This winter I decided to make sure I wasn’t bored, having had to cancel all my courses that usually fill my time. So I decided to go back to school, as it were and enrolled on several online courses. It turns out they all seem to have the same theme, which is – here, now. Here being The Dove, Somerset, and now being Wintertime in a Pandemic. Alongside the courses, and keeping me sane, I’ve been planting trees – lots of them, along with volunteers – on our re-wilding project Wild Lea.
So trees started to be the theme for the different courses I was doing. Firstly, Placemaking Winter, with Alice Fox. This involves choosing a location near to home, and making dyes and inks from what you find there.
Secondly, Mokuhanga with Robin Frood.
Japanese woodblock printing using water- based inks. I started using standard pigments
but then experimented with some of my botanical inks
This one, appropriately, used oak gall ink. There’s a long way to go with this exploration, and I shall have to make tons more ink as it spreads very thinly. But the next thing I did was overlay a botanical ink drawing with a mokuhanga print, thus
At the moment I’m wrestling with a multi block print involving Scots Pines, where the block comes out much better than the botanical inks print
So, alongside these two courses, believe it or not, I am doing a year’s online Introduction to Herbalism at the Stroud School of Health. Much more of a struggle! It’s serious school time, and that was such a long time ago….but I’m enjoying making teas, and, currently, investigating herbalism worldwide. I imagine trees might come into this too, or at least plants that grow around trees.
As if that wasn’t all enough, I’ve just enrolled on an artists books course ‘Thinking about Books’ with Les Bicknell of Leicester Print Workshop. Starts in February, so no images yet, but I’m looking forward to new ideas that help me organise all this making into something coherent.
Coherence is what is needed.