/. Allwoods Nursery (London Road, Hassocks, West Sussex BN6 9NA;  Phone: 01273 844229) was started in 1910 by Montague Allwood, who crossed oldfashioned hardy clove-scented pinks D. plumarius, and perpetually flowering carnations D. caryophyllus to produce a new race of perpetually-flowering pinks with scented, double flowers, which became known as Dianthus x allwoodii, and were often given Christian names like ‘Doris‘, a salmon-pink bred in 1945. They are the leading Dianthus specialists in the world and stock over 500 different varieties of pinks and carnations, as well as pelargoniums and succulents.

Pinks are divided into four categories:

Long Flowering Garden Pinks (Allwoodii Pinks) : Repeat flowering over at least 8 weeks with a beautiful clove scent, though in some varieties, scent has been sacrificed for flower production. Most have double blooms and come in two sizes, 7.5 to 15 cm (3 to 6 inches) and 25 to 45 cm (10 to 18 inches) tall. eg the slightly perfumed Doris 1945; and  Valda Wyatt 1981.

There are some modern breeders like John Whetman from Whetman Pinks (http://www.whetmanpinks.com/), who have focused their attention on scent, for example, his Devon Cottage Series and Scent First Series, which is long-flowering and highly fragrant and includes Coconut Sundae, seen in the photo below.BlogDianthus2517-11-15 09.27.44Alpine Pinks: Mat-forming perennials, growing to 10 cm (4 inches), which make terrific ground covers, with masses of scented flowers throughout the summer. They are perfect for the rockery or alpine garden. Eg Maiden Pinks Dianthus deltoides; and Alpine Pinks D. alpinus.

BlogDianthus2518-04-12 09.44.44

Laced Garden Pinks: Very popular in Victorian times and deservedly so! These beautiful blooms are quite stunning, having dramatic markings and lacings on the petals, a long flowering period (like the Allwoodii types) and a lovely clove scent.

During the mid-nineteenth century, the weavers of Paisley, Scotland bred Laced Pinks from Dianthus plumarius, producing over 80 new varieties, known as the Paisley Pinks. Only a few types survive.

Some of my favourite Laced Pinks include: Old Velvet https://www.allwoods.net/online-store/Old-Velvet-age-unknown-p83926316; Paisley Gem 1798 Maroon edged white, grown during the Industrial Revolution: https://www.allwoods.net/online-store/Paisley-Gem-1798-p83926296Dad’s Favourite 1800s Semi-double highly scented, white ground laced with velvety maroon. See: https://www.justplants.net/DIANTHUS_dads_favourite/p1363092_6350642.aspx; and Oxford Magic 1998 https://www.allwoods.net/online-store/Oxford-Magic-1998-p83926295. Below is a photo of Valda Wyatt.BlogDianthus2518-03-31 16.30.04-1Heritage and Old World Garden Pinks: Strongly scented evergreen perennials, which form clumps to 45 cm (1.5 feet) of blue-green foliage, with masses of flowers in early to mid summer only. Some examples include:

Mrs Sinkins, bred in 1868 and named for the breeder’s wife, it is white with a green eye;

Cheddar Pink D. gratianopolitanus, a gray-green leaved mat-forming type that blooms once a year. Highly scented, they were so popular with 19th century gardeners that they were collected nearly to extinction. See: https://www.gardenia.net/plant/Dianthus-Gratianopolitanus-Cheddar-Pink.

Carthusian Pink, Dianthus carthusianorum, found growing wild on dry limestone hillsides in southern, central and western Europe and introduced into Britain by the Carthusian monks in 1573. More like Dianthus barbatus, it has a grass-like mound of fine green leaves, tall straight stems and small, flat-headed clusters of seven or eight bright magenta, single, slightly fragrant flowers from Summer till early Autumn, followed by a decorative seedhead. It is best grown from seed. See: https://www.sarahraven.com/flowers/seeds/perennials/dianthus_carthusianorum.htm.

Caesar’s Mantle (Bloodie Pink or Abbotswood) 15th century, a deep carmine pink with a maroon central zone. Increasingly rare.

