Indigo + Shibori with Kathryn Davey

When Tadhg was six months old I left him (in the capable hands of his dad, not, like, on the street) for an afternoon of alchemy. I joined Kathryn Davey and a group of equally eager women (and one man!) to learn the art of shibori folding and indigo dyeing.

Kathryn lead us through the simple steps of setting up the dye bath as she poured mystical sounding powders into a vat of water. We followed her hands as she folded simple cotton offcuts this way and that – chatty and excited to get down to it.

Dipping the cloth in and out of the indigo vat tested our patience. We each weighed up dipping again for a deeper blue or unfolding the cloth to reveal the pattern. It sounds silly, but it was oddly thrilling. The whole process is a little bit magical, as first your cloth looks greeny-yellow but as it hits the air and oxygen begins to act upon the dye it turns a beautiful shade of indigo blue. The more times you dip the darker the blue becomes.

A warm sense of camaraderie rippled throughout the group as we complimented each others patterns (mostly happy accidents, we unanimously agreed), chatted about what to make next, how to make polka dots and how we’d get the blue off our hands (babywipes, it transpires). A motley mix of ages and stages kept the conversation flowing. Some people came with friends and others, like me, were alone. 

At that time it was the perfect escape. A short reprieve from the all consuming task of motherhood. I came home with lots of unique indigo shibori cotton scraps, a beautiful dyed scarf, dirty hands and a freshly buzzing creative spirit. I have some tentative plans for where I’ll take my indigo stained fingers next – keep your peepers peeled

If you find yourself in need of a creative refresh I could not recommend a workshop with Kathryn Davey more. Check out her upcoming workshops here. She also sell indigo kits so you can easily prepare a vat for yourself at home. I’m waiting for the weather to warm up so I can make a vat outside. If that all sounds a bit too messy Kathryn also sells lots of beautiful handmade goods that she has dyed using indigo and other natural materials. I have my eye on the indigo crown for a certain tiger’s first birthday. 


It’s good to be Home.

We flew into Dublin airport on a Thursday morning. Two weeks ago today. Rich spotted a Dublin bus from the air as we landed. We revelled at all the green fields and trees and grey drizzly sky. Though it was nothing compared to the torrential downpour we left behind in New York. A whistle stop tour in which we walked and ate and walked and ate and walked some more. In other words, the best kind of tour. I’ll post some photos if I ever find that roll of film we shot. 

Rich kept saying he wasn’t sure if he was ready. Was this ok? Were we right in coming home? [did we have a choice?] All good things must come to an end and I gave him a firm ‘yes.’  I had no doubt really. This is home. Nowhere else will ever be that. The streets, the people, the smells and sounds,  the familiar clouds in the sky—together they make up our home and my place in this world. The place I want my baby to know and love [keep reading, I’ll get there]. I feel comfortable, even though our situation is anything but right now. Precariously living back at home—and someone else’s home at that!—after year of independent bliss is challenging. To say the least of it. 

We came home with excess baggage in the form of five suitcases, one large cardboard box, a bicycle, helmet & skateboard, two backpacks and an unborn seventeen week old potential somebody. Surprised? Tell me about it!

We surprised my brother on his doorstep at 10 am. Tears sprung from his eyes upon seeing us. It was worth the lying and the butterflies. My niece hugged me with her chubby little arms spread wide and showed Rich everything in her bedroom, pointing and laughing. That was all the confirmation I could ever need. Our people are here and this is our place. 

One day soon I’ll write about all the things I learned and all the ways we grew. There will be time for photos and sharing and keeping track of what’s what. For now we are home and that is enough. 

I scribbled this out one day as a response to ‘show me love’ [an assignment for a poster making class]—it lived above our bed for a year; an often necessary and worthwhile reminder.

Image Interiors — July Issue

Last month I got a pretty exciting email from Nathalie an editor at Image Interiors & Living Magazine wondering if I would be interested in creating five full page patterns—with hand lettering—for their July issue. I didn’t skip a beat and replied immediately with a HELL YES OF COURSE OH MY GOODNESS. Well, I actually wrote something a little cooler and a lot less desperate and fan-girlish but you know what my heart was really saying people. 

Like all things creative I can point out a million things that I would change or do differently had I had more time or resources or skillz…but such is life and the nature of magazine deadlines. Self deprecation aside I am pretty damn proud of this work. Here’s to more stuff in print! More freelance! More work! Yay! Yay! Yay! 

PS These bad boys definitely look better in print…so go pick yo-self up a copy stat!

Make Portraits: Growing East

A couple of weekends ago I met up with Lindsay to shoot some portraits for her blog, Growing East. It was a super hot day (by my Irish standards…she was wearing jeans which felt incomprehensible at the time) and we arranged to meet at Lake Merritt.

[Note to future Clío and Lindsay: Do not arrange to meet at Lake Merritt.]

After walking around the giant lake for a while and sending about a hundred text messages back and forth we figured where we each were and managed to meet up. Lunch, chats and some time later I got down to business and shot a beautiful roll of Portra 160 of this pretty lady. She claims to be camera-shy but I think the photos purport to quite the opposite. Check out her lovely blog to see some more shots from the afternoon. 

If you’re in the Bay Area and are in need of some super fine film photography—look me up! I’d be only delighted to hang out. 

Love Notes, #cliomakes

Sending messages to friends and family has been a huge comfort to me when I’m feeling a little homesick over here in California. I love sending parcels. As a child, I had a few pen pals and I remember being so exciting to both receive and send happy messages through the post. USPS is insanely expensive and at the moment (waiting on that first pay check is the worst!) its hard to justify the splurge but I just love the feeling of sending something through the post to someone I love. 

In a flurry of inspiration after James Victore’s CreativeLive workshop I made some hand lettered pieces, wrote some little love notes and sent them out to friends at home. The experience of making, writing and sending these was so therapeutic for me and seeing them pop up in my instagram feed a week or so later was such a treat. I’ll definitely be doing another round sometime soon.

Clockwise from top left, photos by  Claire ,  Joanna ,  Nicole  &  William . 

Clockwise from top left, photos by Claire, Joanna, Nicole & William

Do you ever send happy post? Isn’t it the best to get something that’s not a bill or junk through the letter box?