Hello friends, I hope you are all coping with the Covid-19 restrictions and that this message finds you well. I have three new works exhibiting online with the Wilderness Art Collective as our summer group show has had to move online due to social distancing. A residency making inks from seaweed in Mull, Scotland, workshops and a residency with the WAC, and many courses and classes I was leading have been postponed. But I will shortly be filming many of my classes with a great young film-maker, and along with online seminars, will be offering distance learning in the not too distant future. Keep an eye on my Instagram for the latest news on that. I also have three specially commissioned pieces in the next Dark Mountain fiction book. Rather than being illustrations, the writer has taken my works as the starting point, and will write outwards from there. This is an approach I have taught at Wild Twins Course over the years. It makes a nice change for the image to be first, before the words.
Unlike most people, I don’t yet run an email newsletter. In the autumn I will start one, so that folks can easily sign up to classes. I don’t like to bother folks, goodness knows how our inboxes are already clogged. But I promise to only make them 4-5 times a year. For now, have a great summer.
‘Stalked’, iron gall ink on handmade buckskin, mounted on board. May 2020.
This was drawn with a moulted goose quill feather pen, the ink was made from local oakgalls, rain water and discarded iron, the buckskin is from waste hides which I transform into parchment, buckskin and leather. The work features in the WAC exhibition and in the next Dark Mountain book.
The interview I gave last December is now online to read here. In it I speak a bit about my path and inclinations in art and nature.
Classes continue at my studio, yesterday was painting on buckskin. In February we have an introduction to making natural watercolours. Get in touch if you would like to come along on 9th.
On the left, a finished ink gall ink on buckskin patch. On the right, watercolour making with Clearwell Caves red ochre, cherry tree gum and honey, glycerine or agave syrup.
The first weekend of workshops was a real success, with 8 folks booking to come and learn oak gall ink making, quill pens and brushes. The next upcoming workshops are Painting on Buckskin and leather on 25th January, and Natural Watercolour Making part one on 8th February 2020. get in touch vis the website or on Instagram @foundandground to book a space, there are a few remaining. Below are some photos from the first workshop weekend and the Wild Inks workshop I ran in Sweden earlier this month. All the best to you from the winter river.
I am really looking forward to teaching some wild ink on 23rd November when I run the inaugural workshop at my new riverside studio by Hampton Court. All those over 16 are welcome, (and children over 12 yrs old may attend if accompanied by an adult). All materials, refreshments and equipment are provided. Details below, call or get in touch via the contact form to enquire or book. 5 places only.
It’s been a busy couple of months, with Wild Twins 2 full of sunshine and wild art in West Cork. Thanks to all who came and made it such a wonderful week. Photos and a write up on the website soon…
Next week my work illustrating Andreas Kornevall’s writing about Norse myth will be featuring in The Clearing, an online magazine from publisher Little Toller, I will put the link in my news section as soon as it is live. My latest article for Dark Mountain is here. It details my time under the trunk of a great fallen oak tree last autumn, and how returning to earth periodically keeps me sane and hale.
My work will feature shortly in print and online in Earth Island Journal, and at Wild Pigment Project online, and I will post snippets here as soon as they are finished. There are many projects awaiting the right time to announce, including an artist residency in a city farm, a possible illustrated book with a great author, and some collaborations. For now, it’s back to work for me, as I am off to the woods tomorrow to make buckskin and moccasins again, in the embrace of the wild wood.
There will be monthly classes in all the techniques and disciplines which teach, and I am looking forward to launching those over the summer, and taking bookings for September. These will be small classes of up to 6 people, held at my home on The Thames. Do get in touch if you are interested in wild pigments, birch bark boxes, hand made watercolours, colour theory, drawing, painting and so much more. Updates and pictures post daily on my Instagram account, @foundandground
Best wishes from the river.
It is a joy to find what we need on the ground beneath our feet. ‘Making good use of the things that we find, things that the everyday folks leave behind…’ British folks who were kids in the 1970’s will remember the Wombles, wonderful resourceful animated characters who lived in Wimbledon Common and were proto up-cyclers, foragers and green champions. The show should be brought back, it would be so on-trend.
I’ve been finding some great materials this year, here’s a few pictures.
Red Devon clay, as I found it on a rainy day it formed these useful lumps.
Starting my wild basket in the woods with a ‘god’s eye’ of split hazel withies, followed with long strands of ivy.
Here’s my latest improv basket, made in the woods of Wiltshire. It’s just the right size for gathering nuts and berries, roots and leaves, which is what I was living on for four days. More about that later!
Eagle feathers and deer antlers found for me in Aberdeenshire by Anneke. The feathers adorn my boat, the antlers will make a variety of things, tools for flint-knapping, a peg board, and possibly another toggle, for a new buckskin bag I am planning. Once the skins are finished… That’s a big job, and I hope to get round to it next week. In the shell is the gum exuded from wild cherry trees, which I use in place of gum Arabic to make watercolours.
Also found this week, lots of fresh water mussel shells left by the rooks, which I use for palettes and mixing ochre paints with the gum.
Thanks to all who came and made this course so great. There’ll be much more on this website soon, but for now here’s a few pictures. Paul’s Wyrd School is launched, and Wild Twins was everything we’d hoped for and more, as the folks who attended brought so much expertise, enthusiasm and openness. Paul brought his wild writing, and I brought a very large bag of rocks and feathers… and we worked all week in a light-filled room 12 feet from the edge of the ocean, pulling apart our old notions, listening to the land and water speak, watching the sea otters watch us back, and responding freshly with our materials of earth.
The new Dark Mountain features a detail from a rock drawing I made in Portland this February. Full blog post and pictures here.