Its a still & quiet time of year, when moments spent outside feel particularly precious. The careful steps on icy ground; the visible breath lingering on the air.
As I've been gathering dye materials, I've enjoyed an awareness of plant life submerged underground, storing its energy in the soil. There's a sense of temporariness in this and the promise of a return to the surface again before too long.
I love the grounding effect that this acknowledgement has on my body. Like the soporific sensations of the season's foods and the therapeutic aromas of the pine forest. The slower pace to these cold days brings restoration and opportunity for dreaming.
We've just passed Imbolc; the first day of February which marks the start of the annual cycle in Nature. A time of new beginnings, Imbolc reminds us of the return of Spring, only a few more weeks away. The Sun is getting brighter and the Earth warmer. Life is quickening in the soil.
I'm acknowledging this turning point, in contemplation and gratitude for the wonderful year that's passed, and all of the blessings that were received. Its been a year since launching Botanical Inks, and what a year it was! The growing community & conversations we are facilitating around clean + local artisan natural dye crafts is so very exciting! And what lovely people you all are! Its been a total pleasure to meet and connect with every single one of you.
Now feels like a suitably potent time for visioning and setting intentions for the year ahead. I'm loving the opportunity to put pen to paper and draw up all of my big dreams and clarify my priorities.
In terms of the plants we can go to at this time of year, for rituals, recipes and remedies, the resources may seems slimmer than during the warmer months, and it's often surprising that they are actually so plentiful.
This month I've harvested windfall eucalyptus leaves and bark, from my driveway. Comfrey, ivy, nettle, dock & dandelion roots, gorse, mahonia and holly from the garden. Onion skins & avocado rinds from the compost. Blackberry surplus stocks from the deep freeze. And a range of waste flowers from local florists. And there are many more options beside from these to be found.
We made beautiful colours from many of these seasonal plants earlier in January, in the "Art Of Natural Dyes" workshop at Hamilton House on Bristol's Stokes Croft.
In our second January class, we used more local plant dyes to create Shibori resist patterns on a range of natural fibre textiles, with pleasing results.
It was a delight to see the range of gorgeous things being made!