Wild Things

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It’s amazing how beautiful so many little things are when you’re walking in the woods: cones and acorns, seeds and pods, things that used to be flowers… You can take pictures of them but , somehow, two dimensions doesn’t seem to do them justice.  So sometimes, you pick them up and stick them in your pockets.  I don’t know about you, but I have tons of things I’ve picked up and brought home just because they’re so beautiful.

The idea of making wreaths with them sprouted from when I first came to Spoutwood Farm years and years ago: hired to make dried flower wreaths to sell at shows.  Funny.  Now, dried things, wreaths again … full circle.

When I first started doing this a few weeks ago,  the beauty was my only thought. But as I gathered all these beautiful little ones and started to work with them, I felt their influences in other ways and realized that all of them had that thing that other cultures might call “medicine.” I realized that being drawn to make wreaths out of brambles was a garnering of protection medicine; that other beings that jumped into my pockets and baskets were embodiments of toughness and nurturing and strength and endurance and prosperity … qualities that I wanted. So I thought that perhaps all these little guys were wanting to share their medicine with me and with other people too. So, here they are. Their aim: to pass along to any who feel attracted to or in need of such earthy and arcane things, the power and example of their essences and symbology… or perhaps of just their beauty.

In these wreaths you’ll find,

  • Wisteria, Honeysuckle and Wild Grapevine for persistence and prosperity, even proliferation … and sweetness
  • Brambles for protection
  • Hosta flowers and Japanese Knotweed for burgeoning hardiness even in the face of persecution, difficult environs or the appetites of others
  • The burs of the American Chestnut trees that endure even in the face of disease.
  • Red oak leaves and acorns for their towering strength and nurturing.
  • Rose O Sharon that symbolizes beauty.
  • Pine cones that have been nibbled by squirrels and chipmunks and so nourished them
  • Wild mint for simple joy
  • Mullein for breathing
  • Asters for patience and elegance
  • Dried corn kernels for plenty and prosperity
  • Budding branchlets for new endeavors
  • Beautifully colored bracket fungi, that grow and take life from trees that have died: life come from death… a new beginning from an ending.
  • Plus all the many nameless woods weeds for the parts of us that perhaps the rest of the world would call useless or unimportant but that are nonetheless beautiful and amazing and necessary no matter what anyone else thinks.
  • And, finally, cast off vintage bits and bobs to stand for our old habits, memories and experiences; things that we have discarded or forgotten (on purpose?) … that perhaps we thought we were done with, yet keep cropping up from time to time.   Perhaps we felt we wanted to get rid of them, put them away from us, deny them. And yet, unexpectedly … even unwelcome… here they are again … and again.   Just maybe, we need to honor these lessons or experiences or struggles as parts of us, pieces of our journey.  Schoolings that spiral around to us again and again so we don’t forget or so we can learn to be unafraid of them or even unashamed of them. They are a part of us. And part of what makes us beautiful in the eyes of the universe.

And so, now, this is it: The last year that our favorite Fairie Festival will be held at Spoutwood Farm.

It’s so wild that it’s been 27 years.
So wild that it’s grown as big as it has: 10,000 to 20,000 people attending, (depending on the weather).
So wild that it’s now both the biggest and the oldest Fairie Festival in the country.
So wild … and so sad … that this is the last one that Spoutwood will host.

Perhaps in honor of this event … or because of it … this somber but honorable event … these new wild beings have come to join us in our booth at Fairie Festival: woods weeds, wintered garden pods, wild field fare and a few cast offs that have twisted and wound and bound themselves into spiraling wreaths of beauty, protections, blessings, wishes and intentions.

Come and see!
Come and meet these wild things.
Maybe make a new friend.

Wild Hawthorn in the Fairie Garden (nearside of the farmhouse)
Fairie Festival at Spoutwood Farm May 4th,5th, & 6th.

 

 

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The Ocean and Me

Diamond-BeastOne step into the water.

It’s so COLD.

It doesn’t feel friendly at all. Not at first. But I wade in trying to be brave.

The ocean scares me. It’s the waves. Here comes one now. Right at me. A diamond beast that grows larger and larger; louder and louder, roaring at me. It’s an arm that stretches the entire length of the strand, it’s skin blue and green studded with fire fueled by the sun. It’s hands are white foaming claws that grab and scrape at the sand, fingers crawling up higher and higher onto the beach, until they finally exhaust themselves and drag back out to their beautiful, blue, drowned existence.

But they were looking for me, those clawing hands and curling fingers. They’ll think it’s funny to drag me out there. They’ll steal my bathing suit top and laugh and laugh at me. They’ll clean out my sinuses with sand and salt and say, “See what good we’ve done you?!”

So I’m careful. I’m so very, very cautious. I watch the waves to see what sort of mood the sea is in. How strong or angry or mellow or mischievous is she feeling today. How many big boisterous waves can she make before she gets tired and has to rest for a few beats. I watch her and wait for my chance to slip in quietly between one tumult and the next to dip my browning old carcass into the shocking salty cold that changes my perception of the universe. Eases me. Erases me. Washes me in the timelessness of salt water and fish offal and the pee of countless beachgoers and the immensity of the endless ocean that dissolves it all, dilutes everything. Including me. So that nothing matters so much. Nothing so much as floating and watching. And getting the hell OUT before she grabs me with those strong, strong, groping, grasping, foamy hands and rolls me like a washing machine into a better self.

