w h a t
Gumnut Magic is the magic of deep nature connection, of deep love for trees and leaves and the earth. Of wearing this love, and wearing the colours of this land.
Gumnut Magic is the magic of clothing eco-dyed with natural materials and methods. Made from discarded fast fashion that has been upcycled into something to be loved, treasured and cared for. Clothing that is gentle on the body and on the earth.
Gumnut Magic is handmade magic. Each garment is one of a kind, with the unique shapes and colours of the particular leaves that have been carefully arranged on it. And each handmade dress has been lovingly pieced together from a patchwork of magical scraps.
Gumnut Magic is my magic. An offering from my heart to yours.
h o w
All the Gumnut Magic garments begin with a gentle walk along the streets and tracks of the Blue Mountains. Collecting branches that have fallen down in heavy winds or been chewed off by cheeky cockatoos. I take them home and soak them for weeks, until the leaf essence begins seeping out and turning the water a pungent orange.
While the leaves are soaking, I search op-shops for good quality clothing and fabric to upcycle. I prepare the fabric with a simple pre-mordant, a piece of broken cast iron pot that has been soaking in vinegar. The iron helps the leaf dye hold fast and brings out more colours and textures.
When it is time for the dyeing, I lay the fabric out on the ground. I pick up each leaf individually and place it with care, to create flow and balance. I roll the fabric up and wrap these bundles tightly, to hold each leaf in place and create a clear print.
The bundles are placed in a big dyepot. I fill it with water, and as it simmers away a rich smell of earth and bushland begins to fill my home.
The next morning when the bundles have cooled, I unwind the wool and open them. It is always a delight to unwrap each bundle and see what colours and textures have emerged.
w h o
All Gumnut Magic garments are designed and naturally dyed by me, Louise Upshall.
I am an artist, voracious reader, and aspirational bushwalker. My favourite animal is the Eastern Grey Kangaroo. I am currently sending down roots in the Blue Mountains and getting to know the colours of the local trees.
I practise an earth-based spirituality, as part of my belief that the world is sacred. This belief permeates my whole life, including my business. Each dyed garment is a spell, my wish for everyone to have deeper earth connection. I honour the sacredness of the earth by using natural and sustainable methods and upcycled resources.