Tagged: treesisters

springs thaw 68/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shokan’ / lesser cold, 5th January – 19th January.
Micro climate ‘springs thaw’ 10th January – 14th January.

I am increasingly confused by these seasons.
We are nearly the same latitude as Japan.
This season is ‘lesser cold’, the next is ‘greater cold’ and yet ‘springs thaw’??
I found this Japan tourism site which suggests the seasons in Japan vary quite a bit from north to south, but that they are distinct.
Not something that can really be said about Scotland, although also an island, with a warm west and a bitter east.
Famously we get a lot of rain, with more light in summer and a lot less in winter.
Having lived in, and around, central Europe for 4 years, I find I miss ‘real’ seasons.
I love SNOW and with this warming effect I feel we may get even less of it here (although the climate is so ‘up in the air’ (pardon the pun!) who, frankly, knows?!)
I also love hot, dry summers.
Living in the wrong country for those too!

I am where I am and thankful for the humidity in so many ways, even if the relentless, greyness of days can get me down sometimes.
And when the light shows off here, it really is a blessing!

(Just tried again to get the 72 seasons app on my android tablet, to see alternative titles. Sometimes much gets lost in translation! This time it downloaded properly. A bit late for this project, but interesting to note that it titles this season ‘the spring water holds warmth’ which makes altogether more sense to me!
This winter ground so alive despite the bleak upper levels.)

Things in the artden keep buzzing along.

I made this gif while focusing intention/prayer on the Aboriginal ceremony at Uluru on the 12th.
“May the path of the Rainbow Serpent be clear!”
(I also made another, more psychedelic, video intention piece featured in the previous post on that day, using my orginal Rainbow Serpent and Egg drawing)

This is what the gif above ended up as while intuitively feeling into the wet mud after making it.
I see ripples on water with leaves floating on it?

Quite a little collection forming now.
I have had some issues with folk online commenting that they look like ‘shit’. Not very encouraging and difficult, now, not to think about it when I am working, but still believe there is something in this medium, soil, that is not ‘just shit’!

While I was putting this offering together, there was the most almighty, single, lightening strike outside and all the lights flickered!
The boys both thought it had hit the house!
I had to go out in the dark to check that my husband was ok!
But his car has gone too, so he must be on walk-about.
Very strange. Just one rumble. Just one flash. As if the energy had built up and just needed release. All the hairs on my arms are standing straight up!
Perhaps this is the re-balancing caused by the ceremony?!

The weather certainly has been wild.
The winds the other day were touching gale force 12 at times.
My kids were nearly stranded at the school due to the sea-roads being bashed by high tide storm waves and our local bus being unable to get through.
There was a stunning moment during that storm when the sun suddenly came out.
Shame I cannot photograph the wind (or the noise!), but it did feel odd to see a rainbow in such wild winds and the light was almost spooky.

Due to this weeks wild weather I have not been out much.
But I was reminded of school art classes when I cut open this red cabbage the other day.
I still find these absolutely stunning.

So I made some ‘cabbagey’ mandalas!

parsley flourishes 67/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shokan’ / lesser cold, 5th January – 19th January.
Micro climate ‘parsley flourishes’ 5th January – 9th January.

I am having a hard time finding just a few sprigs of parsley in our garden now, so not flourishing here.
I am feeling the muscular, stagnating, effects of deep hibernation and seem to be constantly fighting fluey symptoms.

Spent most of the day trying to learn about positive and negative ions and the Earth’s ionosphere.
Their importance and how they affect us all.
I have been quite active against 5G, along with many others, but Elon Musk and friends, seem to march on regardless.
I did not understand before the ‘drying’ effect of the internet.
I had quite a powerful, visionary response to seeing the latest plans.

Currently we have around about 2000 satellites orbiting our planet and 1000’s more pieces of ‘space junk’…. collectively another 42,000 satellites are planned over the next few years!! WTF!!!

In my way of understanding ALL LIFE is essentially electromagnetic frequencies.
“May the Force Be With You”
I have an electromagnetic reading, we all do.
All living things register on a meter.
I presume, by the laws of Gaia, these natural charges are calibrated ‘just right’. All in perfect balance. In the majestic, mysterious hands of the ‘Great Puppeteer’.

In more recent years humans have brought many new frequency emitting devices into our, collective, atmosphere.
It began with quite low frequencies, with radio waves (remember old am radio?), the microwave cooker, television…now we have moved right up the scale, to wireless broadband 3G and 4G.
All with. logically, very little understanding of the long term consequences of this new technology.
While I do, obviously , enjoy some of the fruits of this enterprise, the ability to ‘publish’ ( I still do not own a SMART phone and see myself as privileged to live in a place with very, fresh air and bad coverage), to stay (loosely) in touch with old friends, to connect with others in global meditation initiatives etc, I wish I could say from my heart that any of these human ‘evolution’s’ have been good for our health or the wider, planetary, environment.

