On the island of Skomer, off the coast of Wales, is the largest population of Manx Shearwaters in the world. Under cover of the middle of the night, they fly in from the sea where they have been feeding. Hundreds of thousands of birds go hell for leather into the safety of their underground burrows. In the morning, the paths of Skomer are littered with the occasional bodies, or what is left of them, of the unlucky ones who didn’t make it but instead fell prey to the Greater Black Back Gulls who feed on them. All that is left is a pair of wings on a path and they fascinate me. They are the most striking memento mori – reminders that we must die – that I have ever seen (and I’m a gal who likes a good memento mori). So a typical morning on Skomer is: get up, have some coffee, hike, hike, hike, and oh, hey, remember that we must die: thanks guys, got it. And strangely, these visceral tokens of life and how quickly and randomly it is snuffed out are so lovely and unlikely.
From my post on Skomer:
The next morning, paths around the island are [read more]
A few weeks ago I was in Asheville, North Carolina. Lots of walking, lots of journal pages, and lots of leaves. I drew leaves. I photographed leaves. But I wished that there was some way to actually get a leaf onto a page, the ones that I was collecting in my pocket as we walked; a tiny bit of the walk and the day. Last year I made walnut ink for the same reason. Sure, I can buy it, but making something out of the trail and the beauty to make other things of beauty after the autumn has passed, this is – I don’t know – a kind of contract that with nature.
It is possible to incorporate flowers and foliage into handmade paper with impressive results, but I don’t make paper, I only use it for book binding and other paper arts. However, after searching about a zillion journal sites online, I found something perfect. It’s called eco-printing. Silly name, great result.
There are several different methods of eco-printing, but so far this is the only one that I have tried.
Choose the right paper. 130 gsm was much too flimsy and tore after soaking. Watercolor paper of 230 [read more]