Pheasants Eye Pre 1600s Semi-double white with dark velvety maroon centre, extending in a thin line around the deeply fringed edge. https://www.selectseeds.com/old-fashioned-pinks/pink_inchmery_plants.aspx. One of the earliest cultivars still available.

Queen of Sheba Early 1600s Single white with delicately traced magenta lacing. See: http://www.sequimrareplants.com/Dianthus%20%27Queen%20of%20Sheba%27.html;

Fountains Abbey Early 1600s. Semi-double bloom similar to Queen of Sheba, but with darker crimson markings;

Sops in Wine Highly clove scented semi-double creamy white blooms with a raspberry eye. See: https://www.allwoods.net/online-store/Sops-in-Wine-age-unknown-p83926326. Please note that there is another type grown under this name and sold by many UK nurseries, which looks totally different. See: http://www.sequimrareplants.com/Dianthus%20%27Sops%20in%20Wine%27.html.

Fimbriata 17th Century Ivory double white;

Painted Lady 1700 Heavily scented compact lilac pink flowers with a deeper centre. See: https://www.allwoods.net/online-store/Painted-Lady-1700-p83926317.

Cockenzie Pink/ Montrose Pink 1720 Semi-double heavily-fringed dark carmine pink with a darker damson pink central eye. See: https://www.allwoods.net/online-store/Cockenzie-Pink-1720-p83926301;

Inchmery 1800  Shell pink flat double strongly-perfumed blooms. See: https://www.selectseeds.com/old-fashioned-pinks/pink_inchmery_plants.aspx.

BlogDianthus2518-04-12 09.44.54

Carnations are divided  into two categories:

Border Carnations: Hardy garden carnations, which do not require a heated greenhouse. They have a wide range of colour combinations and a heady perfume, but only a short flowering season (late Spring to mid-Summer) and are no longer grown commercially.

Perpetual Flowering or Greenhouse Carnations: Often used for exhibition purposes, they are grown in greenhouses or polytunnels or outside in the Summer only. They are generally not winter hardy in the garden, as they don’t like to be too wet and cold at the same time, so it is advisable to bring them into a greenhouse or conservatory end September / October and keep over winter inside. If they are kept at 7 degrees Celsius, they will flower in winter as well as during the summer.

Most are scentless, but some of the older varieties like Malmaison carnations and other old greenhouse varieties are scented, though they flower less frequently. Malmaison carnations, which grow to 70 cm (4.5 foot), are derived from the variety ‘Souvenir de la Malmaison’, and have an  intense clove fragrance.

Below is a photo of a new favourite pink in my garden: Sugar Plum, bred by Whetmans Pinks.BlogDianthus3018-04-04 13.48.26-1For Australian gardeners, read: http://www.pennywoodward.com.au/dianthus-gillyflowers-carnations-pinks-sweet-williams-picotees-selfs-and-fancies/. The main sources for Dianthus appear to be: Lambley’s Nursery, Victoria, which grows 50 different cultivars in their Dianthus Walk and is in full bloom in November. See: https://lambley.com.au/search/content/Dianthus and Woodbridge Nursery, Tasmania: https://www.woodbridgenursery.com.au/search?orderby=position&orderway=desc&search_query=Dianthus.

Dianthus seed is available from: Swallowtail Garden Seeds, United States: https://www.swallowtailgardenseeds.com/perennials/dianthus.html; and in Australia: Australian Seedshttps://australianseed.com.au/search?type=product&q=Dianthus*.

Cultivation:

Full Sun, at least 6 hours a day. Dianthus love clean air and open skies and perish in polluted conditions or when grown in the shade of overhanging trees. Scottish weavers, who bred and named 3,000 laced pinks in the 18th and 19th century, lost most of  their plants, when the air quality deteriorated in the Industrial Revolution.

Light well-drained moist soil, though they will tolerate poorer soils. Drainage is important, as they will develop stem rot in water-logged soils, so if your soil is heavy clay, they are better grown in pots or raised beds. Only water one a week at most, otherwise the foliage will yellow. Be careful with using mulch to suppress weeds and avoid crowding the crown (top of the roots) or stem rot will occur.