When I look I clearly see a haunting correlation with the rise of certain ‘new’ illnesses, of cancer, dementia, and the general state of our collective mental health.
None of which has been proven, or even widely and publicly discussed.

It is certainly true in our house that just the simple power usage of our average family has only increased since the advent of the internet, something rarely discussed or highlighted on screen.
Not high on any Google search.

That is a huge amount of ‘users‘. All with vastly differing agendas.

It is the sheer scale of the proposed infrastructure for 5G is that is most nightmarish to me.

Now we are polluting space itself.

My ‘vision’ directly connected all the bushfires in California, and now Australia, with the building and recent activation of these new 5G towers.
I found quite a few connected ‘conspiracy’ sites that also suggest this might be true.

The Timing seems to me to make this a cause for real concern. Such hot fires.

I can only pray that I am wrong.

All earthly atrocities I feel we can still fight, but when we live in a world where space is being privatized? Where a signal-sending network of interference is being constructed as we all speak? As all of us share? Socially mediating. (that is not a mistype).
The good has so far outweighed the bad for me, but can I knowingly be a part of this!?
More importantly do I have a choice not to be?
I can choose to live in a cave, but I will never hear that frequency again. The true one, that guides and nourishes, will now forever be blasted with all this interference.


How can the same man come out about his fears of AI ‘being a potential danger to the public’, while simultaneously massively funding the infrastructure for AI, allowing it to literally gorge on data, our data?

This how it learns.

I know.

I’ve been gorging on data for a few years now.

This is why I work so hard to feedback some of my own brand of Love and Beauty and Curiosity.
It has a bad diet.
It needs more understanding of our relationship with the Earth.
How much we depend upon it. It needs more Earth Love. Wholeness. One Love.
There is a lot of this out there….we just need more….every tiny drop adds to this ocean of Love and informs this huge, digital child.

On the positive side, we may all mutate, cell damage leading to adaptation.
I read about EMF refugees today, so I guess not all of us will survive it, or conversely, they will be the only ‘survivors’.
The ‘plugged in’s and the ‘not-plugged-in’s.
I am sure I do not want this forced upon me……but that is how this works.
I am choosing it by participation.
I am used to feeling like that.
Rocks and Hard places.
Being made a hypocrite against my will.
But now this!
Higher than chem-trails. More insidious and invisible than a slowly deteriorating nuclear power station in Japan, or the deforestation in the Amazon, than world slavery or tribal genocide.

So out of reach.

In space.

We simply have to learn vibrate at a higher level.
We have to hijack this new infrastructure and use it for the force of good.
I mean really find a new frequency.
I will be joining others the world over in beaming light over the next few, astrologically, powerful months.

I bought a cheap mesh drawer system, as a Faraday cage, for our router (and portable phone base) today. Pretty ridiculous really when soon the whole of Father Sky will be ringing with the same tune.
The incessant ‘sound’ of human messages.
Louder than ever before. 24/7.
No pocket of the Earth’s surface left unchanged by it.
So frightened by what affect this may have on Gaia’s sensitive balance…….

When I originally painted this self-portrait I did not know what the colander that appeared on my head was about, but I liked it.
Now I know exactly why!

This was one of my first serious attempts at drawing again after all those ‘dark’ years ‘away’ from it.
And the first time I used only soil pigment and homemade charcoal with linseed oil.

I feel like I am coming round full circle.

There is some debate whether this linseed oil can be used on paper. But several old masters used to soak their charcoal sticks in it to draw and those drawings remain.
I have this painting still, as a tester, and it shows no sign of deterioration yet, after 3 years. I bet they’d burn well though.

kat robertson artist

The oil in the paper means they do take on a strange luminosity when held up to the light.
I have often though this might make interesting lampshades….the earth element in them might even work against any fire danger!?
Rock, at least, does not burn.

I’ve been finding these so difficult to photograph well.
They are small, but look best seen from a slight distance.
And have a wonderful quality to them too when handled.

So I am preparing to really knuckle down and focus on this energy work to heal our Mother.
The new Age of Aquarius beckons.
All change.
Let’s hold All up to the Light, learn to see in new ways and gain new luminosity, forever grateful to our Father Sky and Earth Mother and asking for guidance and, importantly, forgiveness.
And all keep rolling OMward toward harmony, balance and abundance.
Deep Bow and hope to feel you all there too, focused also on the Big LOVE.
Come as you are.

wheat sprouts under snow 66/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Toji’ / winter solstice, 22nd December – 4th January.
Micro climate ‘wheat sprouts under snow’ 1st January – 4th January.

