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India Flint

originator of the eucalyptus ecoprint, author of “Eco Colour” and “Second Skin”, and peripatetic wanderer at the helm of the School of Nomad Arts

https://the-school-of-nomad-arts.teachable.com/

appaloosa9@icloud.com

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India Flint (@prophet_of_bloom) Instagram photos and videos

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. • This could be any number of places. Pescadero, a hill on Harris, the view towards Antartica from the southern edge of Ireland. But it isn’t. It’s one of my favourite places in South Australia, one I’ve loved since well before it began to remind me of the places above. • When I drive south to visit friends, I detour to swing by this place. When I stand and gaze at this view I can be anywhere or anyone. • Rain, storm or shine, it makes me happy, except for when I look down at my feet. • For some bizarre reason, other people treat it as a dumping ground. They leave their rubbish, burn cars and deposit their defecations. It passeth all understanding. •

. • On my way back home today I stumbled on an exquisite treasure. Some of the softest and most beautiful ochre I’ve ever seen. Revealed on a building site. •

. • Grateful that my work keeps me warm and gifts me the luxury of quiet stitching that creates landforms in my lap, tactile maps of where the mind has wandered as it follows the needle where it wants to go, forming hills and valleys, pools of light and shaded refuge from scraps of pre-used cloth and semi- felted wool, on the way to transformation through a gentle fulling to become shibusa felt that tells a story of its own. •

. • Late night stitching at the house of my friend @isobelmcgarry , in the company of the Adorable Hugo, who has kindly deigned to approve of my humble efforts. • We’ve been talking about the situations of the homeless in the Fleurieu region, and what we can do to help. Homelessness is not a choice, it’s a life-event that can be caused by domestic violence, by a change in economic circumstances or relationship breakdown. If you’re in this region and would like to help, then the Fleurieu Services Directory at fleurieu.servicesdirectory.org.au will be happy to hear from you. If you’re somewhere else in the whirled, even the small donation of your unused airline amenity kit will help. •

. • Sometimes there are arrows and barbs that can’t be dodged. Don’t panic. Remove them with care, thank them for the lesson, be grateful they weren’t fatal and wrap them in a bundle. • Boil them up in a brew of good intent and use them to make something beautiful that has a kinder story to tell. •

. • Some while ago I was detained at a border for questioning. Held in a very small room with about thirty other people, many in deep distress. Phones were impounded. Fortunately I was carrying a book, and as the hours passed, I turned the pages. I thought I was reading, but later (on release) realised I had not taken in a single word. The mere act of turning pages kept me calm, but nothing was absorbed. I did read the book that night, sleepless in my helltell. After which I never wanted to read it again. Not that it was an awful book, but because I didn’t want it to transport me back to being in that situation, books being like magic carpets. • So I transformed it. By careful cutting and then by flame. Its story has been changed, and I’ve been released. • In more ways than one. •

. • Horse-kisses with hay. Good for the soul. •

. • Popped in to @fabrik.arts to have a proper long look at ‘Borderline :: sampling the Edge’ having missed the opening (too chicken to drive out in a storm). It’s an honour to be included in this survey. I was particularly entranced with ‘day by day’, a layered, pieces, stitched cloth by Kay Lawrence (who as it happens was my principal supervisor when I was a Masters candidate). • The cloth pieces :: there are two, one composed of pre- loved domestic textiles such as teatowels, the other (not shown) of vintage kimono silks and such :: are shown alongside wee tables on which repose handwritten journals documenting the thoughts and concerns of the maker, during the process of making. • The viewer is invited to don white cotton gloves in order to take a wander in the pages. A brilliant and engaging notion. • @salafestival

. • Though humming is forbidden in class (along with discussion of politics) I am humming to myself today. “every time we say goodbye, I dye a little”. • It’s good to be home for a space, and to be working alone. The spirit needs solitude to unravel itself and breathe, just like a reservoir needs rain and good runoff to establish reserves for times of need. • For me, quiet time with a dye pot, not having to be responsible for others, cook regular meals or be a de facto tour guide is critical to filling up the reservoir (and helps me find the way for the next adventure). • Without it, I’d be humming Mr Porter’s song with the traditional spelling. Much better to be dyeing in a quiet place than quietly dying inside. • It’s one of the reasons I don’t presently give workshops at home... except as part of the School of Nomad Arts. If you’re in it, you’re magically also here with me and looking over my shoulder. (and if I’m involved in a tour, some other soul will be herding the cats) •

. • Wrapped landscape or perhaps a snared iceberg or maybe marshmallow with chocolate sauce •