Literally JUST got back from two weeks in the company of the aforementioned beast and managed a studio day today. Now, assuming 20 hours of drying time will be sufficient, I send this out into the world to try and entice you to come and have a look. You’ve probably never seen a seascape from me.  I don’t think I, myself, have. But these days, who remembers.  Maybe you could just come and help me with that … remembering … day after tomorrow:

Saturday, March 10  3-5 PM
Studio Gallery 234
780 Woodberry Road
York, PA 17403
717-781-6867

 

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Mushrooms

RussulaQuiltedGr_150Mushrooms are weird. Sure, I eat them but I think I like looking at them more. I mean, they’re fungus. Which is gross. But then … gross things are, kind of by definition, fascinating; like zits and scabs, … politicians … never mind …

Aaaanyway, hey, did you know that mushrooms are actually about 9 billion years closer to being animals than plants? True fact. Except it might be 9 million rather than billion … can’t remember exactly. And they’re in LITERALLY EVERYTHING! Without them, life as we know it would be over. And apart from their fascinating scientific qualities they also have a reputation for being mystical and magical; perhaps because of how they pop up so quickly out of nowhere and disappear just as quickly, their sporification of the world seemingly a chance and random occurrence, their shapes so familiar and iconographic yet some of them so completely alien-looking as to have been conceived on another planet.

We eat them and they nourish us or kill us or take us on religious journeys through our subconscious. These days they are even credited with the ability to keep us from aging and curing diseases like cancer.

Quiet things: mushrooms; so silently living their little lives. Coming and going without a whisper, sometimes barely clearing the loam to peek out for one short day in the leafy dark of the woods. They can seem insignificant, yet they’re monumentally captivating, even to such notables as Lewis Caroll, Shakespeare and J.K. Rowling. And, of course, the lowly mushroom is ever the poster child for all of us, who have, at one time or another, felt like we were ” kept in the dark and fed horse shit.”

Ah, the humble mushroom: invisible … enchanting … life altering … disgusting …

For what they’re worth, here are six of them:

Indigo Milk Caps, green and red Russulas, and some Amanita Muscarias.

I found them in the woods. They made me happy.

You can see them in person (always better in person) at Studio Gallery 234 in York, PA; this Saturday, November 18 from 3-5 pm; along with myself, some lovely gnosh and a bunch of other mushroomy individuals bent on creativity and discreet social gracelessness.

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Eve

It’s the eve. The eve of things all Fall and Fairy. And despite three evil spells and a hex laid on our transport plus a disturbing hitch in the git along of someone’s vainglorious glamour, we are transported and constructed and all is made ready for a fun full weekend; with tents raised, banners flying, instruments being tuned and tested, warmed up by the bonfire.

Excitement is putting itself to bed now, mustering itself for great adventures tomorrow. Before too very long …come the early hours, …there will be mysterious, mouth watering smells sifting through the misty moisty morning tempting sounds of waking from sleepers, sretching limbs, a little creaky from today’s labors. Then with a delicious hot beverage and some hot buttered toast with rose petal jam, we are primed and ready for a couple of days of more fun than usual. It’s the fairy fair. The goblin market. Time to stretch your supernatural legs and flex (or find) wings you always wished for.

So bust out your bodacious finery … or come and find some new finery here. Find your fire, your fancy, your smile. Find feasting for your eyes, your belly and your heart. It’s fall. The colors are warmer. The air is drier. And there is magic in the air. Magic for you. It’s here and we’re making it specially for you. Can’t wait to see you!

Wild Hawthorn

@ First Ever Spoutwood Fall Fairy Festival

Camp Ramblewood, Darlington, MD

October 14 & 15

10am – 6pm

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New Hats

Hats: costumes for your head. You can completely change your entire identity just by changing your hat! Come and see if I have a hat for YOUR identity! Or for your secret identity! Or for the identity you want to become.

WildHawthornBannerDotsnberriestransp at Spoutwood’s Fall Fairie Festival
Camp Ramblewood, Darlington, MD.  October 14th & 15th

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Magic Potion

MagicPotionsSMThis is a completely innocuous, madly potent, over-the-counter cure for itchy bits like poison ivy, poison oak, mosquito bites, etc.

This is a home remedy.
It is FOR EXTERNAL USE ONLY.
It is NOT guaranteed.
NOT FDA approved,
NOT tested at NIH,
NOT sterilized or irradiated.
The bottles are old.
They were washed.

If any of the above is scary to you, (or if you’re allergic to any of the following ingredients) please do not use this potion. I’m sharing it only by popular request.

Ingredients: Alcohol • Witch Hazel • Jewel Weed • Plantain • Lavender Essential Oil (also available without Lavender)

WildHawthornBannerDotsnberriestransp at Spoutwood’s Fall Fairie Festival
Camp Ramblewood, Darlington, MD.

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New Hoods

Not referring to the criminal element, nor city neighborhoods.  Talking about the head covering, the cowl, the amice, the snood. I love hoods. They’re the warmest, the coolest, the most versatile and verasimilitudinous. You can layer them, hide in them; wear them in the rain, the snow, the wind, the desert; formal occasions, casual occasions, criminal occasions. And it’s impossible to have too many of them! So here are some new ones to get excited about.

WildHawthornBannerDotsnberriestransp at Spoutwood’s Fall Fairie Festival
Camp Ramblewood, Darlington, MD.

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