Been very happily occupied with the 7 Days of Rest and Radiant Diversity.

What a wonderful way to set intentions for the coming year!

I could have chosen Clare Dubois’s daily meditations, but chose to listen to Shelley Ostroff’s offerings, as they were great last year.
Feeling a little unfaithful, but sometimes a ‘change is as good as a rest’!?
There is so much on offer this year….I wish I could find the time to listen to them all.
Such an inspiring collective.
Putting all my being into believing that it is working too.

May all beings fall into balance and harmony
May the fall be short and the landing soft!

But for me to do, what I am called to do, for this ‘experiment’, I need to cut out as much as possible, keep it simple, and use all available Time to attempt to articulate this experience!
Sometimes that has meant staying up very late indeed!
Unusually committed.

After listening to Shelley Osroff’s guided meditations, on each theme of the day, I lock myself away in the artden and attempt to let things unfold from there.
Nothing to do. Nowhere to go….an empty mind…. until, before I know it I find myself happily doing!
Something always inspires.
Really trying to remain mindful all day.
(This generally means asking for forgiveness often.)
Listening with my whole body to my guides.

And stopping, just to sit, root and breathe, regularly.

So far the themes have been:


Soon to be followed by:


So many powerful words beginning with ‘E’.
Here’s one more!


As I am working through each day, it seems that all these words apply , quite directly, to my spiritual, creative, practice.
All in Divine Timing.
Each day blurred by the appropriateness of each theme to what I already do!
To me though it is as simple as hearing the call for he’art’, and heeding it, seriously.
My kookie way of practicing reciprocity.

Australia is never far from my thoughts.
I have been ‘sent’ so many global prayer initiatives to join.
I just do it.
I have now got in the habit of, every time I use water from the tap, making my right hand into the shape of Australia (kind of) and let the water run over it, setting my cooling message to the land down-under.
I have also ‘picked up’ that there is to be a, very important, Aboriginal ceremony on Uluru soon.
This is a link to the facebook post I saw.
This all feels very powerful.
Important for all empaths and high sensitives to keep grounding.

So many threads being pulled together in this Time.

Lots to share, but think I will just post a few images that have arisen in this sacred ‘retreat’ time, by-products of the process, my kookie experiments, and leave them to speak for themselves.

I still have another blog post to create for ‘7 Days’…..and so little of this Day now left!

(The captions are linked to the blog posts)

Pencil sketch of ‘encounter’ I had ‘in’ the mandala!
Moss Caller
Moss Caller (link to 7 Days post coming soon!)
mud art

No snow yet. Unusually warm too, for this time of year.
Lots of early sprouting going on.

But still very dark here for most of the day.
I am loving lighting candles.

bears start hibernating in their dens 62/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Taisetsu’ / greater snow, 7th December – 21st December
Micro climate ‘bears start hibernating in their dens’ 12th December – 16th December

Stayed up nearly all last night following the election reveal.

It really is all such a mess!

No proportional representation. Little co-operation between parties.
All tactics and no substance.
Extinction Rebellion is the only ‘politics’ that makes any sense to me now.
People’s assemblies the way to go.

Found myself writing that I am so sick, of all these fences and walls, that now I choose to sit firmly on the ground that runs UNDER all of them.

Thank goodness for the clarity of Clare Dubois’s December Full Moon Call.

So nurturing.

There was reference to the reflection of the moon in water, so I was excited by the divine timing of seeing this from the bedroom window (when I crawled to bed at 4.30am!).

So I grabbed my camera, went out barefoot, into the frozen night and attempted to capture it.

I love the moonlight.

I quite like these ‘arty’ shots.

The moon was also shining as the sun rose……

This is the stuff of life.


The morning moon and snow on Mull.
Morning Moon!

And then I peeked at Facebook and this was pretty much the first share I read!

“Enlightenment is like the moon
reflected on the water.
The moon does not get wet,
nor is the water broken.

Although its light is wide and great,
the moon is reflected
even in a puddle an inch wide.
The whole moon and the entire sky
are reflected in one dewdrop.

Treading along in this dreamlike,
illusory realm,
Without looking for the traces
I may have left;

A cuckoo’s song beckons me
to return home;
Hearing this,
I tilt my head to see
Who has told me to turn back;

But do not ask me where I am going,
As I travel in this limitless world,
Where every step I take is my home.”


cold sets in, winter begins 61/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Taisetsu’ / greater snow, 22nd November – 21st December
Micro climate ‘cold sets in, winter begins’ 7th December – 11th December

Feeling pretty wintry here.

The Sun rises at 8.30am and it gets dark around our house, (due to the forest behind our house), at 2.30 pm! Properly dark around 4.30 pm.

