Forest School – Meeting other practitioners


I organised my first Forest School meet up for practitioners yesterday, this was done via social media and was a great opportunity to meet up with fellow practitioners to swap ideas and enjoy some cpd with a rare visit from the sun.

Things never really go to plan, I wanted to have a go at some pewter casting but couldn’t find my pewter, which is carefully hidden in the shed.  I’d also cricked my neck and was struggling to look over my left shoulder.  However, I took a couple of projects that I wanted to work on.

I chatted with other practitioners, wandered around a bit, had a cup of tea, sat in a hammock… and that was enough. I realised I needed to just enjoy being in the space and drop the urge to do something, it was lovely to just spend time outdoors, watch other people work on their practice and just relax.

On reflection of the day, there are some things I’d change, better introductions, define work spaces better and have 10 minutes in a hammock.  I’m looking forward to the next one.


Boxing Day Walk & Forage for Ink

Hope you all had a lovely Xmas break, I was struck by flu for the first week of the festive break, but luckily was up and about by Boxing Day so we were able to partake in that yearly phenomenon of families walking together in the countryside.  I’m lucky enough to live within a short drive to the Peak District and we headed for a scenic walk around the Chatsworth Estate.

AA211D7F-CB45-4AF4-AFC4-0812E1EC8CDC257C00D4-DEC3-4F58-8744-C310DAFAEE7DI was very happy to discover two ancient oak trees absolutely covered in oak galls, these are left by a wasp laying it’s eggs and creating a small spherical gall.  The larvae then hatches and digs it’s way out of the gall leaving a tannin rich ball of loveliness for any eco artist. I quickly filled my gloves and pockets!

So this morning, I’ve been playing with a bit of kitchen witchery and grinding the galls before adding them to iron water and setting aside for a few days.   There are several methods to making oak gall ink, but this is my favourite.  I’ve also ordered some gum Arabic to experiment with a thickener so will post the results when I’ve made it and compared results.

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Red Shoes and Running

There is something very satisfying about getting new shoes especially when they are red shoes and can help take you out into the beautiful Derbyshire countryside.

I used to run a lot, then hurt myself, stopped, started, lost motivation, started again.  Stopped. Depression returned and with it a blanket of low self esteem and irritability.  Outside of my home, you wouldn’t know this as I continue to work and smile on a daily basis but often returning home to sleep for 10 hours or not sleep more than 3 – 4 hours, waking with swirling thoughts. When my dog died at Easter, I found myself wondering why I was carrying on like this and decided to get medical help.    Three months later and I have new red shoes, been wild swimming, have a wild camping trip planned and the most cheerful four-legged running partner ever.

I have to admit I’ve been inspired by a friend whose openness about her depression and recovery through social media has encouraged me to do the same.

I’ve also started reading a wonderful eco therapy book with a basis in Buddhism, it’s really challenging my thoughts on being self centred and seeing the world as something I use, not just enjoying its existence.  I concentrated today, in my red shoes, on enjoying the existence of the physical world around me and trying to enjoy the mindfulness of my time with Florence and the moor.