Arts and Wild-Crafts is an artistic process that I have been germinating. It is a way for my two most near and dear things in this world, the human creative process and the natural world, to grow as one. For many years I made art work with oil paints on canvas. While I truly enjoyed the painting process, something always felt disingenuous to me. After 4 years in a contemporary art school program, I sought refuge from the toxic studio life in organic farming and natural building. I worked for years in the dirt; soil, seeds, and roots becoming my livelihood. I came to see that my life’s work was about becoming self-reliant, resilient and in harmony with the natural world and its abundant resources. Securing and growing resources on land is a mighty mission and continuous work.
After a long hiatus from studio life, I began to crave my active imagination, and the creative process. While functional, practical work is rewarding, the wild and free imagination does not get expressed in this process. My craving for play and imaginative creation, guided me back into the studio. I knew I needed new materials, ones that did not make me feel toxic and discordant with my values. Thankfully, I discovered the ancient practice of paint-making, using material directly from earth, unaltered. Then I started stumbling through the paint-making process, attended workshops, and reading the books. Since that time, 4 years ago, I have made about 8 different pigments from the natural world, made paint, and then used this paint to express the beauty and grandeur of the natural world. Through Wild-Crafting, making paint and using it, I have found a way to continue painting without being a hypocritical environmentalist. The things I did not jive with while oil painting, are not an issue now that I can make my own pigments and paints from minerals, roots, and flowers. I can share these paints safely with children as they paint half their bodies, instead of the paper.
Currently I am working on mastering the quality and production of these paints so that I may share them with others who feel sensitive to the synthetic chemicals of modern art materials. I used to make visually appealing paintings from highly toxic and non-biodegradable materials…..now I am happy to say I can make beauty from the abundant earth; which will return to the earth easily and be accepted as an offering!
Additionally, Arts and Wild-crafts is not limited to organic pigments on paper. Arts and Wild-Crafts is the idea that we can forage in nature for our art materials. Sometimes this means collecting birch bark to weave, fiber for making paper, or sticks and hair for making a painting tool. I have been having loads of fun doing this type of creation with children, they already do it so naturally. Children find things in nature and immediately get inspired to use it for some expression. I love guiding humans back into this state of harmony with the natural rhythm of our planet. With this new Process of making, I can go into the magical forest to get art materials. No longer needing to get in a car, drive to a large supply store, and pay for chemicals that are not environmentally friendly. Wild-Crafting for my art supplies just feels a million times better, it fills me with hope and inspiration. This process is organic, accessible, and alive. I love witnessing the evolution of a process informed by old traditions. The best part about this work is there seems to be endless new discoveries. I am in awe and humbled by nature each and every day!