Showing posts with label Flowers. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Flowers. Show all posts

Saturday, 26 September 2015

Experimental Travel - Part 2

Following on from my previous post on experimental travel and after a conversation with friends, I have come up with my own experimental travel adventure that I would love to do! This one isn't really something that could be done in a weekend or a few months though as it would be pretty costly and would probably take a lifetime to complete!

It all began with a discussion about La Tomatina Festival in Spain - which in case you didn't know about it is a huge tomato fight in the streets of Bunol in Spain which is held in late August everyday. My friends and I all agreed that we would love to attend and then got to thinking about how great it would be to attend all the weird and wonderful festivals across the globe... 
Well once I began my research I discovered there were so many that it would be impossible to list them all! But here are a few that look especially fantastic....


Holi Festival - Also known as the festival of colours or the festival of love, Holi is an ancient Hindu festival which is primarily observed in India. It is celebrated in spring at the approach of the vernal equinox on a full moon. The festival signifies the victory of good over evil, the arrival of spring, end of winter, and for many a festive day to meet others, play and laugh, forget and forgive, and repair broken relationships, and is also celebrated as a thanksgiving for a good harvest.

Whilst you are in India why not visit this festival too:

Jaipur Elephant Festival: The Elephant Festival is an annual event held every year at Jaipur the capital city of Rajasthan. It is organised according to the Indian calendar on the full moon day of Phalgun Purnima (February/March), this coincides with day of Holika Dahan, just a day before Dulendhi, which the Indian festival of colour and joy Holi is celebrated! As the name suggests elephants are the centre of attraction at the Elephant Festival Jaipur. Pachyderms are washed, painted and groomed in all finery by their loving grooms or Mahouts as they are called in India. Elephants are specially decorated for the elephant festival, with chunky elephant jewellery, large anklets decked with bells grace their feet, their bodies are painted with traditional Indian motifs, gold embroidered velvet rugs grace their backs along with silver and gold plated Howdahs and gold embroidered velvet parasol’s.


Thailand has become very popular as a gap year destination and is well known for its infamous full moon festival! However if you are looking for something a bit alternative how about this:

The Monkey Buffet Festival is a really a unique and bizarre Festival held in in the province of Lopburi, North of Bangkok. During the festival 4000 kilograms of fruits, vegetables, cakes, candies is set down in front of temples on tables, in pyramid or just on a simple mat for the delight of the 3000 monkeys living in the area.
The Monkey Buffet Festival also host plenty of activities in relation with monkeys: music and dances with young people dress like monkeys and hand made monkey costumes, masks and monkey sculptures are all created for the occasion.
The Festival was invented in 1989 by a local business man in order to boost the tourism in the Lopburi province. Since thousand of visitors come every year to see the numerous monkeys filling their stomachs!


Home of the quirky and mad, Japan has plenty of festivals to choose from! Here are two I like the look of:

Konaki Sumo: Konaki (crying) Sumo or Nakizumo (sumo of tears) is more than 400 years old tradition organized in some Japanese temples. Konaki Sumo takes place every April in the Sensoji Temple in Tokyo and includes almost 100 babies.Two Sumo wrestlers, both holding a baby, face each other and wait whose baby is going to cry first.There is also a priest who shouts and waves at the babies. If both babies start crying at the same time the winner is the one who cries louder.If all this sounds a bit mean, it should be noted that the festival is also time of praying for baby's health. There is a Japanese proverb stating that "naku ko wa sodatsu" or "crying babies grow fast". It is believed that louder the baby cries the more gods' blessing she or he get!

The Fuji Shibazakura festival is a festival of flowers which gives colour to the Mt Fuji. Around 800,000 shibazakura (moss flox) bloom in beautiful shades of pink at the bottom of the mountain in late springtime every year near the scenic Fuji Five Lakes area, and sees more than 9 million visitors pass through annually.The festival takes place from mid-April through June, but the best time to see the five different kinds of Pink Moss flowers, usually takes place in early to mid-May.

Since I found so many weird and wonderful festivals I am going to split this into a few seperate blog posts - so stay tuned for my next one which features festivals around Russia, America, Europe and some a bit closer to home!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Using natural dyes

Whilst creating work for my degree piece I began experimenting dying fabrics using natural pigments and products. Years ago I attended a textile workshop where we used rusty objects to dye and stain fabrics which I was surprised to discover produced some beautiful results. Since my latest project focused on the life and work of honeybees, I was keen to use natural dyes to create the fabric used in my textile work since I felt this would work well with the context of my piece. A quick internet search led me to a whole abundance of blogs and tutorials about using natural dyes. From spices such as turmeric to dandelion roots or red cabbage you would be surprised by how many things that you probably already have at home or in your garden that you can use to produce some really effective dyes.

For my honeybee work I was focusing on the symbolism of the colour yellow, so I stuck to using turmeric, onion skins and dried plant extracts from yellow flowers such as weld and madder. If you want to grow plants specifically to use as dyes there is a great website  was able to find a great UK website which sells many different flowers seeds. If you are impatient to get dyeing and see some results, they also sell dyes, flower/plant extracts and mordants. That particular website was a great resource of information for me when it came to getting started with dyeing - they provide some really useful tips and information on which are the best fabrics to use and how to prepare your fabric so that the colours will last. 

