De Grebner in Melbourne

October 26th, 2009

My friend De made my transition from the States to Australia a comfortable landing. One of the best gifts in life are friendships that never get lost and remain solid through the years. We had fun looking for the kimono silks.

Aerial Photography – Sydney to Melbourne

October 26th, 2009


October 13th, 2009

After an engaging week of  teaching batik for TAFTA my travel from Melbourne to Sydney was a restful sunset flight.

Sylvia Riley, who I tutored in the 2007 class in Orange, Australia, kindly shuttled me to her home at Homebush in Olympic Park.  Her 4th story apartment faces a mangrove forest.

Sylvia is an accomplished silk painter and owns the business I bought incredible vintage kimono silks, books, and supplies for batik which will be shipped home.

Our first day we traveled to the Blue Mountains to collect plants for eco dyeing. We toured the Three Sisters at Katoomba

with daughter Bianca and friend Petra

and Black Heath bush.

At the home of Allison and Derek Murphy in Dargan.

Sylvia began collecting eucalyptus bark and leaves, bracken fern, lichen, and flowering eggs and bacon plant for us to use for natural dyes.

Silks were first scoured to accept the dye. My job was to mangle leaves separated into 3 pots of simmering water to extract dyes from eucalyptus, braken ferns, and tea tree.

Sylvia carefully folded plants in to create patterns with the Japanese shibori technique of clamping and binding

The day was spent mordanting silks in alum and stirring the pots loaded with silk.

A few samples of the natural dyed silks that will be shown December – January in Charleston,


More to come,

Mary Edna


September 29th, 2009

Dear Friends,

My dear friend De, her mother Mrs. Grebner, and daughter Autumn and I went in the rain to the Kazari warehouse called Ziguzagu in Melbourne. I rummaged through 5 boxes of vintage white kimono silks each 13.5″ wide. My purchases were two bolts and 3 yards of damask silks.

De’s home is a walled garden of fruit trees, flowers and seedlings she is growing to replant in Australia, often for places burned by devastating fire. (The images above capture just some of her beautiful plantings.)


There is a 14 hours time change from Charleston, so it felt good to let jet lag subside before teaching for the TAFTA Forum, The Australian Forum for Textile Arts, Ltd.

The Geelong Forum is on a campus about an hour and a half from Melbourne on the water where Antarctic winds blow in cold air across Tasmania. The cafeteria looks like Harry Potter could fly in any minute. This is the kind of school that Prince Charles attended. Beautiful grounds are the path to my class of 11  housed in a huge woodworking classroom with lots of tables and high ceilings.

Sunday night was the opening of my exhibition with three other textile artists at the Sinclaire Gallery followed by our 15 minute presentations in the auditorium. There are 350 textile lovers here, the forum is like a magnet for women who love surface design.

I have many good friends from my workshops in 2007 and already arranged a trip to teach in England and also travel to Darwin and fly the northern Australian coast. So exciting to be here. There are folks here who sell to the trade, and I can buy rare vintage Kimonos… One was purchased for my grands and one for MEF! Also, hiding was a bolt of exquisite white damask kimono silk, which I will dye when I get home.

More to come,

Mary Edna

Mary Edna Travels to Australia

September 28th, 2009

Mary Edna is on a great adventure to Australia, one of her favorite destinations. While touring Australia she will visit with friends, shop for Kimono Silk, lecture, teach and exhibit her Kimono Silk batiks.

Her journey begins…

Dear Friends,

I am in the Sydney Airport after being delayed a full day in travel by the flooding in Atlanta and dust storm halting all traffic here. Looks like Mother Nature is getting a little climate change revenge.

Tonight I land in Melbourne where my college buddy, De Grebner, will take me out to hear music, visit nature and regenerate my system. She works to replant trees We went to East Carolina University in NC together 1970 – 74. Maybe De will give me an interview of some of our escapades.

I shot some interesting aerials over the Rockies approaching LA and will try to get them posted over the next few days. The blue sky contrasted with the orange earth and dark mountains were engaging.


Mary Edna