. • The beauty of making and dyeing our own clothing has a wide embrace. • Colour finds us from so many sources; from our gardens, from windfall, from the bouquet your sweetheart brought home (or the flowers you gave yourself), from kitchen discards or even green waste scooped up (with permission) from your florist’s floor. • Thrift shops offer abundant supplies which can be cut and pieced; and from which we can harvest buttons (and their holes), pockets, zips and trims...and do good at the same time, preventing wastage and supporting worthy causes. • This is how I work. Mostly I rummage happily in favourite thrift and charity shops, now and then I source some yardage from suppliers I can trust :: @beautifulsilks and @maiwahandprints or a brocante, or a last-stop-before-the-dump vendor of remnants. • It means my clothing is unique to me, affordable, imbued with memory (and perhaps a little poetry). Darning and mending add to the story. It also means I can avoid the indignity of changing rooms, seemingly especially designed to make us feel insecure. • My clothes are a soft, comfortable second skin. Yours can be, too. There are two classes available at the School of Nomad Arts that you can take at a pace that suits you. The Alchemist’s Apron and Conscious Clothing. The first will guide you through the magical transformation of a shirt into an apron (really a powerful ceremonial garment), the second helps you transform tired items from your wardrobe along with treasures from your stash into a series of fabulous frocks, coats and wraps. • You’ll find a link to the school in my bio...and once signed up you have it for life (along with lovely discounts from the two suppliers mentioned above) •

. • It’s been a beautiful day for playing outside. • While the cloth shimmied happily in the sunshine, and the birds gave a gentle concert I collected twigs and made a fire for a boilup. I’ve three solo exhibitions looming next year and need to get a wriggle on. • These precious days at home between workshops are so full. Filming for the School of Nomad Arts, conceiving and making new pieces and of course romping with my grandbaby. She’s already a dab hand at unwinding balls of string and very good at gathering leaves. •

. • Detail of ‘limina’, showing in ‘Bordeline’ at Fabrik in Lobethal, South Australia, as part of the SALA festival that celebrates the living artists of this state. • An idea originally conceived by Paul Greenaway of @gagprojects that grew like topsy and became an institution in its own right. • @salafestival

. • It’s nice to appear in books. Here’s the first one that mentioned me, ‘Filz’, from the European Felt exhibition of 2000, sitting atop the most recent, True Colors by Keith Recker, also known as @thechromosapien and published by @thrumsbooks . I’m very happy to be in those pages. • I’d be even happier to find a publisher for my own next book. A memoir of sorts that contains all I know about dyeing and making and stitching along with stories about connecting with country and wandering the whirled. • It’s not about the money. In my limited experience, books don’t bring in that much. It’s more about leaving a kind of legacy, recording valuable information in an easily accessible form. One in which you can make notes in the margin and stick in extra pages if you need. • Something I hope my grandbaby will pull off the shelf one day, and maybe find something useful in... • • • @true_colors_the_book @thamesandhudsonau @allenandunwin @batsfordbooks @murdochbooks @arnoldsche_art_publishers @cowbooks_tokyo • • • @bloomsburypublishing @laurencekingpub @abramsbooks • • • Yes, I know I’m fishing in a big pond, but it’s a change from making submissions. • • •

. • The shawl story continued :: After being bundled loosely with windfall leaves and bark the shawl took a bath in an indigo vat that had been fed all sorts of interesting adjuncts. A brew of sultanas and dates from the back of the pantry, boiled and strained and then boiled and strained again before being fed to the fouls. A little ashwater from the chalice. Some powdered madder for good luck (it is not only a reducing agent, it was also the traditional dye for red threads :: red being a magical colour throughout European stitching tradition). • The only quibble I have with my batfone is that the camera flattens out blue-greens. The shawl is far more sea-coloured than the picture shows. I’ll let it dry and then tomorrow it will have a rinse in water with a splash of vinegar, to rebalance the pH. • And then it will be ready to accompany me on my wanderings. • • • • • •

. • When you wake up and switch on the light just before dawn and find there’s an owl in a fur coat staring at you. • • • • • • So floofy the camera has trouble finding a focus. • • •

. • It was so cold here last night that I went to bed wearing a onesie, wool socks, a sweater, a towel wrapped around my head and a small but very fluffy cat. Three hot water bottles (two at my feet and one on the side that Martha doesn’t sleep on. Three wool blankets and a wool quilt on top. (I don’t have central heating and I will not shut the window unless there is actually a blizzard.) • So the yesterday’s image of the bundled shawl (see previous post) is now also a self-portrait. •

. • 1. This is my little brown mother. When this photo was taken (three years ago today), we were on a glorious road trip through Latvia, revisiting her childhood (and eating the best potatoes in the whirled). It was a grand time. We were even plotting a return for the pæony season. • 2. Now my mother resides in this splendid chalice, acquired in the last days of Bloomingdeals thrift store on Freret, in New Orleans. It sits among the trees my father planted. He is scattered there. Her dog is buried nearby. When the wind blows, Ma goes dancing. (She was a fabulous dancer who burned the dance floor in red stilettos, a skill inherited by one of her granddaughters.) • 3. Last night it rained. And then it rained more. For which I am deeply grateful, the earth here is desperate for water. I looked at this brew and it dawned on me that this might just be a way for Ma to travel with me again. • 4. So I dunked a big silk shawl in the alkaline premordant that is the current iteration of my momma, and bundled it up with windfall from last night’s storm. She’s in the cauldron as we speak. Next time I travel and need comfort, I’ll be able to wrap my folks around my shoulders...and they’ll get to wander with me. After all, it’s their influence that made me into the gypsy that I am today... •

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