Draw What You See, Not What You Think You See.

Draw What You See, Not What You Think You See.

We ran another of our weed walks — or plant safaris — last week.  At these events we look at plant families, how plants grow, their habitats and the great variety and resilience of wild plants. After ambling about inspecting and wondering at the above, we then study the plants further by drawing them.

People get scared of drawing but drawing is the least of it.  The looking is the most of it.  And we want to encourage looking (and the wonder which comes from looking) at the intricacies and complexities of even the ‘simplest’ weed/wild flower.  You should probably spend 60% of your time looking – more than drawing.  If you do that, you are more likely to end up drawing what you actually see, rather than what you expect to see.

One tip Neela Basu, our tame artist, gave us for drawing is to examine the way and direction a plant grows and, rather than draw its face (or flower) first, start at the bottom near its roots and work our way up and try to express the way its energy propels it upwards or around.

Our group, with a wealth of knowledge about growing between them, had a head start with the looking  as they were familiar with the habits and patterns of plants.  They produced some fantastic drawings.

Thanks to Capital Growth for arranging it and to Steve Ellis for the photographs.

_DSC0762 (2)_DSC0756 (2)_DSC0805 (2)_DSC0807 (2)_DSC0880 (2)_DSC0869 (2)_DSC0872 (2)_DSC0874 (2)_DSC0877 (2)_DSC0882 (2)_DSC0884 (2)_DSC0887 (2)_DSC0888 (2)_DSC0889 (2)_DSC0890 (2)_DSC0904 (2)_DSC0892 (2)

Advertisements

The Blues

The Blues

Our annual woad and indigo harvest and dye workshop was an evening of gentle delight.  It involved curiosity, experiment and awe at that magical transformation of plant into colour.  We also harvested our flax and ate amazing scones with home-made jams.  Sometimes you can imagine that all is right with the world.

We did two pots – one of woad and one of Japanese indigo, which usually gives a stronger colour but we found the woad was just as potent this year.  Thanks to Steve for taking the photos.

_DSC0307
Woad seeds.
_DSC0274
Woad leaves steeped in hot water for about 40 minutes.
_DSC0299
Japanese indigo steeping.
_DSC0359
The liquid should be sherry-coloured (ph9). Then get oxygen into it until the bubbles turn blue.

_DSC0368

_DSC0380
Add Spectralite and leave till the liquid turns yellowy-green.
_DSC0370
Get the temperature up to 50 degrees C.
_DSC0404
Wait, talk, eat scones.
_DSC0439
Fold, twist and block the fabric.

_DSC0450_DSC0481

_DSC0455
Fold, clip, twist or block the fabric.
_DSC0495
Gently put the fabric in the vat, avoiding getting air into the liquid.
_DSC0506
Leave the fabric for about 10 minutes. It should be fully submerged to avoid oxidisation. Easier said than done.

_DSC0502

_DSC0523
Carefully remove the fabric, avoiding drips. As it hits the air it will turn blue.

_DSC0525_DSC0527_DSC0583