Sointula Art Shed Residency: Foraging

Week 1: June 1st - 7th

I was thankful to have the company of my partner Paul for the first few days of my month in Sointula, especially to help me celebrate my birthday - the last one I'll have before becoming a mother in October. One of the things we did together was drive to the far side of the 24 km long island to do some plant foraging. A project I'm really excited to do during my residency is some local natural dye experiments, especially with weeds or plentiful, publicly available plants. 

Foxglove.  

Foxglove.  

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We drove to Bere Point and along the way found roadside foxglove, spruce trees for cones and bark, cedar boughs, and rosebuds (to dry for tea). Back towards town we picked horsetail and some yellow flowers that could be some kind of wild aster. A beach walk brought us some mysterious plants that we later identified as black twinberry, off cuts from an arbutus tree, and curled dock with a big root. For some of these plants, I was unsure as to whether they'd give a good colour, but once they were identified, I was able to do a little Internet research to figure out whether they've been used for dyeing before. 

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Horsetail, which is an invasive weed found all over the island.  

Horsetail, which is an invasive weed found all over the island.  

Some other plants I'd like to gather and try include broom flowers, salmon berries, seaweed, bracken fern, nettles, and red elderberry. I also brought some mushroom dyes that I made last autumn, since it's the wrong time of year to find mushrooms.