Soil pH: Neutral to slightly alkaline. 6.75 is ideal. Soil alkalinity can be increased with the addition of dolomitic limestone or fire ash.

Feeding: Dianthus are light feeders and only need an occasional feed (a shovel of compost in the soil once a year), as well as a light annual dressing of dolomite lime to prevent the centre of the clumps dying out. Even the perennial pinks are short-lived, so they will need renewing every 3 to 4 years. It is worth taking a few cuttings every year to ensure the survival of your plants over Winter.

Otherwise, they are very low-maintenance, only requiring deadheading after flowering to promote reblooming. There are few pests and diseases. Spider mite can be a problem during hot dry weather for Sweet William and carnations, while the latter and Dianthus chinensis and hybrids can be susceptible to thrips and aphids as well, but the old-fashioned pinks are pretty hardy and healthy.BlogDianthus2017-10-15 07.21.29Propagation:

By seed, cuttings or layering.

Cuttings: Two methods:

Pulling a leafy stem with a heel and cutting off any buds; or

Cutting a 5 to 7.5 cm non-flowering stem just below the node.

Insert the cutting into a 50/50 mix of grit and compost or sharp sand and peat or merely damp horticultural sand and place the seed tray or pot in the shade, keeping the cuttings damp.

New plants will form at six to eight weeks and can be planted out in a well-drained open position in Autumn for flowering the following season or kept in the greenhouse over Winter and planted out after the last frost.

When planting, make sure the crown (top of the root structure) is level with the soil surface and never bury any of the stems.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUses:

Garden

Low perennial borders; Potted displays; Rockeries and alpine troughs; Heirloom cottage gardens; Cutting gardens; and Butterfly and hummingbird gardens.

Dianthus are the food plants for the larvae of some Lepidoptera species, including Cabbage Moths; Double-striped Pugs; Large Yellow Underwings; and the Lychnis, as well as three species of Coleophora: C. dianthi; C. diantivora; and C. musculella, which feeds exclusively on Dianthus superbus.

They are also deer-resistant, but unfortunately not rabbit-resistant!

Floristry

Dianthus, with its naming as ‘Flower of the Gods’, has a long history of use in floristry, with carnations also known as the Flower of Love. There are around 300 species, however there are only 50 to 60 types commercially grown for cut flowers. Their flower meanings vary with colour:

Light Red: Admiration

Dark Red:  Love and Affection

White: Purity of Love and Good Luck

Pink: Gratitude

Purple: Capriciousness

Yellow Disappointment and Rejection

Striped: Regret and Refusal.

While often used for Mother’s Day and funerals, carnations have also been used for other significant days. A red carnation is a symbol of socialism and the labour movement, commonly worn at demonstrations like International Worker’s Day (May Day) and was worn in the 1974 coup d’etat of the Estado Novo regime in Portugal, while a green carnation was seen as a symbol of homosexuality in the early 20th century, but are now used for St Patrick’s Day.

These days, carnations are often grown under glass, with Colombia being the largest producer in the world.

Pinks are often used in nosegays and tussie-mussies.

When buying carnations, look for bunches with clean, undamaged petals, which are not curling inwards. Sims and sprays are sold half-open; Chinnies (D. chinensis) and Sweet William more open, the latter when one quarter to one half of the flowers are open.

Recut 2 to 3 cm from the stem ends on the diagonal just above the node, strip any leaves which would be underwater and use preservative in the vase water. They should last 2 to 3 weeks, so long as the water and preservative are changed every 3 to 4 days. Wear gloves when handling as the sap from the stem is poisonous.

To dry them, either hang the flowers in bunches or pull the petals from the flower head and spread over brown paper.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERACulinary: The flowers can be used fresh in salads and desserts or candied, with or without the slightly bitter white heel of the petals removed, and as a flavouring in syrups, cordials, vinegars, liqueurs and mulled wine. In medieval times, when cloves were expensive, wines and possets were often flavoured with clove-scented gillyflowers. They can also be frozen into ice cubes and added to your favourite drink, or stirred into desserts such as fruit jellies, ice-cream, mousse, soufflés, custard and cakes. Once dried, petals can also be added to sugar to sweetly scent it.