Been spending hours on ‘housekeeping’ my blog. Who knew that ‘housekeeping’ a blog was necessary?
No wonder, it really feels like a chore!

Because I have been learning as I go along there is so much to do!
It’s not unusual for me to spend all day in my nightie and be up well into the wee small hours data correcting….a bit obsessive…I just want to get it all done so I can get on with creating again and get into the Yule spirit!

It really is worth it though, knowing all the images are the right size, that links still work and all.

I feel like I am preparing the ‘runway’ for a ‘take off’ of sorts!

Clearing the way for Treesister’s Year of the Tree 2020.

I made time tonight, to unwind, and got lost a couple of tiny works using the miniature canvases that I had prepared earlier in the year (used in ‘fish swim upstream‘).

Crazy feeling to re-connect with all that trauma and satisfying to see how a real direction is forming now, in my creative practice.

I ‘see’ these images in the patterns already in the wasp spit and wood pulp paper. Still experimenting with ways to bring them out using my new palette of mediums.

I am calling this series ‘In Waspspit Woods’….

tachibana citrus trees leaves start to turn yellow 60/72

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 ‘tachibana citrus leaves start to turn yellow’ 2nd December – 6th December

My first thought is what is a tachibana tree?!

‘The tachibana orange (Citrus tachibana, or Citrus reticulata tachibana) is a variety of mandarin orange, a citrus fruit. It is native to China and introduced to Japan 2000 years ago. The Tanaka System assigns it to its own species, while the Swingle System places it in the same species with other mandarin oranges. Genomic analysis has shown it to be genetically pure, without the pomelo introgression found in the closely related domesticated mandarin oranges of mainland Asia, though distant enough for it to by considered a distinct subspecies by Wu. They are estimated to have diverged from other Asian mandarins about 2 million years ago, and likely spread to the islands over land bridges formed during Pleistoceneglacial maxima, probably arising near where its mandarin cousins would later be domesticated in the Nanling’ Mountains of China.’

Well there we go then!

I wish there was a citrus tree that could survive our latitude here.

I have a sizable tree, grown from a pip by an old local man, and given to us as a wedding present, (16 years ago), in our living room. It has never flowered yet! Although the leaves smell delicious.
It is going to suffer a serious prune very soon and the cuttings used for Yule decorations, as it is getting too big!

our satsuma tree

Here are some, random, other shots of our living room in the morning’s low sunshine and of the, 50 or so, alder seedlings I have potted up to plant around our boundary as shelter and bark provider for my paints in time! Wonderful nitrogen fixing trees.

A few will become Yuletime gifts too. Something wonderful about receiving something so tiny and unassuming that will only grow and grow…..

I have been/am very busy changing my blog’s appearance recently, so pretty sick of being on this screen.

I hope you like the changes?

The idea is to show a bit less at a time and to try and ease navigation of this dense blog.

More changes to come. Today’s task is to work out how to create some separate pages of collections of art/poems, with links to posts, as I have done here with the mandalas….

As promised, here are some images of latest soil paintings.

I prefer to call it ‘mud art’, but that tag connects with nothing out there…yet!

I think this will be my thing for a while to come, as I sense a lot of potential in it….and simply love using this medium, as it is full of surprises!
It can go from nothing much to really something in the tweak of a splodge.

These are literally my first experiments, it is a fast, intuitive process. really just feeling into what is possible…sketches if you like.
And for the first time ever, they really do not look as good, as they do in real life, on screen. It is generally the other way around!

I have developed a way to ‘fix’ these pictures, (with another, secret, totally organic medium), and so far they are lasting well!

north winds blow the leaves from the trees 59/72

(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 ‘north winds blow the leaves from the trees’ 27th November – 1st December

Oh my.
This is now, technically,the next season already.

Not sure I am going to find the words to describe my current experience of the last 5 days!

So inspired, so determined to create, so fired up on all cylinders.
Today, mainly, ignited by attending a local, political, husting regarding the climate emergency (organised by local youth group) and being reminded just how much work there is still to be done! How completely out of touch with environmental reality our state still is!! Particularly when it comes to more local issues….the kind that build resilience in times of climate change.

Even, for a brief moment, considered entering politics!!

In the artden I am becoming obsessed with the sonification of ‘climate change’, and having huge breakthroughs with my soil painting experiments, now with a driving soundtrack,

(A visit to my public Facebook timeline would probably be the easiest way to articulate where I am right now, if at all interested, in details of the meeting, my more recent mud related experiments and links to sonification ‘finds’!)

I feel like a creative octopus that wishes I could work all my arms at the same time!!

Perhaps a side step back into the beauty all around is exactly what I need right now!

So here are some pictures of some ‘ice beauty’, that my son called me outside to see, after he had tipped out the ice from the top of one of my soil buckets, a few days ago.

It was difficult to photograph well.

