Deepest Darkness

deepest darkness

"I will take you to your deepest darkness," the guide had said.

Inspired by mourning jewellery this necklace acknowledges that without dying of the old self there is no growth. When lost in the underworld and every turn seems only to lead deeper into blacker night it may give hope to remember that the deepest darkness is fertile and hides seeds and treasures that can be found nowhere else in the world.

The silk here was dyed to a rich, purplish almost-black with a tinge of rust. It's the sort of black that's full of colour. Crow wings in the sun sort of black. It's glimmering and heavy with an encrustation of almost black beads like the precious ore that has to be mined, painfully and slowly. Two vintage faceted black eggs mark the two sides of the chain.

This necklace will be in the shop some time during the weekend. I've started to post updates on Twitter for a quick way to keep in touch.

deepest darkness deepest darkness


It Was Summer

it was summer

Summer wore a white dress with a pattern of small flowers, stained with berries. She didn't linger. The hem of her skirt was already fraying in sympathy with the downy seeds she leaves in her wake: thistle, rosebay willowherb, traveller's joy.

A tribute to all summers that are no more. Especially the one that seems so very unreal now when she who was not a mother yet collected flowers and pressed their colours into silk.

The colours are subtle and complex, sometimes almost iridescent and I admit it's a struggle to do them justice in photos.

The five necklaces will be in the shop on Friday.

dew the white dress shadows at noon eventide night butterfly


The Constancy of Change


Last summer I said that tinctory died. This winter she was born again.

One of the most important lessons of the last few years has been to always look for what actually is regardless of what I thought is or what 'ought to' be. Even if it doesn't seem to make sense at the time. That and also the constancy of change. This too shall pass...

A. started pre-school for a few hours a week and I've been making things again. Stretching my wings a little. I've nearly given up on them. Will they still hold?

This is all to say that I've reopened my shop and there will be an update soon. I will preview everything here first. From then on I'm hoping to finish a few pieces now and again, circumstances permitting.

I feel grateful for all your comments on the last post. And for anybody out there still reading this! Here's to a happy 2015.


End of a Rainbow


I've come to understand lately that tinctory has died. She was made possible by conditions that no longer exist. She was of an era that has ended. She was very important in my life and taught me much for which I am grateful.

I'm here today to mark an end and take leave so that I can give myself more fully to what is.

Thank you. Thank you for being here with me, then or now.



"Loook, mummy, I'm painting!"

Thanks to Jo for the fantastic red cabbage and turmeric watercolours tip.

In other news: we are settling into the new house and I'm hatching plans for the garden and for the future.

Happy 2014, everyone!

PS ugh! whatever happened to flickr?


Chop and Change

...and then it became impossible again.

Busy days, a trip to stay with the grandparents and now she's decided (at not quite two) she doesn't need a nap any more. Add the teething, the Autumn colds and preparation for the house move.

Sorry to chop and change like that.

PS Thank you for the comments!


And then

and then

...it became just about possible.

I picked up something I left unfinished two years ago. There are five new pieces. Not quite ready yet. I can only do a little bit here and there with many interruptions so it could take a while. I'll show them here at least a week before putting them in the shop.


Parallel Universes


In the world of Anna there's the sand pit, the Red Riding Hood opera on repeat, the tricycle, the playdough, the mini muffins, the tomato+vegetable sauce, surrender to the mess, the impending house move, the Summer slipping away too fast... and new words every day.

She says 'ne ne ne' to me then turns to daddy with a 'no no no'.

Light years away and dimensions apart is the deserted world of tinctory. If I could go there the bunch of strikingly red eucalyptus leaves I brought home a month or two ago would be wrapped in fabric and steamed.

In that world I'm also one of the featured artists in Sophie Long's Embroidery , a book published earlier in the year.

Sometimes I still get messages from that faraway world. Kind strangers get in touch with comments, invitations and questions. Thank you for being there and reminding me it exists.




Those footprints were left by some of her first steps outside... Now she's a confident playground explorer, slide rider and stick and stone collector.

This winter has felt very long and cold. Her cheeks turn an alarming blue sometimes in the bitter wind and I worry. Hopeful, I keep pointing out the crocus buds on our way to the park.

The other day, for the first time in months, I wrote down a dyeing + smocking idea in a notebook. I looked at old indigo silk while she slept. Something's stirring but there's no room for it yet.



Untitledblue this year

Now that it's gone I've come to realize what played an important role in my past life: solitude. It let me focus and see in the way that made tinctory what it was.

Motherhood has been a time of intense closeness. I'm never alone. If I ever pick up this thread that's hanging loose here something will have to be very different.

I also found that being a mother to a baby is something I'm unable to do part-time for various reasons. So what I thought would be months away will more realistically be a few years.

Anna is nearly a toddler now and it's a joy to watch her grow. The love has settled in its home. I used to relish the changes of seasons. Now she is my season of constant change.