Aromatic: The dried petals can be added to potpourris and scented laundry sachets. Flowers can also be used in perfumery. Carnation oil is used in beauty products to moisturize skin, minimize wrinkles and treat skin conditions.

Medicinal:  Carnation tea has been used to reduce stress, relieve tension and restore energy; reduce fever; and treat stomach aches, heartburn and flatulence. Chinese Pinks D. chinensis have been used in Chinese herbal medicine for over 2000 years.

I have learnt so much about pinks during my research for this post and look forward to expanding my collection! For other devotees of pinks and carnations, another wonderful site is: http://www.britishnationalcarnationsociety.co.uk.

I am finishing with my latest cushion cover design, inspired by the beautiful clove pink varieties described in this post and all available from Allwoods Nursery, except when otherwise specified. From left to right and top to bottom: Plumarius (age unknown); Sugar Plum (Whetman Pinks Scent First series); Coconut Sundae (also Whetman Pinks Scent First series); Anders Melody 2010; Gran’s Favourite 1966; Old Velvet (very old- age unknown); Dad’s Favourite 1800; Fair Folly 1700; and Kesteven Kirkstead 1988. BlogDianthus2518-04-14 12.42.10I  am giving it to my Mum for her birthday, complete with a card identifying all the different varieties depicted in their position on the cushion.BlogDianthus2016-01-01 01.00.00-14 (2)Please note that their depiction on my felt cushion were not supposed to be, and definitely are not, photographically accurate representations! The photos were more a starting point for design, hence the depiction of Plumarius and the even more absract representations of Coconut Sundae; Gran’s Favourite and Dad’s Favourite! I loved stitching their beautiful pinked forms. The only thing missing is the scent!BlogDianthus2016-01-01 01.00.00-12 (2)Next week, I am featuring my favourite calligraphy books.

Oldhouseintheshires

 

The Festive Season 2017

It has been a wonderful festive season with the return of my daughter from Berlin for three weeks and long-awaited visits from old friends to relaxing lunches and beach trips on the warmer days, as well as plentiful rain, resulting in a blowsy overgrown garden, full of colour!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-15 17.43.06BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 08.39.13OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA While the roses are taking a break, except for the wonderfully generous Archiduc Joseph, the sunflower patch has been prolific and the honeysuckle has scaled the side fence.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 09.10.54OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe self-seeded pumpkin, tree dahlia and tree salvia are also heading to the heavens, the latter never missing a beat after its transplantation from the Moon Bed, and a remnant kiwi fruit vine hitching a ride on the tree dahlia!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.44.18BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.42.31Here is a sample of the plants in bloom this Summer:

Roses:

Left to Right and Top to Bottom:

Heritage, Archiduc Joseph (2 photos), Ice Girl, William Morris and The Children’s Rose:

White: Gardenias; Hydrangeas; and Madonna Lilies:

Purples and Pinks: Buddleias, Poppies, Hydrangeas, Geraniums, Bergamot and Dahlias;

Golds and Reds: Dahlias and Calendulas; Meadow Lea Dahlia and Gladioli; Ladybird Poppies and Alstroemeria; Red Dahlia and Pomegranate; and Sunflowers.

Hopefully, the flowers of the pomegranate will develop into fruit! We have had a wonderful fruit season with raspberries for breakfast every morning and now strawberries and plums.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.45.47BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.02.43BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 13.00.44BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-29 11.37.43We have also been harvesting the chamomile flowers daily to dry for a relaxing tea.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-02 15.07.20BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.46.22 We only just caught the wild plums (photo above) in time after a mini-raid by a party of hungry Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos and are now watching the ripening of the purple plums with eagle eyes, in case they suffer the same fate!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-12 08.55.19 We are similarly vigilant with the apples (third photo), though the cockatoos have not yet discovered our Golden Hornet crab apples (first and second photos).BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-21 11.42.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.09.18OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA The Elder tree (Sambucus) is also growing fast and has blossomed for the first time. I look forward to using the flowers in future years to make elderflower cordial!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.44.36Here are some photos of the local inhabitants of the garden:

