Tag Archives: trees

The seeds sprout and the sun rises

Planting seeds… Every Spring as Nature awakens and comes back to life, seedlings are planted and seeds are sowed. Cause that’s how it goes. Cause that’s the way it is – standstill taking over the movement, and solution and breakthrough coming forward after the deadlock…

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Since we settled at #szaryganek a few years ago, I started another dyer’s garden right away. I planted several varieties of smoke bush, couple of catalpas, tamarisk, liquid amber, and two types of sumac in addition to what was already growing there. (Some of the new plants were presented by a friend visiting at that time. Evgenia, remember?) I also arranged madder root corner in the rear end of the garden. Needless to say, rubia tinctoria is a very important dye plant, although a young plant is not so good for dye extraction, you’ve got to wait 3 years until you harvest the first batch. This Spring I have been able to draw out a few root shoots to expand my madder plantation.

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Madder is one of the oldest dyestuffs. According to J.N. Liles, it extends back at least to 2000 b.c. In his book The Art and Craft of Natural Dyeing, 1990, you can find at least 10 recipes with madder root for color red. Wow, I’ve been always fascinated with madder dyeing potential, and also with its medicinal properties. At the same time, have to admit that traditional dyeing with madder has never become my thing. Maybe I am not ambitious enough…

However, enhancing the effects from leaf printing in contact dyeing with madder extract, on the contrary, has been serving me at its best from the very start. Back in those days, when an absolute newbie in botanical printing struggling to get leaf prints of decent visibility on fabric or paper, at the same time craving for eucalyptus foliage to appropriate for my studio experiments, (and eucalyptus itself had been a complete alien at the local florists) half in despair, I resolved to giving a break to squishing out wishful color from the foliage that had already proven void, and to taking an opposite approach of saturating a weak leaf with stronger potion.

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The thing is that in days of the past newborn babies were traditionally bathed in herba bidentis extract bath-water in view of its antibacterial etc. properties, clothes were also treated with the extract. I did bathe my child that way too. The extract should’ve been cooked every time fresh through a time consuming process, and no steps to be skipped whatsoever. And the results were magical… So, in my studio I gave the old method a go and treated those weak leaves to the dye stuff extract. And, yes, the leaves impregnated with stronger dye print immediately even before the heat is applied. This is a pic back from that time:

What a relief it was after so many failures! And throughout the years of my exploring botanical dyeing this method never stopped surprising.

But it’s Spring time, remember? Conditioning the stage for madder root expansion in the garden was not a big deal, in fact. However, my recent urge for setting a vegetable garden (the lockdown sequela) required way more engineering intense arrangements. First came five plastic boxes for vegetable beds – yes, yes, I know, plastic… But, hey, sometimes you just have to to make do with what you got. I didn’t like the idea of poking holes in the bottoms, I wanted to keep the boxes intact. So, I thought I would make a raised mesh bottom supported with fixed wire. Water is supposed to go underneath, and I added a tube for ventilation and also for watering:

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Next, I spreaded agrotextile to separate soil from the plastic walls, added some potting grit and soil.

It took me several hours to finish the construction stage. Planting and sowing took the next couple of days. However, after a period of nice weather we got the temperature dropping from +26C to +8C. Which now makes me really wonder if my efforts prove fruitful.

 

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P.S. Oh, did I mention that seeds were germinated in a plastic bottle? It is a very effective and low maintenance sprouting method. XOXO

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Flourishing butterbur Beavers woke up Full moon in three days

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In this magical time of the year when Nature unveils itself, the most conspicuous recent traces of change around my usual routes just turned into a Haiku style blank verse and appeared as a title of this post.

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Everything in nature resting during the winter, got charged up to come out as the earth is waking up in spring. Flowering Butterbur stock (Petasites vulgaris) gives the river bank a bit of a look of a Martian landscape. Butterbur extract may prevent migraine headaches, they say. Doctors do not know exactly how butterbur prevents migraines, they say. And this, in addition to many medicinal properties of this plant. 

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Spring is all about light. Everything around is opening up and shaking free from winter dormancy. Especially beavers! Beavers do not hibernate, but are less active during winter.

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Obviously beavers are embracing the freedom of spring after a long winter. On my spring exploratory excursion, I encountered a well-built beaver lodge, one I hadn’t known about before.

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Beavers’ ability to change the landscape is second only to humans. their favorite foods include water lily tubers, apples and the leaves and green bark (cambium) from aspen and other fast-growing trees. Tree cutting is part of nature’s cycle, and beaver pruning stimulates willows, cottonwood and aspen to regrow bushier than ever the next spring. 

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Again  we become part of the process of re-creation that is occurring during the season of Springtime! And speaking of being a part of creative process, I just happened to meet these amazing people deeply fascinated by poetry in Haiku style. Haiku poetry was originally developed by Japanese poets. I have been always admiring brevity and imagistic language in haiku which makes you feel connected to nature. Haikus are often inspired by nature, a moment of beauty, or poignant experience… And on the other hand, writing haiku provides a new way to look at the world… 

I am so proud that the first issue of Haiku Port Quarterly 1/2018  was published with my participation.  And on the other hand, writing haiku provides a new way to look at the world… 

 

Flourishing butterbur

Beavers woke up

Full moon in three days

 

 

 


Embracing the Season! Привет, сЕНТЯБРЬ!

Embracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the seasonEmbracing the season

I took all these pics just within an hour when one day I made a 400 km detour into a most picturesque area from my conventional route.

I expected to find some Season inspiration and was overwhelmed with sensation of the triumph the Autumn was celebrating all over the hills and along the valleys, while the hundred-year-old trees were majestically towering above the vanity of vanities. 

Needless to say, I returned from the trip with a bunch of inspirational memories and a bag full of the windfall, the material for my continuous printing/dyeing experiments!  

It’s time to pick up leaves, you all!

xo

Всего за час мне повезло сделать чудесные фото, когда во время одной из своих поездок я решила отклониться от маршрута на 400 км!

Хотелось впечатлений осенних, и неожиданно – Вот он, триумф Осени по склонам холмов и в долинах, а столетние деревья-великаны своей мудростью спокойно возвышаются над суетой сует…

Само собой разумеется, вернулась я из путешествия с огромной коллекцией впечатлений и невероятным мешком собранных листьев:

запаслась и вдохновением, и материалом для экспериментов!

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