Last summer I hunkered down and had a heart-to-heart with my work. What was I doing? Where was I going? What was my passion?
After much soul searching I realized what mattered most were the plants. Everything I did involved a plant that was either wild or wild grown in my garden back in LA. Whether extracting for medicine, nourishment or beauty, whatever I did always started with a plant. I realized I loved being the conduit between a living entity and the end result, where everything would pass through my hands. No mechanisms or special equipment needed, no computers or complex infrastructure, just a willingness to observe, explore, research and experiment.
It didn’t always work out. For years I experimented with making paper. Taking the discarded portions of the plants I had harvested and converting them to pulp. What ended up was often a moldy mess, but I never despaired, knowing in my heart that when the time was right, the correct methodology would emerge. I recognized a pattern emerging that involved a slow, laborious and intentionally low tech approach that I coined “Slo-Tech”. It informed all of my work, from the smallest detail to the big picture.
The computer era missed me by a hair. My formative years as an architecture student involved learning how to draw by hand and build models. But when I entered the work force, the tables were turned and I found myself scrambling to learn how to produce on a machine. I slogged away for years in a profession that increasingly distanced makers from their work, all the while yearning for a hands on approach. When I first started gathering plants, I didn’t know it would lead to such a massive change, but it did. I swapped that mouse track for a plant and have not looked back since!
How are YOU reaping what you sow?