A blue-tongued lizard sunbaking; a butterfly resting and another butterfly feasting on a buddleia flower; and a happy snail exploring after rain :BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 09.42.27BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 08.53.00BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-08 15.42.58BlogFestiveSeason5017-12-02 13.02.37And the birds: Huge flocks of very noisy Little Corellas (photos 1 and 2), who wake us up every morning at 5 am (!); and a pair of Crimson Rosellas, grazing in the Soho Bed:OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABlogFestiveSeason2517-12-23 18.04.09OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWith all the wonderful colour in the garden, I have been spoilt for choice and have revelled in making beautiful bouquets for the house! Here is a bucket of freshly-cut blooms, ready for arranging!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 07.48.37From simple blue agapanthus to a single rose bloom (Lucetta):

Soft Pinks and Purples:BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.11.46BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.00.16BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-20 07.55.54And bright golds, oranges, reds and purples: BlogFestiveSeason2517-11-30 11.22.09BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 14.28.15BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-07 09.43.54BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-09 16.20.39-4BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-16 15.01.40To the vibrant colours of the Christmas table:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.41.30BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-24 08.12.18Other creative pursuits included home-made Christmas gifts: a spectacle case for my Mum:BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-13 08.46.18 and a table runner for my friend Heather to compliment the set of Russian vintage wooden folk art spoons, which I found for her!BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-04 17.35.51 We have also been loving the musical sessions with both my daughters, who are keen musicians and composers. Here is a photo of my youngest Caro playing at Bodalla Dairy.BlogFestiveSeason2517-12-10 14.31.30I will finish with a photo of our beautiful Christmas Tree!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas and enjoy your New Year!

The Autumn Garden

It has been a beautiful Autumn with good rain early in March; a superb display of colour with the deciduous foliage from April to late May and long-lasting zinnias, dahlias and salvias, as well as a repeat-flush of roses; and lots of gardening activities, creative pursuits and local exploratory trips!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-17 11.35.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 11.44.40BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 14.34.52BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1019BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-28 11.58.13BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-10 12.50.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.07.56BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.07.30Autumn vies with Spring in my affections. The weather is much more stable, though is tempered by the knowledge of the impending Winter, only to be assuaged by the parade of brilliant deciduous colour, as each tree prepares for its Winter dormancy.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.08.01BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.51BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 10.01.18BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.52.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.59.43BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-20 16.12.47 The verandah is such a vantage point, the backdrop changing daily.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 17.16.16BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 10.23.52BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 10.37.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-26 18.02.13BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-19 09.47.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 10.07.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 10.25.17BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 18.59.23The zinnias and dahlias lasted well into late May, having been touched up by a few early frosts, and Ross has finally put them to bed with a good layer of protective mulch.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0199BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 11.06.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-30 18.53.29BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-25 11.50.02The roses have taken centre stage again with a wonderful Autumn flush. These photos were all taken this Autumn. I have organised them into their separate beds:

Soho Bed:

Top Row: Left to Right: Just Joey; Fair Bianca; LD Braithwaite and Alnwyck.

Bottom Row: Left to Right: The Childrens’ Rose; Mr Lincoln; Eglantyne and Icegirl.

Moon Bed

Top Row: Left to Right: Golden Celebration; Heritage; Windermere; William Morris

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Lucetta; Jude the Obscure; William Morris; and Troilus

Main Pergola

Top Row: Left to Right: Mme Alfred Carrière and Adam

Bottom Row: Left to Right: an older Adam bloom and Souvenir de la Malmaison

Hybrid Musk Hedge : Left-hand side : White Roses

Top Row: Left to Right: Autumn Delight and Penelope

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Penelope and Tea rose Sombreuil on arch.

