Tagged: tiny gallery build

Gaia Hut build. Spring/Summer 2020.

Well, more than a week has gone by since we, the Gaia Hut and I, trundled home, after it’s first, official road test and the exhibition.
It has taken me this long to edit all the photos and assimilate all the goings on.
I think I can safely call it a Success!
I sold many of my ‘small, but original’ works (even a couple of bigger ones!) and everyone seemed delighted by this tiny gallery/studio on wheels.
As am I.

So this post is a rewind to the build that led up to that event.

Continuing the build in preparation for first road test and exhibition 2020

I wish I had documented the build this year as seperate blog posts, but the push to complete, in time for the ArtMap Argyll Open studio event, was intense!
I simply did not have the Time. (I am also a mother, home keeper and gardener!)

The Gaia Hut was used to exhibit in 2019, but was far from finished!
I still needed to repaint/build bed system/install woodburner/finish, hang, wings/build honeycomb storage/fit washing machine window in door/invent cover for rainy days/construct floor/generally strengthen structure/get electrics working…..the list was long.

(The main build ‘story’ of 2019 is intertwined the dense diary of the 72 Japanese Seasons project! I have though added a button in the main menu that brings up posts connected with her transition from box trailer to tiny gallery. , GAIA HUT – BUILD)

So after the Hut sitting as wood/tool store for the long winter, I got cracking again in the spring.

I did not stop to take many pictures, but here is what I have to share.

(Click on first image to see in Gallery format with more of the story attached. On my laptop the words are hidden and you need to use the down arrow to see them. Must chat with wordpress about this!)

I made this collage of, previous, build photos, as so many people asked, during the exhibition, what it was before, how I had made it etc.
I hung this, laminated, on the outside so people could see.
Some photos are repeated here, but hope it gives the general idea!?

So now, after the exhibtion, this wee hut on wheels is ready for me to work in as my garden studio, take out to do more land/location based work, use to write and meditate in and even sleep/live in on my, future, road trips.
It brings me closer to an old way of Life that I loved.
Closer too, to the Earth and the elements.
I can escape ‘the House-box’ once more.
And it can take me away from the isolated, protection, of our hill and out into the wider world that beckons.

Also, hidden in the storage is a 5m tent tipi (with it’s own wee burner) and two camp beds. The table/bed also becomes a sofa using the futon matress (cut to size) that also fits in under the table. Space too for lots of cushions and blankets. I have a travelling stove and lovely, little, kerosene lamps, left to me by my late mother.
I took all this kit to the exhibition with me to test that it all fitted and it does, even with the extra artwork, materials etc.

After much deliberation I have decided to keep it as a ‘power-free space’ and not pursue solar/wind power kits. It feels so good to step away from the digital ‘noise’.
I may be forced to enter the world of the SMART phone though, out of necessity, not something I relish the idea of. We’ll see…

I do have to practise reversing and towing the Hut though, as I am still very nervous on the road. No problems with it’s road worthiness though! It has now been thoroughly checked over by a professional mechanic. I intend to make a sign for the back too, apologising to other road users for it’s slow speed and I might need to consider selling my 1.9 estate in favor of something with a bit more oomph!

Ideas of UK wide travel are dissolving too. I cannot imagine going on a motorway with this precious baby! There are, after all, so many stunning locations within reach of Home, here, to explore.

My dreams of using it for a puppet show are very much alive (one of the reasons for the push out window!) Hoping to entertain many, in Argyll, with my Gaia inspired show.

So many possible uses for such a structure.

I could rent it, locally, for outdoor events, as a dry hub/a DJ booth/a food vending stall. During the exhibition I realised it would not take that much work to create ‘kits’ that could turn it into a mobile sauna or , even, a very posh, compost toilet!!

Looking forward now to future adventures…….

But not before I have posted about the exhibition itself….

Some more practical creativity!

Not all ‘in artden’, 2D, creativity going on, here on the hill.

A socially-distanced, garden, ‘get together’, when I produced a totally disfunctional chair for a freind to sit on, prompted some long over-due upcycling!

I bought these old style, ash?, kitchen chairs about 9 years ago at an auction for £5 the pair! The pine stool was from the dump.
Since bought/found, they have sat, outside, in our porch, out of the wet, but exposed to the elements.

