Gifts from nature: guest post by Amanda Digby

Most of my work is inspired by nature and uses natural objects in different ways to create something new

The idea of using something natural, something found; a plant, a stone, a leaf, some old metal in the process of creating something new appeals to me on many different levels.

The simplicity of using 'gifts from nature' to inspire responses from others and create pieces of 'art' makes my work very rewarding.

Having grown up in rural England, nature and the outdoors was my playground. Since moving to Sydney, I am outdoors often - walking along the coast, where I live or in the local parks with my two dogs.

Each day there are plenty of opportunites for inspiration and materials for making although the trees and landscape are very different to that of my childhood.

The big old gum trees have always been an inspiration to me, from my first visit to Australia in 1987 to now. The size, the shedding of the bark, the smell, the colours - everything -  so much a part of the Australian landscape.

So to now be working with parts of these trees - the leaves, the branches and the bark feels very fitting - somehow helps me to feel part of Australia.

I am very grateful for attending a workshop last year run by the very generous India Flint, where I was introduced to the process of using Eucalypts as well as other plants to dye and Eco print cloth. I have since then been experimenting with these processes and the use of Shibori dyeing techniques to create the scarves.

Each scarf is always different from another, no matter how much I try to copy one that I think may be 'a success' - therefore each one unique.

So many factors are part of the final outcome - the 'instinctive' way the materials are laid out on the cloth; the season in which the leaves are collected; how dry the leaves or bark are when wrapped in the cloth; the method used to bundle; the tightness of the wrapping; etc etc.

To be honest I'm never sure when I unwrap the bundle after it has been dyed what I will find on the cloth and that to me is also part of the excitement - the gift - nature is not to be controlled - it will give what it wants to share with you - usually something beautiful.

You can see more amazing work from Amanda on her Instagram page:

You can win one of Amanda's scarves, pictured above.

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Winner will be announced on our Facebook page on the 14th of March