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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Making Impressions of Nature In the Garden

Today In the Garden we played in the earth - in a manner of speaking - with a bit of clay, as I shared my process for creating my "Impressions of Nature." Of course, before we got to that I kept last week's promise ... to share with you my "recipe" for Green Manure Tea, a tea to feed your rooted friends!

I have small black buckets (nursery discards) that I make my “Green Manure Tea” in, but you use whatever you have on hand. In these buckets I place trimmings from my nutritional-rich symphytum uplandicum - COMFREY plants (which I have an abundance of), but you can use ANY nutri-rich plant matter, fresh or dried, for this purpose (listen to the “Infuse your Life” Podcast On Demand to learn about those nutri-rich plants!) Then, I fill the buckets with water, leave them to steep and ferment for a few days. Trust me, you’ll know when it’s ready because it will look and SMELL ripe and ready! Then ... I water my baby plants with the tea. It’s THAT simple!

Now ... let's review making those "Impressions of Nature." Let's start with the materials. I start by gathering these items:
  • air-drying clay (I use Creative Paperclay)
  • small bowl of water and/or mist bottle
  • rag
  • work surface (I use an old cafateria-style tray)
  • Nature (a leaf or blossom)
  • paints (I use acrylic)
  • a finish to seal your work
  • pin finding
  • glue
  • a little love is always a bonus!

I start by wandering my environment in search for a small willing leaf or blossom that has distinct form, definition and texture to it - one that will make a “good” impression. I gather my bits of Nature in a sacred manner, but you do whatever you're guided to do!

Once I have my leaf or blossom, I return to my workstation, you know - that tray with all the gathered materials and I pinch off a small piece of clay and shape it to complement the leaf/blossom that has volunteered. I shape and smooth the clay with dampened fingers - until it feels ready to receive the bit the Nature and when it is ready, I place the leaf/blossom highly-defined/textured side DOWN into the clay and gently press it in.

The bit of nature is removed and the clay allowed to dry. The drying time depends on the humidity, temperature and the clay you have chosen, as well as the thickness of the piece that's been created. I usually let mine dry several days before painting. So go take a walk in Nature, among gardens and celebrate your natural environment as your clay gets ready to be painted.

When it’s fully dried and hardened, get out your paints. I start with wash of paint to cover the whole piece and let that dry well. Then I paint the leaf or blossom and let that dry. Remember, be creative here, go a little crazy with color, sparkle and shine if you want! Then, when this is dry, seal it with a finish of your choice. This is optional, but it does help make a lasting piece!

When that finish is dry, grab your finding and glue to the back, let that dry and cure and then ...

Enjoy your pin!

And wear it to next week's show, when I'll be sharing another garden-inspired, creative process ... one that has been requested more than once ... one of special interest to those who imbibe in the spirited libations ... one where I will share with you how I make a basic Melissa Ale! So be sure to tune into Blockhead Radio next Thursday at 11:30 AM, ET for Making Melissa Ale In the Garden!



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