Believe it or not, the chairs (and stool) were varnished when I bought/found them, but Time outside meant they have slowly lost their sheen.
I love this ‘driftwood’, natural, finish, but, as we discovered when my friend tried to sit on them, the glue in the joins had well and truly perished and I saw I really needed to give them some lovin’!

I began by re-gluing all the joints in the chairs, then I painted the stool with some old, oil-based, primer.
I hated it.
It dried so fast on the sunny day and everything felt sticky.
It was hard to clean up after and I was covered in spirits.
I realised I did not want to do this to my chairs!
Then I remembered I had some bees wax!
It was such a delight to sit outside, ‘feeding the wood’ of these, now re-glued, yet, beautifully, ‘wonky’ chairs.
They make me smile now everytime I see them.

I had some blue satin emulsion too, in an old tin, so decided to paint the stool blue.

Got some ideas for further decoration of these chairs…..we’ll see what happens….as you can see from this post nothing happens fast up here!
I highly recommend this ‘lazy’ approach to varnish removal though….most of the work had already been done for me, by the elements!! Thank you Ma!

Another related tale, that makes me smile, is that a freind, recently, shared with me, that her young daughter always remembers me as the ‘lady who feeds the wood’!
Isn’t that wonderful!
They had come up to visit my Gaia-Hut Open Day, last year, just as I was waxing some stunning old wood ‘samples’ that my wood-turning grandfather had made.
She had helped me rub it in for a while.
That’s me.
The lady who ‘feeds the wood’.

Talking of the Gaia-Hut, (the tiny gallery/outside,travelling, studio/workshop/puppet show/venue to celebrate all things Gaia), work continues, on these sunny days, at that same incremental speed.
Sometimes I worry that the tyres will rot before I get to go anywhere with it!

Table/storage/bed system prooved a bit of a headache, as I kept making small changes that affected previous descisions. Happy to say it is now functioning properly! And now I have had another idea that will extend it’s multi-functionality into becoming a ‘sofa’ too!

The plywood I found at the dump has become a wooden floor.
Still wondering about how to finish this.
Bees-wax is a no-go as the ply is coated and does not take the wax well. Considering more burning….perhaps a full, shu-sugi-ban, burn?…or maybe some pyro-designs?…I do not want it too dark.
It is looking like, whatever I decide, it will still need a polyurethane coating to protect it….something I had hoped to avoid.
Even wondering, as a lover of natural wear and tear, if I could live with it slowly changing with use, but it would then look ‘dirty’ at first, until the patina really kicks in…
I have cut up some old lino, which will become part of ‘the kit’ for messier activities, to cover it while I decide what to do….

The honeycomb storage was also a departure from my ‘only recycling’ breif to myself. I was going to make something like this, using up lots of mismatched bits of wood, but then I saw these craft boxes for sale, at £3.50 each! I couldn’t resist! And this has saved me so much work!
I do feel a bit as if I have cheated though….

As yet, while work continues, unable to use this tiny space as a studio/plein aire escape…still full of materials and tools….but getting closer each day I work on it.
Washing machine ‘window’ in the door next and shutters for the window side….

The swallows love to roost on it, so it has it’s uses.

ice thickens on streams 71/72

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.

kat robertson artist
kat robertson artist

rainbows hide 58/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shosetsu’ / lesser snow, 22nd November – 6th December
Micro climate ‘rainbows hide’ 22nd November – 26th November

What an incredibly ecstatic day I have had! No snow, but the frost is absolutely enchanting!
I have gone a bit mandala crazy this season with such a winter wonderland to explore.

Also beginning to think of Christmas presents….I always make up-cycle mine.
A hamper full of homemade treats and always a homemade pop-up card….these are just some of the designs I am working with.

The rainbows are not ceasing here in Argyll.
Most enchanting are the spectrum of colours that comes off every iced twig and stem, which proved difficult to capture with my wee camera.

(Click on first image to see larger images as gallery)

Made this one today from one of the above photographs. Can you work out which one?

frostedtreebranches mandala

Below I share just one of the many rainbows still gracing our skies. There is hope!

I have now fitted the woodburner and lit the fire in the Gaia-hut. Also fitted one wall wing. At last getting closer to my inside-out space being habitable as a tiny studio space…

Couldn’t resist making this gif too…..away with the frosty fairies!

The mud play continues in artden.

