Down into Alice in Wonderlands multi burrowed rabbit holes.

9th Feb 2021

Revolving Doors or lots of burrows to visit revealing so many ideas, I am finding it hard to keep track, essentially feeling like Alice; that I am being led, scooped up and hurried along. This hurried along feeling is my usual pace to be fair, but diagnosed with Polymyalgia in August 2020 and now Temporal Arteritis in Jan 2021, illness has made me acutely aware of my limitations to keep up and I will confess that I have experienced frustration at not being able to fully take advantage of every lead. Although I am pleased with what I have achieved.

Isn’t this rather missing the point, I ask myself. Am I not encouraged to be more discerning and take advantage of the opposite, time…. To reflect analyse and be critical of my choices. The why I make my choices. Well, one thing is obvious I am guided by my heart, intuition and my interaction with the world around me including those serendipitous moments, those coincidental leads.

Perhaps because more than ever I am aware of just how exploring craft and art through the world and medium of nature, self-sufficiency and sustainability is and has been therapy. It is much more than an environmental issue all though that has been an incredibly important part of me all my life and  I considered it to be my driving force. 

To be self-sufficient and sustainable is a statement and a giver of confidence. 

This confidence has allowed me to accept the elements that the initial research has presented as ideas and concepts to explore how ever difficult they may be for me personally. The how and in what context perhaps the focus of  the MA.

Lichens: A Cautionary Tale

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Do they look dead to you ? No seriously they could be mistaken could they not for having been blown off from somewhere higher perhaps further afield and given sanctuary in the branches of these trees.

Please protect the lichens

Lichen has been associated with the highlands of Scotland for those walkers and observers of nature will inform us ‘they’ – these seeming dead bundles do indeed purify the air! They are here to in abundance in the Welsh Valleys too; So valuable they are deemed to be that they are not to be plucked off the trees which they are actually attached to, living from. Are they right? I have upheld this idea this notion and accepted as a fact and felt incredibly guilty when faced recently with a deluge of blustery produce after an incredibly windy night. It was just laid there. Surely that must be ok. It surely must be dead now. My conscience be clear for I am a great environmentalist in my own way and would never wish to harm or interfere with natures life to the detriment and to be truthful I don’t think many would intentionally, except for profit but that is a different soapbox for me to write about!

So here it is. A dilemma Do I know for fact that I am ok to take and use in a very natural way, to use for dyeing fleece, that lichen which has fallen to the ground. I took it. I reasoned that it was lying on a road to be muddied and run over. Even if it did survive thereafter being blown off (still attached to the branch) as I had somewhere read it to be able to, Could it survive that trauma to, well no. However, it has lead me to ponder the truth of the lichen life!  Continue reading “Lichens: A Cautionary Tale”

A treasured bounty

Take home this ‘fluff’ however, small and tenderly yet once more bathe but this time add some magic of vegetable skins, flowers, seeds or pods; of bark or leaves and warm to colour it’s veins. Let nature colour your creativity and join me on this magical mystical tour!

simple to spin
simple to spin

Have you ever walked past a field where there are the tufts of fleece entwined baron on the fence. Almost cleansed by the rain and involuntarily ‘hanging’ out to dry! Much later, 38 kgs later and more to come I am hooked, obsessed by this ‘fluff’ It offers so much; transformation into the promise; Of fibre to clothe,keep us warm, to adorn and give way to so much creativity.

plant dyed wools
plant dyed wools

I have alway had this need to take a raw item and follow the processes to create. Wool or fibres in general are the ultimate travelling companion for this journey. However, my tentative walk began from a different lane. From the garden path. It was at these humble beginnings my connection was made. Colour. Natural colour. Colour that is not uniform and although nature can provide bold brash colours she is more renowned for her subtlety, of muted shades and very much a tonal creator.

Throughout the seasons she quietly sometimes loudly rocks our world with an orchestra of colour. Just when you feel you know her; she surprises. For me to be able to learn, tap into mother natures own larder, to explore her lessons in creativity it is a treasure trove. So to walk past that innocent ‘fluff’ I can no longer do without thinking of what it can become. Like Cinderella’s pumpkin to be transformed into magnificence by magic. Natural magic.

Take home this ‘fluff’ however, small and tenderly yet once more bathe but this time add some magic of vegetable skins, flowers, seeds or pods; of bark or leaves and warm to colour it’s veins. Let nature colour your creativity and join me on this magical mystical tour!