Musings on my inactivity

It seems such a long time since I last posted and I have still not managed to get down to much dyeing. The reasons for this are various: I have been spending a great deal of time with my granddaughters and this leaves me with little energy for much else. The time and energy I have remaining have been devoted largely to developing our new garden. I am also finding it more difficult to get used to not having an area in the house dedicated to my dyeing activities and it seems such an effort to set things up unless I have a real incentive. Sadly, this incentive seems elusive at present.

However, last week I spent a day here with Sussex basketmaker Jackie Sweet, experimenting with using natural dyes on basketry materials and I hope to write about this as soon as I have some photos to show the results, which were encouraging.

A little while ago I also completed my latest set of experiments following what I loosely call "Anglo-Saxon methods" and now I need to take some photos so I can write more about this. Basically, these experiments tested the classic dyes, madder, weld and dyer's broom, plus some tannin-rich dyes, using only mordants and other materials generally regarded as being widely available at the time. The results were interesting and suggest methods possibly of interest to today's dyers.

Otherwise we have done a little more exploring locally but, as my increasing problems with arthritis mean I can't walk any distance, this has been frustrating for my husband, who loves walking. I think these physical problems also have an impact on my lack of incentive to do much dyeing, as the effort involved can be too much at times.

This photo shows the tower of Sompting church, near Worthing, which is the only example in England of a type of tower known as "Rhenish helm". The church is set in a lovely spot not far from the Downs and even with the scaffolding is well worth a visit.

8 replies
  1. Helen Melvin
    Helen Melvin says:

    Hi Jenny don't  worry too much about it as I expect you will suddenly feel fired up and then you  will do some dyeing.  Moving after all is said to be the second most traumatic  event after bereavement  ( divorce also ran) so maybe you need to be kind to yourself. Helen

  2. mjm
    mjm says:

    I feel your pain – I am getting older and moving around isn't as easy as it used to be. but to tell the truth I had been watching your posts and feeling a little jealous of the new garden that you and your husband put in. it looks so lovely. and my garden still needs so much work.
    and hearing about your grand daughters -definately one of the bonuses of getting older that i hope I will have one day.
    well I quess the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence ; ).
    have a lovely day and enjoy the slow pace and the family around you! 

  3. an admirer
    an admirer says:

    Jenny, you are a personal inspiration of mine. I am more of a weaver than a dyer, but I love your book and I have been working on establishing my own dye garden and lab. It has been over a year in the making, being as I work full-time (40 hours/week), so I know the feeling.  Take some time to re-group and don't be so hard on yourself. I am sure, you will find your motivation soon enough! It is obvious this is your passion, and you are such an inspiration to me (I am in my late 20s)… please keep it up! We have to have something to pass down to future generations!!

  4. Louisa
    Louisa says:

    Grandchildren and gardens need care – but I think the little people tend to rate somewhat over the little plants! Hope you find some relief from your arthritis. Not fun. I just spent 6 hours in the garden myself and my shoulders are needing some TLC about now! As my DH always reminds me "You can only do what you can only do." But there's always more!

  5. Leena
    Leena says:

    Hi Jenny, don't worry about blogging, you have already written so much (not that I don't wait eagerly for your anglo-saxon dyeings, I do), and your grandchildren are small for only a while. Also in the spring gardening takes a lot of time, if only to plan or admire what is coming up. And the whole summer is ahead with all the plants and flowers:)

  6. cedar
    cedar says:

    Jenny, if you don't do any more than hang with your granddaughters and your garden, you have contributed to the world at large, more than the average, I think, so I wish you well with the body and everything changes so why not this? prophetic eh? lol….I am taking sea mussels for connective tissue and joint pain..I will let you know how it works.

  7. Ambra
    Ambra says:

    In my mind you have been anything but inactive.  Thanks to a volcano I had an opportunity to go to a bookstore in the UK and get Wild Colour (I already have Colours from Nature). It's a fantastic book and so full of new information. You really inspire every day by sharing your wealth of knowledge so generously. Thank you.

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