Right-hand Side: Pink Roses

Left to Right: Cornelia on arch; Stanwell Perpetual and Mutabilis

Rugosa Hedge

Left to Right: Fru Dagmar Hastrup and Mme Georges Bruant

House

Left to Right: Cécile Brünner first two roses and Mrs Herbert Stevens

Shed

Top Row: Left to Right: Viridiflora and Archiduc Joseph

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Archiduc Joseph and Countess Bertha

I have organised the rest of the garden blooms by colour:

Blue :

Top Row: Left to Right: Wild Petunia, Ruellia humilis; Violet; Pasque Flower, Pulsatilla;

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Poor Man’s Lavender Plectranthus neochilus; Plumbago; and Hydrangea

Green :

Top Row: Left to Right: Tree Dahlia buds and Elkhorn Fern

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Rosebud Salvia new bud and Bells of Ireland, Molucella

Orange, Gold and Yellow :

Top Row: Left to Right: Paris Daisy with Salvia, Indigo Spires; Woodbine; and Paris Daisy

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Hill Banksia, Banksia collina; slightly older bud of Rosebud Salvia; and Orange Canna Lily

Pink :

Top Row: Left to Right: Fuchsia; Salvia; Christmas Pride, Ruellia macrantha;

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Rosebud Salvia, Salvia involucrata; Christmas Pride; Pink ‘Doris’

Red :

Top Row: Left to Right: Grevilleas Lady O and Fireworks; and Salvia ‘Lipstick’

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Grevillea Lady O; Echeveria and Azalea Dogwood Red

Purple :

Top Row: Left to Right: Mexican Heather, Cuphea hyssopifolia; Cigar Flower, Cuphea ignea

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Dames’ Rocket, Hesperis matronalis, and Violet

White :

Top Row: Left to Right: Nerines; Honeysuckle; Strawberry flowers and first of the Paper White Ziva jonquils for the season!

Bottom Row: Left to Right: Autumn Crocus; Windflower; Tea, Camellia sinensis; and Viburnum opulus – an out-of-season bloom.