So many crisp and crunchy revelations, as to direction and development of my craft, in this season…too much to share here!

But a big part of it is realizing that the big, energetic, ‘push’ is over….everything I had ever dreamed would be discussed on the radio/media, and even in the political realms, fills the media daily.

At last the planet is a matter of concern for all.

And I now longer feel like I have to shout so loud from this remote hill top.
Of course, this is only really the beginning….

The greatest release is that I can now begin to return, in full heart, to what I AM.

A nature celebrant artist and visionary, simply residing in this BIG LOVE and dreaming up better, more beautiful, futures…

YAHOO!

kat robertson artist

wagtails sing 44/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Hakuro’ / white dew, 8th September – 22nd September
Micro climate ‘wagtails sing’ 13th – 17th September.

We actually have seen the grey wagtail quite frequently in our garden recently, but never when I have a camera handy! Bobbing about.

Inspired by an initiative called ‘Listen to the Earth‘ I have been introduced to recently, I have been sitting and watching the dawn every morning this mirco-season. Listening with my whole body. Imagine this with a, healthy, morning chorus soundtrack. It is one of the best ways to begin the day!
I think I will listen to the audio clip in this link and see, tomorrow, if I can identify it’s call in the chorus…..


I am often amazed at how divine synchronicity seems to plot my path these days….not only have I been reminded of this simple powerful, ‘earthing’, work, but the Treesister‘s Full Moon Embody call, I joined last night, was all about ’embodying’ nature, and employing all the senses, allowing, fully, all this ‘outside’ in.

Now…..just look at the latest piece that is growing out of a larger, squiggle, experiment I started a week or so ago!
Made the same way as the simple, biro, ‘squiggles’, but on a larger scale and in pencil. Squiggle…then see what presents.
The Norns! Being heard!
Definitely tuning in….
Also I got a nudge, from a local friend, today, re-gathering in healing circle and it looks like 3 of us might be ‘listening to the earth’ together on Monday at 2.30pm (autumn equinox and just before the UN climate summit) with the above project!
Did I weave this into my reality? Probably not, but I do notice these things.

The build/development of tiny gallery intuitively continues.

This is now the fun bit…..

I have found some neglected, old, rusted, corrugated tin and installed it as a ‘fire guard’ behind my wee wood burner. I just love this element-worn texture and colour. The work of water on metal.
I intend to break up the straight edges with other found metal bits, dreamed it had loads of blossoms on it all made out of beer bottle tops, so I guess it is also becoming a tree…

And on the subject of textures….for anyone who did not quite ‘get’ my comment on how ‘wood + fire = water’, in last season’s post… here a couple of shots that illustrate that better!

I have been keeping my eyes open for, quirky, storage solutions for the Gaia-hut and I have scored this, well loved, doll’s house from our ‘dump’ shop for £5! Perfect!

(Not sure where all the, (stupidly cheap), wooden, hexagon boxes I have already ordered from ebay have got to….late in arriving…. but they will also be included as a ‘beehive’ of storage, if they ever get here….and if they do not all fit I can always paint them and make ‘magikal’ objects to sell in my shop.)

The two halves of this dolls house fit together, back to back….the holes are a good size for reaching into and will hold ‘stuff’ well, when in motion.
I intend to paint them the same colour as the trailer walls, perhaps even with real-slate roofs, and create two shelf units.
I can see them multi-tasking as part of the puppet show too and, still, also, as a toy for younger visitors…I do need to half the width of both though.
On the to-do list.

The inside-out (or is that the outside-in?) theme of the Gaia-hut continues!

Then there is what to do with what remains, after recycling the dubious, plastic, characters and furniture, of the contents of this dolls house?!!
I had some fun with that today, for this blog!

So I sit here now, with wet knees, from playing in the garden with my new tiny family.
Such fun.
Once, in a deep, processing, led meditation, I was required to ask my 8 year old self what she wanted to say to me now.
My 8 year old self was absolutely furious that I had stopped making houses for fairies in the woods!
I feel she is happier now. Looking forward to playing more…I have some strong ideas for climate change related work,….and, again, can see that they might play a part in the puppet show too….
They are all watching me now as I type, back in the dry artden…..happy to be loved again.

