Monday, 14 May 2012

Indigenous Sites tour of Perth

Today's class for Indigenous Studies was to tour around indigenous sites in Perth.  This was very interesting.  We went through various sites, hearing about the relevant stories, including going through Peppermint Grove and Mosman Park which is meant to be sacred women's ground, and along to Fremantle where we were told about the rainbow serpent making a cave and creating the river.  We also went to a site where there was a wedding ceremonial ground.

During our time in Kings Park we sampled various plants.  One of the gum trees was bleeding red gum so our tutor, Ken, harvested some as it is good for intestinal conditions.  We all sampled the fresh red gum - it was bitterly flavoured, yet tasted of wood, and had a long aftertaste.  We also sought out, and dug up a plant with a long bright orange root, that tasted of chilli.  We harvested a couple, but replanted the spare bits of root.  We all tried it - a strong chilli aftertaste, and if you chewed enough, your tongue went purple!  We also also found a specific type of banksia, where if you removed the growing tip, and chewed it, it was like chewing gum - called gummi!  It was a strong showery day, and as we left Kings Park, there was a rainbow. 

Eucalyptus bleeding red gum

Our guide, Barry, harvesting the gum for medicinal purposes

Barry showing us how to crop the orange chilli flavoured root

After we were set down, I went into the textile workshop to clean some screens, ready to re-emulse for tomorrow.  I looked at some of my discharge printed fabric.  The caramel piece has been printed on two separate occasions with discharge paste, and the prints have reacted differently.  I suspect that the relative dampness of the fabric affects the quality of the print.  The first prints are slightly indistinct, compared to the second prints.  I suspect the first print was done on freshly dyed and pressed fabric.  Then I have taken it home, rolled on a cardboard tube.  It has been left in a warm room for a week, then taken back to class, heat pressed at 130C, and immediately gummed down and printed again.  This would mean the fabric was totally dry for the second prints, and the consequence is that the prints are very sharp.  The only reason I can think of that might create a slight blurring with the first print, is that the fabric was very slightly damp, leading to bleeding.  But this is why we do samples.    At least I feel I have learned something.  In future I would be tempted to put fabric in the airing cupboard overnight, if at home, or in the baker, if at college in the UK.

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