We have been very busy and productive in the garden, gradually crossing jobs off the list! Weeding is a constant in the Soho and Moon Beds, as well as around the feet of all the shrub roses and bulb patches.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 13.25.16 We have just dug up either side of the shed garden path, so the shed roses are now in garden beds and we planted out many of the potted cuttings, which we took from my sister’s garden at Glenrock. All are doing well!BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1186BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1237We also made two arches out of old gate weld mesh, one leading into the future chook yard and supporting Cornelia (photo 2) and Sombreuil (photo 3);BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 18.04.14BlogHybridMusksReszd2016-11-10 09.19.26BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0877 and the other on the corner of the shed, with Reve d’Or (photo 3) and Alister Stella Grey (photo 4) either side.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 15.33.44BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 10.27.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 18.58.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.13.31 Ross defined the edges of the vegetable beds with old recycled fence palings and planted out young vegetable seedlings, which he then mulched. We are really enjoying their Winter crop in our salads at lunchtime.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0277BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0274From front to back in the photos below: red and green mignonette lettuce; spring onions; broccoli; spinach; cos lettuce and kale. BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 19.07.15BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-24 19.24.20 We harvested the pumpkins, which again engulfed the compost heap, zinnia bed and maple tree, as well as the last of the tomatoes, making 3 bottles of green tomato chutney.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 13.43.42BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-05 11.44.26 We also have plenty of late Autumn fruit, now that the bats have gone, though I suspect our citrus is fairly safe anyway!  Unfortunately, the figs did not ripen in time, but the Golden Hornet crabapples have lasted well on the tree.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0879BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.15.23 All the new citrus are growing madly  and bearing fruit – the lime (photo 1) has a particularly fine crop and the lemonade (photo 2) is also bearing well.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-15 18.09.05BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.33.13 The cumquats have been an absolute picture, both in full blossom and fruit.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0773BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0774BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0778BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-11 17.12.41We picked 6 Kg of fruit to make into cumquat marmalade and there was still fruit left!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.28.35BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.28.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.46.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 18.46.48The loquat trees were in full bloom for weeks,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1241 attracting huge noisy parties of rainbow lorikeets,BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 10.54.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-28 14.30.57 which then went on to eat the Duranta berries, along with the Crimson RosellasBlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.33.53BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.34.29 and huge flocks of King Parrots.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.57.37BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.33.04BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.30.07BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.28.57BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.01.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 10.59.33 Up until early May, we had even larger flocks of screeching Little Corellas in the thousands, gathering in the trees, recently vacated by the bats,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0518BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0642 then flying off en masse right on dark to their roosting trees to the north,BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 08.51.21-2BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-03 19.44.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 19.54.50BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1253 occasionally accompanied by the odd Galah!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-30 18.46.46BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0807 We have enjoyed flyovers by the local Gang-Gangs (photos below) and Yellow-Tailed Black Cockatoos. We even had a rare flypass by a Red-Tailed Black Cockatoo, en route to the local mountain forests. BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-31 19.08.34BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.20.25Other exciting glimpses included three Dollar Birds (photos 1 and 2) and a Figbird (photo 3), both Summer migrants, normally found further north.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0116BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0090BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 18.16.41 Other larger birds in our garden at the moment include very quiet Australian Magpies (photo 6), a pair of courting Australian Ravens (photo 2), a Grey Butcherbird (photo 3), Pied Currawongs (photo 5), Spotted Turtle Doves (photo 4) and our Blackbirds (photo 1), which have been on holiday and have just returned.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 11.40.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-04 14.53.01BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-23 12.07.56BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-13 17.29.54BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-14 14.37.25BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 17.46.44 And our littlies: the Eastern Spinebills (photos 1 and 2), Silvereyes (photo 3) and Double-barred Finches (photo 4).BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-23 11.54.46BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-07 14.54.51BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0707BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0319 all of whom do a stirling job keeping the bugs in check.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 13.48.38BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.07.27BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 13.30.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-06 12.11.05We found this delightful Grey Fantail nest in our old camellia tree at the front door.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-18 14.54.13The slightly cooler weather has been wonderful for pursuing creative tasks from cooking to sewing, embroidery and paper crafts. I made my son a delicious carrot cake, using a recipe from https://chefkresorecipes.wordpress.com/2017/03/23/carrot-cake/ for his birthday:BlogAutumngardenReszd7517-04-25 17.56.10BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-03-25 15.00.36 and hot cross buns for Easter Friday, using a recipe from https://bitesizebakehouse.com/2017/04/08/cranberry-hot-cross-buns-2/ , with a fun Easter Egg hunt in the garden with friends on the Sunday.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-12 13.33.28BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-14 12.09.54 My friend Heather, who visited us during the Candelo Arts Festival and is the Melbourne agent for Saori (http://artweaverstudio.com.au/), gave us a Saori weaving workshop and we were thrilled with our woven runners.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 14.27.11BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 15.36.30BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-22 16.16.34BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-24 10.56.10 I gave my friends Rae, Brooklin and Kirsten, a hand embroidery lesson, inspiring Rae’s wonderful exhibit. I was so impressed!BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0441BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-04-24 16.19.41BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-04-24 16.23.44 I made embroidery rolls for their birthdays,BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0510BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0516BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0845BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0505 as well as a pair of felt appliqué cushions for my sister’s bed.BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-06 17.44.17 And another decoupage floral card and a paper owl, assembled from a German kit, which was given to me by my daughter in Berlin.BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0499BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1220BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1221And finally, there were the bouquets from the garden! Masses of colourful zinnias…BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0037BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-05-06 11.16.50BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-29 20.26.32BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.12.28 and bright dahlias;BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0226BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_1148 Scented roses;BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-03-25 09.39.26BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-03-25 09.39.32BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0888BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 11.26.09BlogAutumngardenReszd2517-05-06 11.16.58

Simple blue salvias and bold hydrangeas;BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-08 10.20.45BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0264BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0261 And wonderful mixtures of colourful blooms!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 18.58.02BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-12 10.49.40BlogAutumngardenReszd20%IMG_0021BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-05-19 12.16.03BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 11.42.23BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-27 11.42.46BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.49.55BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.50.00 How I love arranging flowers!BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-03 14.11.26BlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-18 12.07.18