cotton flowers bloom 40/72

working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)

Japanese season called ‘Shosho’ / manageable heat, 23rd August – 7th September
Micro climate ‘cotton flowers bloom’ 23rd – 27th August.

And now it is over for this weekend!
This season was all about a kind of ‘blooming’ for me, but not of the cotton flower variety!! A personal blooming….the sharing of my dream with the public. The weather was unexpectedly ‘manageable’ too!

It all passed in a blur.
Impossible to share all the ups and downs.
I had to open it not quite finished. The two wings not attached (one wing not yet built). The door window only suggested by a frame, the wood-burner and solar power not connected and all the curious decorations not yet, intuitively, found.
This has meant that the original idea of the ”heART’ being on the OUTSIDE (and the working ‘studio’ within) was not, as yet, achievable, due to lack of cover, but I was happy with the compromise I found.
I did not get any pictures of it with visitors in it, or around it, enjoying the space, which I regret, but, all in all, it was a success.
Few real sales….my ‘pot’ remains in severe negative….but lots of positive communication and sharing, which is the hut’s real aim.
I learned a lot about how to ‘open’ up such a thing and still remain genuine, true to it’s essence. Sometimes that meant toughening up and learning how much of myself to share.
I had prepared so much to give…but when visitors arrive in separate groups, or when I just let them lead me there was always so much left unexplored…..I had prepared ‘gifts’, for all that made it up here, that sometimes were left ungiven, not everyone got the ‘dot’ they were entitled to, I forgot, once, to make a coffee that someone asked for, sometimes I babbled nervously, sometimes I was solid in my skin and grounded. Sometimes I felt confident….sometimes I was crying inside.

But as the weekend went on I learned more and more about how to ‘pitch’ (and use) this, also new to me, venue.

A tiny vole took up residence under the wagon for the duration of the ‘show’ and kept me company in the hours in between visitors. Dragonflies often whirred past, in the sunshine, and reminded me of the whole illusion. Walking around, in bare feet, I became very aware of the black ‘rain beetles’ scuttling about and enjoyed ‘remembering’ the old superstition, careful not to tread on them….and you know…it did not rain! Not for the whole event…not much anyway!!

Those hours , in between, were the first real moments of peace and calm I had had for, what feels like, weeks and weeks.

It was done. All set up. There was little to do except enjoy it and it’s surrounds….

I received a letter of thanks (with a link to a local foraging event) from one visitor and these words poured out of me by way of a reply. probably more than was required (ever the ‘too much’ woman!), but I think I will add it here as it says so much more about how this experience landed with me….she had commented on my garden and this is where it begins, this is where it all begins….the land….

“Dear ‘Visitor to Gaia-hut ‘, (name changed)

Thank you so much for making the trip up to mine and I am very happy that you enjoyed!

Yes, the garden was all about making something good out of a disaster.

Unfortunately the exposure up here has not been kind to it.

I planted/created it in the lea of the prevailing winds where my, more traditional, veg patch had been, so the soil had been well fed for 6 years. And I used that soil to fill the tyres. But with these climate changes we suffered harsh, ‘new’, winds from the EAST in May, that were pretty devastating! And then I had to go away for the whole of July, and my deep love of many wild, vigorous, but medicinal, ‘weeds’ meant, that when I returned, it was ALL (including the middle) waist high in grasses and many of my less hardy plants had suffered….but a good days ‘weeding’ brought it back to what you saw!

There is loads in there….many medicinal and other ‘common’, but to me, magical, plants. And I seem to have a self-seeded lifetimes supply of delicious sorrel!

I use the plants every day in salad and browse medicinally. Preferring to nibble fresh than prepare tinctures etc. I do do a lot of preserving though. Happy to get rhubarb, blackcurrants, (white and red), gooseberries, mint, parsley, nasturtiums, chamomile, borage, yarrow, dill, rosemary (but have a better bush near the house), sage, wild strawberries, rocket, beets, yarrow, bay willow herb, red campion, and lots more, all from that messy looking ‘medicine wheel’. Sadly the fruit trees have also suffered the exposure here, but have had 3 plums and a few apples this year too!

I rescue a lot of plants and transplant….so have many alders this year to transplant as ‘shelter’ on the east side….alder being a tree I also use to get pigment for my ‘heART’. Very excited to get courgettes and now a couple of pumpkins too from 4 year old seed! The tyre experiments continue! Some purists say that the ‘rubber’ gets into the produce…but many do not agree. I am enjoying my experiments anyway!

My approach is basically to rarely buy anything for the garden….most is self-seeded (I love those!), transplanted or grown from seeds collected the year before….and sometimes rescued, half-dead, from supermarket trolleys! Working ‘with’ rather than against what is already here…..

