Its Spring and it is really beautiful here in Charlottesville. There is some wild weather of upper eighties to upper fifties during the days and sixties to forties in the eves. The weather is seriously confusing our plants... and a lot of them have decided to bolt. We are keeping our kale at bay. Turnips are over. Our pigments are bolting too. So it prompted us to harvest our Woad (English Indigo) to prevent loss of pigment material from the plants. We had a couple of good plants that over wintered which are supposed to provide more indigo pigment. Since Allyson is finishing school and the week is busy with Jeremy's Birthday, Passover, Earth Day, Easter, etc... we decided to harvest the Woad and make some historical fermented woad balls for preservation. They can keep for a few years in the "ball form". Historically this woad ball was created to preserve the plant, increase pigment content, and to sell in markets. You can see in the pictures the laborious process of picking and slow grinding the leaves. You can see that as they ferment they kind of get a green bluish tinge. Also as a challenge this weekend we figured out how to make a gluten free matzo for passover. It contains potato, almond meal, salt, and a tablespoon of oil. It turned out great. Jeremy also made charoshet and tsimus minus the beef. So tomorrow is a real gluten free passover for us and we are really happy that it is spring and excited about summer and a new beginning for plants, animals, and us. We are really excited about some new pigment plants and oil seed this summer: Japanese Indigo (Dyers Knotweed), Nettle, Iris, Safflower, Flax and more. Exciting times! XO A&J
This blog is run by Allyson Mellberg Taylor and Jeremy Taylor. We started it as a way to share some of our doings with friends and put a fire under our butts for the book that we are currently writing together about non-toxic artist materials. This has been a passion of Jeremy's since graduate school and he has done years worth of research leading up to the writing of this book. When we met during graduate school and started sharing living/studio space and making work collaboratively it became an important part of my life and studio practice too. I can't imagine making work any other way.