'I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out 'til sundown, for going out, I found was really going in.' John Muir

I've seen the top of Everest (from a long way off), smelled the breath of a whale (from way too close) and lived on a boat in Greece (for a few years), but I continue to experience some of my most precious moments right outside my backdoor.

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Sunday, 21 July 2013


There’s magic afoot in my village......

My hands are blue but not because I’m cold.

I proudly peg my beautiful (well, I think so) creations on the line strung out between the birch trees.  They drip drip alongside, vests, sheets, pillow cases, skeins of wool and squares of material  all dyed the indigo blue of a late night summer sky just before the first stars appear.  But each piece has a unique pattern, swirls of white, tiny neat squares, straight lines, zigzags, little round circles and these patterns were created by MAGIC!

Marietta welcomes eight of us to her Indigo Dyeing Workshop run by NEW Wildlife at Rhydymwyn with a promise that we’ll each take home something unique at the end of the day.  We ogle at her fabric samples printed with intricate patterns and look at the array of pegs, rubber bands, string and even a bag of dried chick peas and I for one doubt that I’ll transform my plain white t-shirts into something so blue and beautiful.
She makes up two buckets of dye and demonstrates how we can create patterns on our fabric, then we begin – pleating, pegging, tying, scrunching, wrapping.  We become more creative as we get into it and wrap pine cones, pebbles and even the puzzling chick peas into our fabric.

Chick Pea patterns

Outside in the sunshine, with bees buzzing, a woodpecker pic-pic-ing and swathes of yellow loostrife lighting up the outside workspace, we squat before the buckets of dye and dip our pegged, paper clipped and chickpea-ed items into the liquid.  After 5 minutes we lift them out.  They are yellowy-green but - ‘hey presto’, as soon as the air hits them, magic occurs and they turn indigo before our amazed eyes.  More magic happens when we remove the string, pegs, pine cones, etc to reveal beautiful patterns.

Watching our creations flutter in the warm breeze I think; Harry Potter couldn’t have done better on his first day at Hogwarts.

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