For the rest of the day I am going to be painting my, old, sandwich board brilliant white (using up old pots of paint), in preparation for my trip to Edinburgh.
I will be using it to display the #100daysquiggles as part of the 100 Days Project Scotland exhibition next week…where I hope to sit ‘in gallery’ doing some ‘live’ squiggling.

And then I plan to, lovingly hand-sew, up the hem of a beautiful, vintage, kimono I treated myself to, last time I was there, in July.
The photographs do not do this vintage fabric justice. It has more of a glow to it.
All hand sewn and, possibly, even, real silk!
It was stunning long, I felt like an elegant mermaid wearing it it, but it was too long.
I hope to wear this at the opening event of the exhibition.

I had to take a new photograph of myself for the exhibition bio. This is it. I have also made it my new gravatar for this blog. I rarely share photographs of myself….but I like this one!
Wagging my, autumnal, tail and ‘singing’ in my element.

dew glistens white on grass 43/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Hakuro’ / white dew, 8th September – 22nd September
Micro climate ‘dew glistens white on grass’ 8th – 12th September.

suninrainonrooflight mandala

Been dodging showers and counting rainbows as work on the tiny gallery continues….

I realized I had been over cautious with the initial burn of the cedar, so had to burn it all ‘deeper’ to achieve the full waterproofing advantage. It does look very dark now, but a few weeks in the elements will lighten it a lot…and when it reaches the right colour I intend on oiling it too, with boiled linseed. Rubbing love into the whole trailer after this scarring!
I am entranced by the way the grain takes on the effect of water in the light.
Wood + Fire = Water!

rice ripens 42/72

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 ‘rice ripens’ 2nd – 7th September.

Aaaah….how I love this letting go….this gathering in….the simple need to light a fire.

A change in the light.

Now privileged to rise with the dawn again.

I breathe in the open fear and controlled panic of those that are awakening and breathe out only LOVE.

She has succeeded, at last, in getting our collective attention.

My only duty now is to continue loving her.

Like the tiny wren, perched in the branches of this sprawling thorn singing out with whole body. Alert and quick. Responsive.

A ripe blackberry sits in my palm.

A fruit of many seeds. Clinging together in shining fullness. Packed with goodness and nutrients. The light bounces off it’s impenetrable dark skin, reflecting the sky and my skin tones. A gift. So many gifts! To be baked, or stewed, made into jam, processed, or simply popped into the mouth to savor, fresh and sharp.

It’s juice royally purples my hungry fingers.

And, as I gather, occasional thorns snag my jacket. I am learning to avoid them. Snaking my arm through those grabbing tendrils and using a stick to pull down the higher branches.

And I sing with gratitude as I pluck them to add to my humble basket.

A dazzling array of fruits, in different stages of ripeness, hanging on this veracious, sprawling, unthinking, rubus.

What once were innocent white star-like blossoms, replaced by almost sinful, dark, inviting, deep, sensational, fruits.

The rain their juice, the sun their sweetness.

“What distinguishes the blackberry from its raspberry relatives is whether or not the torus (receptacle or stem) “picks with” (i.e., stays with) the fruit. When picking a blackberry fruit, the torus stays with the fruit. With a raspberry, the torus remains on the plant, leaving a hollow core in the raspberry fruit.”

I find myself praying that the torus remains with the fruits of this awakening for all of our digestion and healthy nutrition!

Rather be a blackberry, my torus intact, than a ‘hollow’ raspberry!

One year ago I was engaged in a personal, physical, war with this veracious shrub. Protecting ‘others’, less ferocious, from it’s strangling shade….until I learned how it can be an effective, natural, protective, nursery for trees…..now I work with it….and rejoice in its bounty….and weep as I see my husband wield his strimmer, (so helplessly attached to fuel), feeling like he has won, at least for now….

All I now see, where he has been, is ‘less’…..

This is a tiny evolution….

Some other shots from this micro season…

‘Wren: The little king’

The wren has been very prominent in my awareness recently. Accompanying me often in my work outside. Darting around.

This wonderful, tiny, embossed paper artwork hangs in my artden.

Born from the rough hands of one of the most creative and ‘magically nature connected’ men I have ever met. A man who talks the language of changing seasons and who taught me to walk my bicycle up hills on those longer journeys. A real older ‘Dicken’ to my more youthful ‘Mary’, of ‘Secret Garden’ fame.

