Wednesday, January 17, 2007
Its bitterly cold today - at least to me. -15C with a wind chill of -27. Even with the fire blazing, I'm still chillly and have to keep getting cups of coffee to warm me. The snow that is down is blowing around and it looks distinctly winter like out there.
So I'm immersing myself in summer again. This time in the form of a shrimp shell. Not particularly a souvenir of summer but the colours are warm and soft and summer like. This was done in Derwent Graphitint pencils and Faber Castell water colour pencils, both dry on a small sketchbook.
I'm also rearranging my medicinal herbs. I keep a variety of herbs that I have grown, harvested and dried, rather like an emergency natural first aid kit that treats everything from coughs and colds to digestive disorders and aches and pains. A number of years ago I took a Chartered Herbalist course that I found very interesting and firmly believe that a large number of ills that are present these days can be treated effectively and much more cheaply by herbs than the current concoctions of over the counter drugs.
I make tinctures and salves, hand creams and teas. Its another part of the creative cycle as well as art in its own right. There is something satisfying about being able to produce and use something beneficial that once was no more than a tiny seed in my hand.
The photo above is of sweet cicely. This herb has a lovely aniseed like smell and sweet taste. Unfortunately, in the right environment it becomes a bit invasive. But it is a beautiful plant with soft leaves and that wonderful scent. The seed heads can be used fresh in salads or dried and ground like nutmeg. The leaves and seeds also make good wood polish. Its quite hardy. It has to be to grow here! But the seeds do need to overwinter out doors or in the cold of a fridge or freezer for them to successfully germinate in the spring.