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

My Students – Forum in Geelong

October 9th, 2009

My students at the Forum in Geelong did some very fine batiks. I hope to return in two or three years back to Australia to teach and exhibit again for TAFTA. The artistic exchange is one of my finest experiences. Each person I taught really informed me about the art form as I witnessed their explorations. New friends were made in this journey that will greet me on the return. Here are some of the batiks made in this class.

Tutors & Students

October 7th, 2009

Dear Friends,

Janet De Boer is the coordinator of the forum. Her chief troubleshooter is Jude Skeers. Breakfast starts at 7:00 and the days are full ending with presentations by tutors, who are masters in their fields. Sandy Elverd is a basket-maker from Adelaide. Anne Field is a weaver from New Zealand. Karin Kortenhorst is a jeweler from Holland. Chunghie Lee teaches at Rhode Island School of Design. Carol Barton makes pop-up books and has taught at Haystack. David Scanlon makes masks. Catherine Howell and Holly Brackmann also came from the USA to teach. Allie Snow, Karen Torrisi, Sue Dove, Celia Player, Lindy Frayne, Ruth Hadlow, Jacinita Leishman Jae Maries, Adrian Sloan and Marie-Therese Wisniowski all tutored at the 2009 Forum. Here is some of the work of the students.