Wednesday, August 26, 2009

In a Monastery Garden Tam

This is a hat for the Venerable Bede or Caedmon to wear on a sunny day for a walk in the monastery garden. It has the flowers of the garden reflected underneath and the top is ornamented with Celtic curlicues to appease the heavens.
Again it's handspun, dyed with madder, red sandalwood, safflower and indigo.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

After the Fire Tam

A few years ago I was asked by a woman whose property had been completely burned out in a bad bushfire if I would have a look at it and do some replanting. When I went there I had to tiptoe round. Although the ground was still black there were tiny plants springing up everywhere and older plants were regrowing from their ligno-tubers. The gum trees were working on a new canopy. Signs of regeneration were everywhere. No replanting was needed.
The Victorian bushfires last year were so terrible that I don't know what can be regrowing there but I hope the signs of regeneration are coming. I put the blackened hearts on the back of this tam because that's how the fires affect us.
I used homespun and dyed it with indigo, weld, onion skins, safflower and poroporo.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Oakleaves and Butterflies Tam

The oak leaf is one I picked up in the woodlot and the butterflies are for all the red and yellow admirals that love the lacebark trees. I used madder, poroporo, safflower, weld, onion skins and indigo.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

August Sunrise Tam

The days are getting longer here and when I go out to feed the chickens and the cows I am treated to the most beautiful sunrises. The sky across the ocean is streaked with all shades of pinks and reds and mauves. The blue sky shows through and in the distance to the north are snow covered mountains and the green earth is the centre. I tried to show this in a tam, although I realise that it's a bit ambitious and a tam is maybe not the best vehicle for it.
I've used handspun and dyed it with madder, red sandalwood, natural indigo, poroporo and lichen.
I've included a photo of two of the sheep who contribute their wool to my spinning wheel. The black one is my Pitt Island. She's very naughty but more fun than regular breeds. Pitt Island sheep are a feral breed and she is quite wild.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Coral Seas Tam

When I designed the wheel pattern for this tam it was supposed to look like gracefully intersecting lines but actually ended up resembling a six tentacled sea creature - a sectapus, I suppose. So I gave it some wave patterns and some warm water to live in. Although we live only a few minutes walk from a beautiful South Pacific beach the water is so cold I've never been in it. I believe you need to be a child or the owner of a wetsuit. This water is much warmer.
I used handspun wool, and the dyes are madder, red sandalwood, kangaroo apple and natural indigo.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

First Flower of Spring Tam

Winter in Otago is rather different from winter in Australia. The days get very short and it's pretty cold getting up in the mornings to do the animals. The good side is that when the days start to get longer again and there are a few milder days it can feel like spring is arriving even though it's still officially winter. Now, in August, the sun is shining and the chooks are starting to lay. There are spring lambs in the village and and the first pink flower on an apricot tree in the orchard. This tam is to celebrate that. Of course, that flower is also a reminder to get out there and prune the fruit trees before everything really gets going.
i've used a faded black wool from our rare breed Pitt Island sheep and white wool dyed with red sandalwood, kangaroo apple (poroporo), lichen (Sticta coronata) and safflower. The pattern is supposed to show a dignified Gothic arch as well but the flower wanted to be the focus of attention.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tam Number Three

I started counting because I'm aiming to make one hundred and one. There's a nice moment when making a tam, rather like the last move in a string figure when you open it up and the pattern is displayed clearly for the first time. This is keeping me intrigued.
If Mr JB should look at this, yes, it is your design, but I haven't done the pattern quite how you said because I was experimenting with the traditional colours and how they combine.
I've used indigo, madder and safflower again and the colours have chaanged depending on whether they have yellow next to the blue or red. The pattern would probably work quite well in black and white.