2: Waratah Crown

This Crown is the 1st of a series I am creating.I actually made this Crown back in November 2015 for a Wearable Art Show at Wentworthfalls school.

There is something magical about a Crown, 👑 circling the head rather than capping it……allowing your Crown chakra to be open while still wearing a head piece, I am also seeing crystals……plus one for the third eye chakra.

There is magic in the Waratah (Aboriginal word: Red flowering tree). This one is growing in my neighbours garden, he told me it was on his block when he built the house 50yrs ago……the bush is huge & stunning with many blooms.

Waratahs grow from a modified stem called a ‘lignotuber,’ which allows the plant to produce masses of shoots after bush fires, I love that about Australian plants…..lots of them need a fire cleans to regenerate & flourish.

Waratahwaratah2

The Red Waratah is a powerful energy for a head piece. The essence of courage with tenacity, being adaptable with strong faith in a positive outcome on your chosen path, plus enhancing your instinctual survival skills. The indigenous Australian peoples used this flower essence to strengthen children or cure them from disease. A powerful remedy and a powerful symbol.

Meditating on the flower, disappearing into the depth of it…it’s many tiny florets make up the whole bloom, opening from the base to the top & being protected by some red leaves at the base.


 

Laying out4 layers of the stunning marino wool deep red colour variations, creating darker depth in the petal shapes. My pattern has 35% shrinkage added…the middle pic: I’m checking it back to the base pattern. The buds are rolled like dreadlocks with wire inside to keep them standing.

1st shrink pieces


The sections are shaped on a hat block while still wet & pegged to hold the shape till dry. Machine & hand sewn into place around the circumference. Testing the fit around the head…& wrap hanging a raw Amethyst crystal over the brow chakra, with two double point clear quartz either side.

 

shaping stemsfinished


 

Green glass beads & Clear Quartz chip Crystals are hand stitched into the centre buds to hold them in a Circle over the crown chakra. I had been ‘seeing’ dreaming & ‘knowing that these crystals needed to happen………  The beautiful Goddess Grace at the photo shoot, Lincoln Rock Wentworthfalls, Blue mountains.   The Crown is complete. ❤️

beading grace split pic

11. Leg Chaps

Leg Chaps: The concept of the original chaps was invented by the Spanish….to protect the horse riders legs from the prickles of the Cactus plants. They called them ‘Chaparehos’ translated meaning….. “legs of iron’ , Texans & then American Cowboys created different versions for different environments. Below are 19th Century Spanish chaps: leather & silk……stunning work!!!

leg chap 5

As I am connecting with Mother Earth for the wearer of this piece, I’m thinking  bare foot summer weight chaps. I love bare foot sandals……..you can dress up your feet& still enjoy the walk.

The use of introduced & destructive feral animal pelts has been on my mind for close to 20yrs. Back then it was difficult to connect with hunters or eradication programs & poisons were used were the animal left to die in the environment. How awful & what a waste! plus YUK, poisons are destructive on many long lasting levels….. So, things have moved on, poisons are less used & rabbits are eaten more now & sold at butchers.

Cane toads are lethal & they are spreading across Australia FAST, they need to be eradicated off this continent. these are the two skins used here in these chaps.

This is my first time tanning Rabbit pelts……done heaps of research…….nothing like an experiment while under pressure for a competition. If it fails…all the fur will fall off the skin: called slipping.

Honouring these animals is important to me, I know they have had a great wild life roaming our bush, the kill was quick, the meat is sold to eat & I am putting their skins to good use & being grateful for their beauty, softness & warmth. Preserving the Australian flora & fauna at the same time.

I cleanse the space with home grown White Sage, it cleanses spiritually & disinfected the air. The Spirits of these feral animals will live on……..Circle of life.  Inviting the Elements for East, North, West & South……….to guide me as I go.

white sage

Washing the green skins of any dirt & blood before the tanning solution. The fur is lovely, these pelts are Summer time, thinner skin & finer fur.

 

wash skin 3  wash green skins wash skin 2


 

Tanning solution recipe..…I found this off a “Homesteader” website, it’s natural….lots of them are not. One thing I don’t want is toxic substances like petrol or kerosene.  This recipe uses salts….pickling the skins to preserve them.

48 hrs later the dermis will be peeled off…….

measure alum stir pickle stir rabbit

 


 

48hrs past & the dermis (under skin) has to be removed..….wow….tough hard work once I’d done a few I could see the leather part of the skin. This is what has to be exposed to the pickling solution to then preserve the skins.

