Last Days in Sydney

October 28th, 2009

Talks After Noon is a series, held twice a week, from Museum curators, experts and special guests.

Darling Harbour

October 14th, 2009

A day trip by ferry took 40 minutes to Darling Harbour and was a fantastic way to commute. I met Yvette, an American  film maker at the Queen Victoria Building. We lunched and wandered to the Art Gallery of New South Wales to view contemporary aboriginal and Australian art. It was my first day off this trip and I enjoyed Sydney’s streets and people watching.

Thursday and Friday I lectured at the College of Fine Arts, University of New South Wales to first year and finishing textile students.

More later,

Mary Edna


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