Weld - a great flower to use either dried or fresh to create a yellow dye

For a recent commission I was asked to create an embroidery of a sweet pea so decided to use this as an opportunity to experiment with some purple dyes. A quick trip to the supermarket provided me with some red onion skins, beetroot, red cabbage and black beans and after soaking my fabric in vinegar to mordant it, I soon began to get to work with the dyeing! Each dye produced a different colour - all of which were lovely but it was the red cabbage which created the nicest shade of purple. I also used a couple of different fabrics - thin muslin cotton, silk and a thicker cotton/calico which also led to a lot of variation in the tones and shades of each dye. Bear in mind that it is always best to use natural fibres when dyeing to produce good results. Below is a picture of my finished piece. All the fabric used was dyed using red beetroot then layered up an embroidered onto.

I really loved the process of natural dyeing - it may sound silly but it is so satisfying to see such great results so quickly just by using products that are so simple to attain! It is definitely a process I am keen to learn more about and continue to experiment with. The possibilities If what you can do are endless... 
Below I have left some links to some of the blogs and tutorials that helped me get going, as I said there are so many out there each of which describe different techniques and methods. I have also included the website of artist India Flint. A innovative  textile artist who has really taken things to the next level with her methods and use of natural dyes.

Enjoy exploring and experimenting!

Folk Fibers blog -  yellow and red onion skin tutorial


Thursday, 4 April 2013

April Updates

It has been a bit too long since my last blog post, I have been busy celebrating Easter with my family and keeping busy with various bits and pieces.

As a little update here is another one of my Mom's latest felt creations she made for me - a little wild goose as featured in the name of my blog. The photo was taken among some crocus flowers in our garden which have just about survived this cold weather!

Friday, 22 March 2013

It's Spring!

Although it's hard to believe when there is snow and cold weather across the UK, but yesterday was actually the first day of Spring! My housemate planted some bulbs in the garden a long time ago but we had completely forgotten about them so it was lovely to see some Crocus flowers emerge and open up in spite of the cold. Fingers crossed the weather will improve soon so we can start enjoying some sunshine!

Here is a quick study I did of the flowers in our garden which I made into a card for my Grandparents.

Wednesday, 30 January 2013


Today I am craving lavender and all things purple... I wish Spring would hurry up and arrive!

Picture credits - Clockwise from top left:

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 6, 7, 8, 9

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Birthday cards, party ideas and creative frustration....

I think I mentioned in a previous post that my Grandma would soon be celebrating her 90th Birthday... Well time has passed very quickly and it is now less than a week before her birthday and I feel quite annoyed with myself for not having started making a card and present a bit earlier. Ideally I would love to visit her on Tuesday when she will be having an afternoon tea party to celebrate both her birthday and her 60th wedding anniversary; I have so many ideas of how I would decorate the room: diamond bunting, place cards, sweet pea garlands, party hats, helium balloons, ahh the list goes on. However time and distance means that all these big ideas will have to wait for another occasion - next time I vow to be more organised rather than wasting my time moping around the house and lazing in the sun!

This evening I did start work on the birthday card; I chose the theme of poppies as this is the birth flower of August. My mood this evening wasn't the greatest, and so the card I started got ripped up and thrown away as I wasn't happy with it. However the envelope escaped my anger outburst so here is a picture of that:


The card itself will be similar in design, I would like to find a short poem either about August or poppies but have had no luck so far (except from the famous Flander's Fields one which isn't exactly appropriate!) so if anyone knows of one please let me know! I will post a picture of the card when it is finished - that is if it doesn't get ripped up again!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

A Reflective Walk

Today I heard some sad news that the hospital where I received treatment as an inpatient for a year is shutting down due to a lack of funding. On an evening walk I reflected on my time there and thought in particular how the level of kindness and warmth shown to me by all the staff members were unlike anything I have ever encountered at other treatment centres since. Their friendly approach and dedication to the job was so admirable - I really felt throughout my time there that the staff were genuinely 100% interested and committed to helping me recover, and that they weren't just there because they were being paid to be - which sadly is the case with a lot of the staff at other hospitals. 

Although following my discharge from the hospital, I was re admitted to other hospitals on several occasions - I will never, ever consider my time there to be a waste. I learnt so much from the staff and other patients, and I know for certain that some of the progress I have made over the last few years is a result of the help and support given to me there. 

It is with a heavy heart that on Monday I will be facing my 5th admission. Right now it is difficult to feel positive as it is so hard to imagine or believe that I will ever be able to make a full recovery. However with the love and support of my family and friends (and their belief in me) I hope that I will continue to make progress to the point that this illness will have less of a hold over me and I will be able to manage it better.

This blog post is a little more melancholy and personal than usual and perhaps is not much of an interest to anyone else so sorry if that is the case! To finish with here are some photographs that I took on my walk which really helped to lift my spirits and appreciate the little things like a sunny evening, a cute cat and pretty flowers.