This winter, I have been exploring the book "The Organic Artist" and finding it so inspiring! I have gathered some mountain ash and alder twigs for charcoal - still seeking some willow and black birch. I have made some drawing pens with bamboo and some of my own paint brushes already. I am eager to make some pigments for ink and to add to beeswax for crayons. There is something so inspiring and rewarding about making ones own tools. My friend Coral and I share that enthusiasm. I have made my own bone awl (after she showed me the one she made for basket making) - it works great! I made another basketry tool with a rib bone and piece of spruce root. I have transferred all of my hemp twine to wooden spools made from driftwood roots and branches. Excited by the traditional willow basketry, I gathered alder and salmonberry to try my hand at this type of basket making. My first attempt did not work out - with the alders. They are much larger than willow. I think the salmonberry canes will work better!
Even though these tasks are seen as "craft" - working with my hands and making my own tools or making baskets, gathering the materials - those tasks get my mind into creative mode, and it is a meditative and part of the thought process of making art. I don't get the same pleasure from many other activities - other than cooking.
Daylight hours are rapidly growing. This time of year - spring - with the birds returning, buds ready to open, crocus blooming - it brings the sap of life into me as well. My brain cells are alive with it! Happy Spring!