Saturday, October 1, 2016

The turning of the great wheel

Greetings Everyone!

Happy early autumn to you! The end of summer is always a challenging transition for me. This year we had an unusual drought all summer long so the chance to get out in the woods to make sculptures or photograph them was especially challenging as the lush green mosses that are a normal part of the forest ecosystem here were noticeably parched and dried and were not good for photo settings. They are recovering now that we are finally getting some rain but all my usual places just were not very photogenic this summer, sadly. So I'm holding off some of the houses that I made and am hoping to get some good autumn shots next week, fingers crossed.

I was out on a scouting hike this past week, looking for new locations and gathering materials for more projects this winter. While I was "looking" backwards missing the warm days of summer, I was also looking forward anticipating that the forest would soon be cold and building materials will be hard to gather. So this time of year I'm like the squirrels in the forest, scurrying and collecting. It had been a bright grey day but all of a sudden there was a hole in the clouds that just got bigger and bigger and soon the forest was bathed in golden light.

As I gazed out upon the quietude before me, I felt humbled and privileged to be able to do this try and bring some of this magic into my artwork and share it with all of you no matter how challenging that may seem.

 I collected lots of great birch bark as there were loads of trees that had died and come down many years ago. Birch bark is such tough stuff that even when the inner wood has rotted away completely, the tubes of the bark that protected the living tree from winter's cold and summer's insects will still be lying on the forest floor, still strong and pliable. When an animal body is taken up by the forest microbes, the white bones are the last to go...white bones that were previously hidden within the flesh of the creature...but with Birch trees, they wear their bones proudly on the outside and when they are long gone, what remains is very useful to me! So I'm always grateful to the trees who give up their bones so I can make more faerie houses and I give a silent prayer of gratitude when I am out collecting and find some suitable pieces to bring back home to the snug studio for wintertime creating.

The days are getting noticeably shorter now and will continue to do so until the end of December. I am keenly aware of the loss of daylight...every week we lose an average of 20 minutes of the precious light. No wonder we get grumpy in Autumn sometimes!

Now that the book is done and in production I finally have time to get back into writing here on this blog and also attending to all the projects that got backed up. I've just completed the new Lulu calendar for 2017 and I am awaiting the proof copies to come in before I make the project available. I've gone back to just a basic frame around each image, no fancy artwork, just the images. I got a lot of feedback that this is what most folks preferred so that will be the design style for this version. I'll share the cover with you now and when the printed copies have been approved, I'll put the link here so anyone who wants one can get them. Here is the cover:

Yes, that is the Hemp house which I hauled up into a secret glen and waited till dusk to capture the moment. I hope the presses can reproduce this cover... sometimes they have trouble with the darker content/image. But if it works it will have been worth all the mosquito bites I endured as I sat still waiting for the twilight to enter the deep cleft in the mountain where this stream flows.

  Stay tuned....soon I will share some more stories about how I make my photos and some actual samples of pages from the book!

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Welcome to the enchanted world of Environmental art and Faerie Houses sculptures created by Sally J Smith. Here you will find photos of the artist's unique art-forms and hear some of the stories from behind the scenes as she shares with you her creative process.