India Flint // Mt Lofty Ranges South Australia

Artist India Flint inside a Callitris tree with Kubbi the Koolie following behind, near Reedy Creek in the Mt Lofty Ranges, South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint inside a Callitris tree with Kubbi the Koolie following behind, near Reedy Creek in the Mt Lofty Ranges, South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite


Artist India Flint uses contact printing methods in her textiles, bundling and tying the cloth with string when it is filled with leaves or seeds and boiling over time. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint uses contact printing methods in her textiles, bundling and tying the cloth with string when it is filled with leaves or seeds and boiling over time. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

When I contact artists and ask to photograph them, the answers vary from bewilderment, ‘Me? Why?’, to the enthusiastic, ‘Yes! I’d love to!’ –  somewhere in between though, was the reply I received from artist India Flint, known to many as the Prophet of Bloom. “If you’re up for an adventure, meet me at the Mt Pleasant Post Office. I’ll be there in a white Hilux with a Koolie in the back.” Yes! But what the hell is a Koolie? Who is this mysterious woman? What sort of adventure does she mean? I google Mt Pleasant, South Australia – Population 593. A bit of a hike, but it turns out it’s one of those fantastic scenic drives that make me wish I was a passenger, offering combinations of rolling hills, cute little towns and bursts of every kind of green.At 14, when everybody else was trying to secure meaningful employment at Woolies, Flint was busy working and soaking up all things botanical in a plant nursery in the Piccadilly Valley, outside Adelaide. Her fascination with plant-life was fuelled by her father, a professor of meterology and committed tree-planter. The 500 acres she lives on now grows trees she planted twenty years ago with him and have become a living reminder of him. She has gone on to be a leading force in botanical alchemy, writing many books on the topic, ‘dyeing for a living’ and being in constant demand to share her knowledge, skills and unique perspective from Scotland to the USA and occasionally, in Australia. Her work stretches across media but always comes back to ‘place’, both literally and philosophically. So, it was a wonderful privilege to be able to be at a meaningful and botanically abundant area at the northern end of the Mt Lofty Ranges region by the Reedy Creek with her for a day.

Yes, there was a white Hilux (this is the bush after all) and yes, there was a Koolie, who turned out to be a dog named Kubbi. Once I had the lick of approval, I managed to be temporarily elevated to the front passenger seat with a thermos and some home baked goodies in a basket at my feet. My kind of adventure! Flint sees beauty in all, nothing escapes her observant eye – on that day, we found it not only in the natural environment, but on the black lines left in paddocks by sheep walking behind one another, the path’s relationships to the fence lines, graffiti on lonely roadside rocks as well as ancient geological layers – all drawn together by the simplicity of mark making and the beautiful impact a line can make on any surface at any scale.

She says, ‘ I negotiate a path between installation, printing, painting, drawing, writing and sculpture – immersing myself in and paying deep attention to the environment, gathering thought and experience, imagery and marks, as well as harvesting materials for making; trying to step lightly on the land while being nourished by it. The work of each day, philosophically rooted in topophilia (the love of place) literally begins with a walk’.

This simple launching point feels to me like a recipe for work and life – putting one foot in front of the other with eyes wide open – a fair metaphor for my (nearly!) year of Design Satellite.
More of India Flint’s work can be seen here and her new Bundle Book, a pocket guide to botanical alchemy, is now available. She is working toward a solo show at the Ellen Noel Art Museum in Odessa, Texas next year. Oh, and if you’re up for an adventure with her, there’s an incredible opportunity to do so in New Mexico in March next year. Just sayin’.
Heading out on the road with artist India Flint near her family farm in the Mt Lofty Ranges region, South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Heading out on the road with artist India Flint near her family farm in the Mt Lofty Ranges region, South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint with her dog Kubbi walk in the Mt Lofty Ranges region, near Reedy Creek in South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint with her dog Kubbi walk in the Mt Lofty Ranges region, near Reedy Creek in South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Paper boats left over from an exhibition by India Flint celebrating the muddy waters of the Murray and Mississippi Rivers sit beside Reedy Creek in South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Paper boats left over from an exhibition by India Flint celebrating the muddy waters of the Murray and Mississippi Rivers sit beside Reedy Creek in South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint sending her previously exhibited paper boats along the Reedy Creek in South Australia's Mt Lofty Ranges. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint sending her previously exhibited paper boats along the Reedy Creek in South Australia’s Mt Lofty Ranges. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Detail of a botanical contact print by artist India Flint using eucalyptus windfall on a woolen jacket from an op shop. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Detail of a botanical contact print by artist India Flint using eucalyptus windfall on a woolen jacket from an op shop. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint uses a technique called bundling to create unique contact prints on various textiles. Here, a bundle sits waiting to be unravelled after it has been boiled numerous times. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint uses a technique called bundling to create unique contact prints on various textiles. Here, a bundle sits waiting to be unravelled after it has been boiled numerous times. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

On a dirt road in the northern part of the Mt Lofty Ranges region, between Mt Pleasant and Reedy Creek in South Australia toward dusk on my adventure with artist India Flint.  Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

On a dirt road in the northern part of the Mt Lofty Ranges region, between Mt Pleasant and Reedy Creek in South Australia toward dusk on my adventure with artist India Flint. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint, beside Reedy Creek in South Australia, prepares to unroll a bundle that has been boiling in a pot on a small fire built beside the river.  Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint, beside Reedy Creek in South Australia, prepares to unroll a bundle that has been boiling in a pot on a small fire built beside the river. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint removes leaves and seeds from cloth that has been wrapped and boiled to create beautiful, unique patterns beside Reedy Creek in South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint removes leaves and seeds from cloth that has been wrapped and boiled to create beautiful, unique patterns beside Reedy Creek in South Australia. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint on the Reedy Creek, covered with one of her botanically dyed textiles that she is renowned for.  Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint on the Reedy Creek, covered with one of her botanically dyed textiles that she is renowned for. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

The area around her farm in the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia is not only a source of nourishment for artist India Flint, but a source for harvesting leaves and seeds for botanical dyes.  Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

The area around her farm in the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia is not only a source of nourishment for artist India Flint, but a source for harvesting leaves and seeds for botanical dyes. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint walking along a bush track in the Mt Lofty Ranges region in South Australia, carrying one of the many pots she collects for boiling textiles with natural botanical dyes, for which she is renowned. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Artist India Flint walking along a bush track in the Mt Lofty Ranges region in South Australia, carrying one of the many pots she collects for boiling textiles with natural botanical dyes, for which she is renowned. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Kubbi being super helpful, collecting back the paper boats released into the Reedy Creek by artist India Flint on our adventure there. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Kubbi being super helpful, collecting back the paper boats released into the Reedy Creek by artist India Flint on our adventure there. Photo Bo Wong // Design Satellite

Comments

  1. 1

    Chilli Charlie says

    Lovely article on a beautiful artist…. And I highly recommend a journey with India on one of her courses. Your creativity will be restless during and after.

  2. 3

    Dawn Singh says

    Very nice article on my favorite textile artist. I live in New Mexico and I think she’s going to like it here next spring.

  3. 5

    says

    A delightful article on a most inspiring artist! I can only imagine the fun and aesthetic adventure you had together that day! Wonderful photos, too!

  4. 7

    jen loew says

    India is a close friend and an amazing woman ! Your article captures her essence beautifully. Thanks so much for sharing her with the world.

  5. 13

    Cynthia white says

    Beautiful photos. Beautiful story. I also want to follow India on a trail into nature. Texas? New Mexico? At least on the same continent now…..Thanks for sharing.

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