A hugely prolific local creative. A talented wood worker and enthusiastic communicator and teacher. Affectionately dubbed ‘Martin of Kilmartin’, so much did he contribute to that community, although himself an incomer, from Derbyshire.

But he is older now and seems to be suffering, due to the lack of love for nature (and each other) he witnesses around him. He appears more bitter, tough and, not a little , angry.

He has no access to the re-love-ution I witness here online. He does not deal in these illusions.

I miss seeing him on his exhaustive travels by bicycle and foot from a to b. But I send him love every time I see this tiny (3cm x 3cm) work of love (originally carved from boxwood) and hope he still has the energy in his old bones to pop up here (like he always used to), again, one day. Perhaps it is time to actively seek him out again….and let him know, personally, how I celebrate his existence.

He has written on the back ‘Wren: The little king‘. The link is to the old Celtic tale involving this tiny bird.

I read it now, not as ‘cunning and cleverness’, but as the ability to see the whole picture.

The feminine rising, through working with what is already there. Working with all that is provided to ‘beat’ the hierarchical, patriarchy….and who highlights this truth in flying higher and hiding deeper….the brave little bird who dares to try……

Inspired also to dig out this pendant he gifted me many years ago. He gave a few of these to people he cared about.
The wood is inlaid into a cross section of deer antler….I always see the moon in that ‘knot’ too….and the shape of a foot.

I think I might begin wearing it again.

deer antler and wood pendant

Next ‘act of creativity’ will be installing the wood burner in the Gaia-hut.

I spent yesterday sewing a futon to size as a cot-bed. It fits perfectly. Soon it will be a cozy retreat way from the box/cage-house, and I will be closer to the land.

Dreaming and weaving my shrill, tiny, song into this new narrative…..perched in a sprawling mass of fruit bearing thorns….

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…..it 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…..


cool winds blow 37/75

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

Japanese season called ‘RisshO’ / beginning of autumn, 8th – 22nd August
Micro climate ‘cool winds blow’, 8th-12th August.

Getting behind with this project!

We certainly have been experiencing ‘cool winds’, or rather, sudden gales, on the hill, here in Scotland!

Punctuated with absolutely heavenly, blissful days of late summer, then back to gales and heavy rain the next day.

There has been thunder and I have had a couple of ‘feeling autumn in the air’ moments….the reddening rowan berries always bring it to attention…..

Such extremes of weather.

And the resulting fluctuating moods.

Time flying by.

Lots going on.

I was gutted when a fierce, Easterly, gale snapped the pole of my bird-feeder/willow experiment.

I had made many mistakes when I ‘planted’ this. I had glibly thought it would be fun to plant a few willows around the severe looking metal bird-feeder and train them in a spiral around it. It has been growing pretty happily for 5 years now and the birds and I have really been enjoying it!

Then, in the last two years, the weight of it’s leafy crown caused an immense ‘sail’ effect and the branches began snapping in these late summer gales. I have been giving it a severe, early, haircut to prevent this.

And now the pole itself has snapped….

The rigidity of the metal feeder had been robbing the willow of the flexibility necessary to survive these strong winds.

Supported by the pole it grew bigger, but weaker….then when the hollow, sectioned, tent-style pole snapped, the raw edge was scarring the trees in the wind, on the inside….

But, amazingly, the pole worked its way out and it (the entire installation) ‘fell’/bent under the weight of summer foliage.

The willows retained, though, the flexibility to lie horizontally across the lawn without breaking!

Scarred, but far from dead. All connected. Bendy willow.



Most gardeners I know would wonder why I just did not cut it right down and dig it out!

But I’ve actioned some possible solutions, in order to save it, by removing a section of the remaining pole (that had not ‘grown’ into the willow) from the ‘inside’, hopefully allowing a bit more flexibility, giving it all an even more serious haircut (to prevent wind blow) and providing a little support in the form of a string tied to the downpipe of our house!

Hope it re-grows stronger now….even with remaining, grown-in, metal appendages lodged in it’s crown!!

I see many parallels in this small story with our human relationship with nature.
Our attempts to push nature to our needs/whims. Artificial, so called ‘supporting systems’ making us all ‘grow bigger, but weaker’, all life threatened as rigid systems refuse to ‘bend’, how ‘it all falls’ when the systems themselves snap, only hope for survival of living things becoming to remove as much as possible of said ‘artificial, rigid, pole’, leaving only the best bits, the bits we know work, suffer some ‘cut-backs’ and use the experience to grow stronger, more resilient, having learned our lessons…..and with a little gentle, love and care….to come into right relationship….from better foundations.

