Sunday, 30 July 2017

Temperature Scarf : Update #4

I have been working on my scarf for 5 months now! I have to admit, I thought it would be longer by now.

It's been a very cold winter, so there's been a lot of blue (14-16o) and grey (11-13o). A couple of times -- where the red arrows are -- it was under 11o and I had to fish through my stash to find another colour to represent the cold! Melbourne isn't normally that cold, so I hadn't prepared it ahead of time. The grey doesn't stand out very well, so I might weave through a darker grey or silver thread to make it stand out more. One day earlier this week the temperature climbed up to 17o (yellow arrow). I had that feeling in my bones that Spring was coming. Birds sang at dawn, and the warm yet blustery wind that heralds Spring was blowing. It's way too early for Winter to end though, so it was unsettling. I'm glad the weather turned cold again. I want to enjoy Winter for as long as I can!

Thursday, 20 July 2017

Craft Is Important

Last year I wrote a post called Art Is Important. Of course, I believe that craft is important too, but I've suddenly realised that I'd lost sight of that in the last couple of years. I'd forgotten how important craft is in my life, and in society. I'd convinced myself that it doesn't matter if I use a five-dollar blanket from the supermarket instead of one I crocheted myself. That it's okay to settle for plastic coathangers in my wardrobe instead of ones with colourful knitted covers. That my clothes are so cheap and unloved, there's no point in embroidering them. I let impulse-bought junk pile up on my sewing table until it was unusable. I'd found myself saying things to my friends like, "oh, I'm too impatient to finish anything anymore." And I'd succumbed to the voices in my head that told me I can never make anything as nice as the things I see on the internet, so why bother even trying?

I tried to snap out of it with different plans and systems, creating elaborate spreadsheets with colour-coded sections and spending hours checking and tweaking them. I tried re-organising my projects to make it easier to access them. Nothing quite seemed to work. It would take more than a spreadsheet or fancy storage basket to change my mindset.

Slowly, a combination of influences has built up to create a change, though. Throughout this year I've been reading about fabric dyeing and embroidery on Rhiannon's blog, as well as many more talented crafters. I've had reason to go through my old blog posts from 10-12 years ago recently, and found myself thinking, "wow, I used to make so many good things!" Mentioning to my friend last week that "I don't finish anything anymore" was more than a little saddening, when I reflected on it. The "final straw" came a few days ago when I read a blog post by Bjørn Bull-Hansen: Your Viking Hands. He writes about the importance of knowing how to do and make things with your hands.

I daydream about leading a traditional lifestyle and enjoy reading about people who embody them. Bjørn's post is about Viking crafts, but it got me thinking about traditional crafts in general. I have a bit of a survivalist streak in me (more so recently), and I often think about things like permaculture, bartering, and local currencies. I realised that I haven't learned many of the traditional crafts that were vital to societies in the past, such as spinning, weaving and woodworking. I'm very glad I know how to knit, but I'd also like to learn crafts such as nalbinding, repairing clothes and bushcraft. I haven't even gotten around to learning how to light a fire yet! (Sure, I've been Bear Grylls do it on TV, but watching is very different to doing.)

Now I'm looking through the List of Handicrafts on Wikipedia for more inspiration. I did a ceramics class many years ago, and it would be nice to do some more, if I can get access to the equipment. I learned felting when I was a kid and the process is easy enough to remember, so I've got that covered. Basketmaking, bookbinding, tablet weaving and lucet cording look very interesting. Then there's the whole world of Japanese Crafts.
(I'm sticking to practical crafts in my thinking right now, not decorative ones.)

I got so excited that yesterday I ordered a drop spindle from Etsy. It's something I've been meaning to do for a long time, but if I don't do and learn things now, then when will I ever do them? In a world where it's so easy to spend a few dollars on something made thousands of kilometres away in near-slavery conditions, I believe we need to stand up and say, no, there's a better way. I want to be useful to society, not just for my ability to sit in a chair all day and check 10,000 lines on a spreadsheet, but for making practical things with my hands that will improve the lives of those around me.

Sunday, 16 July 2017

Surprise Parcel from Belladonna & Bones

[This article was also posted at House With 3 Eyes].

When I heard last week that Belladonna & Bones was offering a limited edition surprise parcel, I jumped at the chance to secure one for myself. I subscribed to Raheli's monthly herb boxes before they disappeared into the aether, and it's always a thrill to receive such quality herbcrafted items from a local.

As always, the parcel was generous and accompanied by a thought-provoking card. The brown paper wrapping tied with string was a pleasing vintage touch. Here's what it contained:

+ dried mugwort
+ dried marshmallow
+ dried amanita muscaria mushroom
+ Conpluria flying ointment balm
+ Aureus enchanter's divination balm
+ a hand-dipped divination candle
+ a hand-crafted stoneware offering bowl
+ two glass vials

I'm famously bad at growing herbs, so to be able to obtain some from a local source that I know I can trust is a huge plus. The herb-encrusted divination candle is just wonderful. So much care and work has been put into these products.

I was especially excited when I saw the Aureus balm with its citrine crystal and gold leaf embellishment. I need to find a special occasion to use it for very soon!

As always I was thrilled with my purchase from Belladonna & Bones. It's not every day that you can find such well-made products, and more importantly: authentic, from a hugely knowledgeable source. Raheli has hinted that she's working on some new products to be released in the near future -- I can't wait to see what they are.

Thursday, 6 July 2017

My June and an Announcement

The last few months have been very, very cold -- well, cold for Australia, anyway! I've been busy at my job still and until this week, haven't felt like doing much. I spend a lot of time wandering around the big park next to my work at lunchtimes. It's something l look forward to and which makes me happy.

I have done one noteworthy thing recently -- I enrolled in the Grey School, which is an online school for studying spiritual topics. In honour of the occasion, I've started a second blog to document my studies and the spiritual side of things in general. It's called House With 3 Eyes. I will probably cross-post anything related to arts, crafts and hobbies here as well. So you don't miss out on anything. =)

Selections from Instagram

(I went to a gluten-free food festival and
had a burger, amongst other things.)