Micro foraging for art supplies

It hasn’t rained here in 3 months and has been unusually hot too, so most blooming things are over and done with if they have even survived. I’m glad I didn’t make a dye garden this year, as the cost of watering would have been massive.

I try to do little preppy tasks whenever I’m under the weather, which is currently 10 days then 2 weeks improvement, repeat. So yesterday I collected a few thistledown, and a jar of dock seeds inspired by Uglemor‘s thorough experiments this July. I won’t be using them for yarn but probably stain paper with them as part of my pigment project. Oh, I didn’t tell you about that yet? Sorry, I need rainwater to get started, to not get a lot of calcium crystals mixed in as I suspect happened during my first trial run.

But I did complain that I couldn’t make paper last year because it was cold and raining all the time; this year I sort of forgot despite the heatwave (I also need to sort some way of pressing the sheets without having to bend over and pick up multiple cinder blocks from the floor), but I have started to experiment a bit at least, which is where the thistledown enter the picture. I basically want to add all sorts of interesting bits and bobs found on the property, and hopefully next year flower petals as well. Gawd you need to be flexible and quick thinking when you want to try a gajillion things on a wonky, unpredictable schedule!

I finally realized today what exactly my problem is. I was pondering (again) why I always feel so compelled to do silly things like collecting feathers and twigs and plants and slaving over papermaking, when a limited person like myself really should just pick one or two things and go deep, keep my focus, leave all the difficult tasks to others and just buy my materials to keep from getting exhausted. That would be the logical course, right? Essentially my logical brain knows that some kind of succes in the form of money and recognition is necessary to be able to keep a roof over your head, and for that, you need to produce something. This is something I stress over on a regular basis. My inner self / “soul” otoh? Is merrily disregarding all this and acts as if I’m simply working on a 30 year project. OOOODLES of time to make it all come together and finish something. And I can’t resist that urge. Interesting. I’ve touched on this before, but this distinct personality split hadn’t really been clear to me. Not sure I’d even avoid frustration if I was able to choose one angle and stick with it – it’s difficult to unthink something, isn’t it?

Yeah. I think today’s forage could perhaps go on a lookout for twigs and doodads to make paintbrushes from, to complete the madness. Any ideas for good items that fall into the “Close to home” category? (oh, errm, there’s another project that I probably haven’t told you about either…)

As soon as I have access to soft water, I’ll let you in on my new plans for plant dyeing, it’s been a while since I last wrote about that!

Also: Beeswax, guys. Stay tuned! (no, I did not collect this myself)

19 thoughts on “Micro foraging for art supplies

  1. Nu er du jo også kommet med på dogme-bølgen 😉 Jeg ser frem til at høre om dine mange eksperimenter med plantefarvning, papir osv. Hvordan bærer du dig ad med at få blomsterbladene til at blive i papiret? Mine drysser af, når papiret er tørt 🙁 Tid for flere eksperimenter. Jeg har faktisk et farvebed i år – med skønhedsøje (Creopsis tinctoria) – og jeg har slæbt mange vandkander gennem hele haven for at holde liv i dem – de er naturligvis længst væk fra vandhanen.
    … og bivoks?

    1. Jeg vidste ikke engang at der var en bølge. 😉
      Det har interesseret mig længe, jeg ved bare ikke hvorfor, og jeg har egentlig ikke energien til det, altsammen meget underligt….

  2. Bølgen har vist indtil videre også kun – ihvert fald “kunst”mæssigt – bestået ad mig, men der er koncepter som kilometermad osv. Så når kilometerkunst bliver det nye sort, bliver vi to rige og berømte 😉

  3. I may have found a frame to put my paper in for eco printing and now it is time for me to forage a little, also!
    Look forward to seeing your paper!

    1. It’s wet and messy, so in a tiny house I suggest your work outside! I always need to change my clothes afterwards. Ok, my table is wonky and some of my equipment is not ideal But it’s fun to see how it turns out with different components.

      1. Thanks for the tips! Just today our niece went to Koyasan ( if you get a chance, Google it) mountain for a children’s retreat. One of the main activities is going to be– traditional Japanese paper making!

    1. Absolutely, I know – it’s just very time consuming compared to $$, so even if I do it for fun and then give the materials away, that still leaves me with the survival question, but then I’ll have used up all my spoons, so… And I would not be a good teacher, I just don’t have that touch with people.

    2. I was just thinking this am: maybe jumping half-a**** into all the things and then writing about them is my thing. Now, I wonder how I could get someone to pay me for THAT? roflmao

  4. And slow people. I know it’s arrogant, but I just don’t seem to have the patience and then feel guilty.

    1. Oh yes I know just what you mean. I am so impatient with people that don’t ‘get it’ unless I’m watching myself. Dave is too, but he’s much better at hiding it than I am. Is it arrogance? Or just the frustration of being intelligent in a very average world? I’m sorry if that sounds arrogant – it’s not meant to be: Both Dave and I have an IQ in the top 2% and it brings up challenges like that sometimes. I do feel ashamed when I show my impatience though.

      1. Yes, that’s what I meant. I don’t mean to belittle people, but it does come out as such. I’m not good at keeping in irritation. We saw this really dumb series on Netflix recently for lack of entertainment, “Scorpion” – and while I’m not in their league I can definitely relate. (bunch of socially challenged supernerds who btw loved to experiment with weird stuff)

        1. No I don’t intend to belittle either, but I know that’s how they experience it. I can ‘pass’ as average because I’m a good mimic (I used to watch other people then copy how they behaved) but anything more than surface interaction and the cracks start to show. The fact that I don’t watch TV or read gossipy magazines is usually the start because I simply don’t know who people are talking about a lot of the time. Plus I can no longer be bothered to keep it up for long these days. Takes too much energy.

          1. Ha! I have no clue about celebrities either. Or bake competitions / Song contests / etc

  5. Pia, I think your “one or two things for deep focus” could be gathering and sharing your prompts and inspirations and thought sparks for others!

    I live on a farm, and while I have done some natural dye experiments with our plants, I never took it further. It never occurred to me to look around here for materials to make my own brushes, paper, etc. But now that I read this post about micro-foraging, it seems like a very interesting thing to do. And I feel that way about so many of your ideas — they inspire me to go out and do something new, but in a way that helps explore those same areas of art in my own way, not just copying a particular demonstration in a book.

    I think that is your gift. You cast a broad net into the world of art and nature, and end up with unique inspirations that help other people find their own perspective.

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