Thank you for the link…..I have attended several foraging walks in my time…and while I nearly always glean some new ‘tit-bit’ the majority is covering things I already know! And with our finances being what they are at the moment I simply cannot justify paying out for these kind of experiences.  I enjoyed the video. Thank you. She is lovely!! What a magnetic, gentle, shiny, dedicated spirit she has! I so admire these young ‘ancients’ that are rising now….and you have inspired me to incorporate more of this side of things into the ‘travelling side show’ that is my long held dream!

I am not really a ‘people person’….it takes a lot for me to open up my soul to the public like this and I find it very draining. It takes away from my real ‘work’. But this adventure has helped me begin to ‘define’ myself better!

My main work now is having THE conversation with others, globally, about how to successfully negotiate the knowing that we have now, long passed ‘tipping’ point and how to, peacefully, assimilate the fact that all of us are in some way guilty of creating it. The internet is both a gift and a horror and really is what we make it….Artificial intelligence is fed by our data. That same AI is shaping the next generation. I see it as a responsibility of mine to feed it, so it learns, with LOVE, images of nature, and my experiments are a way of illustrating how we all can strip ourselves of so much ‘consumer’ conditioning and learn to find new ways of being open to what our ‘Mother’ offers. Evolve into a Restorer species. Write a new narrative. Largely inspired by having lived with real tribes and having an intuitive understanding of all we, as a society, have lost and urgently need to re-gain. The other aspect of my ‘work’ is to encourage those younger than me to rebel, to take action, to continue the fight against corporations etc. FOR LIFE. FOR OUR PLANET. I have been doing this for years now. Myself and other ‘grandmothers’ are, collectively, the push, that I fiercely believe, is giving birth to wonderful young women like this!! We believe that this is important work, of an invisible nature….impossible to sell….living life as a prayer.

My, more physical, ‘heART’ simply a by-product of this.

So this older now, shy, crone plugs into Gaia. Just me and ‘her’, in relationship, on a fairly lonely hill top in Scotland…and I respond to her ‘gifts’ daily (each new day a gift of learning)…to the beauty and tragedy of it ALL.
Both in celebration and as an act of remembering. I am becoming, again, ‘her’ dedicated servant. My ‘service’ to share only the experience with the world….

Apologies too if this is language foreign to you….I do now exist in a different, parallel, time-frame.
I struggle terribly with all those other structures imposed on us. Forms, box-filling, funding, business reality…in a world which no longer celebrates the visionaries and dreamers….but, now, more than ever, determined to find ways to take this, through my Gaia ‘hut’, out into the community.

The weekend has taught me much. My ‘best’ visit….by far….was a family of young children. So open, so curious and playful. Lots of questions and touching. I thrilled them with my puppets and taught them so much about trees and shared old stories… was also a delight to see their mother so happy with my ‘doings’ and engaging with her children in learning!

I think that I have grown to fear ‘adult’ judgement too much, been too hurt over the last few decades and that if I am to focus my efforts in this physical way….my audience must be children and the telling/sharing of these ancient wisdoms.

I experience real grief when I encounter ‘closed’ people…those who visit with their eyes shut….who are simply consuming. Those, who even if the ‘art’ on offer is not to their taste, can find no kind words of encouragement or simply seem not to see the effort put in by the human being standing in front of them. Is this ignorance or simple rudeness, shyness or fear? That I do not know….but I am always stunned by how many walk this Earth in this unfeeling state.

Happily I have also identified another shamanically orientated woman, living locally, who is interested in gathering, physically, in circle and doing this work for the Earth and not as a paying part of her workshops!! So all good!

I thank you dear (visitor)…for initiating the finding of these words! Already a productive day for me and not yet 10am! I do seek ways to survive these brutal systems and fight to continue to live in the bigger picture….the economic wheels a constant torture for the likes of me. My mission to keep our collective dreaming ALIVE….and to encourage the opening of eyes to the true majesty and wonder of all that is and our dependence on it…..for I feel sure that somewhere in this way of seeing lies miracles beyond our imagining.

Big Earth Love,

Kat Robertson”

And so here follows a video ‘virtual tour’ of how it looked, and a simple collection of images from over this productive ‘season’ and ….and I look forward to opening again next weekend!
The forecast is less encouraging and I had hoped to complete the build in these days in between, but that is not to be.
I, and my Gaia-hut experience, are not quite ready….but surely will be for summer 2020!
Call this a preview of sorts!
I have all autumn and winter to play with this space. To learn it properly. To devise the puppet show and fine tune the presentation….
Another interesting opportunity that has presented is the idea of going ‘on tour’ in Scotland with a friend’s vegan pop-up, ‘Catch-a-Carrot’ next year. She is less ‘disabled’ with all things official (insurance/funding etc) so that would be a great help for this Asperger’s type! Exciting!
Who knows where this wee trailer will get to in 2020!

Gaia hut August 2019 from Kat Robertson on Vimeo.

Click on first image to view as ‘gallery’ and get more of the story…..


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