The ‘ice fronds’ were so 3D!

And this ‘ice forest’ formed under the surface….

I have never seen anything quite like this before.

Exquisite and short lived.

Aaah…that’s better….

And in an attempt to connect this better with the title of this season….

It feels so important, in these times, to strip away all the noise and flutter of our social ‘leaves’ and simply admire the bare, living, ‘bones’ of beauty that hold them all up to the light….and also always be curious enough to look for what lies under the surface….we might be surprised!

Intending to share some of my more muddy experiments next season…..

(The north wind just started to blow through my artden window as I type. Brrrrr.)

maple leaves and ivy turn yellow 54/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Soko’ / frost falls, 23rd October – 6th November
Micro climate ‘maple leaves and ivy turn yellow’ 2nd October – 6th November

I am also turning yellow! From lack of sunlight!
This is crazy!
Who would have thought an online writing ‘course’ could wreak such havoc with me!
And test my practice. It takes me away from my precious routine.
A beloved Treesister, (I am in awe of her!), Sandy Ibrahim’s brainchild.
3 whole days have gone by! I barely noticed.
I have been writing from dawn til dusk…sometimes not even getting changed….not eating properly….scrawled paper lies around everywhere, in piles…so much prompted, so much flowing, but none of it reaching a state I am happy to publish….not even happy to share.
All seem to be the beginnings of other bigger things….none of it having that satisfying ring of completion.

It has been beautiful weather here too. Golden.
But at this time of year, the shadow of the hill behind our house lies dark on us from lunchtime on…even in my garden there is no sun….it all looks wonderful out of the window though, as I ponder and chew the pencil end of life…but I experience the feeling that I am missing it…..not using it, enjoying it….

Of course this is no ordinary writing course.

We are being whipped through:

What is like to be alive at this time?
As you look back to the shore, what are you personally leaving behind?
What part of civilization do you feel is already dead?
What aspects are you glad to leave? What will you miss? 
What is the link between your emotions and the natural world or the ‘soul of the world’?

The Invitation: Write an invitation to all emotions to attend the open house of your heart.
Choose one or more emotions to honour with a poem (Haiku? Limerick?) of recognition. (Possible emotions: Anger. Fear. Anxiety. Joy. Love. Awe. Shame. Regret. Numbness. Despair. Delight. Panic. Impatience. Confusion. Overwhelm.) Fold up these offerings and place them on your altar OR Write about your resistance to feeling your feelings OR Catch up on other prompts.
How honest are you in expressing your emotions, especially around our current crisis? What strategies do you use to suppress or control them? OR What’s the worst thing that would happen if you felt and/or led with your emotions? What’s the best thing that could happen?
Bring up in your heart and mind the last time that you were really angry. Who, where, what, why, when and how? Rewrite the story as a myth with archetypes OR Write about a time that the power of your anger turned against you OR Write about a time you rode your anger to victory.
Using your imagination alone (no googling!), what is the evolutionary purpose of self-doubt?
OR Write about your vision of a ‘more beautiful world’ (Charles Eisenstein’s term) OR Write about a potentially potent idea you once had that you convinced yourself out of. What were the circumstances and emotions involved? OR Given that the status quo is killing everything, should we (can we) consciously overrule our need to belong to the herd? What emotions can we call forward for support? Where else can we find belonging?
And now today…
Write a love letter to your own despair.
Write a haiku on despair.
Write about a time you thought your life was over and then it turned around.
Write about how you feel about crying in public.

It’s only Day 13!
I am despairing with my ability to keep up….. that’s what!
I am just speaking from my heart.
Just posted a haiku under the topic ‘Despair’

Losing, not finding,
the plot now, as it thickens,
words loosing meaning.

That’ll do.
All this leaping about is making me feel queasy.
There is a warning written into the course that this might happen…..though I think perhaps my particular brand of queasiness comes more from not being very good at following orders…….even if they are fantastically kindly framed and I signed up for exactly this! I also feel a need to try and resolve each piece I begin…now, I am beginning to feel a bit like a performing monkey…..jumping through hoops….loosing, not finding the plot….that thickens…. and this impacts my hard-won peace of mind.

Is this what jobbing writers do everyday? Well, I salute you!

I am going to hang on in here….although reading all the other contributions does feel a little like holding onto the stern of a boat, with one hand, while simultaneously being taken by the wake…..

Also it occurred to me that I have already written much around these themes before.

So here are a few of them…

A willingness to survive

Adventure swallows the mission.

The story swallows the song

Life is a great consumer

Life only goes on.

The living is the artist

The artist is the life

My only record in history

A willingness to survive.

Kat Robertson Berlin. 1996

All talk

All talk

Afraid to walk

The walk

I am talking.


The magic kind. 

