Folkdays: Violets

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A spring bloom I’ve been really drawn to this year is violets. A few months ago, I would have struggled to identify these plant from any other purple flowers I spotted in a verge. But now I know what to look for, I am spotting them everywhere!

Recently, I have had a go at foraging these flowers, and crafting them into a sweet violet syrup. It’s also been a while since I’ve written a Folkdays post, so I will be combining the process I followed with the folklore of these flowers in this post.

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underGROWTH: Doctrine of Signatures

A wonderful milestone was reached in my residency for the underGROWTH project. The zine I have been creating has been sent to the printers, the proof has been approved, and soon I will be receiving a small print run through the post! I’ve enjoyed every moment as this project has come together: from the research, to painting the illustrations and having conversations, to writing the small number of new poems which will appear in the zine. This last aspect will be focus of today’s blog post.

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underGROWTH: Creating a Zine

I’ve had a busy few weeks, but my project for underGROWTH is coming along apace! In my last post, I wrote about the research process: reading, amongst other things, Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Gathering Moss, and learning to see through ‘moss coloured glasses’. In this post, I’m going to focus on the content creation for the zine: taking photographs, making illustrations, and conducting interviews.

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underGROWTH: ‘Moss Coloured Glasses’

As I have mentioned in my previous post, I am currently taking part in an eco-art residency with the underGROWTH project in Coventry. Over the next couple of months, I will be exploring the environment through an artistic lens, and creating work inspired by ecology. My portfolio will be focused on those beautiful, intricate organisms I have been so enthralled by recently: mosses and lichens.

My residency will conclude with the production of a final product – a booklet, exploring mosses and lichens through a variety of art forms and perspectives. As the booklet is brought to life, I thought it would be interesting to map my journey here, through a number of blog posts.

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Blog: Moss and Lichen Crafts

It’s been a while since I’ve posted about my latest creative endeavours – but that’s not to say that they’ve stopped! For Christmas, I received a starter kit for resin art. For a while now, I’ve thought how lovely it would be to encapsulate nature’s treasures in resin, and preserve what might otherwise wilt or crumble. Read on to hear about my first foray into the world of resin art, and to see the ways nature has been inspiring me since the new year.

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Folkdays: Snowdrops

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It has been quite a tumultuous year since I wrote my Folkdays post on bluebells last May. At that time, I was adjusting to a new normal of being locked-down in a city, with only a few spots of nature to be found. Now, I have moved back home, to a place where nature abounds – and while I am looking forward to the spring and the arrival of the bluebells, I am also enjoying the sight of another early spring bloom: the snowdrop.

As heralds of the coming spring, I am sure snowdrops come with plenty of folklore: let’s explore, below.

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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 some new goods inspired by nature. Explore these goods below, and head over to Handmade by Nellie (or send me a message on the ‘Contact’ page above) to order!

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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 instead, I find myself to have lots of inspiration and creative energy. So, perhaps there will be fewer Folkdays, and more Blogs — and that’s just fine. Here are some of the autumnal crafts I’ve been creating most recently!

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Folkdays: Silbury Hill

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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 place rich with mystery and fascination, and much work has gone in to piecing together the lives of those who built it.

Yet unlike the barrows, built for burials, and the henges creating enclosures for large gatherings, the purpose of nearby Silbury Hill remains one of the most enduring mysteries. In this week’s Folkdays post, I’m going to explore this mystery a little.

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Folkdays: Goldfinches

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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 warbling song of a blackbird at dawn or dusk. Very occasionally, I’ve seen blue tits and even a great tit in the little courtyard outside my flat, which has a few bushes and trees.

The other morning, I heard a little twittering song I don’t usually hear, and was delighted to see two goldfinches flitting about the courtyard. Their beautiful colours brightened my morning, and inspired me to research their folklore for today’s Folkdays post.

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