While others have moaned about 'climate change' making everything too hot, we have had shitty, windy days with ocean temps 15.7 degree celsius (ie very freakin could !) for weeks on end.
Although this has been blah for me it has been ideal for our native bush. All the plants are looking healthy & vibrant.
There have been masses of sweetly scented flowers on all our trees; some day pollinated, others night pollinated, & this means our insects are happy.
Harakeke flowers & pods, karamu berries & kawakawa fruit production this year is abundant which means the birds are also having an amazing summer.
Since December we have had the pleasure of watching twin ruru develop from fledgling to teenagers to adults, flocks of pipiwharauroa visiting the kowhai trees, seen & heard many korimako, the tui haven't needed to be quite so territorial, the small birds such as riroriro & tauhou are plentiful, as are the finches.
Every being seems calm & happy.
It's been delightful.
I imagine all the creatures we don't see are having a great season too.
I have also taken advantage of the abundance & harvested for some ink & pigment making experiments.
There also seemed to be such an amazing variety of different coloured pods this year.
I harvested some immature as well as mature pods as I wanted to see if I could obtain different coloured inks which reflected the different colours & characteristics of the pods.
So far it seems to have been successful & I'll just keep testing the inks every now & then to check colour & light fastness.
I should probably tell you, altho it is obvious from the photos, that my initial ink making was specifically for using with a dip pen.
I also had a partially exhausted tanekaha leaf dye bath so I reduced that down to see what I might get.
This time I decided to use 30cm squares of various weight cotton fabric as the 1st filter cloths & squeezed the liquid through the pieces of cloth by hand.
I'm interested to see if the difference in cloth colours remains with time & washing - or whether it will just gradually drift back to harkeke tannin brown.
Our birds are moulting at the moment so I'm collecting feathers to make quills . . . . I'll keep you posted on that one ;)
So plentiful that the birds were barely touching them which I took as a sign that it would be ok for me to gather a few to play with.
Honestly, I have never, ever, seen so many fruit & my god, they smell divine !
Like a papaya with a hint of black pepper.
The colour is the pulp, the little dot is the seed. The fruit crush super, duper easily & can be squashed through a sieve with minimal fuss & bother & the ink is fugitive !
Everything I wrote a month ago has vanished from the page.
So in the end I dried some out on filter paper & resorted to science & modern technology.
Must admit I was surprised & really quiet in awe of how easy it is to use & how great it felt to be able to use my humble little scrapings, mouldy sludges & strange smelling fruit pulps into well pigmented textile paints.
I let them dry & left them sitting for 10 days or so & now they are ironed & sitting on the back of the couch in the studio, hanging out seeing what happens with time . . . I'll keep you posted on this too ;)
I know I would be able to do this with both harakeke & tanekaha without the GAC900 as they are substantive dyes & dye cellulose fibre well.
I also know I could probably use gum arabic &/or agar to thicken the ink to paint like consistency.
I plan to do some experimenting with that either during February or sometime in March, however I really, really, really want to be able to mono print kawakawa leaves & now I know it is possible.
It's taken me for.fucking.ever to write this post & compile the photos but at least it's a proper one - if a little long.
The funny thing is; my instincts constantly tell me to write & I don't sit my arse down & write but in the writing I always find clarity.
I remember what it is I want to do.
I remember why & the next step becomes obvious.
Take care my friend, I'm off for a walk ;)
I'll tell you about the book that got me ink making in my next post
Oh & the little kawakawa fruit leather is still sitting in the shed waiting for me to work out what to do with it.
*they're all chemicals & it's all science ;)