I spoke with giants

And left behind

The gold.

Kat Robertson (Nivensknowe Caravan Park, Edinburgh. 1996)

And then I found this…..untitled and stuck in between…the most recent, but I had forgotten I had written it!

“Perhaps she’s going to scale the minarets,
sit in those holy seats
and scream across the roofs of biased houses,

‘There is a darkness,
a darkness so terrible
that it is darkening our moon
and filling our hearts with greed.
A darkness that can only be pushed back
If we all turn into the Light.
That simple.
Become the Light. 
Beam only Love and Grace, Respect and humble wonder,
Guiding others to your safer shores.
Go on! I dare you!’

And then she’s going to climb into the steeple bell tower and scream again the same.

And then she’s going to go and sit in silence with benevolent others
in the halls of those that feel this truth…
yet never utter it

……and she may never get up again,

for these wars have never been fought, or won, with words.”

Kat Robertson (written where I still sit now, Scotland. February 2019)

So perhaps this is an impossible task for me?

I hope not, as I have always wanted to be asked such questions, feeling, somehow, some answers might reveal themselves….my mind is bursting with responses to these prompts…..it is only the actual act of writing that is so exhausting!

This grew as my invitation to all the emotions….I am quite pleased with it!

The Invitation

The list of ingredients was so long.

I stared at the shelves and shelves of bubbling vials, bottles and jars.

Spiders had made webs and the dust lay thick on some of them. Others had only a little left. Some had tipped over, leaking.

I hoped I had everything.

He had told me all I needed was here in this strange little shed at the edge of everything.

He had worked on this collection for eternity.

Caught a bit of this, a bit of that.

Labelled them all.

‘Fear’, ‘Love’, and all between.

There seemed too many ingredients listed.

What kind of cake would this be? I wondered.

The picture on the page looked wonderful….improbably delicious…almost alive.

Full of colour and almost too good to eat….

A vial on the shelf caught my eye…..it was a tiny bottle, slightly chipped, grey inside, emptier on the inside….labelled ‘self doubt’….I gave myself a shake.

Why was there no order to things?

This would be so much easier if it was arranged from positive to negative for instance….easier to find…and what’s with all those boxes on the floor?

If they are all so important why didn’t he look after them properly!?

It seemed this shed could do with a spring clean!

So I began by slowly taking everything down and wiping the shelves clean….with a bucket of water from the spring.

Cleaning each vial, bottle and jar carefully and placing them behind me on the table.

I dropped a few….glass splintering….it was strange watching as they escaped back into the atmosphere….in small amounts they all looked frail and controllable….I could feel them rushing to join the whole….returned to source.

I felt a sudden urge to free them all……to smash up the whole collection and watch as thousands of chemical reactions met in flashes of red and blue and turquoise and green. A crazy, wild, liberating show….I looked at the vial I held in my hand….it read ‘impatience’….and thought of the mess it would make.

I was stumped.

The ingredients were all here, but no instructions.

I sat on the floor and stared at it all blankly.

The now empty shelves…..the huge collection of emotions on the table behind me.

The empty pot.

How did I end up here anyways?

The door was now locked. On the outside.

How did I manage to do that? I wondered.

I felt foolish.

I felt clumsy.

I felt inept.

I felt trapped.

Fearful of the consequences….

So I started there.

They took their place back on the shelves.

This was a beginning…..

I felt ‘despair’ in my hand, and I realised how very, very, long this would take….how sometimes I needed to take a bottle down again and put it at the end….how some where missing (so clumsy of me)….there were so many of them…..so very, very, many….

I began to cry…..this task was too much for me….

And as I cried my tears fell into the pot….

Suddenly corks popped and lids untwisted, small explosions went off across the table, sparks flew, gunge oozed…..I heard a click….the door opened….and the entire shed simply disappeared around me…..

Only one vial remained.

It was warm in my hand.

It was labelled simply ‘me’.

I held it gingerly…..the contents swirled and glistened. Sometimes turning dark, sometimes shining with a bright light, sometimes it vibrated in my hand, sometimes I thought it was dissolving into nothingness. It changed so fast I could not see it properly….

Taking a few deep breaths,

I began to unscrew its silver top ………

Kat Robertson 2nd November 2019

There have been some in-between times.
A family night out. Fireworks. Not as much of a fan as I used to be. Not the best show either.
Now a teenage sleep over, which I have to kinda ‘be there’ for…they always need fed….these boys….

I have started doodling with only Earth (processed soil pigments)…..playing with how it marks the page….using my fingers….using spring water to move and take away…learning how it dries. I then experimented with some alder stain and oak gall ink….then a bit of home made charcoal….then more water and dabbing the pigment away….it is fun and intuitive.

Time out from brain gears….

