If you work in sustainable ways you will not disturb this balance of nature and intervention by humans.
Draw a circle, make a bowl
Begin the dance to express your soul
The dyers art seems like pure magic
A chance to learn the mysteries of colour
Wrapped in cloth, the evocative smells.
Making a tangible memory of place.
Eucalyptus like lobster changes colour
Telling a story of heat, time and alchemy.
As a textile artist living in Tasmania I am always conscious that I am surrounded by pristine beauty. The one thing non -Australians are aware is Tasmania has a reputation of nature, wilderness and isolation. If you work in sustainable ways you will not disturb this balance of nature and intervention by humans.
I eco dye using Eucalyptus; Eucalyptus is considered one of the most important sources of natural dyes in the world. Eucalyptus has ample natural tannins and polyphenols, with the major colouring component being Quercetin, all of these are considered useful during the dyeing process because of their ability to fix dyes with fabric.
Hence, I don’t need to use any chemicals when dyeing with Eucalyptus. Just a pot, protein based fabric/yarn and I am ready to go.
Collecting leaves in Tasmania’s Huon Valley, where my studio is situated, using water, the seasons and collecting relics of past times (metal found objects), the scarves and knitted artwear emerges from the process of design, placement and brewing. The alchemy of nature produces fine wool and cashmere objects of desire.
Respecting the environment, by using a dyeing process that merges with the seasons; where the time of the eucalyptus growth patterns, and the water makes a significant difference to the outcomes of the work. This magical process always inspires and surprises. The resulting works become a documentation of all things found in the Huon Valley, each leaf leaves its mark, bark and extracted tannin becomes the palette of earthy tones found in the scarves and art wear.
Long after leaving the Huon, when owning a geckostrands scarf you will have taken a journey through its flora, the reminiscent smell of eucalyptus will linger as you wear the works to remind you of your sense of place so unique to Tasmania.
Some years ago I participated in a workshop with master Eucalyptus dyer India Flint, this was my starting point for natural dyeing, but my background was as an art knitting specialist. I then decided to merge these into my own signature works.
I have travelled extensively to investigate textiles and learn about cultural roots, this supports my wider understanding of natural dyes. Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, India and Asia.
About the Author
Textile artist; who specializes in ecologically sustainable dyeing using Australian Eucalyptus.35 years as an art teacher in Australia and Singapore. Expositions of work: Powerhouse Museum, Makers Faire, Sydney, MONA art Museum Market Hobart. Wild Island Gallery Hobart, The Sensorary Tasmania Gallery Richmond, Pumphouse Point Boutique Hotel Lake St Clair, and The Tasmanian Craft Fair, Deloraine Workshops; from my studio, for Guilds in NSW, and Tasmania. Making, Designing and Creating from my studio in the beautiful Huon Valley Tasmania, Australia.