The tree ogham is an ancient Celtic alphabet but it goes much deeper than simple lettering with one meaning for each symbol. Each symbol also has much more information locked into them
I find this fascinating and each year I delve deeper into my love of nature and the medicine, crafts, food, teachings and booze that she generously gives us.
Everyday life is now intricately woven for me with the seasons, from a crafting point of view, gathering bark in Spring and Summer when the sap is up, coppicing willow, Hazel and sweet Chestnut in the Winter when the sap is down, to ensure new growth or foraging for plants such as nettles for string, food and seeds or Weld and Woad for blue and yellow dye.
Food is grown and collected seasonally, making use of fermenting, drying, freezing and infusing to prolong the food and properties that can come and go in the blink of an eye.
From a creative point of view, I appreciate every season, every subtle change, every type of weather from the bite of an ice breeze to the golden warmth of the summer sunset. A rainy dark, day is an excuse to hunker down into den state and do some weaving, ferment some food or make some dye next to a cosy fire not a reason to moan about how bad the weather is. If you work with the weather and seasons instead of fighting it, everything works out better. There are of course exceptions, three days of solid rain at an outdoor festival while camping may still catch me moaning, but its a start ;0).
If you start to notice these small changes, the individual things that make up the bigger picture, you will never be short of inspiration. The fleeting glimpse of the beautiful pink hazel flower, rainbow prisms in the morning dew drop, the incredible ice patterns on a frozen lake and the fire that is the sunrise on Autumnal leaves.
I hear many people say that they are not creative, i think everyone is creative, we all live in the same world and see the some of the same things, it is the ability to notice these things and let them inspire your work that is lacking and this can be learnt.
Whenever i ask a craftsperson where they got their ideas for an amazing design, it is usually something seemingly mundane, like, a piece of wallpaper, oil stain on a road or a rusty sea rail, i know my ideas dont just come from my head, it is always something like that which i have noticed and stored away, a combination of colours a shape or texture.
Even the ability to heal, lies in everyday plants and the seasonal remedies that you can make.
The cold soothing abilities of the elderberry, to the antiseptic hug of a Birch polypore plaster, ribworts anti allergy powers and Comfreys remarkable healing qualities. Nature must be observed, collected and respected to obtain this magic, too many things today are instant, you need it and it can be at your door in an hour, there is not the need for planning that there once was. The connection, respect for where crafts come from, the care and process that has made an object .and the appreciation of both the object and material is missing when it lays on a shop shelf.
This is one of the reasons that I place high importance on demonstrating my crafts. Put a woven basket on a shelf and it will often get walked past, having seen hundreds at cheap prices at chain shops. Show them the process though, the coppicing of the trees, the benefits to the woodland environment, the splitting. shaping, peeling , boiling and weaving of the material and it becomes alive, so much more than just an object, a living history that has a story all of its own.
I will be adding in more detail blog posts in the coming year about the specific ideas above.
Bye for now ;0)