Saturday, October 3, 2015

Dreaming of Lopez Island

I got back from the India Flint class on Lopez Island late Wednesday but I don't think I'll ever quite get back from that experience.

Sharon and I kept pinching ourselves the whole time.  First, the organizer, Christi Carter of Sweet Pea Path blog, was such a lovely woman, so welcoming and helpful.  And Patsy, who let us use her beautiful studio, garden and house, was a delightful hostess.  We felt pampered and loved the whole three days.

And then there was India.  Original people are scarce.  She's one of them.  Totally herself and, boy, is herself swell.  She's witty, funny, a great storyteller, poem reader, soup maker and free-thinker, in the best sense of the word.  Being in her presence and learning from her was life changing for me.

I slowed down, or tried to...I think I finally achieved it a bit the last day!  Watching how she works, listening intently to how she phrases thoughts, getting used to the wonder of experimenting without attachment to outcome...all lessons this baby bear needs!

The perennial garden designed by Patsy, perfect in it's early fall outfit.

India reading us a poem every morning.  She picked some of my favorite poets, even one from a Santa Cruz poet, Ellen Bass.

The class was called The Wayfinder's Wanderjacket.  In addition to being the master of eco-dyeing India Flint is one heck of a designer.  In this case it was all re-design as we used old garments to create either a jacket or, in the photo above, a pinafore...we call it an apron, out of a man's shirt or jacket.  Above you can see a participant's pinafore under construction as India explains the little bits on her own garment.

She's a very generous and thoughtful teacher.  And sees shapes in an unexpected way.  I learned so much from watching her pin pieces of cloth together!

And then we walked up to the house each noon-time for a lunch prepared by our three hosts...Patsy, Christi and India.  Such good food, so beautifully prepared and displayed.

Breads from the island that were some of the best I've ever eaten, soup made by India each day, every one earthy and tasty.

Our first dye baths, excitement!

This bath had some metal bits in it I think.  Hence the darker color.

Here's what our bundles looked like while they cooled overnight in the dye bath.

I've always wondered why there are so many pictures of India's hands online.  Now I know.  Her hands are so expressive you just WANT to take pictures of them!  She is really a gorgeous woman in all ways but her arms and hands are mesmerizing and take you to other places!

She laid our cool bundles out on a dress she intended to dye later.  We had a jolly time opening them, one by one, to see how each of our's had turned out.

This is what's left after I opened my first bundle.  Rusted metal pieces, string and binding plus my little label so I could tell which was mine.

First day's pieces drying in the breeze.

I wish I knew who's cloth this was, I hope it's ok with her that I posted it.  I loved the green.  I think it's from apple leaves.

More bundles!'s like opening packages on Christmas though we all agreed these were all presents we WANTED!

Again, these are pieces that someone created in class, I know not who.  Just beautiful!

The path leading to the house...what a magical walk that is!

Patsy and Christi bringing our last day celebration, sad day for all of us to be leaving this dream.

But there was this chocolate cake made by Christi (and champagne) that eased the pain somewhat.

And every night when we came home to our rented house we could sit out on our patio with a  Negroni and watch THIS!

One of the best weeks of my life!


  1. Fabulous post, makes me want to go SOMEWHERE and do SOMETHING. Soon!

  2. Such lovely photos of our days together ...and such kind words. Am so looking forward to our reunion and to seeing how your garments will have blossomed

  3. What a wonderful post and I am so hoping to attend one of India's workshops sometime! Your photos are lovely and I hope we see more of your dyed creations on the blog.

  4. What an amazing experience that must have been. YES YES

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  6. A beautiful post and happy time. India has that magical gift of giving one total freedom. If oe can leave one's baggage behind, India will surely inspire you to spread your wings and fly.

  7. Thanks for this beautiful account. Wonderful! Mary from

  8. great post and pictures, i have been together with India three time in scotland and together one time with christi, they all all lovely person and being on Lopez island must have been so fantastic, Indias spirit and soul give a experince for life .

  9. From a very,very long way away in Oz, I was transfixed by these beautiful photos. What an absolute treat of an experience!

  10. this was truly a magical experience . great post ! looking forward to seeing you again !
    your energy added a lot of fun to the class !

  11. Was such a joy to meet you at last, Gayle, and I am still coveting your turquoise glasses! Thank you for this heartfelt post ... beautiful photos & sweet words. I too, am greatly looking forward to our reunion. And I've taken the 'bundle dress' [aka the lawn tarp] home with me to continue work along with the rest of you - am making a dye pinny/apron ;>)

  12. lovely to see another of india's classes. i love photo 16 and that lovely one of lunch coming home!

  13. Wowzers!! I have one of her books and find it both inspiring and intimidating. Doing a workshop like that would move me right past the intimidation part! How wonderful that you had the opportunity. Thanks for this post.

  14. Thanks for that report, Gayle! It sounds like a magical experience!

  15. Inspiring and blissful. A perfect combination.

  16. Gayle, this was a wonderful post...and while I love the desert where I live now, I miss the Pacific Northwest for the deep spirituality of the trees and water. You must have been ecstatic to work with India Flint.

  17. I would have loved to be part of this collective of creatives. Your lucky

  18. WOW wow that sounds truly magical Gayle. Thank you for creating such a vivid picture. I can't wait to see what you do with your piece. I'm intrigued by India's button covered peplum? Do you have a close up?

  19. Wow. What a fabulous experience . Can't wait to see what you do with this.


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