Once all 10 x  1/2 pelts where stripped they went back into the solution for a whole week. Always making sure that they stayed submerged & tired 3 times a day.

pull skin rab pull skin rabbit 2 scrape rabbit


 

Testing the skins……. after testing 3 times…. I added some more salts. That did the trick. ready to rinse, fluff up the fur, & peg up to dry.

 

testingrinse skin  hang up

 


 

Breaking the skins….for as long as man has been wearing animal skins & furs it has needed to be softened, worked & oiled to be comfortable & flexible to wear.

As the skin is drying it shrinks & hardens,  so when the skin is still slightly damp….I stretch it out, pulling in all directions….. it turns white & soft. A mineral oil is then rubbed into the skin, the fur is brushed & fluffed, ready to cut & sew.

break skin oilingfluffing


 

A simple pattern of Centre front & side panels is made to get the contour over the top of the foot & calf sizing…….Using the shape of the Cane Toad pelts to patch work together, using the patterns to create the leg shape. Every piece of Cane Toad pelt is used, I make frills & patches. The legs are fab, I stuff them with scraps of 2nd hand T-shirts so they stand out & up.

 

letaher frills stitch 2 stitch 3


Patches are sewn over the ends of the Toad legs, elastic inserted into silk ribbon for the straps, under arch & toe loop. The toad on the foot will represent the hopping madness of this invasive toxic creature in our fragile environment.

If you would like to see a 2014, ‘7.30 Report’ Australian documentary,  go here……Cane toads destruction 

stitch 1 leg strap toe fit


 

 

Textiles in Context: Braemar Gallery 2016.

So very excited to be invited into this exhibition by Vanessa Taylor, after she saw my first Wearable Art piece. Along side very respected & admired local artists.  The list of talented people involved is very inspiring: Kerry Beaumont, Pam de Groot, Inga Hunter, Michelle Snowdon, Annabelle Solomon, Christine Thompson, Elizabeth Bowe, Ellen King, Sadhana Peterson, Brigitte Sieber, Rosie Pascoe, Jillian Culey, Kellie Stockton, Saskia Everingham, Yvonne mattel, Petal Davies & Elanya Stuart.

I am just emerging from years away from the fashion industry, lead by inner vibrational Spirit guides, to express my visions into wearable textiles & skins. So grateful for the opportunity to be involved.

Braemar Publication 11 - 2

BRAEMARHOUSE & GALLERY: 104 Macquarie Rd, Springwood NSW 2777

TEXTILES IN CONTEXT, OFFICIAL OPENING: SATURDAY   9 APRIL,  5.30pm – 7 pm

GALLERY OPENING HOURS: Braemar Gallery is open to the public from Friday to Sunday, 10am to 4pm, for the duration of Textiles in Context. Braemar Gallery volunteers will supervise the exhibition when open to the public.

I am including the original Warratah Crown & silk Waterfall gloves from my first Wearable Art creation. As the dress was a size 14….to fit me (so I could wear it)……. I have created a new Lemon scented gum dress size 8-10 to fit my Womannequin, & hot off the press leg chaps for this show.

1: Let the creating begin, wet felted dress:  Welcome to the Elementals,  may you aid me in my creativity. Swishing Undine from the watery East, Salamander of the Northern Fires , Sylphs of the windy West, & Earthy Gnomes, wooden mushrooms of the South.

I have been mesmerised by the fallen branches & leaves of the Lemon scented gum, a tree in my back yard that my Dad planted close to 50 yrs ago, it also smells so uplifting, & lemony fresh when you walk through crunching the leaves under foot. The colours when you study it are many.

branch 1 branch 2 leaves


 

This trunk dress shape is; cowl neck halter, low back with a flared skirt. Lots of holes in the wet felt like the bark above. A hand painted cotton lycra dress worn under as the core of the tree.

Pattern takes shape & 35% shrinkage is added. Unlike my other dresses, I will use a resist to meld the sides & Centre back seams. Lets see how we go with that……I personally like to see the shape flat to compare back to my pattern, wanting to be in control……I will have to be more trusting in the wool. Lets pull a card to assist me with that.

drafting finished pattern shape


I have a new card deck from Laura Bowen…..a Saltwater Deck. So far away from the ocean here, it will be like having a psychological dip in the sea. I’m attached to my Dreamtime deck, this is a refreshing change. Sea Shells; Guidance……I don’t have many gifts from the coast, but I do have a jar of tiny shells on my work desk, lets release them over the card to capture that vibration. (they don’t get out enough).

