Fragments make one whole

It's been awhile since my last entry. We've had another marbling workshop since then at the Hive, this time with a clothing up-cycling theme. Again it was fully booked! No better way to spend a Saturday afternoon, what with all that warm, happy, creative buzz when you bring a whole bunch of people together, all passionate about textiles craft. Pictorial documentation of our happy day here!


I've been working on a small personal collection of limited one-offs.

'Fragments make one whole' is the theme for this spring summer collection, inspired by a quote from Anais Nin. 

"There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination. Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic."

Somehow, that really struck a chord. The process is fragmented, like our experiences in life, but the teaching and final coming together, is illuminative. The way I envisage the collection is a patchwork of disparate, handcrafted elements, all coming together in their slightly fragmented rough-hewn, slightly imperfect way for a beauty that is ephemeral. 

This will be a capsule collection of classics utilising handcrafted fabrics, with marbling and shibori natural dyeing techniques, with some collaborative haute-couture embroidery! Very excited. The outcome should be precious. A sneak peek here with some pictures of the process...

Accordion-pleated shibori dyeing in madder root

Accordion-pleated shibori dyeing in madder root

Unravelling the shibori piece, always an exciting (sometimes fearful) moment!

Unravelling the shibori piece, always an exciting (sometimes fearful) moment!

On the marbling tray...

On the marbling tray...


Chiara Vigo and Sea Silk!


It was amazing to meet the charismatic Chiara Vigo, the last lady in the world who still harvests sea silk, in Hong Kong of all places! Thanks to Para Site gallery which flew her in, I had the chance to watch a documentary on her and feel sea silk (also known as byssus) fibres. This incredibly rare and seemingly weightless silk fibre is harvested from the solidified saliva of deep sea clams in the waters surrounding the Sardinian island of Sant'Antioco.

Her practise can best be described as a mixture of an ancient textile tradition and folklore, for much of her textile making process is accompanied by chants combining Sardinian dialect with Hebrew. Historically, byssus yarn was first mentioned on the Rosetta stone and said to have been found in the tombs of pharaohs.


Using a hand spindle, Chiara demonstrated the spinning of byssus fibre into yarn and how soaking it in a special concoction gave it a golden gleam. All shells and impurities need to be extracted from the fibres which must then be desalinated for weeks..before it can be used. And since so little can be harvested each time, it took her 12 years just to make a tie! 

The hand spindle gave me a few ideas...another promising new toy, more possibilities for textile making..

Incredibly (especially when one lives in a highly monetised city such as HK..), byssus yarn is not for sale and Chiara sees herself as carrying on a long line of family tradition tasked with passing on this art for the benefit of humankind. She gave us all a tuff of byssus yarn for keepsake. There is now a crowd-funding drive to raise enough funds for the reopening of her studio/museum!


Colour Studies


There are some colours that are particularly hard to achieve with the Jacquard Marbling inks that I use. But tangerine, bronze, auburn and ochre are some of the colour stories that have been playing on my mind for awhile now.

Inspired to a large extent by the forest fire on Lamma last summer that turned the green fields golden brown, I wanted to play with these warm hues. Stencil marbling by blocking off parts of the paper was another new experiment.


Marbling Workshop at the Harbour School, H.K

2018 seems to have started with a bang, with 3 months gone by in a whizz before I've had time to recap the events of the last few months! March concluded with a workshop as a guest instructor at the Harbour School H.K, working alongside some very talented young artists. What a joy it was to work on their massive workbench, in a very well-equipped art studio, set up for all the mess we were about to create. Proper drying racks that we filled up with trays after trays of artworks, all full of surprising colour stories. The beauty of marbling, is never knowing what comes out... 

harbour school1.jpg

Batik and indigo dyeing workshop in Vietnam

And so 2017 ended with a last-minute trip I made to Hanoi, Vietnam for a batik and indigo dyeing workshop!

indigo workshop.jpg

What better way there is to travel than with the objective of immersion in a local, textile craft.

The 2 days workshop in the high hills of Pa Co in the beautiful Mai Chau valley of Hoa Binh, 150km west of Hanoi, was a culturally immersive experience. Not least for the amazing fellow textile lovers that I met on this trip, what a bunch of passionate, inspiring, creative women! 

Check out the Textile Linker website for more details of the craft-based workshops that they organise in Vietnam. Really glad that there are locals like Nguyen with a real love of the crafts who is also passionate and knowledgeable about sustainable development. 

Last workshop in Hong Kong for 2017!

This is a bit of a belated post but I've been meaning to post pics from our last marbling workshop at Makerhive in HK! Again it was fully-booked and I was lucky enough to have the help of Ana, who co-hosted the event with me. It was such a joy to work alongside happy, creative, inspired people passionate about crafts. A very therapeutic 2 hours that was, full of artistic discoveries and surprises. The beauty of marbling is its accessibility as an art form. It never fails to amaze me what variety of prints we pull in each class, all different in their approaches to colour, composition and style!



Night owl

It was so satisfying to put on the finishing touches to this commissioned piece. As I was sewing up the hem, I couldn't help noticing how the print rolled over onto the edges, lovely detail of a hand-made piece.

There is something quite thrilling about working at night, late into the night. With winter approaching, the night air is cuttingly crisp and clear. It is deep, intense yet peaceful.