Homespun and Winter Walks

So much snow fell on us yesterday.  Our windows were covered by 3 pm, our world grey and dark.  We have been having unseasonably cold temperatures, it feels more like we’ve been plunged in the depths of January and early February.  I talk a lot about the weather… my journal since I was a teenage is half discussing the temperature, the rain or snow, the wind or how the trees bowed and danced.  I love Mother Nature and simply observing her moods.  When I write I think I focus on the weather first as though to clear my mind for what exactly it is I want to say, so please bear with me 😉

This morning, I went out to see the chickens (who refused to leave the coop when they spotted the snow), lit a fire and finally sat down to draw.  My studio/work room had been overrun with my Christmas cards and packaging things up for orders.  This morning, I shipped the last of my orders so my mind has cleared for new projects.  I always have some kind of “Ode to…” brewing in my mind and this morning I worked out an Ode to working with the earth and with my hands. An ode to tradition bound up with the animals, insects and herbs that make a comfortable home. A home that goes so far beyond our front doors.

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Preliminary sketch and my magic fox stamp
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Letting the life come through a little more detailed
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Beginning of the end – I used an old drawing I did based on a Grimms Fiary Tale
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Indian Ink, a beautiful pitch black

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Developing my altar art work

The sheep is at the center, providing us with wool that keeps our hands busy, our minds active and our bodies so warm (as well as countless other things – I’m currently contemplating insulating my chicken coop with wool and birch).  The spindle – representative of transformation – spins the rough wool to the versatile material that we love.  The quilt block is a marker of the home, of ancestors and narratives (to me personally, it is a symbol of love and comfort). The plants are dandelion, sage, lavender and Calendula – all magical, useful and healthful entities.  I included oak leaves for wisdom, the boundary between worlds and for the love of the steadfast tree. Everything ties together to allude to traditional folk lives – working with animals and plants.

I developed it a little further by adding a home, emerging from the quilt.

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A home
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Finished calendula and twisting wool
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A Giver of life and the phases of the moon
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One more thing…
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Homespun – Finished

And there she is!  Homespun – an ode to a working kinship with the earth.  I’m hoping to make some prints on rag paper.  If anyone is interested, please let me know!

To leave you – some pictures from our walk through farmers’ fields today – in a foot of snow.

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Walking along the fields
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To see the remaining Canadian Geese
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The sky changes so quickly
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Interested in the Geese, she is 😉
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To sit and knit with fire and fairy lights during the long evening
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14 thoughts on “Homespun and Winter Walks

  1. Yes, please do make prints of your drawing, which encompasses so many elements I too hold dear.I would love to purchase one! Also, I love the skirt or dress you are wearing in these photos.

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  2. What a lovely post. I like how you showed your whole working, thinking, creating process. I wish I knew more about the symbolism of the things you pointed out in your post. Any good references to suggest? Beautiful tiles around your fireplace. We have had snow here on the west coast and it makes me so happy because I miss it so.

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    1. Oh I’m so glad that you can enjoy the snow too! It’s still snowing here this morning. I love it, I just feel bad for the chickens who don’t even want to step in it :S I can compile some books if you’d like? I know there are many Symbolism Dictionaries. I studied Folklore in University so a lot of my knowledge of symbols is from reading articles on different folktales or fairy tales. If you’re interested, I would recommend a newer publication of Grimms Fairy Tales called “The Original Folk and Fairy Tales of Grimms” there are also Annotated versions of Grimms that discuss a lot of symbolism, etc. I have the Maria Tatar version. It’s a vast subject and one that you can never tire of 😀

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    2. And one more thing about the tiles! (I didn’t actually know what you were talking about.. and looked at the picture and felt stupid “Of course!!! The tiles!”). The previous owners of our house would often visit Holland so we have these really beautiful Delft tiles around the home. They put a lot of work into the house and I am so grateful to them.

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  3. Hi!

    Your drawing looks beautiful. I enjoy reading about your working process, it gives me a lot of inspiration, even though I’m not good at drawing. It still makes me want to make something 🙂 And lovely photos of the snow. We had lots of snow a month ago, but then the temperature changed and now it is all gone. Too bad. It never really feels like Christmas without snow…

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    1. Hi 😀

      Thanks Camilla! You say that you are not good at drawing, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do it! Sometimes it just takes getting over that fear, I didn’t draw for years for fear I wasn’t really good enough. I finally just started to ignore that and go back to one of the things that made me happiest as a child. But then again, there are so many creative things we can do, like knitting 😉

      Hopefully some more snow will come your way in Norway! I will send all the snow thoughts over your way 😉

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