And then it snowed!
We do not get much snow here in Argyll, West Coast, Scotland.
It rarely lies for long.
This is due to the Gulf Stream that flows along our coast.
(This Gulf Stream is also the reason we have some pockets of pristine temperate rainforest locally, havens for tree ferns, lichens and mosses, and why palm trees can thrive here!)
When it does lie I become very sensorily heightened.
I am a snow lover.
I love the Peace, Mystery, Wonder and Magik that it brings with it.
I love how it slows everything down and shows us a brand new, pristine, crystalline, world.
I love the memories it brings with it, of places I have lived that get real snow, snow that lies all winter, metres thick, in Poland and Germany.
And, prehaps, carried in my DNA, some deeper, past life, memories too.
I also love to get snowed in, but here that barely ever happens…..
As a child my Finnish mother taught me how to make snowlanterns. Known as ‘snölykta’ in Sweden.
What a treat to see it glow in the light of the waxing Wolf Moon ( 5 days from full)
I have included a link to another blog (above) that shows how to make these, but took a few pictures myself.
It really is very simple and a lovely activity to do with children.
See how it flickers in the wind.
A beacon on the hill.
(I forgot to mention….if it is windy where you make one of these….it helps to fill in the gaps with a thin layer of snow. After a while the inside melts, making a glassy ‘lining’… which make it more windproof.)
My teenage boys are not as excited by the snow as they once were, so I dragged my 16 year old son out to play with me.
I let him decide what our snow sculpture would be this year.
After a little thought he said he would like to make a CHAIR!
This made me laugh.
Coming from a teen who has barely moved from his chair, in front of his PC, for months now, I suddenly saw this as a perfect example of ‘Lockdown Art’!!
Orignally going to be a ‘snow throne’ it turned into a, rather chilly, armchair!
These photos were taken at night, in the torchlight.
A mysteriously inviting piece of snow furniture that lasted only one night.
working as part of a ‘Japanese 72 season micro-climate’ artist collaborative initiative within Treesisters)
Japanese season called ‘Dalkan’ / greater cold, 20th January – 3rd February.
Micro climate ‘ice thickens on streams’ 25th January – 29th January.
The Ice here comes and goes.
We’ve had, heavy, hail storms and one morning we had snow!
I made this mandala from the photos of the Pixie Cup (Cladonia Pxyidata?) lichen.
Apparently Cladonia lichens are quite difficult to identify, as there are so many of them. The photograph online that most matched mine was titled this, and the site seemed like they knew a lot about lichens, so I am going with this identification!
I’ll probably spend the rest of my life thinking of all Cladonia as ‘Pixie lichen’ though. I love Common names.
Loving the tiny spore ‘antennae’ that popped up in this mandala.
The Gaia-hut looked very authentic in the snow.
It often ‘calls’ me, but the weather and exposure here have meant that I am, effectively, waiting for a real break in the weather before starting work again.
This Time has proved, though, that it is weather tight and I have had the fire on a couple of times.
There is quite a bit of ‘stuff’ stored inside and, as it is such a tiny house/gallery, it will not function comfortably until all the ‘tricks’/storage are built into it.
But it waits and I am excited to get on with it!
Do not know where it’ll take me in summer 2020!
This pile of pith is the by-product of the floss siemmens, (soft rush rope), making.
Such an interesting material.
I am so curious as to possible uses for it as this grows everywhere here. Local farmers would love it if someone came along and harvested it, even on our own patch we have a lifetimes supply.
I learned that it was one of the first forms of home lighting, so played around with making small dipping candles (re-purposing old wax collected over years!) and using it in more traditional ways, as a rush light.
The 10cm candles lasted about 15 minutes with a bright clean flame.
The rush lights could have burned for twice that time.
But this time I only tested it quickly just dipping it into our smelly ‘fat jar’.
It was clear how well this would work, but better to do it with a clearer fat/oil! And pick fat, autumn rushes….
I am totally in love with this process.
My fingers seem to remember it.
I have 14.5 meters of it now!
Sitting in the kitchen, twisting rushes and listening to great podcasts…while cooking. Perfect!
And, as I make it, so many different ways of using it come to mind.
Definitely a good ‘craft’ to ‘carry in mind’ with the tiny gallery!
My professional bushcraft mates tell me that they have great results with autistic kids and adults with learning difficulties when they introduce this so simple, primal technique to them. I can feel why!
Traditionally it was the children who harvested, prepared and replaced the rush lights in the home.
It was their responsibility to bring light.
Such a poetic ring to that.
The finshed cord has such a wonderful spring and life to it and it will change quite a lot with age.
It will lighten, become more tan in colour.
I saw, and felt, some my friend had made years ago and it was still waxy and soft. More beautiful, if anything.
I have not trimmed the ends, as I think un-trimmed looks great for an organic, art project, but normally all the ends would all be trimmed.
I love making it so much I might make loads more and widen the band. Using braiding perhaps? Tying objects in?!
Deadline is in April, so excited to see what grows from this…
The Earth Grid image is still nagging me, so I experimented with working it in mud.
I really wish these photographs did them justice….they really do not….but here it is…
Earth Grid 1.