35% shrinkage added, traced with a Sharpie, select wool colours & weigh it out per 1/4 pattern piece.

Yes, need guidance from the Shells to hear the whispers from my Spirit guides…..trust them…….I have complete quiet today, peace to listen & meditate, as working with a resist & melding seams, haven’t done this for a dress before. Feeling; Intimidated & hesitant……

 

card scale 35% wool colours


 

35-40deg C heat today, visited by a sweet thirsty Gecko, when this animal crosses your path the message is reinforcing me to listen to my intuition as the Sea Shell card first told me. Nothing like a direct reminder when you are laying all the fibres onto the resist pattern shape. Thanks little Gecko for helping me feel more confident in my technique.

Creating the linear interest in the dress, popping out the colours with some ‘off white’ roving.

Channelling the branches from the Lemon Scented Gum. Listening & being guided with the colours, lines, & openings. Keeping the big picture in my mind, having flashes of the finished dress moving on the body. Flare the skirt out this time……

lay outGecko lay out 2


 

The layering on the Left Back panel, using bubble wrap as the resist…..making ties for the Centre Back, also extending fibres from the side seam edge to attach to the front. The middle image is the Front, waist dart gaps, design holes, halter straps & ties. Rubbed down to meld the fibres together….

Side seam melding with the back panels….The front piece is flipped over & the back pieces are placed on with the resists together. The fluffy fibres are used to join the side seams, long coloured strands are wrapped around to the back to continue the design. I also melded the CBK seam……my intuition said “NO”.….but technically I wanted to push through & try the whole dress melded together as they describe in all the felting books.

Of course it proves more difficult to match back to the pattern to check shrinkage. Now I’ve tried it….I won’t do that again….. it’s become unenjoyable……….I listen to that…..& know that’s not the way for me.

You can actually see the struggle at the centre back seam….it’s buckled….

dress bk felt holes seam melding


 

Nature gifts of gum leaves were quietly getting rolled into the felting….neat surprise…… Love that, the fibres are being given the essence of the gum. With the sides happily melded together, I remove the resist, rolled the long locks, & start to full the piece back to size 8-10. With my womanniquin covered in plastic I check the fit by placing the pattern back over it,  pin closed the darts & sculpt the neckline. The locks are coiled up & pegged to set. It’s fab how wool has a memory!!!

giftmelded dresscheck fit


 

On to the felted gum leaves……..Cleansing the space & bringing in the Elementals with dried Lemon Scented gum  leaf incense. My hand carved wooden gum leaf, from a local carver, is placed in the South with the my Sun sign stone, a green agate, a raw Orange Calcite, & green Fluorite point for Earth ……

My Elfin leather cuff is from Pendragon Shoes & accessories, fine leather crafters from Queensland. I wear it on my left hand for receiving information from the universe.  The scent from the leaves is beautiful & I feel blessed to have cleansed my space with these leaves, abundant in my yard.

Earth gum incense smoke


 

Selecting wool colours from my Colour Streams stash……I’m using a single shade green & a hand dyed multi colour lot…….laying out the fibres, seeing the colours.

Starting with making some large leaves, to place around the neckline & at the back of the dress, I’ve been studying some textures, looking deep into the stems to see the colour variations.  My guidance card today is Carpet Snake……”HOME” , how sweet, home sweet home. My Dad planted this tree so it surely does remind me of home.

bush scents carpet snake colourstream


 

Laying the fibres……..being mindful that the underside will be plain & the top contain all the interest. To not have any wastage I lay the shape of the leaves left to right with a yellow centre stem.

spray water dropslarge leaf lay


 

Added texture & surface details with wild cocoons, Wool Neeps & Curly Wool fibres.  Using the machine I stitched a casing for wire through the centre…..this created a really great stem look running into the branch.

texture leafleaf shape leaf skirt


 

 

Using the leaves as a guide.…imagining them around the skirt of the dress. Constructed a plain pre-felt on my finely textured rubber mat, good for doing smaller fine pieces. When it was still wet I cut out the leaves like a jigsaw puzzle to use all the felt, then colour added for detail & stems.

leaf layout multi leaf makefulling leaves

Shaping the small gum leaves, spiralling the tips…….then hand stitching into place around the skirt.

Working with the large leaves bending at the back……the two ends look like wings.

small leaves2 small leaves back leaves


 

The front leaf under the cowl neckline across the bust is bent into position, also spiral wet setting the dreadlocks around the neck & side seams. I’ll hand stitch into place at a few points so they can look quite floating, plus still be bent in different ways. 🌿

front leaffront placement