The Fixed Star

A notion from antiquity still current in modern astrology where stars appear to have a fixed position within the zodiac while planets wander through the signs.

Feelings, thoughts, sensations come and go but if we look for what never changes we discover the fixed stars of our selves pinned to our inner firmament. As above so below.

The silk was dyed in my indigo vat to a lustrous darkish blue, pleated and smocked with bright golden yellow threads in the shape of a six-pointed star. The points are accented with small sparkling beads in the same colour.

Ready to shine in the usual place on Saturday.

PS I've made a Tinctory page on Facebook here. For the moment it's going to be doubling this blog for those who prefer to follow things there.


Shell and Feathers

Another returning design from the past is the spiral Shell. It has a small pearl on the tip and drops of seawater on the chain.

It will be in the shop together with two blue feathers tomorrow (Wednesday).

It's a dark but warm autumn morning here. The light makes for moody photos... with freshly picked hydrangea flowers, always my favourite. With A. we're off to the library to borrow some new stories.



A good Sunday to you. It's a fine Indian Summer's day here.

Since the Raven's Wing necklace has been reserved I'm also listing something else today. It's the return of the Thistle of several years ago.

Soft and tender but a tough survivor too. Like the original design it has the wispy white edge, a long chain and two dark red garnets between which the pendant swings.

I'm popping it in the shop right away. And now... housework chores await.


Raven's Wing Circle

Here's something for the month when the veil between the worlds grows thinner, when the evenings grow longer and energies turn inward. Here's something of witchcraft and magic.

The circle is made from organza silk dyed the deepest blue with indigo and overdyed with other plants for a 'raven's wing' effect. It's richly beaded with pieces of glistening black and gleaming, dark rainbow of colours.

The adjustable chain closes with a 'magic wand' of the same dark beads.

This necklace will be in the shop on Sunday morning.


Calendarium : September

Part of the Calendarium series in which I make a piece every month dyed with whatever I find outside at that time.

The highlight of September was the Japanese indigo and dyeing with its fresh green leaves. Although it was also a time of harvesting goldenrod and elder berries and generally there's an abundance of dyestuffs right now I kept the focus on the unique turquoise of fresh indigo.

It had to be made into a small amulet bag as harvesting requires spaces for gathering and keeping. It is smocked with colours of autumn fruit and closes with a hook and a heart-shaped eye.

Perhaps it's for balancing the heart on the scales of Sun in Libra. (I'm still studying astrology and Libra and its ruler Venus have been quite busy during the month. Any astrologers among the readers?) The chain closes with a toggle decorated with faceted glass beads in two tones - copper (a Venusian metal) and clear.

The necklace is going in the shop tonight.


The Three Dresses

To make the necklaces based on the three fairy tale dresses I used two layers of crisp organza silk for each. The edge of the darker layer is left raw and turned up to blend in like rays or a halo.

The darker yellow for the sun was dyed with my home grown dyer's chamomile and the lighter with nettle tops. The moon is undyed white and a mix of steam printed flowers. The starry one is made with two shades of intense indigo.

The beads come from a wonderful bead shop I visited while on holiday in Prague. It was hard to choose from all the beautiful faceted glass, some in two tones.

So here they are all finished and will be going in the shop shortly.


Japanese Indigo

This year I grew two potted plants of Japanese indigo. My own seeds were too old to come up so I bought seeds from Wild Colours. It was a different variety than what I was familiar with and interesting to compare.

The leaves were spikier, the seeds seemed harder to germinate and it hasn't flowered yet. I left a few stems to see if they flower before the frost.

I used the same fresh leaf method as before and the colour this time was much more green. I also boiled the spent leaves and dyed with those. Previously they gave a yellow but this time is was a golden cream.

In the top photo the darkest fabrics on the right are from the first dyeing. The greyish also has a layer of elderberries dye and the greenest of dyer's chamomile stems. The left hand pile shows the creams made with the leaves boiled and the pale silk on top came from the first main dyebath used the second day.



The Grimm's fairy tale 'Allerleirauh' tells of a princess who is hoping to avoid marriage and asks her father for three dresses: one golden as the sun, the other silver as the moon and the third resembling the starry night sky. To her dismay the royal father or rather his weavers (and dyers and embroiderers) manage to produce the dresses. She escapes to another kingdom where she lives in disguise and charms the young king at three balls, each time wearing one of the dresses.

The story forms the background to Marion Woodman's book 'Leaving My Father's House' and reading that I had the idea to make my interpretation of what those fabrics might look like.

I think I'll do a more detailed post on each as I finish taking their photos. They'll be available after that.

Today I'm also dying with fresh Japanese indigo. The silk is sitting in the dyebath looking turquoise and my hands are blue from kneading the leaves. Good times.


Red Wings and Gently Darker

Let me show you two pieces for this week.

Firstly, the wings of protection, this time in tones of red. The colours are coral, red, burgundy, gold and brown. There's the ruffled feathery edge and a golden beaded toggle to close.

Secondly, a deep indigo blue circle, densely smocked in blue and green, scattered with dark amber matt beads, velvety and dimly glowing. It has a golden beaded ring on the end of the chain and several ways to wear it. To me the mood of this piece is September-y when the days are getting gently darker and we are being eased into Autumn while the Summer sun shrinks in teh sky into a small seed to be sown again in midwinter.

Both will be in the shop tomorrow (Thursday).



The sun has moved to Virgo with that 'back to work' end of the summer feeling. I'm back from my holiday, a little older, my perspective a little changed maybe, the way it goes with travelling.

Here are three little wild things, two feathers and a 'flurry of wings' - a feathery disc. In the shop today.

My plans for the nearest future include fresh Japanese indigo dyeing and the story Allereirauh. The one where the princess lives in the ashes of the kitchen disguised in a furry cloak while to the king's ball she always wears one of her three magical dresses - Sun-like, Moon-like, a the starry one. What would those fabrics look like, I have always wondered.