Now I’ve gone and ripped the paper. I did not mean to do that.

This ‘seed’ was percolating long before this writing project began…now it seems to almost illustrate how this project is making me feel….a seed, deep underground, becoming alive, but germination and growth can only happen when ready! In right conditions. This cannot be forced! All in good time. A kind of resistance I guess…..

I work with the liminal when I make these images. This is my therapy, my happy place. .

These words are bogging me down…..when words come to me, they come, fast and free…. but I find myself unable to, easily, summon them on command.

A drawing just evolves….with no mind. Loving feeling into these new mediums, on paper.

Earth Seed 1
‘Seed one’ photoshopped

It makes me smile, lopsidedly, when I realize how much this ‘seed’ also resembles my, now shriveled, ‘tumchie’ lantern from Samhain….from seed to the compost heap….all turning in cycles…

silkworms start feasting on the mulberry leaves 22/72

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

Japanese season called ‘Shoman’/ Lesser Ripening. 20th May until 5th June .
Micro climate ‘silkworms start feasting on mulberry leaves’ 21st May – 25th May.

A pair of swallows swoop and dive outside my window.
Normally our house attracts house martins….I sincerely hope this pair are choosing our house to nest in. Such joy I feel as I watch them whirl around. There have been notably far fewer of both species this year. I read that they are choosing to stay further south….I hope this is true.

‘Our’ bats are also getting active in our loft. Not sure what type they are yet. We see them in the evenings whirling in the gloaming and their squeaking is so loud, in the attic, that I thought I had a kind of strange tinnitus the other night as I lay in bed! I became worried that our colony was becoming unsustainable, but on further research learned we have nothing to worry about…I will have to go up there and check how much bat shit is accumulating though! Hope it’s lots as it is a miracle fertiliser!

The dew now lies heavy in the bright sunny mornings. So beautiful sparkling in the dawn.

When I went, to go and collect some more wood for the tiny gallery from my milling friend, he told me how he had been amazed to come down that morning and see what looked like snow, lying everywhere around his yard! (apparently it was thicker than pictured here and everywhere!) It was not snow or frost….it was a mass of dandelion seeds…covered in dew! A wonder full sight!

No silkworms here in Scotland….but plenty of other bug-life emerging with the green. Here is a short clip of a speedy Garden Tiger Moth caterpillar dashing across my tyre garden the other day….so thrilled to know they are here and looking forward to spotting them later in the year!

Other stunning bugs I have spotted in the last few days are a large red damsel fly and some wonderful weevils….a green leaf weevil and a pine weevil…

Another ‘encounter’ I need to share is the sudden appearance of a large mushroom in the middle of my tyre ‘wheel’ garden.
Right under the back flipper of my Earth Turtle!!
It appeared out of nowhere and was already quite large when I first saw it! I thought my son had been mucking about and put something under the driftwood ‘fin’ to tease me….but no…here it was growing right out of the ground!
This felt significant so I went to try and identify the fungus and find out more about it. I was worried that it was a deadly one (being white) and the possible ‘story’ within saddened me. Death spurring my Earth Turtle on….
Now I am pretty much 100% sure that this is a Warty Cavalier mushroom. Rare in the UK and never reported in Scotland before!! This changes the story!!
My only possible explanation for this lies in the fact that it is growing under the driftwood fin. Perhaps the sun we have been having loosened/cracked the wood and the spore ‘fell out’. I love thinking of this tiny spore floating across the oceans (possibly from Russia/Siberia where these mushrooms are more common) and, after living in my driftwood collection for a few years, finding the conditions ‘just right’ at the back flipper of my Earth turtle, to grow!! (I have also used a lot of old bark as a method of weed reduction in the rockery area, so that is the kind of conditions they like.)
Thinking of calling this find in to some appropriate, mushroom data-collecting organisation, but as yet have been unable to find where one does this…..?

I have been sowing many seeds this spring. Among them a few hundred alder seeds, to plant later as wind break around our hill plot. This is the first time I have tried growing trees from seed (apart from the Montery Cypress seed which are sadly, as yet, showing no sign of germinating) The first alders are beginning to show. It amazes me that a huge tree begins as something so tiny….

Other news is that the elder tree that I transplanted, when I first began the tyre garden, is not dead!!
I accidentally ripped a root when I was digging it up and it was not looking good at all.
The whole point of planting the red and white elders at the entrance to my garden was to protect. It is my Celtic birth tree too. They are considered very sacred and killing them was not part of the plan at all! So that it looked as if it was dead was filling me with sadness….but it lives! Putting out little green shoots now…which also lightens my mood and encourages me on….I can look forward to seeing it thrive and grow, hopefully too reap its gifts as time goes on. Its flowers, berries and old branches for flutes.

