This August, Alasdair and Eddy from The Boroughs have invited Isabel to do a Window takeover in their beautiful East Brunswick design store, showcasing the Native Mistletoe Design Project.
We welcome you to come in or wander past the store to see the project in its full glory. You can’t miss it. Whilst you’re their check out the other local artist, designer and makers who call The Boroughs home- you wont leave empty handed.
Products from this project are exclusive to The Boroughs and can only be bought in store.
345 Lygon Street | East Brunswick | VIC 3057
Words by Isabel
Earlier this year I spent the summer time in King Valley, the country town where I grew up. I had been commissioned by Rebecca Mayo to develop a repeat design for upholstery using Native Mistletoe as my subject, which grows abundantly in this region. The project focused on the haustorium in particular, which is the nugget where the mistletoe attaches itself to it host- the tree on which it will live. We also intended to eco dye the fabric with the plant's leaves.
I started reading and gathering information and my understanding of many native Australian species grew. I fall into the group of people who, with plenty of evidence mind you, believe that mistletoe is not a pest but a plant that provides an ecosystem for others to live amongst. Australia’s Native Mistletoe is a fascinating species and the more you learn the more you notice its presence dotted around the countryside.
My favourite time of year is when the mistletoe is flowering, creating a fiery red flare to its cascading chandelier. Once you have caught the mistletoe bug you can't help getting excited when you discover a new species in a new spot or a species growing off a species, off a species.
In this artwork I have studied the cross section of a Native Mistletoe haustorium. Haustorium/ Haustoria- a slender projection from the root of a parasitic plant, enabling the parasite to penetrate the tissues of its host and absorb nutrients to live.
With the help of my friend and mentor Rebecca Mayo, we screen printed with an alum and iron mordant paste directly onto the fabric. A mordant is a substance used to set dye to fabrics. By using these two mordants we were able to achieve two colours simultaneously when placing the fabric in the eco dye bath.
I hope you fall in love with the magic of Native Mistletoe, as I have.
You can follow the project from start to finish on Instagram
BEHIND THE SCENES- tremendous gratitude to everyone who made this project happen.
Thank you to my fabulous friend and mentor Rebecca Mayo for her continuous guidance, support and inspiration, this project is the result of Rebecca’s infectious love of Mistletoe, to Adele at ANU Textiles Department for the use of her print tables and workshop, to Neroli a.k.a Ms Dandy N for giving my fabric form, to Lauren at Elbe Textiles for the use of her Somerfield Coat pattern, to my lovely friends and family for all the love and support, Dad thank you for coming out in the summer heat to harvest mistletoe, to the Christison’s for an off grid housesit in the north-east where this project came to life on their kitchen table and to the beautiful Alasdair and Eddy at The Boroughs for their on going support and wisdom. Thank you for believing in me.
Design development- Haustoria cross section