The best we can do is read poems that outlived their makers, sad but so; we can hunt for clues to why. The second-best we can do is read up on the old stories – Greek, Hebrew, Roman, Norse, Celtic, Arabian, African – so we know a little of what these poets knew and their poems still know. And simply so we hear those stories, for real poets are campfire people.

Glyn Maxwell

Blog: Homemade Natural Firelighters

It feels about time to share another of the seasonal crafts I’ve been trying, with the natural treasures I collected over the autumn months. This one is a particularly cosy, wintery craft: creating natural firelighters out of everyday materials! These are really easy to make yourself, and the finished product can be used at home, … Continue reading Blog: Homemade Natural Firelighters

Blog: Winter Ornaments for Sale

It’s been just over a month since I launched my own little shop, ‘Handmade by Nellie’, over on Facebook. As well as hand-painted greetings cards, canvases, and bookmarks, I have also been putting hand-crafted winter ornaments and gifts up for sale. These include the wreaths I wrote about in a previous blog, as well as … Continue reading Blog: Winter Ornaments for Sale

Blog: Opening my own shop!

I’ve been a little busy as of late. I have decided to move forward with a venture that I’ve been considering for a long time: to open up my own shop to sell my art and crafts. I would never be able to run a large scale business, or rely on it for income, but … Continue reading Blog: Opening my own shop!

Folkdays: Apple Lore

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. Summer comes to a close with the autumn equinox. Falling on or around 22 September, the days and nights are of equal length, before the balance tips towards steadily increasing hours of darkness. Known as Mabon in the Wheel of the Year calendar, this would traditionally be a … Continue reading Folkdays: Apple Lore

Blog: Autumnal Crafts

It has surprised me that even during this topsy-turvy year, the turning of the seasons still brings the same kind of shift in energy. As the summer ends, I no longer feel like I have the attention span for research; when my poetry teaching begins again this month, I will also lack the time. But … Continue reading Blog: Autumnal Crafts

Folkdays: Silbury Hill

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. The Avebury World Heritage Site is a prehistoric landscape which boasts stone circles, henges, burial mounds and barrows. It has been considered a site of pilgrimage since the Neolithic and Bronze age period in which these monuments were built, and continues to draw in visitors today. It’s a … Continue reading Folkdays: Silbury Hill

Blog: Lammas Breads

Happy Lammas! I’ve tried out my recipe for Lammas Breads a couple of times in the recent weeks, and thought it would be nice to share it here. These little loafs are somewhere between bread and cake: they are crusty, but also soft-centred and sweet. They are also gluten free! Read more about the traditions … Continue reading Blog: Lammas Breads

Folkdays: Reviewing ‘The Selkie’

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. I was delighted when the wonderful Imogen Di Sapia sent me her book, ‘The Selkie: Weaving & The Wild Feminine’. At first glance, flicking through the pages, I was entranced at the beautiful craftmanship of the book itself. I would continue to be spellbound by the folktale, poems, … Continue reading Folkdays: Reviewing ‘The Selkie’

Folkdays: Goldfinches

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. One of the things I feel I really miss out on when I live in the city are the birds. The skies above are mostly the domain of urban gulls and wood pigeons. Sometimes there will be the chattering of a magpie in the early hours, or the … Continue reading Folkdays: Goldfinches

Blog: Leaf Printing

On the weekend I experimented with leaf printing, using leaves from my parents’ garden to imprint distinctive shapes and colours onto fabric. I was really impressed with some of the outcomes: read more about them, and how to have a go yourself, below!

Folkdays: Folktale Closings

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. It has grown late, and the campfire has reduced to smouldering embers, which glow in the breeze that begins to creep in from the surrounding dark. As the flames recede, so does the story: both have spent hours dancing in the air, and both now begin to wane. … Continue reading Folkdays: Folktale Closings

Folkdays: The Oak King

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. With Midsummer only a day away, it feels apt to use this week’s Folkdays post to write something about the traditions and folklore associated with the summer solstice. There were so many things I could have written about: whether it be beliefs, rituals, celebrations, or traditions. Yet, one … Continue reading Folkdays: The Oak King

Blog: Weekend Paintings

Over the weekend, I’ve been experimenting a little more with my rose petal pigments, and have branched out in my designs to include leaves and birds. I’m really happy with the results. Take a look below!

Folkdays: Rose Lore

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. I’ve been working with roses quite a bit recently, as I’ve been making pigment from rose petals and using them to paint the flowers themselves. They’ve crept into my life in all sorts of other ways, too: I’ve recently written a piece about thorns (and the Anglo-Saxon rune … Continue reading Folkdays: Rose Lore

Blog: Rose Petal Pigment

To brighten my small flat during lockdown, my parents brought me over some beautiful bouquets of flowers. I noticed, when the stamens of the lilies began to fall, how they stained any surface they touched a deep russet. I decided then to collect them, and try to use their powder as a natural pigment to … Continue reading Blog: Rose Petal Pigment

Folkdays: Rainbows

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. We’re living in a very precarious and frightening moment in time. Looking back through history, humanity has faced moments like this many times before; look through the lens of folklore and myth, and we see that humans have always been able to combat our fear with creativity. Today, … Continue reading Folkdays: Rainbows

Folkdays: Cave Art

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. Some weeks, for these Folkdays posts, a topic will reveal itself to me and more-or-less demand to be written about. That is precisely what happened this week. The phenomenon of prehistoric cave art has been on the peripheries of my mind for a while: a writing residency that … Continue reading Folkdays: Cave Art

Folkdays: Hedgehog Lore

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. For the past few evenings, my parents’ patio has been visited by a hedgehog, who appears quite brazenly from out of the undergrowth to feed at the birds’ ground table! Enticed back night after night with the promise of scraps of corned beef, he has grown increasingly comfortable … Continue reading Folkdays: Hedgehog Lore

Folkdays: Folktale Openings

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. Come and have a seat. The campfire has been lit, dusk is drawing on, and the golden flames appear ever more vivid as the sky darkens. Somewhere, a blackbird trills his evening song. Look into the depths of the fire. Perhaps you see blue there too, maybe green? … Continue reading Folkdays: Folktale Openings

Folkdays: Bluebells

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. I am blessed to have grown up in an area where bluebell woods abound. At this time of year, the Clent and Walton Hills, Uffmoor and Hagley Woods, and Wychbury Hillfort are carpeted with swathes of this beautiful flower. Though I cannot walk through these indigo seas this … Continue reading Folkdays: Bluebells

Folkdays: Rag Trees

FOR MORE FOLKDAYS CONTENT, SEE MY BLOG. The walks, especially the less-trodden tracks, around the Clent, Walton, and Wychbury Hills are where I get most of my inspiration, and where I feel my creativity recharging. One of the most special spots on these walks is the dell behind St Kenelm’s church. The spring is said … Continue reading Folkdays: Rag Trees

New Thread: Folkdays

The third and final of my new threads is something I am calling ‘Folkdays’. A portmanteau of the words ‘Folklore Fridays’, these posts will explore a little element of folk culture: folktales, lore, or anything I find that fits in with my current research. As well as researching folklore for my own poetry, I am … Continue reading New Thread: Folkdays