On the creative side all the time I usually have available to play in the art den is spent working on building the tiny gallery. Any good weather is made use of and progress is slow and steady.

Nothing is as simple as it first appears and I am learning many lessons in patience and the actual art of joinery. I had thought I would have had the roof on by now, but working with this fresh-milled cedar holds many challenges! It has it’s own bends and wiggles….and changes with the temperature. The shou-sugi-ban technique also shrinks the measured timber…sometimes as much as 1 cm! So I am earning to work with the wood, but simply nothing is square!!
This project puts me very much in touch with my own hypocrisy too.
Here I am, a treesister, wielding my power tools and burning the wood with my gas torch. I often find myself in internal discussion over this. I love the way the grain is highlighted, brought out, celebrated, by burning. I justify the use of this technique, as in itself, it weather-proofs the timber without the use of chemical coatings….but it is hard to smell the burning without thinking of the deforestation of the planet.
The act of building also puts me back in touch with builder’s yards and the sheer enormity of human construction/consumption.
I comfort myself by recognising that I really am a tiny fish in this pond of criminal destruction, that the bulk of my wood has been locally sourced and that at least I am aware!
The little weevils also add to the story…for while beautiful, they are no friends to the trees either! They remind me of the beauty in the bigger picture….all in balance. It is not only about the trees, but also all the biodiversity they support.
My project being just another part of that.
Also that the entire purpose of this project is to share in celebration of all things Gaia and take this love out into the wider community….so I push on under the beautiful sky, witnessed only by the nature all around, my family and all those who see these posts!
The forecast is for more rain soon, so the roof will have to wait now until the next sunny day….

On the subject of creativity and trees…. I did manage also to complete my square for the global Treesister quilt in celebration of them. I posted it to the USA a couple of days ago. I hope it travels well.
It is being collectively created for 2020 Year of the Tree.
It came together quite intuitively and fluidly. I am quite pleased with the finished result! Constructed from a surviving square of my old yurt tarp, some bits and bobs that jumped to hand and an old ‘hag stone’ that I picked of the beach in Corfu, Greece years ago….

fish swim upstream (fish emerge from the ice) (3/72)

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

Japanese season called ‘Risshun’ / the beginning of spring, 4th February –18th February
Micro climate ‘fish swim up stream’ or ‘fish emerge from the ice’. 14th February – 18th February.

Never have I felt like I was swimming upstream as much as now.

Such familial turmoil.

It felt like the right time to really tackle so much of the unsaid and suppressed with regard to our family’s relationship problems.
I felt strong and clear about everything after my trip away.
All I have really learned was that all my fears are correct. Things came to dramatic head with father, husband and youngest son….but at least, at last, I felt I was being heard….

Then, on the 15th February, this happened……

My husband’s garage business suffered a fierce industrial fire and my yurt was in it.
Taking it OUT of his garage was on the to-do list for that day. Such cruel timing.
All at a time when we were not getting on at all and just as I really felt I was, at last getting somewhere with my art project and with getting to the root of our problems.

Gutting for all concerned.

Our local garage business plot is directly adjacent to our house plot, so it really is a blessing that we still have our house and that no-one was hurt. The local fire brigade were total heroes and heroines, but we have lost our main income and my husband has lost his business that took over 30 years to build up.

The smell of this kind of fire lingers everywhere, making me feel so sick.

So the long journey with insurance commences and I have nothing left to do but keep on with my earth loving dreams in this oil sump disaster zone.

We always were like water and oil, me and him. Wood and Metal. Somehow held together by our differences, a great sense of humour and our boys. Truly ‘Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance’. He is coping with it all so well and I find myself admiring his resilience and courage and not for the first time.

We can only see this all as an opportunity, not a disaster, and needless to say this tragedy has been somewhat galvanising, pardon the engineering pun!

I intend to rip the remaining tarp into canvases for related work and collect all the premium quality charcoal, that ‘Yurtle’s’ remaining ‘ribs’ have become, to use in a commemorative ritual and for drawing.

It was good to escape into the artden again and work. I had these small wasp byke (nest) paper ‘canvases’ and had done a couple of salmon jumping curiosities as Christmas presents, so wanted to try again, a slightly different way, for this ‘season’ as it seemed to fit.

‘fish swim upstream’
on wasp spit and wood pulp paper

So grateful for all that remains.

Exciting ‘tent replacement’ plans are, already, well under way.

It has been established that the fire started in a customers car, so looking positive on the insurance front.

So upstream we fight, against the flow, but sure to find the spawning ground eventually….. if we just all keep on swimming……

(While proofing my blog this morning, I stumbled upon this old recording of one of my few original songs….the second verse refers to a meeting with a salmon, who was’fighting ‘gainst the flow’…. click to listen on YouTube)

I hitched a ride