I have managed to get some work done on the tiny gallery, but am really beginning to panic that it will not get finished….I always worry too much….it has walls to hang art on…and I am always up to something interesting! I can imagine that being a visitor that finds ‘artist’ swearing and building a door…. could also be interesting! And a chance to stop and have a cup of tea will always be welcome!

Here’s a wee gallery of this seasons best pics from the hill….autumn certainly does seem to creeping up on us….

self-heal withers 28/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Geshi’/ summer solstice, 21st June until 6th July .
Micro climate ‘self-heal withers’ 21st – 26th June.

What a great title for a micro-season!
My first response to this title was ‘What happens when we interfere with the planet’s ability to heal herself?’.
Answer ‘It becomes up to us to support her in healing.’

But Yes! to summer solstice and the longest day.
It intrigues me that the Japanese should celebrate such a humble herb in this way. It must be important to them.
A plant often treated as an undesirable weed here.
I went online to see what it was and realised that we have something very similar here!
I was taught that this flower is called ‘bugle’, (Ajuga reptans) and I always let it seed and grow where it likes…often in the lawn though so does get the chop sometimes….but on closer examination I am not so sure….perhaps this is self-heal (Prunella vulgaris)!
Of course it is possible we have both here….but whatever it is, I think it is the same species, just adapting to different conditions.

How privileged I feel to have either variety as both have powerful healing properties for wounds. Good to learn!

The cut on my thumb is healing nicely and needs no bandage now….but I am suffering, (what are my usual), mid-summer sinus and throat infections. The humidity here, coupled with the warmth, seem to bring all into mould.
My cherry trees always succumb to some kind of fungal disease at this time of year and all food has to be carefully packed and stored. My sourdough starter has gone off (not the mother though…the table top one for everyday use…thank goodness as my starter is now 7 years old!).
I used my neti pot this morning to clear out my face (and feel much better for it!) and need to step up my vitamin C……which is easy now, with all the elderflowers out, ready for making into a cordial and the plethora of ever-giving herbs popping up all around. Herbal salads will bring me round, I am sure, and I picked a huge bunch of rhubarb today.
Rhubarb ginger crumble calls!

On my search for flashes of purple on this plot I had an unexpected surprise! More orchids! Growing where I have never spied them before. Hidden at the base of my husband’s garage bund. The purple one might actually be considered quite rare, but I have not had time to identify it yet.
The one on the left is a Common Spotted Orchid, not rare, but I do find them utterly enchanting.

Work on the tiny gallery continues.
It was quite a significant day when I cut out the side hatch/window. I felt terrified as I approached it with the jigsaw! But all went well. Phew!
I have designed this so that I can pop the whole hatch out like this. A ‘hide’ or artist’s viewing window….serving hatch even, but also to use as a puppet show theatre.
A real piece of ‘found’, recycled glass is waiting to be inserted, as a window, into the pop-out bit, so light will still come through this wall, even when the hatch is in place.
Something lovely about opening up spaces to the great outdoors, letting the air through, my ‘intuitive build’ structure breathes too now.

I have been continuing with making time to thank the Earth and Gaia daily in meditation.
Asking for strength and guidance on this quest and connecting back into the OM of life. It always brings me back to here,the breath, and sets the intention for the day, enabled to proceed, mindfully, with the next step, stopping me from racing on. The message always ‘Slow down little one, slow down…’
I cannot imagine life without this ritual now….my disabling anxiety is becoming a thing of the past, that is, unless I do not do this!!
It really is very noticeable how this practise helps me to control my serious ‘time’ anxiety and general over thinking of everything. Thank you Gaia and trees for this breath!
This image has been popping up for me a lot so I thought I’d do a quick doodle.
When I lie in ‘child’s pose upon the ground, I often feel guided to widen my legs and become ‘frog-like’ against the soil. This image is born from wondering what that might look like from underneath!
At the moment it is called ‘Earth Touch’, but feel like there is a better title coming soon…..

Then there is this little musical experiment to share.
I do not know if anyone has changed the words of this familiar song before in this way, but it seems fitting in these times….I cannot stop humming this as I build….so I thought I’d have a play with myself again!